I met an elderly man during the week who was a proud holder of the OBE (Order of the British Empire) He had served most of his life in the teaching of others in one educational calling or another. One of the Schools in which he taught was close by to my own Grammar School and this reminded me of something that I was going to relate.
During my teenage years in the middle sixties, when fashion and music was undergoing such tremendous change, I used to hang around with two other liked minded individuals branded as ‘Mods‘ except our mode of life was more a statement of style than the adherence to a doctrine. We had no shiny chromed Scooter nor wore the coat that was uniformly needed for distinction. We had our mohair suits hidden under Crombie overcoats and silk scarves to hid the pin-through collars and ties. We traveled by train to West End Clubs and Brighton Beaches.
You would never find us three in fights with the enemy or bad-mouthing those ‘Rockers‘ in leather jackets on greasy Motorbikes, we had better things to do and girls on our minds. We kicked a few deck chairs over but simply as a way of marking that stoney beach with our stash of ‘purple hearts’ to retrieve after the inevitable search by the Sussex Constabulary. Always would we travel out in three, Graham Keith and I, and most often return together but occasionally all or one of us would need the backing of the others as an alternative nights pleasure was made available. We were smart not only in dress but predators on the rampage from London to the Sea.
I moved away from the area that I had grown up in when I joined the Police Force and as a consequence never kept in touch with either of those two. I married and moved further, without a single thought of them or their lives until recently and the man in the back of the Cab reminded me of one of them.
The law had to be changed in this country to re-try a murder trial in which one of my previous friends son was involved along with others. He had been tried in a Criminal Court by the Crown, and in a civil Court by the parents of the dead boy, both times the evidence being insufficient. Recently that changed as new forensic discoveries lead to him, and one of the fellow accused, being convicted. My point to this tale is a simple one, had my life not been as it were and I had fathered a son then maybe my son would have been his sons friend, and there, when the murder was committed.
There but for the grace of God we all could be and as my wife is often heard to say; “Someone had to be Hitlers Mum.”