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"Oh My Goodnes Pat, What If It Rains?"


Subdeacon Joe

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Maj. Digby Tatham-Warter. 

 

Quite the odd duck, what?


 

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Tatham-Warter later revealed that he carried the umbrella because he could never remember the password, and it would be quite obvious to anyone that the bloody fool carrying the umbrella could only be an Englishman. During the battle, Father Egan, the Battalion Padre, was trying to cross to a building on the other side of the street to visit the wounded in its cellar. He made an attempt to move over but was forced to seek shelter from intense mortar fire. He then noticed Digby Tatham-Warter casually approaching him. The Major opened his old and battered umbrella and held it over Egan's head, beckoning him "Come on, Padre". Egan drew Tatham-Warter's attention to all the mortars exploding everywhere, to which came the reply "Don't worry, I've got an umbrella." Shortly afterwards Lieutenant Pat Barnett was sprinting over an open area he had been ordered to hold when he caught the sight of Digby visiting men who were defending the sector, holding his opened umbrella over his head. Barnett was so surprised he stopped dead in his tracks and suggested to the Major "That thing won't do you much good.", to which Digby replied, after staring at him with exaggerated shock, "Oh my goodness Pat, what if it rains?". Signalman George Lawson was running down a street on a quest for ammunition - he had a shopping basket slung over his arm to put it in - when he saw Tatham-Warter coolly walking around and directing men to fresh positions. Upon noticing Lawson he asked him what he wanted, and was enlightened, so the Major advised him to "Hurry up and get some and get back to your post soldier, there are snipers about.", seemingly unconscious of the fact that he himself was a very obvious target. Such untroubled and good humoured gestures doubtlessly contributed greatly to the morale of the defenders, and even when defeat was imminent, spirits were always very high.

 

 

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Tatham-Warter had often worried about the unreliability of the radio sets and so he had trained his men in the use of bugle calls that were used by the British during the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th Century. He was delighted to see it being used so effectively on the way to the bridge, and in the following days it would continue to be a most satisfactory method of communication between his platoons; their calls always audible over the noise of the bombardment. 

 

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