Dad's second row, right, trying hard not to laugh.
He grew up just blocks from the Thames, in the heart of the East End.

It was a poor gray world, the docks, and young Jerry Mahoney wanted adventure, like in the books about cowboys and soldiers he loved to read.

In those days, kids were out of school at fourteen, and they entered the work force at the bottom of the bottom. There weren't many choices for a young Irish kid in the East End. Mostly it was manual labor and low paid clerking jobs for the really bright.
Then there was the work on the docks, hauling heavy cargo on your back, which was the mainstay of most of the Irish families in the toughest part of town.
Women took in washing to try to make ends meet.

Dad thought the Army sounded good, so he enlisted. But he was only seventeen and you had to be eighteen, so that's what he told them.
His father got wind of it, and found out it wasn't an Irish Regiment he'd tried to enlist in, but a British Regiment that had been fighting the Irish Republican Freedom Fighters in Ireland.
He'd have none of that, and marched my Dad down to the recruiter, telling them that his son was only seventeen, and wouldn't be serving with that Regiment at any rate.

Dad saved every penny he could and he and a few of his buddies set out for Canada.
They landed in Quebec, where most business was French, and work on farms was what there was. It was hard and paid little, besides room and board. One frozen winter and Dad was ready to go home to London, as some of his pals had already, but neither he nor his family had the money for the steamship ticket.

He was taken in by a couple with a small farm who had lost their son in WW I.
They became very close, and I was able meet them when I was a kid. They were wonderful people and treated me like a grandson.