I was born on 17 October 1938, in Llanfyllin, North Wales.In 1945, I recited ‘Dai Cadlor y Tos’, a Welsh poem, in the Eisteddfod.In June 1946, I moved to Coton, Nr Whitchurch, Shropshire, when my father was repatriated from the Far East, having been in Japanese POW camps since 15 February 1942 when Singapore surrendered to the Japanese invasion forces.
I attended Whixall C of E Primary School.At the end of 1953, I had to leave school for financial reasons. I had started hand milking four cows in the morning before school from the age of 12 for a smallholder who taught me more than my father ever did. Not a penny went into my pocket. My mother (God bless her) always made sure I was well fed and tidily clothed.
In early 1954, I tried to join the Royal Navy. My mother blocked the attempt.On 17 October 1956, after another two years of work, I made my move and attended Royal Navy Recruitment Office in Shrewsbury.
By 4 December 1956, I was on my way to Portsmouth Barracks, HMS Victory, now HMS Nelson. First job allotted 10 shillings of my £4-19 shillings a week to my mother. She worked hard every day of her life and had nothing for herself. It helped make up for her loss of my wage coming in.
On 4 December 1978, I received a letter from the Drafting Commander asking me to sign on for a further five years. However, Mrs Thomas had brought up five children on her own for long periods over the last 19 of my 22 years’ service, and stated she needed more help with the 16-, 17- and 19-year-old. She won.
Civilian life begins. Not a big job-free market at that time 1978 and 1979, so I did anything to stay off the dole until in October 1979, a job that included Apprentice Master Electrical became available at Fleetlands Royal Naval Aircraft Yard.
Mrs Thatcher comes to power, and her savage reductions affected me in 1982. Move to Food Development Programme, Libya (American Company). The job included acting as Project Technician Electrical working on all sites for short periods. Growing wheat, sorghum, etc., on the sands of the Sahara. Right in the path of all of Gaddafi’s armaments heading for his war with Chad while keeping a 1000 head cattle farm with attached dairy operational. International politics brought that job to an end in 1984, and we had quite a bit of difficulty getting all our Brits out of Libya, the Italian Embassy assisted in the end.
In 1984, I moved to Shropshire as Works Engineer in an Agricultural Machinery Factory. The job was to maintain and extend works.
In 1989, I had run a weight-lifting club for five years in the evenings. I myself became West Midlands division and County Super Heavy Masters Power Lifting Champion and record holder with a total of 580kg.
Still looking for a job that used my full potential, in November 1989, I took a post in the Gena Programme, Saudi Arabian Air Force. I was quickly appointed Power Station Superintendent and I supervised the training of Saudi technicians for the First Gulf War as part of the job. I had to provide power for a small township of service personnel close to the main town of Hanakia, a 100 kilometres north of the Holy City of Medina Munawara. One section of my power station also provided power for the AWAC early-warning system of parabolic aerials and their associated control station. I quickly learnt enough Arabic to travel and purchase, and found it ma fie mush kila – (no problem).
Now on to the 3rd of November 1993, and three contracts completed. Back to electro/mechanical work in the UK.
On 2 January 1997, having worked using one crutch for the last 9 months, I had my first full hip replacement. I sold our house to our youngest son and got him out of a negative equity situation by taking his flat in part exchange and then selling that. By June of that year, we were in our leased plot at Governors Beach, Kalymnos Caravan Park, Cyprus, writing like mad.