TV star and awards host Chris Tarrant knew hardly anything about his father’s heroics in during the Second World War – until he began filming War Hero in my Family for Channel 5.
Under the cover of darkness Major Basil Tarrant and a patrol of 16 British soldiers were about to crawl out into enemy lines, make their way through a minefield and then attack two farm buildings where at least 60 Germans were holed up.
Amazingly they survived, by overwhelming the Germans in the first farmhouse before wheeling round and sending those in the second house fleeing into the night.
The successful attack on enemy ¬positions near Groesbeek on November 6, 1944, earned Basil the Military Cross.
“I found the experience of what Dad did in the Second World War very emotional, I think of myself as a thick-skinned kind of guy but what I discovered was painful.
“I did think, ‘Dad why didn’t you tell me?’ When he was alive we spoke about pretty much everything, but the war was taboo.
“He must have seen so many people die around him. For Dad it must have been day after day of unimaginable horror but he never said a word about what he saw.”
The Military Cross is granted for “an act or acts of exemplary gallantry during active -operations against the enemy on land”.
Chris tells of his father’s silence about the horrors of the war.“My Dad was like me, very extrovert, very funny and also silly, he wasn’t one of the shy retiring types at all. But then there was this one area which was completely taboo.”
Copyright Speakers Corner 2016