In a Guardsman's Boots: A Boy Soldier's Adventures from the Streets of 1920s Dublin to Buckingham Palace, WWII and the Egyptian Revolution

In a Guardsman's Boots: A Boy Soldier's Adventures from the Streets of 1920s Dublin to Buckingham Palace, WWII and the Egyptian Revolution

by Caroline Rochford, Paddy Rochford


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When he was just eight years old, Paddy Rochford enrolled at Dublin’s Royal Hibernian Military School, where he was taught how to be a soldier with the British Army, like his father. Soon afterwards, in 1922, he and his fellow pupils were evacuated from Ireland, a land torn apart by civil war.

Across the sea in England, Paddy joined the Third Battalion of the Coldstream Guards as a drummer boy, with postings to Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, the Bank of England and the Tower of London, where he guarded the Royal Family and Britain’s treasures.

In the 1930s, as thousands of Jewish families fled Nazi Germany, Paddy was sent to Jerusalem, charged with keeping the peace between the local Arabs and the Jewish immigrants.

During the Second World War, he was part of the Western Desert Campaign in Egypt, defending British territories. After countless wartime adventures, the young sergeant went on to train the Egyptian Army, where a bond of friendship grew between him and the future president, Colonel Nasser. Learning Nasser’s plans to oust the British from Egypt, Paddy tried in vain to warn his superiors prior to the bloody revolution of 1952, which signalled the end of British supremacy in the Middle East.

Paddy retired from the army soon afterwards, moving his young family to Yorkshire, where he began writing these, his enthralling memoirs about a young boy who spent a lifetime growing into his boots.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781473863910
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Publication date: 05/31/2016
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Caroline Rochford is a Yorkshire-born author, having written Great Victorian Inventions (2014), Great Victorian Discoveries (2015) and In a Guardsman’s Boots (2016). She and her historian husband, Michael J. Rochford, are directors of the genealogy company Heir Line Ltd (, researching family trees for clients from all over the world and writing about the incredible discoveries they unearth. Caroline has always had an interest in naval history, being descended from a long line of merchant sea captains. As a child she was regaled with stories of her ancestors’ many adventures on the ocean waves; and after discovering a collection of maritime poems in an antique shop, she was inspired to write a book about long forgotten songs and stories of the sea.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vi

Chapter 1 The Royal Hibernian Military School 1

Chapter 2 The Shores of a New Land 23

Chapter 3 In a Guardsman's Boots 35

Chapter 4 Royal Stations 46

Chapter 5 Beside the Tideless Sea 68

Chapter 6 The Land of Pharaohs and Kings 90

Chapter 7 White Sand and Red Blood 110

Chapter 8 Into the Blue 130

Chapter 9 My Broken Body 141

Chapter 10 The Egyptian Army 151

Chapter 11 The Tiger of Faluja 164

Chapter 12 In Old Cairene Society 173

Chapter 13 The Three Cracks 186

Chapter 14 The Flight of the British 193

Chapter 15 My Final Post in Egypt 206

Chapter 16 A New Beginning 222

Afterword 237

Index 242

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