After Suez, the thing uppermost in my mind was to get home as soon as possible to see Audrey and Ken. Absence could not have made my heart grow any fonder for them, although it had shown me a light at the end of a dark tunnel, the light had seemed so far away at times in Egypt but it was still there.

We off loaded the transport and equipment at Plymouth docks, all our personnel gear was moved to the Royal Marine Barracks where leave was granted. I was now on my way but that long journey still had to be made. The mind kept returning to Suez and kept re-running the action, for some opps and mates, the future ended there, their journey home would be to tears of grief. I was one of the lucky ones, who fate had favoured, my return home was to tears of joy, for that I thank God.

All the love and understanding the family gave me I can not put into words, but lifes journey had taken me out of a dark damp tunnel and into the light which generated warmth.

Returning to Plymouth did not seem so bad, but I still had time left to serve, why not go to NCOs Training School and maybe get some stripes.

OfficersSchool5

Non-Commissioned Officers School

Royal Marines

At the Non-Commissioned Officers School I gained a pass and certificate, also my stripes to Lance Corporal. The course ended on 9th August 1957 and I was finally released from the Marines and started life again as Ken Applegate in civvy street on October 19th 1957.

Tom told me of a job going on a Chicken Farm in Hampshire, thinking farming would be a change we moved to the small village of Botley where a residential caravan was quickly made our home. It did not have all the modern cons of today but it was home for us with a tiny kitchen, tin bath and end bedroom but we did have the luxury of a 14 inch television, black and white of course.

The chicken farm turned out to be Broiler Houses and destroyed my vision of being a farmer. Within a month I was sick of the sight of eggs and getting lousy with fleas. A job in electronics, now that looked good.

The American company Standard Telephone and Cables gave me a chance. I wound coil formers for the Scotland to Belguim cross channel telephone cable within their air-conditioned plant in Southampton.

Ken_Lesley2Ken_LesleyThings got better with the birth of our daughter Lesley, we moved into a new council house and I was promoted to a foreman at the plant.

I had proved I could stand on my own two feet and be independant. The kids had loved their holidays on Gorleston Beach, so after two years it was time to return home to Gorleston with my family.

On our return to Gorleston we managed to get a house in Harbour Terrace, between Beach Rd and Pavilion Rd.Yarmouth was bustling with factories and work.

 My old liking for food took me to Birds Eyes door,

Birds_Eye

ThirtyTwo Years at Birds Eye

starting in the Research and Development Department, looking at fruit and vegetable products, I then moved to TV Dinners. The success of these products moved Birds Eye into full scale production at their Lowestoft factory in the early 1960s. The years moved on and we moved into our own bungalow in 1985 at Hopton-on-Sea. Promotion was given at Birds Eye to Departmental Manager within Repack and Potato Departments.

Many freindships grew and after thirty two happy and fulfilling years, early retirement was taken.

 

Retirement has given me time to:
  • look after my Koi Carp
  • walk my dog
  • sit in front of my Flight Simulator on the computer
  • watch Audrey do the garden

and

  • be a grandad.

 

 

Suez now seems so far away, the politicians decision to go in was not ours to make, our orders were to go in and go in we did

Why should young men be put through that ?

Ask a Marine !

Commandos1


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