AN AUTHOR has had the story of his Isle of Wight childhood published this month — 60 years after it was written.

Peter Stark Lansley’s manuscript was discovered by son, Dr Charles Lansley, following his mother's death in 2013, having been completed in the early 1960s.

Sixty years later, it was finally published under the title Pon my Puff: A childhood in 1920s Isle of Wight by Beachy Books on Thursday (April 29).

­The autobiographical novel is a true story of a child’s 1920s Isle of Wight upbringing by his grandparents.

With his father away at sea with the Navy, Peter was brought up by his mother Annie, a school teacher, and her parents — initially in East Cowes and later Wootton, then known as Woodside Villa.

Written from a child‘s world view, the book offers a glimpse into the Island's landscape of a century yore, and is driven by the magical and loving relationship between Peter and his grandparents, William and Harriette Stark.

Isle of Wight County Press: Peter Lansley in his 20s (left) and in Merchant Navy Officer uniform as a Radio Officer (right)Peter Lansley in his 20s (left) and in Merchant Navy Officer uniform as a Radio Officer (right)

The delights of childhood are shared through innocent musings on God, the afterlife and the cemetery at Mount Joy, Carisbrooke, to wonderful evocations of Christmas, as well as misadventures with his first 'girlfriend', Victoria, at Wootton Creek. ­

To help the reader locate the people, places and events in the stories, Charles has added annotations to add contemporary context to what family and Island village life was like at the time.

The book takes place during an age when steam train ran supreme, there was no electricity or telephone, and when it was safe for a five-year-old to walk into the village alone.

Charles said: "When I was a child, my father would read odd extracts from a book he'd been writing. He wanted to get it published but he worked in public air travel and was in great demand, so didn't have much free time.

"When my mum died in 2013, I looked everywhere for his book, top to bottom, but couldn't find it.

Isle of Wight County Press: Peter’s mother Annie Ethel Lansley (left), Peter’s grandmother Harriette Stark (middle) and Peter aged 21 (right).Peter’s mother Annie Ethel Lansley (left), Peter’s grandmother Harriette Stark (middle) and Peter aged 21 (right).

"The last place I looked was the garage, where I spotted a rusty old trunk with 12 exercise books in it, although the information was in a bit of a muddle and took several years to get in order.

"On one level I realised there was amazing family history on the pages, and on another a beautiful, charming tale of what village life was like in the 1920."

Charles researched the names of all village members his father came into contact with, so readers interested in family history may find references to their own heritage.

Peter was born in Portsmouth in 1919 with a strong naval background and died in Shanklin in 1999.

As well as his time at sea he worked for the Ministry of Aviation for many years as a Telecommunications Officer and was based at Eastleigh Airport before being posted in 1961 to Prestwick Oceanic, located in Birdlip Gloucestershire.

Isle of Wight County Press: Peter’s grandparents Harriette and William Stark.Peter’s grandparents Harriette and William Stark.

Pon My Puff: A Childhood in 1920s Isle of Wight is available to purchase through the Beach Books website at at a paperback cost of £12.99 and for £14.99 in hardback.

It can also be purchased at the following IW book shops: Babushka Books, Shanklin; Medina Books, Cowes and Island Traders, Newport.