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1961: National Service, and working for the Kensington Post

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Jan. 1st, 1970 | 04:55 am

Memory from Michael's childhood friend Baz:

"In 1961 at the time of his mother’s re-marriage, he was working as a trainee reporter on a local paper, 'The Kensington Post.' I know this to be the case because I had occasion to talk to him there.

He did not work on the paper for long as it was obviously not his metier.

The paper was part of a large group, abiding by all the employment regulations. One of these would be to question young men if they had been called-up to serve in the forces, to establish there would be no career breaks if the answer were ‘yes.’ Michael was close to my age, and I was called-up, with thousands following me before the draft was ended.

Government officers kept a very close eye on employment details and absentees from military service. Very few slipped through the net. The Head Office of the group Michael was employed by was in Loughton, East London now (Essex, then), and the Parliamentary constituency of one Winston Churchill. I doubt any Civil Servant would wish to embarrass Churchill with a draft dodger under his nose.

The call-up in those days required draftees to have – if not 20-20 vision – good eyesight, that may have to be aided by glasses under certain circumstances, reading and sighting firearms. It is my firm belief Michael did not go to Paris to dodge the draft. I suggest he failed the medical through poor eyesight.

I trust this may satisfy you that Michael was not a draft dodger; just a little vain about the glasses. Funny really, how a pair of goggles later became quite iconic on Michael.

NB. The Runewriter also mentions Michael working as a reporter.

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