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The Militia Boy-bookcover

By: James Palmer

The Militia Boy

Pages: 198 Ratings: 5.0
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This is the autobiography, memories and impressions of a boy born in 1918 in the poorer district of a large, Lancashire city. His childhood and early youth were spent unaware of the awful poverty and deprivation of the hungry thirties which were coloured by the spectre of mass unemployment, social degradation and abject misery. The clouds of war had been building up from 1935 and the Spanish Civil War was a prelude to the final holocaust of 1939.On his twenty-first birthday, in July 1939, his passport into manhood was to be conscripted into the Armed Forces among the newly recruited Militia and he became a Militia Boy. For over six years these militia boys served in every theatre of war from Narvik to Dunkirk, the deserts of North Africa, Sicily, Burma, Singapore and Malaysia, India, Iraq and Syria, Crete, Italy and Germany and even witnessed the final disregard of human life in the charnel houses of the concentration camps of Europe.This story is dedicated to all those Militia Boys who were unfortunate to be born at the wrong time and who gave over six years of their manhood in the hope that the World would become a better place to live in.James PalmerJune 1980

is the transcript of a manuscript typed by my father James (Jim) Palmer, telling his story from his early years in one of the less salubrious areas of Manchester up to the cessation of World War II hostilities in 1946.
My father never spoke of these times during his life, but his written words provide a vivid and very personal insight into his life between 1918 and 1946.
Dad never fully recovered from the traumas of his youth that could so easily have coloured his outlook on life and the people around him but, I am glad to say, he still managed to live his life based on the principles of honesty, kindness and high morality. As a result of this, in 1977 he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee medal in recognition of his work at the then Ministry of Labour, in obtaining employment for the disabled.
He died in 1996 after a lengthy illness and is sorely missed by all who knew him. I hope this account will provide his grandchildren and future generations of the Palmer family with a valuable insight of the sacrifices made by my father’s generation, so that we may enjoy our lives of freedom and choice.
I am only sorry that I didn’t know what my father had endured and that I had no opportunity to say, “I’m proud of you, Dad”.
I have added a few explanatory footnotes, but apart from these, hereon in all the words come from my father.
Graham Palmer

Customer Reviews
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  • Bruce Philip

    A compelling account of one humble Mancunian's incredible service right through the 2nd World War. Surely very few saw so much war in so many theatres. The final twist is his presence at Belsen after its liberation. Simply written but very powerful.

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