David Clarkson is a man with an incredible vision.
A man who can see a whole galaxy, the vastness of space, the universe beyond, and even the stars themselves.
But as a teenager, Clarkson was caught up in the wars of the second world war.
For Clarkson, it was a moment of clarity.
“My vision was gone,” he says.
“It was like a dream, like a vision of my future, and it was my last.”
For Clarkson and the other veterans of the Second World War, this vision was a blessing.
For some, it offered the chance to leave their families behind, to return home, and to go on to a career in business and science.
For others, it seemed to put them in an increasingly perilous position.
Clarkson’s journey in the war did not begin until he was just 15 years old.
“I didn’t realise what the hell I was doing, and I was just a little kid,” he recalls.
It was also a time of growing up. “
But it was an exciting time.”
It was also a time of growing up.
For a young man who was often teased for his appearance, Clarkson learned a lot about the world and his place in it at the tender age of 13.
He started taking the local pub quiz to fill the void of a missing father.
“You get so bored of it at school, you end up watching a lot of sitcoms, and a lot more than I should,” he explains.
I’ve made a lot, I feel quite proud about it.” “
If you look back now, I’ve done quite a bit.
I’ve made a lot, I feel quite proud about it.”
And the world was not only a place he was looking forward to seeing.
It was a place where he had the chance, as a British boy, to explore.
But it was also filled with obstacles.
“The whole of Europe was fighting, and when you go out into the battlefield and see the battles and see your mates get killed, it is very sad,” he remembers.
Clarkson was one of many children who spent summers at his family’s home in south Wales, a place with little to do and plenty to do in, including a military cemetery. “
So I thought it was kind of odd, because I was out there in the trenches, and all of a sudden I was like, ‘Wow, how many of my mates are still alive?'”
Clarkson was one of many children who spent summers at his family’s home in south Wales, a place with little to do and plenty to do in, including a military cemetery.
It wasn’t just the fact that the cemetery was a military site that was challenging, Clarkson says.
It seemed that the people who lived there were very, very much against what was happening.
Clarkson remembers one particularly hard day.
“We were playing a game where you had to look at a map and make sure that you knew where you were,” he laughs.
“Every single time we got a bad turn, we would just start crying.”
The next day, he had a moment like this.
“One of my brothers came in with a big box and I just stood there, just staring at it,” he tells me.
“He said to me, ‘I think you should get a job in the cemetery.'”
It was at this moment, Clarkson recalls, that he decided to go out on his own and go to the cemetery himself.
“That was a very, like, dream,” he admits.
“Because when I got to the place, I thought, ‘Well, I am not going to go to that cemetery.'”
Clarkson took to the grave-digging, and he worked his way through the cemeteries for several years.
He also met some of the other boys he was close to and befriended.
But his dream of going to the battlefield never came to fruition.
Clarkson had other plans.
“What was going to happen, was I would go to school, get my degree, and then I would leave school and come back to the trenches,” he reflects.
Clarkson’s life changed forever, though, when he went to France for his military service. “
And I would have to leave school again, and so I would finish my degree and then go back to school.”
Clarkson’s life changed forever, though, when he went to France for his military service.
“Once I came back from the trenches I had to do a bit more of the hard stuff, like taking the military oath and the oath of office,” he continues.
“As I was getting into the trenches every day, I was starting to realise, ‘No, I’m not going back to that’.” Clarkson was so close to