Published by: Shedgnome.Caerphillly. CF83 1EE.

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When you are getting closer to the exit door like I am you start looking back to when you came in, remembering all the people and friends you knew in years  gone by, who they were and what they did, and in my particular case being a member of ‘ALPHA ONE’: three Special Forces school chums. In doing my share of reminiscing I made the mistake of meddling with the past and even though I am now in my seventies, and thought I was beyond major upset, my meddling gave me a savage jolt that will haunt me till my dying day. It also means I now have to tell you about Gordon. I could just tell you the basic facts but it’s far too complicated for a simple explanation because, like the rest of those involved, he was a product of our time; those post war years during the 1950’s.

So you need to understand those more innocent schooldays set in a different age when it all took place. It was a unique time in the history of our country when the town was being rebuilt after the ravages of war. Bombed out sites were being slowly cleared, to make way for the new and for schoolboys it was a truly exciting period. Part of my own schooling was down by the docks and its near proximity to all the reconstruction activity provided opportunities for the mechanically minded to keep an eye on the various work sites and perhaps inspire the next crane or digger model for those with a Meccano set, or  maybe encourage an interest in the new style of architecture.

The aftermath of war and what we saw in films and comics was firmly embedded in our childhood with both the cinema in it's newsreels and feature films and also in the comics we read.  Although it might not have seemed like it at the time, things were steadily getting better and we were living through a period of positive change.

In this book, my personal memoir, I have tried to capture the spirit of  that time by describing not only various aspects of our childhood but also the games we played both in the school yard, local parks and as we funnelled through a nearby woodland homeward bound from the Saturday morning Odeon cinema club. I have discussed friendships, our impressions of school life in general, comics, books and what we read, our hobbies and collecting fads and how, even at a very young age, we were indoctrinated into our Welsh identity, our heritage' and what it meant to be Welsh. My own secondary education took place at the Technical school down by the docks which has now become the Dylan Thomas Centre. Being a former town hall it was a very grand building so I have taken the opportunity to describe it’s labyrinthine interior, some of the masters and the antics some it's happy band of unruly pilgrims got up to when they should have been paying closer attention.  

Thus - having set the background to our awakening world and being mindful of my opening remarks, I shall now attempt to set the record straight on how I discovered that in those hard won years of recovery, during our school days, a sinister undercurrent of sabotage had been at work beneath the unsuspecting pulse of our towns vibrant existence. In setting down this record you will learn how along with two friends I  played a part. A night time escapade on Swansea beach when we were cunningly duped into a deception that would cast its shadow over continents in the years to come and tear the heart out of my precious boyhood memories; turning them to dust.

Bernard Andrew

Halcyon days when life for kids was one continuous adventure


Story synopsis