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I Didn't Belong: Chapter Eleven - The Army Calls

Ronnie Cook is released from a detention centre, then, after a spell as a trainee miner, he signs up to join the army.

Ronnie's inspirational life story brings the great news that success can be achieved, even after the most turbulent childhood. His book, which is being read around the world, is available from amazon.co.uk Type Ronnie's name in the Amazon search box.

Towards the end of your sentence you would be
given a red tie if you had earned it. With that, other
inmates and staff tried all they could to cause you
to lose remission. So what smarty-pants here did
was to get my red tie and pinch a brown tie from
one of the idiots and wear it, and then don my red
tie if I were to go in front of the governor, doctor
or the principal officer. I still lost a couple of weeks.

On discharge the routine was to go and see the
Governor. He told me that considering all that I had
endured, the best thing for me to do would be to go
straight into the Army if I could. As I had an ability
to react to orders unquestionably and would be a
good soldier. And if I didn’t, at least move to another
town, or I would end up in Doncaster and gaol all
my life. How true his words were.

On the train on
the way to Doncaster I realised I could get off the
train wherever I wanted, and in my heart it seemed
like someone was saying to me the next station get
off and start a new life. I like to feel it was God or
my guardian angel saying to me, “Go on. Make that
break.” But no, I did what I wanted and ended up in

I went to my mothers flat, forty-two
Sandbeck House, St James Street, where I bathed
and changed to rid myself of the smell of that place,
had an early night as was my routine and awoke
with a plan for my life.

I knew it was the right thing to do as I had that
Happy, tingling feeling. I was so excited. I would get a
job when I was fifteen and then join the army. I
went to the employment office to find out about
signing on, where they interviewed me about what I
wanted to do. I explained that I had been away and
they automatically pointed me towards the mines
for some reason, which still mystifies me to this day
as to why.

So I went to see a chap at Rossington
Main who insisted that I could have a job as trainee
miner, but I had to sign for the job there and then,
as I was only a few days from my fifteenth birthday
and I would therefore be the last person to have
gotten a job at fourteen years old in the British
mines. I don’t know if this was true, but it’s a nice
claim to fame if it is. and I started work on my
fifteenth birthday.

When I got back to Mum’s she
Thought and went quiet, as she had promised not to let
her children go to work in the mines, as we would
turn out as socialists and she was against that. But
I had a plan and was going to stick to it regardless
of what anybody said or did to me.

I even started
to go to St George's Church in Doncaster on Sunday
mornings. One or two people spoke to me after a
few weeks and asked all kinds of questions like
some sort of interrogation. But they did encourage
me in my quest to keep out of gaol. I thought
“WOW” first the Governor and now complete
strangers giving advice and encouragement.

I remember thinking there has to be something in
this God thing as not everyone was against me. I
remember one Sunday I was short of money. I only
had a few bob and was worried about being seen
not to put anything in the collection as I thought it
really was a prerequisite of going to Church. But
the service was about the widow’s mite (Luke 21:
1-2). So I put in what few coppers I could afford to
and realised that anybody could come to a church
regardless and you didn’t have to be well off. God
won’t make you fall over on your way home if you
can’t afford to put anything into the collection.

After a few months, I told my Mum I wanted to
live on my own in a flat. But, she kept telling me I
couldn’t live alone. As I wouldn’t survive, as I am
not the type of person that should be on their own.
At first I had no idea what she meant, so I tried the

That way I had permanent company and a
regular routine, which is what I needed. I took the
necessary tests or exams and unbelievably
passed. A short while later I took a medical and
passed that and was told to come back in a couple
of weeks after I had sat back and had a good think
about joining the forces. Then come back and sign
up. I recall thinking, this is it, a job with good pay,
no worries and I get to see the world as well. If I
have to go to war then that is what I would be
trained to do and would do it to the best of my
ability without question. But at least I had got
myself away from the rat race called normal life
and I was over the moon. I gave my notice in at
the pit and took a week out. Everybody I met I told
them that I was going into the Army, as I was so
pleased with myself.


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