This has been a challenging year but Jacob, 16, of The King Alfred School Academy, reviews the story of the year in Captain Tom Moore’s Autobiography, “Tomorrow will be a good day”.
Let’s face it, 2020 has been a very challenging year, from the terrible Bushfires in Australia, to the murder of George Floyd, to the Coronavirus Pandemic; however there have been pockets of light during these unprecedented times.
One of these pockets of light comes in the form of a 100-year-old World War Two veteran.
His name is Captain Sir Tom Moore, and his autobiography, “Tomorrow will be a good day” is both a hilarious, and an emotional read, and it enables us to get to know the man that we think we know so much about already, as a result of his amazing actions this year.
Captain Tom begins the book by describing his childhood in the Yorkshire town of Keithley.
His mother was a school teacher, and his father was a worker in the family building business, which had constructed many buildings in the town, including the local War memorial, which was one of the first to be built in Britain, to remember the soldiers in the local area, who lost their lives in the Great War of 1914 – 1918.
The Veteran also describes the tragic death of his uncle, Billy, to suicide in 1935, and how this devastated him, as his uncle had been a great friend and companion to him in his formative years.
In 1939, British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, made a radio broadcast to the nation from 10 Downing Street, declaring war on Germany.
Aged just 19 at the time, Captain Tom goes on to describe his role in the Second World War, both locally, and internationally. He enlisted into the eighth battalion of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, an infantry unit that was converted to operate Churchill tanks as part of the Royal Armoured Corps.
Tom then went on to serve in Western Burma, and the conflicts that took place in these parts of the world were especially dangerous; however, over time, these conflicts have become collectively known as the “Forgotten War”. When the War finally ended in September 1945, he returned to the UK and worked as an instructor at the Armoured Fighting Vehicle School in Bovington, Dorset.
Tom describes his relationships in the book, and how they changed his life. His first relationship was with a woman named Billy; this marriage was not a happy one, or a consummated one, and it ended with a shocking betrayal, and a subsequent divorce. Tom’s second relationship was with a woman named Pamela, and they fell deeply in love with each other; this was shown when she became ill with dementia. He cared for her beautifully, visiting her every day, for years, until her death in 2006.
Family is a very important part of this book, and Captain Tom talks very affectionately, remembering his parents, his sister Freda, and his wife, Pamela.
Tom also describes a fall that he had in 2018, which cause him to have a broken hip, and made walking very difficult.
This makes his achievements this year even more remarkable. Originally an idea from his son in law, Colin, the Veteran made a pledge to walk 100 laps of his garden, hoping to raise £1000, before he reached his 100th Birthday on 30th April 2020.
This figure was dwarfed in a matter of days, as the public began to donate to his cause.
Within a matter of weeks, through both donations and gifts, Tom had raised nearly £40M for NHS charities. He was also knighted by Her Majesty the Queen in the Summer of 2020 at Windsor Castle.
“Tomorrow will be a good day” is a book full of heart and optimism, and acts as a lesson to all of us, that if we come together, we can achieve anything.
Captain Tom, we salute you!