Ex-soldier’s tales are inspired by military service

Graduation day: Author Frederick Holroyd
Graduation day: Author Frederick Holroyd

Former military man Frederick Holroyd is proving the pen is mightier than the sword.

Mr Holroyd, now 78, is embarking on his latest literary project by tapping into a unique sense of humour shared by those who serve Queen and Country.

He took up writing as a pensioner after graduating as a mature student and frequently draws on memories to spark his narratives. Being a student gave him a new lease of life, and he believes in laughing as much as he can.

One of seven children, Mr Holroyd lived in Manchester Road, Burnley, as a youngster and attended the outdoor school in Thompson Park. His favourite book “Two Little Boys” is a heartfelt autobiographical account of two life-long friends, one an evacuee, caught up in the turmoil of the Second World War.

“The book’s been very well received,” said Mr Holroyd. “I’ve been asked to speak at libaries in the new year and I am really looking forward to doing that.

“My friend Chris Lanyon came to Burnley from the Channel Islands when he was five. I was four and we became inseparable.”

The Armed Forces became a part of Mr Holroyd’s life when he was conscripted for National Service in 1956. He served for nine years and went on to set up a family business, the Window Blind Company, in Barden Lane, Burnley. The second phase of his military career began when in 1985 when he enlisted in the TA. He was eventually posted in the administration section to Manchester and Salford University Officer Training Corps, becoming a full-time soldier until 1997.

“Those National Service life-changing experiences are what inspired me into writing two other books,” said Mr Holroyd, who lives with his wife in Broadhurst Way, Brierfield,

“Tales from the Officer’s Mess - Haven for Heroes” is the larger-than-life adventures and hapless misadventures of two Army lieutenants. “Tales from the Officers’ Mess 2 - The Regiment Abroad” follows the lieutenants, newly promoted captains, when the Regiment is sent to Afghanistan, and they are immersed in life in a warzone.

For his fourth book, due to be published in the new year, Mr Holroyd turned his attention to writing an intriguing financial thriller, “Tell Sid”. “It came to me when I was watching a documentary about Margaret Thatcher, and the denationalisation of the gas industry. Ordinary people were encouraged to buy stocks and shares, and that got me thinking.”