Blaker, Peter Allan Renshaw (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 28351
Department
Sound
Production date
2005-06-22
Subject period
Dimensions
  • whole: Duration 540, Number Of Items 18
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview
Creator
Category
sound

© IWM

Purchase & License
Object description

British officer served with Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada in North Wes Europe, 1944-1945; civilian worked for Foreign Office in GB, Cambodia, Canada, United Arab Republic, Switzerland, Soviet Union and USA, 1953-1964; Conservative Member of Parliament in GB, 1964-1992; Under-Secretary for the Army in GB and Oman, 1972-1974; Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in GB, 1979-1981; Minister for the Armed Forces in GB, 1981-1983; Peer in House of Lords in GB from 1994

Content description

REEL 1 Background in Hong Kong and GB, 1922-1944: father's work in Hong Kong and service during First World War; memories of childhood; opinion of reasons for success of Hong Kong; naval activity in Hong Kong; education in Britain; contact and relationship with parents; school holidays in Bexhill-on-Sea; effect of life on brother and parents; life of parents; education at Crawley and Shrewsbury; knowledge of events in Europe, late 1930s; outbreak of war; discussions on war at school; visit of mother, 1940; story of political cartoon. REEL 2 Continues: membership of Officer Training Corps; fall of France and decision to leave for Hong Kong; voyage to Canada; discovery of inability to complete journey; period in Vancouver; education in Toronto; Japanese capture of Hong Kong and details of father's internment; father's service in Hong Kong Regiment; later reunion with father; further details of education in Toronto; details of Canadian Army; introduction of conscription; joining of army, 7/1942, at Niagara-on- the-Lake; reasons for later regret at joining infantry; financial situation; activities of mother and brother during Second World War. Aspects of period as officer with 2nd/10th Dragoons in Canada, 7/1942-5/1944: description of battle course; other courses taken and discussion of decision to join frontline infantry. REEL 3 Continues: details of anti-tank gun school in Shilo; demonstration on return; posting in Nova Scotia; details of Canadian Divisions; disbandment of regiment; posting to Cape Breton Island; role of unit; scenes on island; story of frostbitten ear and treatment; German activity in area; opinion of vulnerability of area; adaptation of voice when talking to troops; phasing of accent back to English after war; knowledge of Dieppe Raid; period with officers holding depot at Aldershot. Aspects of period in transit from Halifax, Canada, to Gourock, GB, 5/1944- 6/1944: details of the Andes and conditions onboard; arrival at Halifax and boarding of banana boat; sleeping arrangements; population of boat; details of voyage; arrival in Gourock; movement south through Britain news of D- Day. Aspects of period as officer with Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada in North West Europe, 8/1944-10/1944: details of regiment; voyage to Normandy; scenes on beaches. REEL 4 Continues: joining of regiment including location of transit camp; details of Operation Totalize; description of action to take a hill position during Operation Totalize; success of operation; period in reserve; advance from Falaise including loss of headquarters on River Seine; liberation of Bruges; reception from civilians; importance of River Scheldt; position on Leopold Canal; story of reconnaissance patrol; reason for not taking part in assault across canal; use of gramophones during assault; story of civilian on bicycle; crossing of canal; role during advance into Netherlands; command of tanks and aircraft; assembly at start line; problems with mines; contact with civilians; description of flail tanks; German positions and situation; mortar fire received; story of wounding; description of wounds including later problems; treatment received during hospitalisation in Bracknell; turnover of Canadian officers in Normandy. REEL 5 Continues: description of wounds; worst pain felt from wounds. Aspects of hospitalisation in Belgium and GB, 10/1944-3/1945: evacuation to and period in field hospital; German patient in Antwerp hospital; description of Douglas Dakota flight to Britain; details of occupational therapy; first outing from hospital. Aspects of period as officer in GB, 1945: posting to recuperation unit at Colchester; reactions to VE and VJ Day; reflections on Second World War and its roots; story of Fulham East By-Election, 1933; reaction to modern campaign for a Minister of Peace; opinion of reasons for keeping peace since Second World War including attendance at conferences in Bonn; pass through First World War battlefields, 1944; reunion with father after Second World War; scheme used to enter Oxford University; details of Canadian education and army. Aspects of period as civilian in GB, 1945-1953: period at Oxford University. REEL 6 Continues: civilian work with family firm in Lewes; second stint at Oxford University including period in US and involvement in politics; civilian work and joining of Foreign Office. Aspects of period as civilian working for Foreign Office in GB, 1953-1955: posting to and details of European Defence Committee; details of events in Europe; proposed integration of European military forces; paper written on the idea and results; discussion of formation of European Economic Community and Britain's reluctance to join; reactions to Suez Crisis; American attempt to take Hong Kong, 8/1945. REEL 7 Continues: Aspects of period as civilian working for Foreign Office in Cambodia, 1955-1957: role within British Embassy; accommodation; problems with amenities and civilian workers; relationship with French Embassy; story of liaising with French Ambassador to compile a report; subsequent relationship with French Ambassador; political situation including treatment given to ambassadors by government; description of electoral process; position of Vietnam; British military involvement in South-East Asia; discussion of American inability to win hearts and minds and American aims in Cambodia; British decision to not enter Vietnam War; learning of French language; visit to Angkor Wat. REEL 8 Continues: discussion of Khmer Rouge period and arms trade including American interest in Taiwan; discussion of relationship between Britain and America; question of need for leaders to have seen war. Aspects of period as civilian working for Foreign Office in Canada, 1957-1960: details of Ottawa; role and duties; visits to Montreal and other parts of Quebec including political situation in Quebec; opinion of own diplomatic skills. REEL 9 Continues: discussion and opinion of Information Research Department; details of Soviet Relations Committee. Aspects of period as civilian working for Foreign