361 HUMPHRIES Edward S., ‘Childhood. An Autobiography of a Boy from 1889-1906’, TS, pp.63 (c.35,000 words). Extract in J. Burnett (ed.), Useful Toil. Autobiographies of working people from the 1820s to the 1920s (AlIen Lane, London, 1974), pp.209-14. Brunel University Library.
Born 1889 at Totnes, Devon. Died 1978. Son of an NCO in Royal Marines and a cook. Lived with foster parents (greengrocers) from c.1892 to 1898, when he returned to live with natural parents. Educated at infants’ school (c.1893-4); St. John’s School for Boys (c. 1894-8); Church of England School (1898); Stoke Higher Grade School, Plymouth (1898-1900). Married, 1919. Lived in Totnes (1889-c.1892); Exeter (c.1892-8); Plymouth (1898-1900); village near Liskeard, Devon (1900-c.l901); Plymouth (c.1901-3); London (1903-6); then enlisted and served in India, France and Mesopotamia. In later life, lived in Bristol (1934-7) and Folkestone.
Worked part-time from age 9 on milk round and as errand-boy. In full-time employment at age 11 as odd-job boy at local vicarage, and subsequently worked as general servant; butcher’s boy; page-boy; kitchen-boy; still-room boy; servant-boy; pantry-man (to 1906). Enlisted with the Royal Scots (1906). Retired from army in 1934, but rejoined in 1939 to serve as Security Control Officer under MI5 (1939-46). Worked as sales representative for The Metal Agencies Co. Ltd. (1936-9; 1946-55).
Distinguished military career. Wrote (unpublished) military memoirs in retirement entitled ‘A Ranker’s Ramblings’, a shorter versIon of his ‘On My Own’, which deals with his service in the army up to the end of World War I.
An entertaining, masculine account of various aspects of the author’s childhood and early life up to his enlistment in 1906. Good accounts are given of his various employments; schooling; childhood leisure (from comics to music halls); visits to the hairdresser; home life; and of adolescent pleasures, fears, punishments and aspirations.