24 May 2013

In the run up to the Battle of the Atlantic commemorations in Liverpool this weekend, Phil Roberts, a member of our VIP group, interviewed Atlantic Star Veteran Tom Graham about his experiences. Here is what he had to say:

"Tom, a gentleman of World War II (and quite a character ) had some great anecdotes and a few remarkable meets with famous people, including the late great heavyweight world champion Joe 'the brown bomber' Louis who he met on board during the war. Tom said he was nervous about speaking to him so he reached out and shook hands with his foot as Joe lay on his bunk.

He also talked about meeting Marlene Dietrich who he was fortunate enough to receive a kiss from. He then told us about meeting the daughter of someone particularly famous - none other than the daughter of Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, yes him... that Winston ...the Winston who led the country with the allies to victory over Germany. Tom showed Churchill's daughter around his ship. He had a glint in his eye whilst he told me this tale and looked at me cheekily as he went onto say he met many a celebrity on his travels but then went on to relate his experiences which were a joy and a pleasure to listen to which will hopefully come through in the footage we've filmed for the documentary Atlantic Stars which will be shown during the Battle of the Atlantic commemorative events."

Paul Fallows, a VIP, has written a blog post for the Veterans In Practice web page and Brett Squires, also a VIP member, has written a fantastic poem after being inspired by meeting with some of the Atlantic Star Veterans:

I interviewed some local heroes today

About the “Battle of the Atlantic”

And the roles they did play

When the Royal and Merchant navies

Came together

To get supplies past a hidden enemy

In such arduous weather

Various medals upon their chest

The “Atlantic Star” stands out from the rest

Had their job never been done

We know the war would never have been won

So thank you all for your determination

For helping us remain a “British Nation”

All the details for the Star Gazing programme, including all of the interviews with the Atlantic Star Veterans, can be found at liverpoolveterans.co.uk.