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Clare gets lost in Lancashire

Clare gets lost in the rain as she walks to meet two extraordinary sisters in their 90s. Both were code-breakers during WWII, and one invented the TV classic, Ask the Family.

Clare gets lost in the rain as she walks to meet two extraordinary sisters in their 90s. Both were code-breakers during WW2, and one invented the TV classic, Ask the Family.

Pat Davies and Jean Argles both worked in espionage during WW2. Pat helped the Royal Navy intercept German Naval Traffic at coastal stations, while Jean was a code and cipher officer based in Cairo, then Italy.

Throughout the war, their father was a Prisoner of War. He was Lt Colonel Cary Owtram who was in charge of the infamous Chungkai Japanese Prisoner of War camp. There, he found himself responsible for the wellbeing of thousands of other prisoners including those used to build the notorious Death Railway which featured in the film, Bridge on the River Kwai. Incredibly, Lt Col Cary Owtram managed to keep a secret diary which Pat and Jean have recently published: "1000 Days on The River Kwai" (scroll down to 'related links' to find out more).

Following the war, Pat worked in TV. She produced University Challenge and the Sky at Night. She also devised and produced ‘Ask the Family’.

Pat and Jean grew up in the Dolphinholme area of Lancashire and have fond memories of walking, riding horses and fishing with their family. They still enjoy walking, although the routes they take are now understandably shorter than they once were.

Producer: Karen Gregor

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