In 1917 a boy was born in Brightlingsea, England – he was a sickly child who amongst other ailments, suffered from Rueumatoid Arthritis. He was destined never to go to school – whatever learning he obtained was self taught at home with the help of his parents.
When he was 7 years old his parents tried to take out a small insurance through the local Ancient Order of Foresters – I think it was a case of paying something like sixpence a week and then receiving a payout at the age of 14. Much to his and his parents distress, the insurance was declined based on the childs poor health.
As years went by, he built himself a wooden hut in the back garden and proceeded to live in it with the windows and doors open to the elements at all times. He read avidlyand became a well versed self taught young man.
He was fortunate to be offered an office job in the office of James Shipyard in Brightlingsea where he progressed rapidly and was assistant manager by the time he was 20. In 1940 to everybody’s amazement he was accepted into the Army with a health grading of B3 – the lowest grade acceptable even in wartime.
Army life obviously suited for by the end of the war he was a Company Sgt.Major in charge of a bomb disposal unit – By this time he had achieved a health level of A1. He served throughout the European campaign he was finally discharged and returned to manage the James Shipyard until 1952, when he and his framily moved to New Zealand to start a new life.
His family grew and life was good – he passed away 5 years ago at the age of 95 – and one is reminded that the insurance company had refused him a small policy as a child because of poor health!
I know this story to be true, for the man in question was my Brother – Eric Southern may he rest in peace.Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in