University of Oxford
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'I was there'

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posted on 2024-06-05, 19:11 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

The contributor’s father wrote a book entitled 'I was there', which was never published but excerpts were included in the Echo.
The book was written in 1944-45.

He was 27 and served for the entire war.
He was shot down twice.
The book starts on the troop ship, where he sailed from South Hampton. 10,000 men on a 6k capacity ship created inhumane living conditions.

He served in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and Algeria. He was buried alive in a sandstorm, where several men died in North Africa. At some points, he had no food or water, and his throat was so dry he could barely speak.

He married and had a child. Everyone was so excited to be going home on the boat to Calais, but a fellow soldier had been with another woman whilst abroad and could not face returning home to his wife and children, so he killed himself.

He had a chameleon and a baby baboon as pets.

He was a driver for officers and found out that one was using troops’ food to pay for prostitutes. He punched the officer but didn't get into trouble.


Person the story/items relate to

Mr Sydney Edwin Hunt

Person who shared the story/items

Janice Whitney

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

He was their father.

Type of submission

Shared at Llandaff Memorial Hall, Cardiff on 11 November 2023. Organised by The Cathedral School, Llandaff.

Record ID

106819 | LLA036