Edwin Hunt – D-Day & Life on the Thames

Perhaps one of the most remarkable men to have graced the River Thames is Waterman & Lighterman Edwin Hunt (better known as Ted).

Born on 20 March 1920 , Ted was bound apprentice to his father in 1935 where he joined one of the last companies who were towing barges using a rowing boat!    At the outbreak of WW2, he volunteered as a sapper waterman in the Royal Engineers and served in Arctic Norway, April–May 1940.    By 1944 he was commissioned and as a captain commanded fifteen of the Rhino landing craft on Gold Beach on D-Day. In four months, all sixty-four of these landing craft put ashore 93,000 units (tanks, guns and vehicles) and 440,000 tons of military stores.

Demobilised as a major he returned to civilian life as a college lecturer in navigation and watermanship at the City & East London College, Bunhill Row, London from 1948 until 1985.        You can see a great clip of Ted teaching watermanship in the youtube clip at the bottom of this post.

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As a Royal Waterman, he was appointed Bargemaster to Her Majesty in 1978 and retired from royal service in 1990.

Ted is currently in Normandy for the 70th Anniversary of D-Day

To hear Teds amazing story first hand , take a moment to watch the videos below:

There are 6 parts to this brilliant interview that can be found here

You can see Ted teaching Watermanship in this BBC 1963 film ‘The Apprentice Lighterman’  – Skip to 16.25 into the video


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