Diary of Writing Italy’s Sorrow

Old Guns, April 28, 2006
Drove to Somerset today for lunch with Oliver and Colette Barnham.  Oliver is the son of Denis Barnham, a Malta Spitfire ace who I wrote about in my Malta book, and we’ve kept in touch ever since.  Their farmhouse is lovely with large outhouses and barns – and which are full of Oliver’s collections of militaria.  He’s the most unlikely person to have this stuff, but used to supply films and so on with props as well as collecting things for other people – he even has a complete submarine torpedo in his garage.  Very kindly, he asked me whether I’d like to have a German MG34, complete with oil cans, bipod and wooden box.  I’d love to, I told him.  By the time I left I had a complete Bren and Sten gun and a number of other bits and pieces.  Incredibly generous of him – and a delicious and very entertaining lunch as well.

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