Military Parade In Honour Of WWII Tank Commander From Northampton

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Reg Spittles from Kingsthorpe Hollow, was born in 1918 and started working at the Crockett and Jones shoe factory just after he finished school.

He was a Troop Corporal Tank Commander when he went on traveling to Normandy, in 1944, and was part of the Territorial Army’s 2nd Northamptonshire Yeomanry.

He retired after he was twice injured in mission and started giving several historical talks to schools and other groups, including interviews to the Chron, the Northampton Chronicle reports.

Asked by his students, mostly by the little ones, if he has ever killed anyone, he replied during one of his talks:  “I explained that, as a tank commander, I had four other men in my tank, so I explained that my job was to look for suitable targets and tell my operator what type of shell I needed and then I gave a fire order to the gunner. Although I was responsible for having a lot of people killed, I hadn’t killed anyone personally.”

Reg Spittle decided he should record his memories and stories of his experiences, following the death of his father Walter, in 1988. Many of his recordings featuring these stories are now housed by Northampton’s Central Library, while some of them can be found at London’s Imperial War Museum.

As part of a BBC history project, he also wrote somewhere around 30 accounts for students, in a study at Northamptonshire’s Huxlow Science College.

Mr Spittles and Florence, his wife, had a daughter, Elaine and a grandson.

Reg Spittles died at 95 years old, on the 6th of November. A military parade will mark his funeral this Friday, at 12:30PM at Milton Malsor Crematorium, starting at 11:45AM, from Elaine’s house in Pitiers Court, Duston.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE