John Reddisson is born into a London working-class family in the early 1930s. The Second World War arrives and John is evacuated to Kent, Cornwall and South Wales. He later attends grammar school in London. He gains a place to study languages at Cambridge after National Service. We accompany John to the Italian Riviera on travel courier work. After Cambridge, he joins the Army Education Branch and we follow him on postings to Kent and Singapore. Finally, John attends an eighteen-month Russian course, including several months spent living with a White Russian family in Paris.