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My visual memories

A photo of Sydney

Sydney was born in Byker in 1926. His grandparents came from Eastern Europe. His father was born in Newcastle in 1888. his mother was born in London in 1894. They married in West Hartlepool in 1920 and then set up home in Newcastle. In 1944 at 18 years of age Sydney was called into the army. He served in Europe before returning to work for the Inland Revenue Office.

Sydney was interviewed by Kylea Little on 4 August 2006. The interview took place in the participant's home and lasted for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

BSL introduction.

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Surviving the War

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I was called up into the army two weeks after my 18th birthday.

Q. Was that your national service?
Well it was? National service hadn't started then, this was still just? they were calling people up at eighteen to go into the forces. In fact some people were being called up at 18 to go down the mines as Bevan boys and I didn't relish that thought. So when I got my papers to say I had to report to go into the army, I was rather pleased! And? so I worked for about 15 months in a temporary civil service job in the local tax office. And...then at eighteen or just over eighteen, I was called into the army.

I was in different units, we were eventually looking for any war materials that were of any use that could be taken over or that had to be taken over by the British Army. And then later, we were looking after? in a unit looking after displaced persons of different nationalities who had been liberated from the concentration camps and so on which was in a way quite a harrowing job? and particularly being Jewish, meeting some of the remnants of the European Jewish population, most of whom had been killed during the war. It was only then that I realised, I was only eighteen when I went into the army, it was only then I realised sort of what the Jewish people in Europe had suffered and what would have happened probably to us if the Germans had invaded England. I was one of the fortunate ones whose antecedents had come from Europe and settled in England earlier in the century or even, at least in the previous century, the nineteenth century, they came over. So I was very fortunate that I was born an Englishman and was able to survive the war.

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