Major Allison Digby Tatham-Warter DSO
An exceptionally capable and courageous leader in battle, Tatham-Warter was the prototype for the British officer ‘Harry’ in ‘A Bridge Too Far’ who is seen brandishing an umbrella. This was partly a humorous affectation, but it was also a tool to avoid having to remember passwords. He was confident that no German soldier would be seen dead carrying a ‘brolly’ and could assume that any sentry would recognise him on the assumption that – as he put it himself – ‘only a bloody fool of an Englishman’ would do such a thing.
At one point he extricated a padre – Captain Egan – who had become pinned down by enemy fire, telling him that he need not worry about bullets since they could shelter under the umbrella. He also led a bayonet charge whilst wearing a bowler hat and allegedly disabled a German armoured car by thrusting his trusty umbrella through the driver’s visor.
In ‘A Bridge Too Far’, the Bridge defenders are approached by a German emissary offering surrender terms. TathamWarter responded that the British did not have the ‘proper facilities’ to accept the surrender of the Germans. Delightful as the tale is – and it is really very much in keeping with Tatham-Warter’s reputation – it seems that this is an apocryphal account.
As the commander of A Company of 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, he had been disappointed by the performance of wireless communications within his company so he arranged to have two buglers with every platoon and trained his men to react to the calls. He found that this had an excellent effect on his ability to control his units in battle.
In Bolt Action you’ll find Major Tatham-Warter a huge boon to moral, shrugging off the effects of combined enemy fire, allowing your troops to make that essential move to close on the enemy and show them your cold British steel!
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