War Hero In My Family

Ann Widdecombe

Ann follows the experiences of her uncle, Donald Widdecombe, who was an army chaplain with Field Marshall Montgomery's 8th Army.

Ann Widdecombe

The Rt. Hon. Ann Widdecombe, who was Member of Parliament for 23 years, first for Maidstone and latterly for Maidstone and the Weald, retired at the 2010 General Election.

Since retiring from politics, Ann has enjoyed participating in various television programmes, including her own BBC2 primetime show, Ann Widdecombe to the Rescue. In this Miss Widdecombe acted as an agony aunt travelling around the country offering advice for a variety of problems within families. As well as this, she has participated in Grumpy Old Women, Parkinson, The Wright Stuff, Celebrity Fit Club and Nothing But the Truth. More recently and to wide acclaim, Ann Widdecombe appeared in BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing, making it through to the last round before the semi-finals.

Ann's story

'As members of the older generation pass away, many of us wish we had asked them so much more about their lives and experiences. We feel we know so much and yet so little. Probably we know least about the day-to-day reality of their war because most talked little about it, but we learn a great deal from dramas and documentaries. However, these focus on the fighting men. My uncle was a chaplain and I wanted to know more about his experiences.

'Standing in the desert, picking up bits of the shrapnel which still litters it, I thought of the men not just fighting but coping with flies, intense heat, unwashed clothes, miserable rations and sand itching under every garment. Uncle Don never complained about any of that, but he endured it day in, day out for years, and then he came home and spent the rest of his life as a vicar in a sleepy Dorset village. This programme helped me reach into the memories he never voiced.'

Story links

The Museum of Army Chaplaincy
Housed in the converted old stable block of Amport House, the Museum of Army Chaplaincy tells the story of Army Chaplaincy from earliest times to the present day.
www.chaplains-museum.hampshire.org.uk

The Queen's Royal Surrey Regiment The Queen’s Royal Regiment (West Surrey), the 2nd of Foot, was England’s oldest infantry Regiment formed in 1661
www.queensroyalsurreys.org.uk

War Research Society - Battlefield Tours
Tours to the battlefields, war graves, memorials and last resting places of the fallen.
www.battlefieldtours.co.uk

War Museum El Alamein
War museum dedicated to the battles of El Alamein (1942) and the Second World War in North Africa.
www.ww2museums.com