Garrett, Harry (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 27303
Department
Sound
Production date
2004-07-28
Subject period
Dimensions
  • whole: Duration 140, Number Of Items 5
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview
Creator
Category
sound

© IWM

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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.

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