Sunday, February 26, 2006

A tribute to Edward Arthur Patman, known as 'Pat'


Photo shows: Eddie and Ron by the Ponte Rialto in Venice

I first met Eddie in May 1945, just as the war in Italy came to a close.
He was a newcomer to A Sdrn. (my Sqdrn. in the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars) having recently transferred from C Sqdrn, but we were kindred spirits and immediately became good friends.
My diary for May 7th says:

Monday 7th. May 1945
No sleep but straight on to leave in Venice. Tour of the Grand Canal on gondola. St.Marco, Ponte Rialto and the whole works. With Derek and Pat (Eddie Patman)

Before the war Eddie was involved in the Cinema business, working as a journalist for the trade magazine ‘Cinema’.
His parents were living at the time in North Harrow (his father ran an Off-Licence there) and they literally lived over the shop. I can remember visiting there whilst on my first home leave in 1946.

We visited Venice together on May 7th 1945 (see photo) and generally hung around together in the evenings.

I got out of the forces earlier than he did, but we stayed in touch and he came to my wedding to Nita in July 1949. He also attended the wedding of my youngest daughter Ruth in 1981.
After the war he worked for MGM for quite a while and then gradually rose through the ranks until he held the top PR job for the FOX cinema company, with the job title of Sales Director for the UK.
After that we met up at least once a year and usually took it in turns to visit each other’s homes.

We went to Eddie’s housewarming party in Whiteleaf, near Princes Risboro and also to a party that he threw to celebrate his retirement when he was around 60. It was at this party that an incident occurred that caused me much embarrassment/amusement at the time.
Present at the party were all the top names in the cinema world and Eddie’s father was given the job of taking me round to meet the other guests.
To my horror he introduced me in the following manner:
“This young man is Ron Goldstein, ex of the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars and it was he who was responsible for pulling Eddie out of his burning tank during the war and saving his life!”
The giggle about the whole affair was as follows.
1. Eddie and I were in different Squadrons during hostilities and did not become friends until the Regiment re-assembled in Trieste after the war had finished in Italy.
2. Although Eddie’s tank had certainly been hit during action and he had been wounded, the ‘hero’ of the day was some other un-named trooper.
3. Whatever protestations I made about the real facts were regarded as mere modesty on my part and shrugged off by Eddie’s dad and indeed all of the guests. I was the hero of the evening and my wine glass was not allowed to go empty !

Round about 1990 we received a shock telephone call from Eddie’s only sister Muriel telling us that he had passed away. She told us that Eddie had known that he was about to die but had wanted the news kept from his friends. We were, however able to attend his funeral the next day.
It appeared that Eddie had booked himself into a hospice for his last few weeks and (typically of Eddie) had made all the arrangements for his own funeral service.

You need to know that one of his major roles in the UK had been the promotion and the publicity surrounding the film Dr.Zhivago with Omar Sharif.

Eddie had loved the film and this was made patently obvious when the funeral service finished and the many congregants dispersed to the haunting tune of Lara’s theme, taken from the sound track of the movie.

Eddie was a delightful character, full of Joi de Vivre and modest to the core. He is, and will be, sorely missed by everyone who had the pleasure and privilege of having known him.

2 comments:

Geoffrey said...

As I get older, the more I look back and that is when I remember fellers like Eddie, known to us as Pat. I have contacted you before Ron. I was a Trooper with Pat from our training days at Brentwood, then Farnborough, and Barnard Castle. Then nth Africa & Italy, where unfortunately we got split up. How I regret not seeing him post war. And was upset when I learned he had died at a relatively young age. RIP Pat. from Geoff Prater. ex Trooper with 51st.RTR. Then 8th RTR 1942/47

Ron Goldstein said...

Geoff

Mamy thanks for your comment about Pat.

He was indeed a lovely man and my wife & I talk about him to this very day.

Best regards

Ron