LADIES throughout Laidley will recognise Ted Salmond as the man who always lifts his hat to them.
The 91-year-old has lived enough adventures to fill five lifetimes, let alone one.
He was born in 1926 in South Africa, where he grew up playing childhood games with the Zulu kids, and can still speak the language even now.
By the time he was 15, Ted had lost both his father and stepfather and had to petition his mother to allow him to join the Merchant Navy towards the end of the Second World War.
“I went to India, Burma, North Africa, you name it,” he said.
“The nine men I lived with were rough, boy they were rough, but they treated me like their son.”
Like many young men when they leave the family home, it was while living in these conditions that MrSalmond came to appreciate his mother.
He penned a moving verse to her titled Your Mother in 1943, still more than a year before he was to return home.
“I adored my mother, and I loved poetry,” he said.
“I found out my brother was not visiting my mother and I wrote that poem for him.”
The Yorkshire-born woman suffered daily during the war, with no knowledge of where her boy was and when he would return home.
Mr Salmond said he wrote home often in code, telling his mother either his left or right arm was sore depending on whether they were coming closer to home or going further out to sea.
One day, the news about her son’s whereabouts was told horribly wrongly.
“My poor mother was told our ship had sunk,” he said.
“She was at a dance and came across an officer who she asked…
click here to read the rest of this story