Tom’s Story – The Life and Times of Tom Short

A poignant 200-page biography of an extraordinary ‘ordinary’ life. Born in 1933, Tom Short retains a phenomenal memory. This has been extended by thorough research, creating a unique family and local history, almost exclusively centred on a small rural area of North Buckinghamshire, England.

 The exploits of an eclectic mix of past family members back to the mid-1800s are explored, including a great grandfather transported to Tasmania for little more than drunken behaviour, a grandfather who was landlord of a village pub for 45 years, and the homicide of a great uncle during a petty argument. Experiences of men who fought during WW1 are described, including Tom’s dad who was with a yeomanry cavalry regiment, The Royal Bucks Hussars, taking part in the last mounted charge of the British army. Tom’s mum as a young woman had the then novel opportunity of working in the far east.

 Tom was raised on a pre-mechanised family farm near Stewkley, and was aged 6 when WW2 began. An RAF airfield was built on an adjoining field. Despite his young age, he did his bit for the war effort. Memories of plane crashes, bombings, and adapting to war conditions show that the fear of invasion was as real for country people as it was for those in the towns and cities. Contemporaneous council records and a family diary confirm the events. Aged 12, following the war, Tom spent much time at the now famous Bletchley Park.

 ‘The story’ summarises Tom’s life, the many societal changes that have taken place, and the interesting acquaintances he has encountered. One chapter details his time as village pub landlord in Whaddon, another his lifelong involvement with horses and horse racing. Real life crimes are mentioned, as are suspected ghost activities. The book is full of nostalgia, poignancy, and humour.