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Life began for me about two and a half years before the European outbreak of World War II; I started out in Pytchley, a tiny village of some 230 souls in Northamptonshire which is on the eastern side of England.
This was really a time of unusually hectic activity; that same year, the spectacular crash of the Hindenburg took place at Lakehurst, NJ; King George VI was crowned, following the 1936 abdication of his brother, (King Edward VIII) who later became the Duke of Windsor, and, horror of horrors, married an American divorcée, Wallis Simpson; too, this was the year in which the Second Sino-Japanese War began, which would continue non-stop until late in 1945, and, finally, 1937 saw the disappearance of Amelia Earhart along with Fred Noonan, her navigator, on their attempt to circumnavigate the world, flying a Lockheed L-10-E Electra aircraft. [If you read her life story, you will note that Amelia in 1918 visited with her sister in Toronto, Canada, where, using her prior nursing skills, Amelia began caring for H1N1 Spanish Influenza patients, actually contracting the flu herself, which would affect her health in later life.] Amelia’s disappearance still holds people’s attention over 80 years after her final flight.
Obverse side of British 1937 Coronation crown piece–A gift from my dad–He had kept it because it was minted the same year I came along
Reverse side of 1937 Coronation crown piece.
Although my birthplace was the very small and obscure village of Pytchley, without my knowledge or permission, at the tender age of one week, my folks moved me from there over to their own home in Kettering, about three miles away to the north. So there we were, February, 1937.
My first recollection of note around our Kettering home was someone (I vaguely recall that it was my Aunt Ivy,) telling our parents that the British people were at war with Germany. [This announcement had originated with Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, on September 3, 1939.] In subsequent days, someone mentioned that it was only twenty years since the last war (which had ended, of course, in November, 1918), and that it was necessary to have a good war every twenty years or so, and that was what the Germans wanted, too. Her statement proved to be true; Britain was at war, and would continue so for almost exactly six long, and dreadful, years.
[World War II, as you likely know, began on September 3, 1939. (For Americans, their nation’s entry into the war would come on December 7th, 1941, with the pre-emptive attack by Japanese naval and air forces, in the ‘Day of Infamy’ strike on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
That war would end with signing by the combined combatants on September 2, 1945, of an instrument of surrender, shortly after single atomic bombs were dropped by the USAAF* on two major Japanese cities, and the Russian military threatening the very existence of Japan’s Kwantung (Guangdong) army in mainland China.]
*USAAF = The United States Army Air Corps, was re-named the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) in 1941. Later, in 1949, it became the United States Air Force, which still exists to this day.