The East End of London suffered hugely during World War II and in Bethnal Green alone 10,000 homes where destroyed.
The area the Krays lived in was known as deserters corner and Charlie Senior had himself been ‘on the trot’ for 12 years to avoid conscription.
Times were hard and money was tight. So much so that Violet would often pawn jewellery to buy food.
Not all of the family resisted joining up though, young Charlie joined the Navy in in 1943 and soon made a name for himself due to his talent for boxing.
Meanwhile Ron & Reg spent some of the war in Suffolk, where they had been evacuated to.
A love of the Suffolk countryside stayed with the twins for the rest of their lives and they bought property there before their arrest and even planned to move their after their release.
After the war they enjoyed playing on the bomb sites of the East End and having brick battles with their little gang, which was made up from kids from the surrounding streets.
It was when Reg came home from school with a black eye that older brother Charlie decided to teach the twins to box.
Around this time (1945) Reg also had his first taste of the courtroom. Charged with firing an air gun out of a train window he was let off.
The young twins showed a natural talent for the sport of boxing, like older brother Charlie.
Ron and Reg first publicly stepped into the ring at Stewart’s Boxing Booth at a fair at their local park.
They fought each other and were payed 2s 6d between them. Charlie Senior thought it was funny but mother Violet was not best pleased and made them promise to never to do it again against each other.
So they joined Robert Browning boxing club, and then moved onto The Webb Boys Club, The Oxford House Club and finally the famous Repton Club.
In 1948 ron was an extra in the film the magic box.
In the winter of the same year Reg became London Schoolboy Boxing Champion. He was also Schoolboy Champion of Hackney and was a Great Britain Schoolboy Finalist.
The following year Reg became the South Eastern Divisional Youth Club Champion and London ATC Champion while Ron won Hackney Schoolboy & London Junior Championship and the London ATC Title.
1949 was also the year the twins brought their first gun, from a local criminal…