WHEN Kendal-based author, torture expert and former Beefeater Geoffrey Abbott was asked to write his autobiography, he was, oddly, surprised.
“Only celebrities write their autobiographies,” he said. “But looking at some of the things I’ve done, I can’t really blame the publisher.”
‘From Butcher’s Boy to Beefeater’ is Geoffrey’s 25th book and chronicles his 92 years of adventures.
From humble beginnings working in a butcher’s shop he went on to serve in the RAF during WWII, endure a torpedo attack, ‘behead’ the likes of Tony Robinson and Helen Skelton on TV, become something of a torture connoisseur, live in the Tower of London, and offer his opinion on the execution of Saddam Hussein.
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Born in Moss Side, Manchester, Geoffrey left home on his 17th birthday to join the RAF. The next 35 years were spent touring the world with postings in Kenya, Egypt, Malta, Iraq, Germany and Holland.
In 1974 he transferred from one duty of service to another as he was appointed a yeoman warder at HM Tower of London.
Richard Dannatt GCB CBE MC DL, Constable, Her Majesty’s Palace and Fortress, The Tower of London, said: “Geoffrey Abbott’s autobiog-raphy is a glorious march through the principal events of the 20th century.”
While living and working in the Tower, Geoffrey became something of an expert on torture, and has appeared on a number of TV shows wielding an axe or something equally threatening.
So respected is his opinion that the New York Times consulted him on the execution of Saddam Hussein.
He left the Tower in 1982 and moved to Grange-over-Sands, then Kendal, where he served as Kendal Town Council mace-bearer, and later sword-bearer, after seeing an advert in The Westmorland Gazette.
And he shows no signs of slowing down in his 10th decade, having taken to flying helicopters on weekends.
“When you stop accepting challenges, you’re old,” said Geoffrey. “My motto is the last line in this book – ‘Never allow yourself to be dictated to by your birth certificate’.”
‘From Butcher’s Boy to Beefeater’ is published by Candy Jar Books and is available for £8.99.