A most brilliant book. I was able to relate to most of this account, not only because I knew Ron but because I was in the Fleet Air Arm during the same time Ron was.
Most ex-servicemen will be able to follow this with some kinship especially those born around early 1940s and joining the mob when 17.
There is a lot of Ron's humour brought out; you sometimes have to read between the lines but it really is a great read, whether you were in the mob or not.
I treasure this book now, as sadly Ron is no longer with us, but anyone who knew him would know what a great story teller he was.
[I'd like to think Ron would like the review too!]
Odd Shoes and Medals Ronald Hudson Non-fiction from Manatee Books.
“War broke out when I was eight. My short pants had holes in the backside, which was doubly embarrassing because I didn’t have any underwear and anyone could see my bum. So I used to walk sideways to school if any other kids or grown-ups came by. Miss Grafton, the teacher, let me stay at my desk during playtime to avoid embarrassing exposure. She liked me a lot and I used to take love letters for her to an American soldier. “
These reminiscences cover a span of over seventy years and will jog several memories and remind people that the so-called poverty of present times is nothing compared to the 1940s and 1950s. Young Ron and his sister Audrey were shunted from one home to another, in excess of a dozen, ‘fostered’ by ‘aunts’ and ‘uncles’, and indeed for many years the pair of them didn’t know where the other sibling lived! His absentee father barely gave him a thought – though he did present him with ill-fitting clogs, once…
Occasionally, he was shown kindness and, despite moments of great despair, he carried on and eventually joined the Royal Navy. Ironically, for the first time he found a place he could call his home: the navy. He travelled the world, saw the sights, and ‘learned a trade’. When he was demobbed prematurely by politicians, he embarked on a career in British Gas, and has a few amusing tales to tell about (nameless) customers! He set up his own business and became the oldest registered gas fitter in the country, until he retired at age eighty.
As told to Nik Morton
[Ron died 11 April, 2015, aged 84]