Two months after the launch of Boys Time at the Newcastle Writers Festival, Ron Vickress has been recognised back home.
The retired Navy veteran held his local launch on Saturday at the Reader’s Companion in Armidale.
Armidale RSL Sub-Branch president Max Tavener attended the launch.
He said he was extremely impressed with the story.
“Ron was a sailor many years before I joined the Navy,” he said.
“I can relate to his book quite well.
“It’s a sad story but that is war and that’s what happened.”
It tells the tale of two Sydney boys, Vic Farquharson and Joe Riley, who couldn’t wait to prove themselves as men, both joining the Royal Australian Navy at only 17.
“It took me about one year to write it,” Mr Vickress said.
And on April 7 it was officially launched at the Newcastle Writers Festival.
Mr Vickress said he was inspired to write the book after publishing his own memoirs in 2015, From Desk to Deck.
“It’s about a period in my life between 1939 and 1945,” he said.
“The first three years I was a clerk in the public service in NSW and then I went to the deck into the Navy in 1943.”
But this time Mr Vickress took a different approach.
“This book is really about boys and their friendships,” he said.
“‘Boys Time’ means time you served in the Navy before you turned 18 – and there was a lot.
“In the ship I served on, the gun crew was wiped out, and one of the boys was only 17 – so it’s in memory of him in a sense that I’m writing it too.”
The book begins with Mr Farquharson approaching his father with his thoughts of enlisting – and ends with photographs from Mr Vickress’ own collection including the ship in which he served – HMAS Pirie (J189).
There is also a photograph of Mr Vickress in Tokyo Harbour, in September 1945 with his shipmate, just moments after the famous Japanese surrender on the USS Missouri.
Mr Vickress has also written a large variety of other publications including HMAS Pirie: A Select History of Service, Tales of Harry, Of Love and Longing and Australian Creation Myths – just to name a few.