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Hold Tight!
Chapter 1
Beginnings
1 Introduction
2 Dedication
3 No son of ours
4 Wrong number
5 All change
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Chapters
1 Beginnings
2 Learning
3 Getting Away
4 Winchester
5 Freedom
6 Southampton
7 City Transport
 
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Along with the employment application form was another form to apply for a conductor's licence. This required two referees, fifteen shillings for the licence and two shillings and sixpence deposit for the numbered badge which I would have to wear while on duty. There was also a medical to take but this was paid for by the company.

I think getting to the medical was a test to see if I scared easily. The depot superintendent drove me to the doctor's in his company car and tried his best to frighten me. It worked. As we pulled out at Bitterne Park Triangle, I opened my eyes to find we were still in one piece but my future boss looked as though his eyes were still shut.

The medical itself was straightforward enough with the usual checks for arms, legs and blood pressure and of course the mandatory sample. But the doctor also suggested I have my toes broken and reset to straighten them, the damage having been caused by not getting new shoes often enough while I was growing. I felt I had suffered enough for one day and decided to leave them as they were.

The next stop was to collect my first uniform. This consisted of heavy black serge jacket with white cuffs and gold piping, trousers of the same material, a long equally heavy raincoat, a hat with conductor's badge and two lapel badges. The whole uniform was one size too big and very uncomfortable to work in, particularly in warm weather.
In the summer we were issued with light jackets but the trousers would turn your legs black as you sweated. The hat was to be worn at all times except when collecting fares. I have never liked wearing anything on my head and this hat, padded with newspaper to make it fit, would be donated to Guy Fawkes as soon as the rule was abolished.
With all the formalities completed that Friday, I was told to report at nine o'clock the following Monday morning. What I had let myself in for I had no idea and I would have to wait through the weekend to find out. In fact it would take sixteen years!
Cap badge.
Lapel badge,Lapel badge.
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