Stephen Mann writes of his experience as a boy entrant to the British Royal Navy, his despair then anger at finding that he could not escape from a world of arbitrary rules and personal violence. His humour and North London independent spirit however shines through and despite his frustrations, the cracking momentum of the book is maintained as we enjoy adventures with Stephen and his shipmates o More
Stephen Mann was in the British Royal Navy for five years and ninety three days, which is five years and ninety two days longer than he had wanted to be. The day he joined the Navy he didn’t know it but he was to become a reluctant sailor. It was the day after he signed up that the penny dropped and he wondered what he had let himself in for. Despite the fact that he was only fifteen years old he had been allowed to sign up for twelve years which the Ministry of Defence had stipulated was the minimum period of service. He was laughed at by the people in charge of me when I asked if I could leave and go home. This was the1960s which was a great decade for young people in Britain. The music was fantastic, the fashion fabulous and revolution, freedom and equality were at the top of the political agenda. The era was dubbed the swinging sixties and the youth were out to sweep away the old systems and in the process enjoy themselves. However, it was also a time when working class boys were encouraged to join the armed forces at the age of fifteen. What many of these boys didn’t realise fully was once they had signed on the dotted line there was no way out. For them the 1960s were not so great and a brutal and sadistic regime awaited them in their first year of training. Whilst some boys accepted their fate others tried to escape. The people Stephen served with did so in a variety of ways, by pretending to be daft, punching Officers, deliberately disabling themselves or they just deserted. As the political and anti war movements of the 1960s began to influence him Stephen's way out of the Royal Navy would take a different and surprising course. “Sadism, Songs and Stolen Liberty” is the story of Reluctant Servicemen and chronicles the hardships endured, the friends and enemies made and the bizarre and sometimes hilarious escapades of sailors travelling the world. These adventures include his brief war with Iceland and his twenty minutes as the last line of defence of the British Empire in Gibraltar when Franco’s Spain threatened. The story tells of encounters with the Secret Services, his conversion to Socialism and the fight for Civil Liberties for all servicemen. Stephen's struggle was for freedom and this story tells how some achieved it. Stephen asks that readers sing along to the songs in the book as he did throughout his adventures, it was these wonderful songs of the 1960s that lifted his spirits, kept him sane and allowed him to mentally escape the worse times.- and he will be indebted to them forever.
Available ebook formats: