Alec’s tales of war enthralls audience

Brian Harris and Alec Penstone pic: mandymeadowsphotography

Ninety-eight-year-old Alec Penstone kept his audience enthralled as he told them about his early life and experiences at the beginning of World War II.

Alec was giving a talk last Thursday for the benefit of the Museum of Ryde. He recounted how he started work at the age of 14 while living in Tottenham. When war was declared, he immediately volunteered and joined the ARP (Air Raid Precautions). That was the prelude to his fascinating life of adventure, risk, luck and survival.

The tales he recalled, using his phenomenal memory for detail, demonstrated his stoic attitude to the many challenges he faced.

Descriptions of his first ventures in the Navy and being sent to Scotland to join the fleet that would convey supplies to the Russian forces in the Arctic, were, to today’s audience, harrowing.

Ryde Historic Society chairman, Brian Harris, said: “For Alec to come and support the Museum of Ryde and give us an insight into life in those years is greatly appreciated and reinforces the history that the Museum has of exhibits of life in Ryde in the past.

“Alec has so many more insights to tell that we hope to have him talk to us again in the New Year.”

Alec’s book, My Ten and a Half Arctic Convoys, and related DVDs, are available through