Latham, John, 1921-2006. (2 of 18). National Life Story Collection: Artists' Lives
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1998-03-26 and 1998-04-06 and 1999-02-19 and 2000-07-18
Interviewer's home, London, United Kingdom
Latham, John, 1921-2006 (speaker, male)
Steveni, Barbara, 1928- (speaker, female), Roberts, Melanie (speaker, female)
Part 2. John Latham (JL) refers to the autocratic leadership at the prep school which was headed up by a friend of his father's. He suggests that the paedophilic motivation of this master affected the way sex education was taught, leading to a real failure of understanding for the boys of the meaning of sexuality. JL describes how his early experience of religious indoctrination filtered down to a more democratic approach in relation to his own children. JL talks about how girls came into his life. Returning to his time at Winchester College where he was head of house, JL talks about drilling the Officer Corps. He goes on to describe feeling that the most fruitful times were ones where he was allowed to be free - fishing or painting. He talks of a particular friend who subsequently organised the British team at the Berlin Olympics. JL remembers Winchester as having a 'tolerant and respectful' environment. JL talks with affection of the freedom that he had at home in Africa, and particularly the relationship to nature. He describes his feelings of not getting his sense from books even though he was able to pass exams when pressed. This included passing the Oxford entrance exams to study forestry, but this opportunity was hijacked by his volunteering for the services. He ended up in the Navy. JL describes his passionate commitment to overcoming the evil of Nazism - a responsibility which he saw as both a national and a family inspired duty. John Latham elaborates on his experiences in the Navy as an Observer, referring to his interest as a boy in visiting the Fleet at Portsmouth.