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Men and monsters at Bratton
Idi Amin is just one of the extraordinary encounters for the former landlady of the Duke Hotel in Bratton.
Eileen Younghusband, now 92, describes the time the future infamous Ugandan dictator stayed at the hotel in a new book called Men I Have Known.
During the 1960s, Mrs Younghusband and her husband were offered tenancy of the hotel and often played host to military personnel from Europe and further afield, due to its location near Salisbury Plain.
In the book, she speaks about visitors including members of the Uganda regiment, led by Major Idi Amin, who later went on to become President of Uganda.
Mrs Younghusband, who served in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, said: “He was an enormous man with broad shoulders and the first day he came in he banged his head on the wooden beams and swore profusely.
“He was horrible and he treated everyone like they were dirt. They were at the hotel for two weeks, as we would often take in soldiers and military personnel training at the School of Infantry.”
She ran the hotel for almost 30 years and during that time saw Lord Reith, Dambuster Micky Martin and comics Peter Cook and Dudley Moore cross The Duke’s threshold.
The book, published on her birthday on July 4, is her third, following 2009’s Not an Ordinary Life and One Woman’s War in 2011, for which she won The People’s Book Prize this year.
Mrs Younghusband added: “The book looks at all the influential men in my life, right back to my dad.
“My publisher encouraged me to turn it into the book after I did a speech on men.”
Now of Sully, Wales, she has won a British Empire Medal for services to lifelong learning.