World War Two

Ronald Leedham: Geography

Ronald Leedham was born in 1929 in India. His family moved back to England in 1931after Ronald contracted Polio. Ronald spent some years in Hospital as a young child after contracting Diptheria. When he was six he returned home to Catford for a short while to live with his father, eventually ending up living in ‘homes for crippled children’ run by the Shaftesbury Society, until he was sixteen.

Here Ron describes learning geography during the daily wartime news discussions.

Transcript

I can’t remember what happened in the juniors, but in the seniors...(laughs) the first half hour or something like that, the teacher, he kept us up to date with what was going on in the war. We had the blackboard up there and he had the newspaper with him and he’d draw where the front line was that morning or whatever or that day before and all these arrows sweeping everywhere, you know the sort of thing.
And that’s where you learn your geography, believe it or not. I learned more geography about Russia, the Middle East, Libya, anywhere in Europe and where the war was going on, from the war than I ever did on anything else. We were all well up on where the different towns were and what the countryside, what the terrain was like, whether it was good tank country or not, it was absolutely marvellous. And we also loved the first hour of school, it was all what we wanted, us boys, you know what boys are like.