Finding the Lost Working Man

  • Linsey Robb
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series


Dennis Higton, who worked as an apprentice engineer at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Farnborough, was 18 years old when war broke out in 1939. In an interview conducted for the British Library he recalled:

I wanted to fly, before I could fly of course, and I’d already lost one or two mates in the air. And whenever I saw a Spitfire I thought, oh, my God, I could do that as well as that, I hope it’s not difficult. And I applied to join the air force, you know, formally. I got a real reprimand for the first one, did it again and got a really heavy reprimand, and I thought, well, I don’t know, keep trying and they’ll give in. And I did it for a third time and of course you have a medical every time you, and of course you’re absolutely fit as a flea and enthusiastic. And I got a really — they told me if you do this again we’ll send you to prison because, you know, this is — you’re in occu — you’re in a reserved occupation and that’s what you’re supposed to be doing, you can’t sort of dart off and do a different job because you want to. And I remember saying that my dad wouldn’t like that if I was sent to prison, you see… Oh, I wanted to fly. And these things were coming — they’re killing people in the streets, you see. Also you’d see your friends who’d joined up and come back from the front or something and I thought, well, damn me. If you’re a sensitive chap — and every now and then white feathers were given to people like me, you see, ‘cause the person who gave the white feather thought the chap in civilian clothes was a coward.1


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Copyright information

© Linsey Robb 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linsey Robb
    • 1
  1. 1.University of StrathclydeUK

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