Our house was by a bend in the road and I was knocked down by a man on a bicycle whilst running across the road. I went to the local village school which was like a Dame's School, it was run by two ladies and we all were in the same room. I remember going to the Doncaster racecourse to see Alan Cobham's Flying Circus, there was a photo of my parents and myself by one of the biplanes that flew in the show.
It was the time of the depression and my Father walked over the Pennines to Manchester in 1932 to work for my Grandfather Walton Curtis, Mam's Dad who had a florist, nursery and landscape gardening business, and we followed when Dad had got a house for us, 10 Talbot Street, Moss Side, near Granddad's shop. Alan was born in 1933 when I was 6 and when Mum was feeding him I asked her if it hurt when the doctor put the nipples in.
We moved to 125 Broadoak Road, Wythenshawe around 1935 and I went to Broadoak
Road Junior School, amongst my classmates were, Brian Nellist, Ray Suggett, Audrey Gadd, who lived opposite us. Dad took me to Moss Side one day on the crossbar of his bicycle, to a shop that sold second hand bicycles and bought me one - that was the proudest possession I ever had and when I passed the scholarship for Chorlton High School, I cycled there and back every day, except during the Winter when the roads were bad.
On leaving school, I became an apprentice at the G.P.O. as a telephone engineer, this was for 2 years and so my call-up to the army was delayed until I had finished.
When I was called up in July 1947 and after carrying out my provisional training at Formby, I was posted to the Royal Signals Training regiment at Catterick for the hard winter of 1947, we were in single story blocks that were condemned before the war with no heating other than an open fire in the centre of the large room, we wore almost as many clothes in bed as out and boots were frozen to the floor in the morning, I was offered the chance to go to Officer's Training Corps but opted to stay with the mates I had made and trained as a line technician. I was then posted to No. 1 Signals regiment, stationed at Elvington, a war-time bomber aerodrome and rose to the giddy heights of lance corporal.
A highlight of the time there was manning a display of signalling equipment at Army Cadet Camps along the North Yorkshire coast during the summer, I swam in the sea at Seahouses, and it was the coldest water I have ever been in. Before I was demobbed in 1949, the Regiment moved to the Cavalry Barracks, York and we tasted the delights offered there, after being stuck out in the wilds. York theatre still had gas lights in the circle and balcony stairs I remember, can't remember what I saw there though. But can remember seeing Robertson Hare in "One Wild Oat" at the Shaftsbury theatre when spending a leave in London, staying at the George V YMCA, that was the first time I had seen girls wearing see-through blouses.
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