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A Shout From The Attic: Work - 12

...This was during the time that my mother started baking again. Her teacakes were the size of a small beret, the weight of a medium brick, and the density of concrete. However, they were substantial and one of them went a long way...

Ronnie Bray continues his engaging autobiography.

Going For a Soldier

Ben Battle was a soldier bold And used to war’s alarms,
‘Til a cannonball took off his legs And he laid down his arms -
Thomas Hood

I continued to enjoy my spiritual and social development among the Latter-day Saints. My time among them was pleasant and rewarding and I soon felt very much at home with them. They were unquestionably supportive, and to a young lad of my experience and disposition, that was no small thing.

I was baptised in December 1950, having spent late summer among my new friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the first branch of the Church in Huddersfield for some time, and finding new friends and good companionship in the several branches of the Church in Halifax, Dewsbury, Bradford, and Leeds, in what was then the Leeds District.

The year 1951, I passed in work and at Church, for the most part, enjoying both but for entirely different reasons, but in 1952 the long shadow of conscription fell across my life as I became increasingly aware that some time in 1953 when I would reach eighteen years I would be conscripted in to the British Armed Forces of the Crown to serve in one or other arm for the compulsory two years. So I joined the Army to avoid the being conscripted. That is the only reason I can think of as to why I signed on for three years regular Army service rather than waiting.

No doubt it was all clear as day once upon a time, but now I can only guess. I might have thought I’d do the extra year and get a bit more money. I cannot think of anything more heroic than that. Satisfied with the extra thirty shillings a week, I was not unhappy at being referred to as a “thick regular” by my National Service comrades.

Until I had to report for duty, my employment continued, and I somehow managed to get a job on the building site at the rear of Brock Bank during the erection of the houses there. The company building them was Erith of Kent. I was put to work with a lump hammer and a cold chisel chasing channels in the walls for wiring, and knocking drain holes in them to carry the waste outside. This was during the time that my mother started baking again.

Her teacakes were the size of a small beret, the weight of a medium brick, and the density of concrete. However, they were substantial and one of them went a long way. These were what I ate for my dinner on the building site. Very filling.

During an absence from work because of sickness, I obtained another job at Elliott’s Brickyard at Lepton, and worked there for the period of my sick leave from the buildings. I am at a loss to explain my thinking or my condition, but it is true. After my ‘sickness’ was over, I returned to Erith's.


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