Page last updated at 12:33 GMT, Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Baroness Trumpington: A formidable figure


Her famous two-finger salute to a fellow peer who suggested Second World War veterans were looking 'pretty old' became an internet hit - but Baroness Trumpington has told BBC Parliament's Record Review why it is important to pass on wartime memoires to younger generations.

The formidable 89-year-old Conservative was unimpressed by colleague Tom King's comments, famously flicking the v-sign at him during a remembrance debate in the Lords.

She said: "He said even those who worked in the last war were starting to look very, very old and I though 'oh, to Hell with that!'".

Baroness Trumpington added that very few of the speakers in the Lord's debate - held to mark Armistice Day in November - were alive during the Second World War

She added: "I think memory is very short unless you have actually experienced it [war] yourself."

Baroness Trumpington herself worked in naval intelligence at Bletchley Park.

"The German U-boat code was broken, and that meant that the U-boats couldn't attack our supplies and our men going to the Middle East before Alamein. It was all to do with that, that we were working."

There are no hard-feeling amongst the former Tory minister Lord King and the baroness, they are good friends. "I just felt he had gone too far," she added.

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