James Corton
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James Corton - Eskdale, The Lake District, 1954

I see that you are seeking to know how my Outward Bound course may have influenced my life and how that experience has affected the ensuing years.

I should start by the influences around me as I was growing up. I lived in a block of flats in Islington and was bought up during the war experiencing the Blitz - the incessant bombing raids. To me personally at the time it was great fun to collect shrapnel and mercury-go scrumping, because all the big houses had been evacuated, and we did not have any schooling.

There were 201 flats in those days with very large families and so all the children knew each other and played games. You had to make your own entertainment and you made choices as to what direction you took in life. Some became villains associating with the likes of the "krays"�, and others like myself took a different path. We were still all good friends, but everyone knew where their station life had been made, and one did not interfere with the other.

I have always been interested in sport, and all my friends in the flats were of the same mind. We joined the "Life Boys"� which was a precursor to joining the "Boys Brigade"�. My Captain in the BB put me forward for a Winston Churchill award to attend a Outward Bound course at Eskdale. Coming from a poor family my parents couldn't afford to send me anywhere so I was excited once I had been successful in being accepted. I looked upon the experience as an adventure to pit my wits aganist anything that was thrown at me, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.

It put me in good stead for doing my National Service. I joined the Royal Marines on 2nd May 1955. I was on active service for the 2 years chasing General Grivas in Cyprus, and then the Suez assault in November 56'. I am a commando veteran, and a member of the association, and also a member of the Royal Marines association.

The Esprit de Corp in having those opportunities is as solid today as when we started out at the tender age of 18, and without hesitation - if I was in difficulty I can count on the opportunities I had anywhere in the UK and abroad. So what has been the force of my life? - the legacy I have outlined.

(Mr Corton kindly posted us his story and we have posted extracts online with his permisson)