by Jim Durkin
The family of legendary Purbeck photographer Arthur Grant have paid a heartfelt tribute to a “huge character who will always be remembered with affection and love”.
Arthur passed away peacefully at home last Tuesday at the age of 87, after a brave battle against a protracted illness. He worked as a professional photographer for three decades, with many of his pictures featuring in the Daily Echo and Swanage and Wareham Advertiser.
Son Geoffrey said: “Dad will be remembered fondly, having touched many people’s lives in his role as the photographer in Wareham and Purbeck.”
Arthur is also remembered as one of the last inhabitants of Tyneham village, which was requisitioned by the army and used as a practice area for the historic D-Day landings. The village, heavily damaged, would eventually be substantially restored and opened to the public. Arthur went on to give many interviews for books and television about his schoolboy memories of Tyneham life. In a moving gesture, his family have been given special permission for his ashes to be interred at Tyneham – Arthur is finally going home.
The year before the outbreak of the Second World War, Arthur, aged just 16, joined the Union Castle Shipping Line. He served as captain’s steward on the Capetown Castle, which was converted into a troop carrier and survived a bombing off Northern Ireland. During leave he met young Dorset woman Dorothy Grace Rawles, his beloved Grace, who he went onto marry at Poole in 1953. He is survived by Grace and their two children, Geoffrey and Annette. Arthur also worked as a steward on the flying boats which operated out of Poole and for Australian airline Qantas, where he rose to the rank of deputy flight steward controller. He was honoured to be selected as part of the crew flying the Queen to Australia during her 1954 tour.
After returning to England, to help his sick mother in the late 1950s, Arthur and Grace settled in Mill Lane, Wareham. It was around this time he decided to turn his love of photography into a profession. After retirement in 1990 Arthur became a prolific gardener.
His funeral service will be held at the Church of Lady St Mary, Wareham, on Monday at 2.15pm. The family will be holding light refreshments at the South Street Conservative Club afterwards.
Published by, and copyright of, the Daily Echo, 19 January 2010