Lieutenant Commander M.F. (Bob) King R.N., retired from the Royal Navy in 1960, for family reasons; to be more involved in the life of his family, especially to help his wife and to be influential in the raising and development of their three sons.
He joined the Steel Industry in a lowly position at the start, but prospered to become the General Manager of Skinningrove Steel works, near Teesside and later, a senior director in the Yorkshire Region of the industry which was, at the time, a huge conglomerate of iron and steel producers.
He became part of the Teesside social scene; belonged to a famous golf club, of which he served as Captain and later as President.
A casual acquaintance would be forgiven for concluding, from his manner and positon in life, that he was from a privileged background, with a good education, including a University Degree.
Indeed this was the impression he had long since tried to impart, not by untruths, but by evasiveness about the truth of his origins, of which he carried an agonising shame. He was brought up in an era when family background, education and class, constituted an important factor in the perception of a person’s character, suitability for certain level of work and social acceptability.
Bob had experienced from early school age how cruel and friendless the world could be, to a boy poorly clothed and shod; fair game for jibes and insults. He gradually devised a frightening skill, to protect himself from discrimination, by an ability to evade questions or discussion on the subject of his past.
After a miserable childhood and a neglected education, he joined The Royal Navy at the outbreak of World War II. He was recruited as a Boy Seaman and his eyes were opened to many things especially Christianity, a word that had not featured in the King vocabulary.
The recollection of his war experiences offers an unusual insight into life at sea. His education, development and exposure to discipline is fascinatingly told with great candour, pathos and humour. He pays enormous tribute to the Navy for rescuing him from disadvantage and penury and preparing him for promotion, a place in society and business, previously considered inconceivable.
He continued to keep secret, details of his macabre and shameful childhood from the world, even from his own children. But in advanced age he felt the urge to free himself from what had become a burdensome and lifelong deception and, with nothing to lose, except perhaps respect and the odd friend, he decided to record his life story. The original expectation was to leave a scruffy manuscript hidden in a drawer to be discovered on his demise. Things did not quite turn out as planned; instead his book “To Tell You The Truth” is published with a title that tells it all.
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To Tell You The Truth
by Bob King
Bob King was born in 1923. He and his siblings emerged into a poverty-stricken family in which love for them was noticeably absent. They did not themselves feel deprived, being too young to realize that the state in which they lived was not the universal pattern.
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