A while back I wrote about my sadness that I only had one photo of my dad as a boy, and his face was turned away from the camera. Well, following on from my piece for the Guardian on my search for my brother and sister, someone came forward with my dad’s intake photo – taken on the day he joined the army.
He was only 14 and a half when this photo was taken – so young – and yet at that time, boys quickly became men; there was no time to be teenagers. Dad was already a dairy farm worker when he enlisted (he completed his education in the army). Apparently his nickname in the army was ‘Jammy’. The year was 1944 so I presume that he and the other boys in this photo must have been overwhelmed with an urge to do something for their country, even though they wouldn’t join the Men’s corps for another three years. But also, certainly in my dad’s case, it meant the chance for him to travel – he served in Egypt and Greece and Cyprus and places he never would have seen if he’d hadn’t enlisted. I’m so proud of him and it means so much to finally see him as a boy.