The Hampshire Cricket Society
PUNCHY THROUGH THE COVERS
THE EARLY YEARS 1928-1949
BY ALAN ‘Punchy’ RAYMENT
A PERSONAL MEMOIR SET IN THE SOCIAL HISTORY OF THE 1930s & 40s
Alan, a North London kid, was born in 1928 to stable parents who lived next to a cricket field. When twelve he witnessed the Battle of Britain and the Blitz, dived under school desks when Doodlebugs threatened in 1944, played cricket at Lord’s when 17 and served two and a half years in the Royal Air Force.
At the age of twenty Alan married his school pal and dance partner, qualified as a ballroom dance teacher and signed a professional contract with the Hampshire County Cricket Club. In contrast to stories of a happy childhood environment – of freedom to roam in London and of holiday fun on the Isle of Wight in the 1930s – Alan writes about his Father’s service on mobile AA guns firing at German Zeppelin airships bombing London in WWI – then of his own clear memories of WWII: of the realistic possibility of invasion by the Nazis, of bombs and the blackout, of rationing and private evacuation – and that he and his young pals followed and absorbed daily news about the war in newspapers, on radio and from newsreels in cinemas. Alan enjoyed family musical evenings and singing in a choir: he also recounts the ever memorable morale boosting radio broadcasts by Winston Churchill during WWII.
Britain’s dogged wartime spirit ingrained values of duty and loyalty in young people of Alan’s generation who thus became responsible adults before leaving school. Age 16, Alan worked in a London office during the V2 rocket raids, played football with Spurs Juniors and cricket for Finchley CC – and Middlesex 2nd XI when 18. Conscripted into the Royal Air Force, Alan was officially a radar plotter/teller at Bentley Priory, Fighter Command HQ, but played a lot of sport including cricket in the Berlin Olympic Stadium and RAF matches at Lord’s. More important than his youthful achievements in sport and personal survival in WWII, Alan emphasises his gratitude for the strong family and social values gleaned through his caring parents, large extended family and the free-safe community environment that influenced his development during the first twenty years of his life journey.
Alan’s next book will portray life during the 1950s, 60s and 70s: of family life with six children; of ten seasons of first class cricket and one as an MCC coach at Lord’s; of dance teaching and cabaret, of swing bands and rock’n’roll; of divorce, depression, career change and remarriage – and of surprising mystical experiences that birthed a determined intellectual pilgrimage to understand those experiences in the context of Christian theology.
~~~our dreams unfurl into realities of a future as yet unknown~~~ ©AHR