Primarily an autobiographical work, sections feature the author’s military service at Christmas Island, during the early part of Operation Grapple, with an all new section based on material provided by ‘nuclear veteran’ Gerald Rice.
Heavily illustrated throughout, the work starts from school days, and being re-homed during The Blitz, as well as experiences in a Spurgeon’s Orphanage. Going right through from School Days to finding a first job, followed by military service during the ‘cold war’.
The book includes a Christmas Island photo gallery (see also item below). Extracts will be available on this website shortly, and the book will be going to the printers next week.
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As a ‘starter for 10’, here is the cover:
From the cover:
Life was tough for the young Barone Hopper – his family bombed out of their London house during the Blitz, his father disappearing, his mother forced to put her two sons into care – but there’s a bracing upbeat tone to this colourful memoir by one of life’s survivors.
We follow the footloose lad via various wartime evacuations, a temporary fostering and several years in a Baptist orphanage until in 1951, at the age of fourteen, he is at last reunited with his brother in a north London house they share with their mother and a new step-father. This part of the story vividly evokes the post-war atmosphere of our capital city, its markets, smogs, the Festival of Britain, cinemas and theatres, pop music and, of course, the author’s early meaningful relationships with girls.
Barry’s first job is with a photographic press agency near Fleet Street, but two years later National Service calls, and he finds himself a sapper shipped to the now notorious Christmas Island where in the 1950s the British, and in the 1960s the Americans, tested numerous atomic H-Bomb nuclear weapons… of mass destruction…
Although Barry himself avoided the direct exposure to radiation which damaged the health of many servicemen, the experience seared itself on his consciousness. After a description of life as a squaddie on this desert island, the latter part of the book is an investigation of the bomb experiments and their aftermath, accompanied by an impressive gallery of photographs and other illustrative material.