My father, Charles Lambell Bezant, returned from the First World War - where he had been fighting with the Royal Gloucester Hussars - and married Ethel (née Taylor), my mother, in 1916. I was born on 2nd September, 1920, rather unexpectedly while my mother was staying in Treorchy, South Wales, with her sister whose husband was the manager of two coal mines. The family home was in Newport, Monmouthshire, and Father caught the train up to Treorchy to see his first-born son. I was named Barrington after the locomotive on which he had travelled.
Father studied book-keeping and took a job with Mobil Oil as a representative for Monmouthshire and part of Breconshire. My paternal grandfather came from Cornwall and my grandmother from Somerset. On my mother’s side, her father came from Birmingham and left school at a very early age. He ran away from home and made his way on a Penny Farthing bicycle to Monmouthshire where he eventually established a business making buttons, then making bicycles and eventually supplying bicycles to the Borough Constabulary.
I went to the local mixed infant school in Newport and, at seven years of age, segregated to the boys’ school where we were told we must pass the 11-plus exam or we would end up as newspaper boys or chopping firewood. Fortunately, I passed and went on to Newport Secondary School for Boys.
I did quite well at school and hoped to become a school master like my uncle. However, the 30’s saw the depression and we were hard hit as my father lost his job and I now had 2 younger brothers, Ken and Tony. During school assembly one morning the Headmaster announced local job applications and there was a vacancy with the Weights and Measures Department. I went along to enquire about this and, despite the Headmaster’s reluctance, I went for an interview during the lunch hour without my parents’ knowledge and was offered the job. I started work as a Trainee Inspector at the Department on 1st January, 1937. I studied for my exams in law, mechanics and physics amongst other subjects via a correspondence course and enjoyed the work.
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