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From country life as a lad to postwar service in REME and eventually to restoring and driving steam boats.

 

Ken was brought up on a smallholding near Hazlemere in Bucks. His famile hosted four evacuees during World war 11 and he learnt his craft as an engineering apprentice: often making his own spares, from scrap.

He entered military service in REME just as the war ended and served in occupied Germany and Austria. He later managed what was originally one of the first ever garages in the country, with clients ranging from Enid Blyton to Black Rod.

Subsequently he set up his own engine reconditioning business, followed by a spell in R and D with Broom and Wade, compressor manufacturers.

His skills at creating working machinery were put to the teat when he was ‘headhunted' by Peter Freebody, the famous Thames classic boatbuilder, to restore the steam plant and machinery of The Windsor Belle, a veteran Thames passenger steamer.

Ken spent 15 years as engineer on the Windsor Belle as well as working as engineer at Freebody's yard until his 79th year.

His ability to create beautiful fittings and machinery from scratch earned him a reputation far beyond the Freebody yard itself.

For 15 years he has partnered Robin Ford on his steam launches and his memories were part of the inspiration for forming my-memories.com.

Early years

School: what no science?

Hosting evacuees during the war:
Sixth sense for bombs falling
Oranges as forbidden fruit
Sharing school
Life on a small holding during the war: don't let him see
the pigs!

Apprentice motor engineer:
‘I can teach you to be an engineer'
Working on damaged Wellington bombers
Meltng scrap brass to make parts

My neighbour is a lion tamer!

Military Service 1946:
REME
Occupied Austria and Germany
Life in a military holiday camp!: no 8 Army Leave
Centre, Austria
Learrning to ride a horse - or not!

Grays Garage Beaconsfield in the 40s and 50s:

One of the first garages, but no road outside!
Running a garage
Celebrity customers: Enid Blyton
Alison Utley: Ken's bitten ankle ends
Up in her next novel


Beaconsfield Film studios: Margaret Rutherford

Driving for Black Rod

Putting cars to bed for the Winter

In business on my own account; Reconditioning engines
Prices you could not believe today!

Work at Broom and Wade, High Wycombe: R and D

Working for Peter Freebody:

Restoring the Windsor Belle
Operating the Windsor Belle:
Ladies specials
Running aground
Cooking on board

Retiring at 79

Working after ‘Retirement Age ( KP plus BW)

Steaming for pleasure with SL Genevre and SL Jaunty

Swim or sink? -falling in.

 

1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1990s, Army, Beaconsfield, Boats, Engineering, REME, River Thames, School, Thames, Wartime Evacuation, World War 2
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