Thursday, 8 May 2014
LESLIE THOMAS - ORPHAN
British writer Leslie Thomas was orphaned at the age of 12.
His mariner father was lost at sea and his mother died of cancer just a few months later.
Leslie was raised in a Barnardo's children's home.
His autobiography entitled 'This Time Next Week' describes his early life as an orphan.
The book is full of warmth, good humour and contains many lyrical passages.
It is one of the great books of British literature.
Susan Sandon describes Leslie Thomas's books as having a "mix of great characters, strong sense of time and place, and unique ability to combine laughter and tears in the space of a few sentences."
Leslie Thomas (above) was born in Newport, in South Wales.
He was sent to a Barnardo’s home in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey.
His dying mother told him that the teachers at Barnardo's "play soldiers in the woods and the fields with the boys. I’ve heard they have a very good time . . ."
In 1949 Leslie thomas was called up for National Service
"It was the late Forties and early Fifties, when courting was a frustrating business for young men in this country, usually connected with a brief kiss and a long walk because you had missed the last bus.
"Thousands, like me, felt a uniform and a call to action on the other side of the world may help.
"The last night before I boarded the troopship for Singapore, I thought the military magic had worked.
"I walked a girl home from a dance in Slough.
"She worked in the Mars factory and she said she wanted to give me something to remember her by.
‘It was a Mars bar.
"I ate it on the three-mile walk back to the transit camp."
Leslie Thomas and his second wife Diana.
Leslie Thomas liked Britain.
'Great Britain is a wet afternoon at a football match, wet afternoons at a cricket match, it is the unending lottery of our weather.
"I know where I want to be: here in Great Britain, it’s great.’
Leslie Thomas did briefly escape to the low-tax haven of Jersey.
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