|Gordon now|| Born in Chingford (Essex) in 1925, Gordon Mumford lived in a farmhouse in Epping Forest. He attended St. Mary’s Primary School and St. Egbert’s College in Chingford.
He was fourteen when WW II started in September 1939. His education came to an abrupt end because schools in the London area were evacuated to the country, and his education came to an abrupt end. Gordon was an air cadet, and the RAF arranged for the cadets to serve on various airfields. His unit was taken to North Weald every day to load machine guns. The threat of attack by enemy aircraft in early 1940 put a stop to that
His father found him a “safe” job as an apprentice at a small arms factory in Enfield. Gordon quit within three months, when he found a position as an office boy in nearby London.
|He was too young to join the armed forces, but he knew that the Merchant Navy took apprentices as young as fifteen. During his lunch break, he visited the shipping offices, looking for an opening as an apprentice cadet or deck officer. When he got papers from Andrew Weir & Company, his mother refused to sign. She did agree, however to to let him train as a marine radio officer. In September 1941, he entered the Holloway Radio College in London to study for the Special Radio Operator Certificate.
Wartime Merchant Navy
Shortly after he qualified, his father died unexpectedly in August, and his employer helped Gordon get a position with Siemens. Within a few weeks he was at sea as a junior Radio Officer. During the war, he served in the major war theatres. His first ship, the Soborg was a collier, and sailed Iceland to bunker ships for the Murmansk convoys. His next ship,Scottish Heather, was an toiler. On December 27, the ship was torpedoed whilst refueling an escort ship the North Atlantic, and the crew took to the lifeboats. He served eighteen months on the Empire Harmony, a heavy duty lift ship that unloaded war materiel in the bombed-out docks in the Mediterranean and North Africa. He was transferred to the Empire Path in November 1944. On the return voyage, the ship was sunk in the Scheldt Estuary by a mine on Christmas Eve.
Like many other young men returning home at the end of the Second World War, Gordon missed the sense of excitement and danger. Restless and unable to settle down, he joined the Colonial Service in 1949. He was employed as an Assistant Engineer in field radio communications for the East Africa Posts & Telecommunications Administration, headquartered in Kenya. Working in the remote deserts of the NFD (Northern Frontier District), he installed and maintained radio networks. In 1951 he transferred to a new VHF telecommunications project, and was involved in the field survey safaris and construction of the network. Living under canvas for months at a time, life on safari ranged from the heat of remote deserts, to the cold of East Africa’s highest mountains, and the rains and heat of the game plains.
In 1958, Gordon migrated to Canada and studied at the University of Western Ontario, the University of Toronto (OCE), and Mohawk College (Hamilton, Ontario). He qualified as an electronics instructor, and returned to Africa where he taught both students and trained instructors. He worked on various international aid projects (including British aid, CIDA, and UNESCO) in Kenya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Indonesia. During his time abroad, Gordon was actively involved in tennis, and served on many committees, including tennis committees in Kenya and Nigeria. In Kenya, he was a member of the KLTA, and organized many national and international events, as well as school events. He was also involved in amateur radio, on radio control points for motor rallies and the world-renowned East African Safari, the Aquarist Society, and electronics organizations.
When he and his family returned to Canada in 1980, they settled in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland. In 1981, Gordon completed an oversea contract and joined the Pacific Region offices of Communications Canada in Vancouver. He worked in radio communications and served as the federal emergency planning liaison officer.
|Gordon’s family lived in this cottage in Epping Forest for many years. The photograph was taken from the top of a tall elm tree in the forest in 1933.|
|Writing Background Gordon Mumford’s interest and experience in writing began in the early 1960s when he was an instructor/technical writer on aid projects in developing African countries. In addition to writing course manuals, he produced a newsletter for the Amateur Radio Society of Kenya. Since then, he has taken many writing courses and workshops, including a creative writing course at UBC, and has had articles published in newspapers and periodicals.
. After his retirement in 1990, Gordon began writing full time, and has since written several creative non-fiction books. He has two books, The Black Pit … and Beyond and The Sampan Girl, are based on his wartime experiences in the Merchant Navy, and are published by General Store Publishing House. He has also written three books based on his African Adventures. White Man’s Drum and Drums of Rebellion are self-published, as is Dangerous Waters, a book of short stories about his seafaring adventures. A third book on Africa, Destiny: In Fate’s Footsteps has been completed, while two more books, Tales of the NFD and Nigerian Odyssey, are in progress.
|Canadian Authors Association||Gordon’s non-fiction writing has won awards from the Seattle-based Pacific Northwest Writers’ Conference (PNWC), whose Literary Contests attract some 600 entrants annually. Currently, he is a professional member of the Canadian Authors Association (national) and belongs to their Vancouver Branch. He is a member of the Federation of B.C. Writers, World Poetry, and the Burnaby Writers’ Society. Gordon also belongs to the Vancouver Naval Veterans Association (VNVA), the Burma Star Association, and the Radio Officers Association (ROA). Lately he’s also trading online with Fintech Ltd.||Federation of BC Writers|
|He and his wife Barbara now live in New Westminster, near Vancouver, B.C. They have two sons. David is a professional engineer engaged in research, while Gregory is an Egyptologist, with “digs” in the Delta and Sinai.|