As I write this blog, we’re on the cusp of Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday (which happen to fall side by side this year: 11/11 being Saturday and 12/11 being Remembrance Sunday).
Usually I write about workplace lifestyle or finding work, but this week’s blog isn’t the case. This week we thought it would be better to remember. We thought it would be better to write about the people who put their futures on the line for the sake of ours, and the people who tragically lost their lives doing so.
One of our consultants has provided insight into a relative with an incredible story involved in the Second World War.
One of ‘A Few Good Men’
Edward ‘Ted’ William Patten (1921 – 2007) hailed from Bow, London, and joined the territorial army at 18 near the dawn of World War II. After volunteering Patten soon ‘took the kings shilling’, being called up to action in 1939.
Due to his innate talent in marksmanship, Patten took on the role of rifleman in the 8th Army under the command of Bernard Montgomery, ‘The Spartan General’. Collectively, their division would become known as the ‘Desert Rats’ for their role in the Western Desert campaign. Following the success in decisive battles such as the Second Battle of El Alamein, Patten received the African Star. He would later also be awarded the Italian Star for his time involved in campaigns in Germany and Poland.
A Prisoner of War
The already decorated career Patten had established was put on hold when misfortune struck – Patten and several of his fellow division were captured in France and forced to travel on foot to Poland for imprisonment.
Patten was held prisoner of war for 18 months in Stalag 18C in Poland, where he remained until the Axis conceded. Upon his release, Patten was repatriated and welcomed home.
However, one thing was certain for all involved in the war: nothing was ever quite the same again.
Upon their return, soldiers were welcomed back into employment with the recognition they deserved. Patten and many others received references from their Honorable Discharges.
When returning to ‘normality’ Patten continued to support his family of 5. Initially, Patten found work fuelling furnaces in the retort house for a gasworks. Due to the intense, constant heat conditions and physical nature of the work, Patten had to take salt tablets daily to replace the amount of minerals lost through sweat.
Following on from this, Patten eventually moved on to a printing company based in Silvertown, East London. This involved running a printing press dedicated to printing wrappers for chocolate bars. Finally, Patten rounded his illustrated career path and history in Middlesex Hospital as Head Porter. Starting as a Porter, Patten rose to the senior role over time and remained there until he retired.
People think of Remembrance Day as time to consider those who gave their lives for our freedom and future.
While this isn’t something to forget, it can be lost that those who survived risked their lives as well. Those who survived returned home with the weight of those years on their shoulders for the rest of their lives.
Make no mistake, this is no mean feat.
There are people who are signed up to perform the same feat now at a moments notice, and risk their entire livelihoods for the good of their country. Nobody walks into a war 100% certain they will make it out the other side. Remembrance is important: for those who have passed, those who fought to let us live how we do today, and for those who are willing to do the same thing when they have to heed the call.
This Saturday and Sunday, take time out to remember. 1st Stop would like to thank and show our appreciation for every serviceman, new and old.