My Books

My Books

Monday, 30 May 2016

World War II Book for Kids - What was it like to be a teenager at war?

The virtual world has made it so easy to recreate fight scenes and battle scenes for our entertainment, but what if you had real memories, of real experiences of war? How would this affect you a year later, two years, ten years, seventy years later?

Meet Jim Haynes. He joined the Royal Navy at 16 and served the British Empire in some of the bloodiest and most horrific theatres of the last world war as a teenager, alongside hardened sailors and soldiers, on the Atlantic Ocean and in the jungles of Burma and Malaya. This is Jim's story of WWII, from the streets of a slumin Nottingham, England where he grew up to finally settling in Sydney, Australia at the age of 20, leaving behind his family (and his sweetheart, Olga) forever. Jim has led a fairly normal life - married, had children, divorced, married again and had more children, but the cost of his service back in his teens has haunted him throughout his life, affecting his happiness and that of his family. The impact of PTSD cannot be underestimated, as Jim's life proves.
Jim (far right) and Aussie mates on board the LST 3008 ferrying soldiers and equipment after the Burma Campaign

Olga, aged 16
So, what can we learn from Jim's experiences? After all, he begged his parents to let him join the Navy, thinking it would be a fantastic adventure. In some ways it was. He still talks of his mates and skipper of HMS Avon with fondness, but those mates are long gone and what remains is the battle that still rages in his mind. If virtual reality should teach us anything about ourselves as a species, it ought to be that war is futile, despite it being a constant, and that fighting the after effects is a much bigger task than the actual fighting.

You can buy a copy of Jim's story here:
The Boy Who Went to War on Amazon
and here:
The Boy Who Went to War (Five Senses Education)
from Five Senses Education website

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