Chart maker, 99, celebrates D-Day involvement from UK Hydrographic Office

  • Kath Holman speaks of her time working at the UK Hydrographic Office in the 1940s

A 99-year-old who worked at the UK Hydrographic Office in Taunton in the run up to D-Day has been celebrating her involvement in the preparations for the invasion.Kath Holman was just 19 when she worked at the bureau as a chart maker, preparing marine charts ahead of the Normandy landings.

The work she carried out was top-secret, but now a book on the history of the Hydrographic has been published to coincide with the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

It was written by ex archivist Dr Adrian Webb. He presented his book to Kath Holman today.

He told ITV West Country: "When it came to transporting hundreds of thousands of men, ships and material within pinpoint accuracy because there were so many, you had to have precise geographical information, precise charts for the sailing and precise maps for when they landed.

Dr Adrian Webb

"Without which it would have been chaotic - impossible. It wouldn't have happened. Some 450,000 charts were printed in a building in Taunton."

After receiving her copy, Kath told ITV West Country: "I was sorting the plans out, making sure that the ships went through the Suez so we had to look at that.

"Mainly I was in charge of wages there for about two thousand people.

"You knew it was important. We always just went on with it. Grumbled as we had to work on our days off and everything."