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Biography: Brian Leahy

Brian Leahy

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My name is Brian Leahy and I was born in Brighton in the county of Sussex, England in October 1936. The Second World War broke out in September 1939 and a year or so later I and my sister were evacuated to a village in Oxfordshire which meant that we were separated from our parents who were working in London until 1944 when the bombing had practically stopped.

Our parents settled in Oxford which is where I grew up and I left school in 1952 with no qualifications whether that was because I was just thick or the experience of the war I do not know.

I completed an apprenticeship as a bricklayer which I did not enjoy and I joined the Regular Army as soon as I could. When I finished my term in the Army I worked in a car factory for 12 years and in 1970 I started an external degree which I so enjoyed I applied for a place at Balliol College Oxford which was granted and I left university in 1976 to find that there was a certain difficulty in getting a job. For some strange reason the car factory was suspicious of anyone with a higher education and the professions were not interested in one time car workers even if they did have two degrees.

Eventually I got a job working in what is now known as, “Human Resource Management” and I worked for Canadian aluminium company then the Financial Times eventually making the mistake of taking a job with an American company called Baxter Healthcare where after three reorganisations in three years I was made redundant.

That is now water under the bridge and I spend my time fishing, shooting with black powder pistols and writing letter to our local newspapers when something annoys me such as incompetent local Government.

The life that my grandchildren lead is so different to the life that I lead as a child that a year or so ago I decided to write a few words about my life for my grandchildren but the more I wrote the more holes in my knowledge I discovered.

I thought that there was no point in just saying that during the Second World War Britain was bombed I wanted to be able to give some statistics such as how many civilians died as a result of bombing in Britain and indeed Germany. How many houses were destroyed in Britain and Germany as a result of bombing? How many British ships lost to enemy action and how many seamen went down with them? What was the effect of food rationing, what amounts of food were allowed and when did it end in Britain?

I am having a problem in finding answers too many of the questions that I have and I hope that I may get some help in this forum.

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