I was born in London, just after the Second World War, into a family with three older sisters, a mother and a father who was just home from the war, although still in the Royal Air Force.
We lived in Haverhill Road, Balham.
Later, just after my younger brother was born, we moved to Kensington. It was a city full of bomb damage
Very exciting for a four year old.
After a few years we moved out to Croydon and a successful
eleven plus exam took me to Archbishop Tenisons School, in south Croydon.
It was a grammar school of the ‘old school’ and we boys were convinced that our Latin mistress, the awe inspiring, but now much appreciated, Miss Taylor, was at the school opening in 1714.
Of course, the girls thought she was wonderful simply because of the terror she instilled in the boys.
While Miss Taylor was the senior mistress of the school, our headmaster was Mr Norman Cresswell, A man, who like Miss Taylor, was passionate about education. It was Norman Cresswell who took the school to grammar school status and that is something I will always be grateful to him for.
After leaving school I joined the Royal Air Force as an Aircraft Apprentice and was trained as an aircraft electrical technician.
The training was intense at RAF Halton where we were known as Trenchard Brats. I was in the 99th entry. We graduated in July 1964 whereupon I was posted to RAF Honington near Bury St Edmunds.
I served for twelve years and worked on such diverse aircraft as Victor and Vulcan ‘V’ bombers, Lightning Interceptors, Beverly Transporters and Andovers of the Queen’s Flight at RAF Abingdon.
I had experiences that my school friends, who had opted for civilian life, could only dream about.
After demob, with a young family to support, I entered the rat race of the insurance industry and settled down to a nine to five existence which I quickly discovered, wasn’t me at all. Something was missing…
I knew I wanted to write when I began making up stories for my children. We were living in Sussex at the time and I even managed to get one or two of my stories read out on South Coast Radio. To my regret, I let earning a living take up too much of a priority. Early retirement, at last, gave me the opportunity and my first novel, Overseer, was born.
I have a page on this site dedicated to my writing and I hope you will take a look. We have, also, traced the family tree back to 498. It’s fascinating stuff and, again, has a page of its own.
The part of novel writing that, for me, is the most fun is the research. I guess it was Norman Cresswell who inspired in me a love of learning. How I wish the internet had been available when I was at school. I often think of my teachers at Tenison’s and how I would love to have been able to confront them with facts that I have since discovered. Especially the physics teacher, a certain Mr Frederick Pratt.
Not the best name for a teacher. Not with the kids in my class.
It’s never sat well with me that so much modern science is based on unproven theory and, whenever anything comes to light that flies in the face of the theory, it is swiftly swept under the carpet.
Since retiring, God only knows where I found the time to go to work, I have realised my ambition
to write (four books, one anthology and counting). I also became involved with Hospital Radio in South Wales.
What an eye opener that turned out to be.
The joy for me was that, unlike commercial radio stations, I was able to select the music that I played for the patients. My love was the music of the forties, fifties and early sixties and I was thrilled to find out, from feedback from the listeners, how much that music was appreciated. I also included a short story and snippets about life that would bring back happy memories to baby boomers like me.
The Lure of Civvy Street…
Richard may be emailed here