Reminiscence and Resource Centre

Charlie Purt six star “Comp” - 1948
Seven years is a long time to serve an apprenticeship, but then printing is a most skilled trade and printers are very jealous of their reputation as craftsmen. When Charles Purt, compositor in the printing department, had finished his long but thorough training, he heard from a friend that British Bata needed a compositor, so he left his home town of Crayford, in Kent, and came to East Tilbury. Starting work in April, 1937, he soon proved that his thorough training had stood him in good stead, and living in Community House, came to like the life at East Tilbury.
In March, 1940, he joined the Royal Navy, and serving in the “Old Lady,” the Warspite, Charlie saw service in many battles, most notably those of Matapan and Crete. At Crete the Warspite received a direct hit and was put out of action, and Charlie was posted to the complement of a landing craft.
It was while serving on L.S.T. 304, that he really got into the thick of action for he took part in the invasions and landings of North Africa, Sicily, Salerno, Anzio and Normandy. During all his service he collected six campaign stars and developed a great love for the sea.
But the printers’ ink in his blood was strongest, for when he was demobbed in 1946, Charlie came back to East Tilbury and went back to his “stone” once more. His chief task each week is making up the pages of Bata Record - a job he was doing when this picture was taken - but besides that he has also to put together the “Good Salesman” and all the various catalogues published by the Company, as well as a hundred and one smaller jobs that come the way of the the comp.
In 1946 Charlie was married and is now the proud father of a seventeen months’ old daughter. With his wife and daughter -”What a peach”, he told Bata Record, he lives on Bata Estate and takes a great interest in keeping his garden ship shape. Before he broke his knee he was a keen footballer, but now contents himself with following the exploits of Arsenal for soccer and Kent for cricket.