Hermione Ranfurly kept a diary for seventy five years, and To War with Whitaker guides us through the most adventurous, most defiant, and most valiant of those years. Hermione and Dan Ranfurly married only months before the Second World War erupted. So when Dan was posted to the Middle East, taking only their faithful butler Whitaker with him, Hermione resolved to join them there. This memoir showcases astounding displays of commitment and independence; after vowing not to go home without her husband, Hermione travelled alone from Cape Town to Palestine for the six years he was imprisoned, meeting many notable characters along the way.With wit and exuberance Hermione’s diary entries take us To War with Whitaker and back again, providing sharp insight of the strong and outspoken woman she always was.
About the Author
Hermione Llewellyn moved to Australia at 24 to become the personal assistant to the Governor of New South Wales. It was there that she met her husband to be, Daniel Knox, 6th Earl of Ranfurly. On the outbreak of World War II, Daniel Ranfurly was posted to the Middle East and Lady Ranfurly broke all protocol by insisting on joining him there. During her six years traveling she held a variety of jobs and mixed with a myriad of important people: from Churchill, to the kings of Greece, Egypt, and Yugoslavia, and writers such as Noel Coward and Evelyn Waugh. After the war Lord Ranfurly was appointed Governor of the Bahamas. Not one to rest on her laurels, Lady Ranfurly set about providing local schools and libraries with the books they lacked. Upon returning to London she continued to send books all over the world, a service which evolved into the organization Book Aid International, and has sent over 32 million books to libraries across the world.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
To War with Whitaker based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
It is difficult to hold down my enthusiasm and superlatives in reviewing this book. The author is not only an excellent writer and editor of her diaries, but also modestly understates her tremendous courage and her willingness to endure hardship for the sake of working near her active-duty husband. Born aristocratic and married to Lord Ranfurly, Countess Ranfurly chronicles in this book her life from 1939-1945 spent mostly in the middle east working as secretary to a Brithish general. She met in the course of her duties many interesting people of note and gives insight into the characters of each. She was a woman of immense charm and determination. When all wives were ordered back to England, she jumped ship in South Africa and made her way up the coast of Africa with the help of her connections, to arrive as an outlaw in Cairo. Her husband, Lord Ranfurly, with the same finely honed character as his wife, was captured by the Germans in North Africa and imprisoned for almost three years before he escaped and made his way back to Allied lines. Hermione Ranfurly vowed to stay in the middle east until his release despite often harsh working conditions. Besides her stenographic duties, she entertained visiting VIPs, took Gen. Patton shopping, smoothed ruffled feathers with her tact and amazingly with her social position was unfailingly courteous and mindful of military rank. Whitaker was Lord Ranfurly's valet and followed and cared for Lord or Lady as circumstances permitted, but played a minor role in the diaries. A fascinating account of one highly exceptional person's role in WWII.