Len Payne was born in 1933 in the village of North Baddesley, Hampshire, but spent most of his formative years in the village of West End, just outside of Southampton. He attended West End Primary School and later Hedge End Senior Secondary School (the Wildern). He was old enough to recall vividly the war years and the destruction of Southampton during the blitz. He also saw many of his family members rally to the call as they joined the Services to fight at home and abroad and mourned the loss of two of them killed in action. That determined him at the age of 17½ to himself join the military where he spent the next 16 years as a member of the Royal Corps of Signals, both Regular Army and the Territorials, serving in the UK, Germany, Japan, Korea, Cyprus and was recalled to active duty for the Suez Operation. After demobilisation, he met and married Mary, his first wife, in 1959 and together with their two sons, emigrated to Canada in 1966, where they enjoyed a relaxed lifestyle until Mary’s death through cancer in 2000. They had been married for 41 happy years. In 2002, Len married Mavis, a family friend whom he first met in 1957. Len and Mavis live in quiet retirement in the City of Abbotsford, British Columbia, enjoying each other’s company and accepting what life has to offer.