Adapted from letters written by Warrant Officer Sydney Arthur Harris, this is an account of the everyday life of RAF personnel in North Africa between 1942 and 1944, particularly those engaged setting up radio stations in Algeria and Tunisia. While illustrating the demanding, often dangerous and usually thankless work that was done, it also shows the lighter side: those things that made life bearable to men thousands of miles from home the people he met in the localities where he was posted, the entertainment, the music, and not least, the food and drink that could be obtained if you knew how and where to go.
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Sydney Arthur Harris was born in 1901 in London, the second eldest of six siblings. Although unable to continue his education, he was a very talented musician from a young age, and concentrated on the piano. At sixteen, he would accompany his father, a music hall performer, and also play the piano for silent films. In the mornings he helped his father with a milk round. He joined the RAF in 1920, No.4 Army Co-operation Squadron, being posted to Baghdad from 1924 to 1926, and was demobilised in 1926. He was recalled in September 1939 and that period forms the subject of this book. He later became a dairy manager for United Dairies. When he retired in 1966 he and his wife moved to Buckden in Cambridgeshire, where he became a very active member of various groups. Music and art continued to play a major part in his life and he was deputy organist at the church, among other activities. His wife died in 1972 after forty-six years of marriage, and Sydney died in 1981, in Buckden, leaving a daughter.
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