An autobiography of an R.A.F
1939 - 1946
Tel Aviv 1944 Blackpool 1941
'A Letter To My Family'
'Sid' - An Autobiography of an R.A.F. Wireless Operator.
For many years I have told my children stories of my childhood, of being in a field ‘raining frogs’, to the running man with ‘one leg’ and then my service in the RAF.
First it was my son Nigel, who begged me not to tell stories to his friends, when they called at my house, to take him for an evening out. Much to his horror, it usually ended up by my story telling. I have a feeling this contributed to him emigrating to Canada when he was twenty-one?
Next came my daughter Janet, who became (under sufferance) my second audience. One day she said to me, why don’t you write a book? We will forget the stories when you are telling them in the next world. After many, and constant requests, I thought maybe it would be a good idea. As my hands were not as flexible as they were, I decided to tape them.
When I had finished, I wrapped them in plastic and put them in the drawer, hoping maybe my grandchildren would listen to them in the future. They were left in the drawer for seven years. One year my son visited us from Canada (he was now a senior university professor). During our conversation I told him my stories were on tape! After his initial shock that the stories had returned to haunt him, he said that he would take them back to Canada with him to get them typed and form a manuscript. As he is a very busy man now, he could only do this in his spare time and sought the help of our wonderful granddaughter Rachel who typed up all the tapes. So from the time of conception to completion, it had taken 10 years.
I hope you enjoy it.
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Hugh as he looks today
I met Hugh ('Sid') West during a recent spell in a local Hospital. It was appropriate that the ward was named Wellington as this reminded me of the Guards Barracks, and, probably, Hugh of an RAF Bomber. It wasn't long before we were swapping stories of our service life during the dark days of World War Two. During the three months I spent in that ward many patients came and went, and many of them had interesting war stories to tell. By far the most interesting was Hugh's account of how he joined the RAF and set his heart on becoming a member of aircrew. What happened in the following years is all in his book and I don't want to spoil your enjoyment of this unique collection of stories by telling you too much . . . .