by Frank Rixon BEM
Autobiography of a Berkshire Lad who served in Malta with the Royal West Kent Regiment during WW2
In this enjoyable autobiographical account Frank Rixon looks back on an eventful life spanning in excess of 90 years since his birth in the rural village of Padworth, Berkshire in 1921.
In 1935, at the age of 14 he joined the Royal West Kent Regiment as a boy soldier and bandsman and went on to complete a tour of duty in India, returning to England in 1938. In 1939 he left the Boys Service to become a
regular soldier and shortly after the outbreak of World War II was posted to the Mediterranean island of Malta to assist in the defence of the island against enemy attack.
It was here that he met Mary, his wife-to-be and in 1941, in spite of the war, they married and started a family. It was a challenging time to do so, to say the least. Malta’s important strategic position made it a prime target and it
came under intense enemy bombardment which continued relentlessly, day and night for a period of two years, during which the island was under siege by aircraft of the Luftwaff e and Regia Aeronautica, which mounted wave
after wave of attacks in an attempt to pummel the island into submission.
In spite of conditions becoming almost intolerable, Malta held out until April 1942 when aircraft carrier USS Wasp and other ships of the ‘Pedestal’ convoy arrived, bringing vital aircraft and supplies just in time.
In the midst of all this, Frank and Mary’s first child, Sarah Elizabeth, was born in July 1942.
Frank’s Regiment remained in Malta until June 1943, after which he served in Egypt and the Dodecanese Islands before making his way home to England in 1945.
After the war Frank remained in the Army and was to serve in Korea and Singapore before completing his 22-year service career in December 1957, collecting a British Empire Medal (BEM) along the way.
After trying a number of jobs he eventually settled on a second career in the civil service, an occupation in which he remained until retirement in February 1986.
In retirement he became actively involved in a number of veterans associations related to his wartime activities in Malta and travelled widely, enjoying many special occasions with family and friends.
All this and more is related in his engaging autobiography with modesty and gentle humour.