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The Custard Boys

By John Rae

This is the story of a group of thirteen- and fourteen-year-old boys living out the war in a remote corner of the English countryside. Their aim is to use the time well until they are old enough to fight.

The year is 1942, and even in this quiet corner of Norfolk the second-hand excitement of war reaches them through the cinema, the newspapers and the jingoistic talk of the adults. Stimulated by this, they play war games and live by a harsh military code.

At their school, a new boy arrives; he is Jewish, Austrian and a refugee from Nazi persecution. He is put under the charge of John Curlew, one of the gang, and they develop a friendship that in time extends to the rest of the gang.

Then comes the news that a local lad has won the Victoria Cross for bravery in the field. The news gives impetus to the gang’s need to prove that they have courage, too …

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