Garrett, Harry (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 27303
Production date
Subject period
  • whole: Duration 140, Number Of Items 5
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview


Purchase & License
Object description

British gunner served with 142 Bty 52nd Regt Royal Artillery in GB and France, 1938-1940; NCO served with Royal Artillery 51st (Highland) Div in GB, North Africa and Sicily, 1940-1944; served in GB, 1944-1945

Content description

REEL 1 Background in Surrey, London and Kent, GB, 1918-1939: memories of childhood including periods in children's homes and civilian work as child and after school; family including spread of siblings while in care; period of homelessness; opinion of time in care; journey to work; joining of Territorial Army in Brixton, 1938; details of service; mobilisation and voyage to Cherbourg, 11/1939. Aspects of period and operations as gunner with 142 Bty 52nd Regt Royal Artillery in France, 11/1939-6/1940: hospitalisation on arrival; journey to Lille with Jimmy James; accommodation; activities before and after German invasion; anti-aircraft activities; scenes during journey through Tournai and to Albert Canal; period on Albert Canal; scenes of refugees during withdrawal to Vimy Ridge; attacks from German air force and army; details of guns in unit including training at Lydd; story of attack from Junkers Ju-87 Stuka; story of approaching tanks and attack made on them; opinion of campaign; reaction to attack on tanks; arrival at Dunkirk; disposal of guns and transport; scenes at Dunkirk; description of mole; scenes on beaches; digging of trench; rations and motorcycles found in warehouse; air attacks. REEL 2 Continues: reunion with Jimmy James; boarding of ship; details of voyage to Dover including scenes on English Channel; story of hospital sunk. Aspects of period as gunner with Royal Artillery in GB, 1940-1942: reactions and reception on arrival; story of bullock shot in France; reactions on arrival in GB; train journey through England including handing in of weapons; relationship from civilians in Rugeley; later return to Rugeley in 1996; telephone call to wife including marriage, 4/1940; posting to 51st Division; towns posted in and accommodations with wife; news of posting abroad; journey to Liverpool; boarding and details of ship; details of voyage, 6/1942. Aspects of operations as NCO with Royal Artillery 51st (Highland) Div in North Africa, 1942-1943: situation on arrival and period in Mena Camp; description of artillery barrage in El Alamein line, 10/1942; promotions to sergeant; treatment of troops; role of sergeant; guns in unit; details of German counter attack; reactions to shell landing in trench; medical assistance given to Ebby Lee; evacuation to First Aid Post; return to line and reaction to death of sergeant. REEL 3 Continues: praying while under fire; leadership of troops; stories of reinforcements; make-up of XXX Corps; opinion of training; involvement in desert campaign; reaction to being in action; advance from Alamein; naval support; scenes in North Africa; care taken from booby traps; story of wandering into minefield during khamsin; story of rifleman related to sergeant in unit; journey through Sollum Pass; story of parade in Tripoli; relationship with civilians in Cape Town; activities of New Zealand troops; air raid from Allied planes; further details of parade in Tripoli; contact with Winston Churchill and General Montgomery; relationship with 1st Army; relief of brother at Enfidaville; details of brother's service; rest period in Boujie including fight with Military Police. Aspects of operations as NCO with Royal Artillery 51st (Highland) Div in Italy, 1943: description of voyage to Sicily; details of period in Sicily including weather; story of shelling of water supply; walk up Mount Etna. REEL 4 Continues: air activity; description of gun position and shelling received; reaction to death of colleagues; details of battery sign; monastery on and walk down Mount Etna; end of campaign in Sicily; story of delivering trucks to Naples including loss of truck during air raid on Via Reggio; rest period in Messina; story of swim across Strait of Messina; return to GB. Aspects of operations as NCO with Royal Artillery in GB, 1944-1945: medical downgrading and posting to Woolwich; duties; period at Catterick and duties; treatment for skin problem; contact with Peter Ustinov. Aspects of period as civilian in GB from 1945: reflections on service; mental effects of war; outlook following war; religion; memories of wife; story of visit to Ebby Lee's parents; story of trip to Dunkirk with BBC and contact with Ebby Lee's family; further details of wounding and evacuation of Ebby Lee. REEL 5 Continues: story of motorcyclists on beach at Dunkirk; use of motorcycle in Italy; involvement with British Legion including award of gold badge; reflections on war service and British involvement in Iraq since 2003; life since war including further details of involvement with British Legion; commentary on Second World War photographs; story of visit to Perth with wife and reunion with Jimmy James.

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