For some reason, certainly for a reason I cannot explain, I thought of a time many years ago back in Susan Lawrence Primary School in Poplar. The girls had been separated from the boys for one lesson and our teacher, Herbert Enever, decided to read part of a book to the boys. He read a long passage from C S Forrester’s “A Ship of the Line”. It described how a British ship in the Napoleonic Wars brought the force of its cannons to bear upon a French Army marching on a narrow coastal rad with no means of escape.
As Mr Enever read he explained the technical terms to us; he told us what “grape shot” was and of the traditions of the Royal Navy fighting against the French. We were enthralled.
Mr Enever was a cheerful man, with reddish hair and a short mustache He was one of the few men who were primary school teachers. He introduced me to C S Forrester, making a huge difference to my life, and introduced Harry Redknapp to West Ham United, making a huge difference to his life. He like many other teachers made a difference to many lives and in Poplar children need teachers to make a difference to their lives.
I was ten years old and loved books, and it was year or so later that I picked up a second hand paperback copy of “A Ship of the Line” from a stall in Chrisp Street Market for a few pence of pocket money which I spent that week on a book rather than on sweets. I read that book until its pages fell apart.