Sidney in the 1940s

1940 Living with the enemy - they call it evacuation. Out in the sticks - no pavements, no buses, no streetlights. Worst of all, no mum.

1941 Germany invades Russia - now all the best people are communists. Back home in time for the bombing, I get to be the best boy in the girl's school.

1942 The German army reaches Stalingrad - but will they survive a Russian winter? At last I get my first bicycle - damn, it's only got 24" wheels! Mum says I mustn't go outside the playground, but she doesn't say which one.

1943 Italy surrenders - they must have better things to do. I start a three-year engineering course at Hackney Tech. This place is a hotbed of sedition - I love it!

1944 D-day landings, which upsets Hitler so he sends us some V1 'buzz-bombs'. Our true-blue history teacher gets fed up with always being wrong, so he packs thirty of us off on a cycling weekend to Colchester.

1945 I organise a 1000-mile cycle tour of the south coast, the start proper of my cycling career. Three school friends go with me and we argue every mile of the way. The war is over but Hitler makes one last attempt to knock my school down with a V2 rocket.

1946 The first electronic computer made at Pennsylvania. Dad coughs up 25 for a lightweight bike for me and I join the Hackney Clarion CC. (The two pictures show some of the members.) My apprenticeship starts at BTH.

1947 The 'New Look' appears, although I must say it's not for me. At BTH I get 28 shillings a week - who said anything about cheap labour? Cycling is taking over my life - every weekend plus two or three evenings.

1948 The state of Israel is created, but nobody asks the Arabs. I join the YCL and have arguments with dad. Riding to work via the scenic route now - over Highgate Hill.

1949 NATO is formed, ready for war against Russia. Hang on, weren't they on our side? I get my ONC and also start time-trialling with the North London CC. At 62 years of age, dad dies from bronchial pneumonia. Auntie Ettie moves in - no comment.


Mum and dad

14 and a right know-it-all

Me and Johnny Swift holding each other up

Sid Kenton, John Swift and me, 
members of the Hackney Clarion.