Oliver Perks' Wartime Blog Podcasts
Wartime recollections in the Royal Artillery
Oliver Perks began recording his WWII memoirs in 2008 at the age of 88. He had an amazing memory, which enabled him to vividly recall his experiences in the Royal Artillery from 1940 to 1945. Oliver describes both the serious and the trivial with candour and humour. He died aged 92 on the 3rd November 2012.
Podcasts 1-10 published 24 December 2012.
Podcasts 11-16 to be published Spring 2013.
All recordings copyright ℗ & © 2012-2013 The Estate of Oliver Perks. All Rights Reserved.
Podcast 1: From England to Suez 1940-41
Call-up, training in Exeter and Catterick, journey to Suez on Empress of Asia
August 1940: Called up from Oxford; Best man for brother Clifford; The 16th Field Training Regiment in Exeter. November 1940: Posting to 123rd Officer Cadet Training Unit in Catterick. February or March 1941: Posting to Weston-super-Mare. 2 April 1941: Inspection by HM King George VI on the Beach Lawns. April-July 1941: Journey via Cape Town to Suez on SS Empress of Asia.
From England to Suez 1940-41.mp3 (right click to download) 14.7 MB 15:19 mins
Podcast 2: Suez to Port Said via Cyprus 1941
One star whisky, sea swimming and a gas course in Helmieh
July 1941: Arrival in Suez. Travelling to Cyprus from Alexandria on HMNZS Leander. Cyprus: Larnaca; One star whisky; Sea swimming with the battery. Egypt: Money changing in Cairo; Gas course in Helmieh. November 1941: Port Said.
Suez to Port Said via Cyprus 1941.mp3 (right click to download) 6.3 MB 6:31 mins
Podcast 3: Palestine, Alexandria and Cairo 1941-42
Calibration, the Dead Sea and getting lost. Wounded, hospital and convalescence
November 1941: Haifa; Kibbutz; Calibration shoot; Swimming in the Dead Sea. December 1941: Goods train to Sidi Barrani; Getting lost during night-time troop watch. March 1942: Martuba airfield; Wounded in the legs. Tobruk hospital: Stuka Raid; Duke of Gloucester; Mae West; Shaving. Helmieh hospital: Convalescent camps.
Palestine Alexandria and Cairo 1941-42.mp3 (right click to download) 12.8 MB 13:09 mins
Podcast 4: The Gazala line near Alexandria 1941-42
Jordan valley, swimming and the Gazala Line. Lost gun, safety and falling in pit.
November 1941: Jordan valley calibration shoot; Swimming in the Dead Sea. February 1942: Brigade move to the desert near Alexandria; Gazala Line column patrols; Leaving the gun behind; Ammunition safety devices doing their job. Bir Hakeim: Falling into the ammunition pit.
The Gazala line near Alexandria 1941-42.mp3 (right click to download) 6.4 MB 6:30 mins
Podcast 5: Luftwaffe attack at Martuba airfield 1942
Night moves and tea making. Hospitals and convalescent camps.
February 1942: A night move near Bir Hakeim. Misadventurous tea making. March 1942: Injured in Luftwaffe attack on Martuba airfield. Tobruk hospital: Duke of Gloucester's visit. Attack on hospital ship in Tobruk harbour. Helmeir hospital; Move to convalescent camp 2 and then camp 5.
Luftwaffe attack at Martuba airfield 1942.mp3 (right click to download) 10.6 MB 10:55 mins
Podcast 6: Abbassia barracks, bed bugs and tanks 1942
A Stuart tank course. Mr Fanner, tank delivery and escorting prisoners.
Abbassia barracks and bed bugs. A Stuart tank course. An evening with Mr Fanner. 22 October 1942: Tank Delivery Regiment, 8th Army. Escorting Italian and German prisoners.
Abbassia barracks bed bugs and tanks 1942.mp3 (right click to download) 5.1 MB 5:09 mins
Podcast 7: Officer cadet training at Acre 1942-43
Train to Haifa and swimming with Australians. Importance of drill and exam results
The train from Cairo to Haifa: Getting left behind in Sinai. Course at OCTU: An Australian's struggle with his gas mask. December 1942: Swimming with the Australians; March with full kit and assault course. The importance of drill and variations on idleness. The story of the purple hose tops. December 1942: Exam results and the Royal School of Artillery at Almaza.
Officer cadet training at Acre 1942-43.mp3 (right click to download) 7.3 MB 7:25 mins
Podcast 8: Gunnery school and high living 1943
The RABD in Almaza, gunnery theory, the mess near Cairo, kit allowance and on to Sicily
January 1943: Royal School of Artillery at the RABD in Almaza and Tiger Jarvis. Gunnery theory with Major Pope. The mess near Cairo: a leaky corrugated iron roof, brandy and ginger. May 1943: Commissioned, kit allowance spent on high living in Alexandria. July 1943: On draft to Sicily.
Gunnery school and high living 1943.mp3 (right click to download) 4.3 MB 4:17 mins
Podcast 9: Picnicking in Sicily then home to Bristol 1943
Lt. Col. Hardie, trucks, Carruba, red wine and a long sleep. Return to Avonmouth
30 August 1943: Picnic on the beach, Sicily. I don't know old boy, I don't know (Lt. Col. I.G.G.S. Hardie DSO). Leaving the trucks, Carruba and the wooden signs. Red wine, a long sleep and a clear head for marching. November 1943: Return convoy to the UK, arriving in Avonmouth; Military police and the Duke of Beaufort.
Picnicking in Sicily then home to Bristol 1943.mp3 (right click to download) 4.5 MB 4:33 mins
Podcast 10: Back in the UK preparing for D-Day 1944
Waterproofing, tank testing, Sherman guns, run-and-shoot and stuck in a bog
Leave for a week. January 1944: Preparing for D-Day: Retraining and re-equipping with self-propelled guns; February 1944: Waterproofing course in Rhyll and tank testing; Sherman guns, detonating fuse and a new dummy gun; March 1944: Run-and-shoot exercise at Studland fired in the wrong direction; Getting stuck in a bog with Major Gilbert Wells.
Back in the UK preparing for D-Day 1944.mp3 (right click to download) 6.5 MB 6:40 mins