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  • By John Pateman
    Nov 8, 2009
    "Bren Gunner on Manoeuvres" This is the story of Arthur Pateman (1916-1966) who was born into a family of Kent Romany Gypsies. By the time that Arthur was born during the Great War, his family had settled into houses and cottages at Orpington, Kent. Arthur's childhood and adolescence were spent in the lean years of the 1920s and 1930s which witnessed the Great Depression and National Strike. But the standard of living also improved during these years and Arthur was in work and able to court his girlfriend Dorothy Florence May Poxon, who lived next door in Poverest Road, Orpington. At the age of 20, Arthur enlisted in February 1937 into the Royal West Kent Regiment which was stationed in Shorncliffe, near Folkestone. After a short period of home service, Arthur went on an overseas tour of duty with the Royal West Kent Regiment in January 1938. He sailed to Haifa in Palestine where the Regiment took part in putting down an Arab Revolt. Arthur spent 15 months in Palestine... More > before moving on to Malta in March 1939, where the Royal West Kent Regiment became part of the island garrison and prepared for war. The initial attacks came from the Italian airforce but the Luftwaffe later took over and Malta became the most bombed place during World War Two. Constant bombing raids and a blockade of the island created a siege of annihilation and Malta was almost starved into submission. Relief came in the form of Spitfires and Arthur helped to keep the runways clear and refuel the planes. When a convoy got through in August 1942 the Great Siege was lifted. Arthur left Malta in June 1943 and travelled to the Middle East for some Mountain Warfare Training. This was in preparation for active service on the Aegean island of Samos in September 1943. Arthur took part in the Battle of Leros in November 1943 and was taken prisoner by the Germans. He was then sent on a hellish journey via Greece to a POW camp in Germany. Arthur arrived in Stalag VIIA near Moosburg in southern Germany after a two week journey in cattle trucks with limited food, water and sanitary facilities. Arthur was later transferred to a permament POW camp at Stalag XIA near Altengrabow in northern Germany. He remained in captivity until the camp was liberated by US forces in May 1945. Arthur returned home to a country which was devastated by the war and subject to rationing,food and power shortages. He was on home service until April 1946 when he left the Army and became a plumber. The winter of 1947 was very severe and later that year Arthur married Dorothy Poxon in November 1947. Their first child,Susan, was born in November 1950 at 38 Wellington Road, Orpington. A still born child followed in 1954 and John Pateman was born in December 1956 at 120 Oakdene Road, Orpington. Arthur moved to 32 Petten Grove on the Ramsden Estate in 1960, and Allan Pateman was born in February 1963 (during another very severe winter) but only lived for two weeks. Arthur took his holidays at Combe Haven near Hastings and at Butlins Holiday Camp in Clacton near Southend. He died in 1966 aged just 50 years old.< Less
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Product Details

Pateran Press
February 17, 2009
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
1.32 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
8.26 wide x 11.69 tall
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