The recordings of The Squire's wartime memories are now on the web, ready to download. There is a link here, and also in the File Links section on the right. They are divided into four files.
1. Joining Up To Dunkirk
This part of the memoir describes how Tom Whatman joined the Army in 1940, and the barely nine days of training before he was off to La Rochelle and then a train to Lille and the Maginot Line ... all before his mum knew where he had gone!
2. From Dover to the H0spital 1940
This recording takes up the story again from the arrival of the Maid of Orleans in Dover after the evacuation from Dunkirk, and then the months afterwards stationed in Winchester. Then it describes the cheek infection that Tom came down with, and the efforts to operate. The hospital where Tom recovered turned out to be quite unusual...
3. Patrolling The Airfields
Fully recovered, Tom is posted to Chatham, under the North Downs, and sees the preparations for the war in the Middle East. Then, after a short leave, he is sent from airbase to airbase, making patrols and helping to fill in the craters created by Stuka bombers during the Battle of Britain...
The order comes in for Tom's company to reform and head overseas, by boat to South Africa. They very nearly don't make it, and not just down to the submarines! From there, it is on to Egypt, Greece and Italy. This section is quite a quick summary of just some of the key moments in the next 3 years of the conflict. Come back here soon to find more stories and knowledge about those times...
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
This blog is written on behalf of and under the supervision of The Squire of Manor Farm, otherwise known as Richard Whatman, better known as Tom or "Spud" Whatman, and formerly know as Sgt. R Whatman RE from 1940 - 1946.
Here you will begin to find historical information about The Squire and the Whatman family which currently lives in and around Brighton & Hove. There are scions of our family living in places such as Cambridge, Llanelli, Bognor Regis, off in Australia, and down in Whitehawk. But we ain't the Whatman paper company family. In fact, we may even be from up north in Northumberland. We like to think of ourselves as Welsh. Don't you DARE say otherwise!
David Lloyd Whatman, son of the Squire, has been compiling information about the Whatman family tree for several years, and also on the family of my mother Geraldine Jones.
I'm Rob Whatman, one of the Squire's grandkids.
The cool photos you'll see of the Squire are by Thad Pope, also a grandchild, who is a photography student and already a published photojournalist. And he has loads of Grandad's old wartime snaps, so get 'em scanned sharpish so they can go up on this website!
In the Link Section, there will be links to songs The Squire sang in his youth and in wartime with the Eighth Army, which he recorded this year of 2006, and also a detailed taped historical recollection of the years 1940 to 1946, which he recorded back in about 1995. Yes, I did lose my original copy, and have to meekly beg for another one.