Yes thats me, the one and only Tony Mallen (toekneem) now residing in Benfleet, Essex. Lets move on to my early years.
I was born in Dovecot, Liverpool L14 on the 18th March 1948 to John and Mary Mallen. The second of six children. The others being Irene , my elder sister and John, Philip, Michael and David my younger brothers. We lived at 78 Winstone Road. All mod cons in those days.
My father was in the British Army and of course this entailed moving house a lot. In the early 1950’s this started with a move to Osnabruck in Germany where we spent 3 years sampling live on a British Army On The Rhine base. You can imagine at the time (early 50’s) it was not too easy for the resident Germans never mind the British, but as kids it was just a big adventure for us. We lived the life of riley.
Time moves on and about 1957 its back to good old Blighty. Mum must have been shattered. Six kids and a very long journey by steam train through Germany and Holland, and then the ferry from the Hook of Holland to Harwich and then further trains to Blackpool where the Army had us enshrined in a Guest house on Blackpool seafront for a few months. Oh what a holiday for us kids. Anyway as we all know, as kids time flies by when your at the seaside.
Next stop for us is a nice country break at Bulford Camp, nr Stonehenge in Wiltshire. During our time there my father is sent over to Famagusta in Cyprus due to the trouble with the EOKA terrorists over British rule in Cyprus. When he returns we are rewarded with a move to Woolwich Barracks, London SE18.
What a tip the married quaters in Woolwich turn out to be. Typical old fashione tenements. Inside, brown and green gloss paint on the walls. The Army must have bought a job lot of camouflage paint, or maybe it was left over from the war. Mind you as a kid we did have some good times there, playing around the old disused barracks areas, having a sneaky smoke of Park Drive or Woodbine cigarettes. When not playing soldiers in the old barracks we would be on the old Paddle steamers sailing back and forth across the River Thames.
Travelling between Woolwich and North Woolwich and the docks all day long, sometimes getting a telling off from the ferryboat men for running around the boat playing. Those old Thames Paddle Boats were some marvellous pieces of engineering. We would find places to sneak into the King George V docks at Woolwich for a little while before being found and kicked out.
Time to call in Pickfords and move on again. Back to the seaside, this time Preston Barracks in Lewis Road, Brighton. This was just for the last couple of years of my school life. Nice place, great to live by the coast and close to the town centre. Soon I started a job in a local coach company workshop trying to learn the ropes and doing all the dirty jobs they put on youngsters.. Got me own back on them when my father was posted back to Wiltshire. This time to Larkhill camp, right out in the sticks, about half hours walk to Stonehenge. Wow, the Army did us proud. New house, all modern furniture ,couldn’t believe our luck, thought we had won the lottery. Not many jobs out in the sticks but did manage to get one working in the Army NAAFI stores.