When looking at Fred’s memoir, Fred does not mention how, when and where he was educated. He writes “I went to an ordinary school until I was fourteen and then left to work in the Great Northern Railway.” (P. 1) Unlike other autobiographies and memoirs from the early 20th Century, some of which depict their author’s education as their prominent theme, Fred’s autobiography is devoid of his education and schooling. He does not indicate whether he was in a grammar, private or mixed public school, and whether it was a positive or negative time for him.
Fred does not elaborate on his schooling and education because for him, his education and schooling seemed insignificant compared to the rest of his life, meaning he had no reason to specifically mention his education. Nevertheless, throughout the autobiography, the reader can see that Fred’s work life, his time in the war and his later years were all shaped by his time in school. Fred’s job at the Great Northern Railway Office and his time in the solicitor’s both involved an extensive use of literacy.
Fred started out as an Engrosser, a job which required him checking over many documents to make sure they were correct. In his job at the solicitor’s office, Fred again was checking documents to ensure they were filled out correctly. This is a good example of how education shaped his career. Fred’s skills in reading and writing therefore enabled his social mobility.
The extent of Fred’s schooling and education can be seen even in his World War One service. During World War One, Fred was promoted to sergeant at Brigade headquarters, a job that gave him “A box carrying a typewriter and on the other side a box containing a stencilling machine.” (P. 5) His job of relaying messages from the trenches to headquarters also had the potential of saving many lives in the trenches, thus Fred’s schooling and education had the potential to be a life saver during a war which claimed millions of lives every day.