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My Father, Leslie Burns, was born less than four years after the end of the First World War. It was a world where women could not vote, and which was about to be hit by a terrible economic depression. Later he served in the RAF during the second world war, lived through post war austerity, married, became my Father and was almost into middle age by the time of the Cuban Missile crisis and the massive social changes which followed in the 1960’s.

One of the traps of looking back on a past you’ve mostly only read about or seen on TV is to assume that everyone shares the same narrative as the historians – and so parts of this interview may come as a surprise. They certainly did for me.

And interviewing your own Father is like no other assignment I’ve ever attempted before. As I found, it’s far from easy to adopt the same approach as you would for a stranger.

All in all, it wasn’t quite the interview I expected – but perhaps there’s something for us all to learn from the unexpected.

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  • Felix Garnet-Simister

    Hey, Christine - great interview with your Father! I had to chuckle a bit at the begiinig when he couldn’t quite remember stuff then really got into his stride. :-) My Dad was born in London in 1924 and also entered the RAF at the age of 17 as a wireless worker. My Mum was born in 1922 and her war work was on the Wellington bombers at the Vickers factory in Blackpool. She and my Dad met when he was stationed there and he lodged with her parents (all very respectably). Dad died in 1994 and Mum still lives on the Fylde coast. I’ve often thought it would be interesting to interview her but wonder if I could find sufficient gigabytes! ;-) X

    Mar 12, 2009 at 6:19 pm