Office in various countries, 1960-1963: creation of and posting to United Arab Republic; paper written on new country; breakdown of union; posting as private secretary to Joe Godba; description of Geneva Disarmament Conference, 1962-1964. REEL 10 Continues: attendance at signing of the Partial Test Ban Treaty in Moscow, 7/1963; UN Security Council debates at time of Cuban Missile Crisis; British involvement in crisis; opinion of seriousness of crisis, its link to Partial Test Ban Treaty and involvement of Cuban regime; importance of Partial Test Ban Treaty; story of speech made by Peter Thomas in Moscow, 7/1963; impressions of Soviet Union. Aspects of period as Minister of State for the Armed Forces in GB, 5/1981-6/1983: role; clash with John Nott; speaking against Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament during run-up to 1983 General Election; British public support for multilateral disarmament; work with Peace Through NATO including support from Michael Heseltine; involvement in dealing with protests at Greenham Common including appearances at meetings; need to keep message simple; debates with Bruce Kent and Joan Ruddock; question of discussion with opposition. Aspects of period as MP and Lord in GB from 1990: opinion of the causes of the end of Cold War; reaction to end of the Cold War. REEL 11 Continues: discussion of creation of new countries since Cold War's end; involvement in the creation of Vanuatu and Kiribati while Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, late 1970s; break-up of Yugoslavia; role of NATO in early 21st Century and discussion of European Security and Defence Policy. REEL 12 Continues: Aspects of period as Minister of State for the Armed Forces in GB, 5/1981-6/1983: details and results of 1981 Defence Review; problems with intelligence before Falklands War; discussions over future of HMS Endurance including intelligence gained from her captain; Argentine activity in South Atlantic including invasion of Falkland Islands; subsequent meeting at House of Commons and decision to recapture Falkland Islands; formation of taskforce including visit to Portsmouth; gaining news of war; communications including activities of Max Hastings; role during Falklands War; activity in dockyards; issues arising from sinking of the ARA General Belgrano; details of Argentine Air Force; details of Argentine Exocet missile attacks; landmines on Falkland Islands; commitment of Margaret Thatcher; relationship with media; details of war cabinet; speeches by the government spokesman during war; activities of Max Hastings; questions of aircraft carrier numbers. REEL 13 Continues: help gained from USA during Falklands War; reasons for giving support to General Pinochet; 1983 General Election; public support for war; worst moments during Falklands War [Short Reel]. REEL 14 Continues: Background to becoming Conservative Member of Parliament for Blackpool South in 1964: reasons for entering Foreign Office; desire to become a Member of Parliament; advice gained from politicians including Foreign Secretary Rab Butler; resignation from Foreign Office; reasons for quick election to parliament; results of 1964 General Election; canvassing for votes in Blackpool; involvement with Cabinet during career. Aspects of period as Under- Secretary for the Army in GB and various locations, 11/1972-1/1974: attendance at Armistice Day Parade, 11/1972; working with Ted Heath; details of journey to Oman during war with South Yemen; details of war including reasons for government decision to not publicise the war; official duties in Oman; impressions of Oman; British involvement in Oman including policy of secrecy. Aspects of period as Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in GB, 5/1979-5/1981: responsibilities in Asia; reactions to Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, 25/12/1979. REEL 15 Continues: discussion of Soviet Armed Forces and its role in forcing the nation's collapse; knowledge of approaching Iranian Revolution; Margaret Thatcher's opinion of BBC's part in the Iranian Revolution; concerns over appointment of Margaret Thatcher as Conservative Party Leader; opinion of Margaret Thatcher's leadership. Aspects of period as Minister of State for the Armed Forces in GB, 5/1981-6/1983: events leading to start of Falklands War; preparations for re-capture of Falkland Islands; meeting at House of Commons and decision to recapture Falkland Islands; posting as Minister of State for the Armed Forces; details of Henry Leach; issues arising from sinking of the ARA General Belgrano; 1983 General Election. Aspects of period as Conservative Member of Parliament in GB, 1964-1992 and Peer in House of Lords in GB from 1994: question of Parliamentary discussion on possible entry into Vietnam War; comparison of American involvement in Vietnam and Iraq. REEL 16 Continues: contact with Nikita Khrushchev at signing of Partial Test Ban Treaty in Moscow, 7/1963; details of Geneva Disarmament Conference, from 1962; account of exchange between Adlai Stevenson II and Valerian Zorin at UN Security Council during Cuban Missile Crisis; discussion of Mikhail Gorbachev and his role in the end of the Cold War; reactions to reunification of Germany including impressions of East Germany; rise in independence movements since end of Cold War; opinion of future of UN and the Security Council; discussion of House of Lords about Britain's foreign policy in Middle East; opinion of political transition in Russia following Cold War. REEL 17 Continues: opinion of political transition in Russia following Cold War including problems in Chechnya; discussion of United States Foreign Policy; outlook on nuclear situation; discussion of China, Taiwan and Japan; description of debates in House of Lords; opinion of need for non- political background among politicians; argument against an elected House of Lords; misunderstanding of House of Lords in society; discussion of House of Lords anti-terror debates, 2005; correspondence received. REEL 18 Continues: details of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada and involvement with regiment in North West Europe, 1944; details of post-war contact with regiment including presentation of colours by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002; description of 1919 political cartoon.

Associated people and organisations
Associated places
Associated events
Associated themes

IWM Non Commercial Licence

The media for this item are free to reuse for non-commercial purposes under the IWM Non Commercial Licence. Video, sound and images can be embedded with the code we offer here, and images can also be downloaded.

By downloading any images or embedding any media, you agree to the terms and conditions of the IWM Non Commercial Licence, including your use of the attribution statement specified by IWM. For this item, that is: © IWM

  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML