Past Matter, Object 8: Cufflinks

Past Matter objects return with the cufflinks of Gordon Barrett, PhD student in History, who explains below how their previous owner fuelled his interest in the past.


A relative gave this pair of cufflinks to me when I was fifteen years old and they have been one of my most treasured possessions ever since. He was one of the first cohort of pilots in the British Army’s new Glider Pilot Regiment during the Second World War, and took part in the ill-fated airborne invasions of Sicily in July 1943 (Operation Ladbroke) and Arnhem in 1944 (Operation Market Garden). In later life, he also went on to write two books and give talks about being a wartime glider pilot. I was lucky enough to get to talk with him at some length about his experiences while visiting the UK on a family vacation from Canada. I found myself entirely engrossed by what he had to say, and keen to know more about the things he discussed. These cufflinks are a tangible anchor for me to person who helped stoke my interest in contemporary history. They serve as a powerful reminder to me not only of him as a person, but also of his passion for discussing about the recent past.


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