by: Fay Baker [ ]
It is hard to imagine what the population was going through during the war, but they had every day itemsnthat helped them during this frightening time. A parish magazine, a postcard, but how do you quantify the years of the Second World War - this book may give you an insight into how everyday items helped to keep the people going…
The following is taken from the Pen and Sword website:
A lifesaving gas mask. A ration book, essential for the supply of food. A shelter stove that kept a family warm whilst they huddled in their Anderson shelter. A leaflet dropped by the Luftwaffe that was designed to intimidate Britain’s populace during the threat of invasion. A civilian identity card over-stamped with the swastika eagle from the occupied Channel Islands. A rare, previously unpublished, snapshot of legendary American bandleader Glenn Miller playing at a UK air base. A twisted remnant of German V2 rocket that went to space and back before exploding over London, the result of equally twisted military science. Colourful flag bunting that saw the VE celebrations in 1945: All disparate objects that together tell the moving and important story of Britain’s Home Front during the Second World War.
The ordinary objects featured in this book, whether those produced in their millions to the far from ordinary or unique, all portray and exude the highs and lows of the British people during six years of war. From the deprivations of rationing and the bombing of the Blitz, to the cheery songs, elegant fashions and ‘Dig For Victory’ spirit, are all captured in colour.
The phrase ‘If only this could talk …’ is often heard: in this book, the objects almost can. All the objects have a general contextual background history and any specific known associated story is also included, all in a clear form, with cross-references to related subjects.
Packed with colour and archive photos, facts, figures, dates and statistics for easy reference, The Home Front 1939–1945 in 100 Objects is the perfect book for students, historians, collectors and general readers, enabling a clear understanding of one of Britain’s most important historical periods.
This hard back book, written by Austin J Ruddy contains 212 pages of high quality paper, with many colour, plus black and white photographs throughout. There is no chapter list as the contents list details the items that illustrate this period of time. Each item is given two pages in which a brief story is detailed.
Out of all of the items listed in this publication, I have chosen to review item #90: Freckleton Air Accident - Parish Magazine, August 1944…
This item pictured on page 180, shows the cover of the parish magazine. Little has been written about Allied air crews that got into difficulties near to their own airbases, with the passing of the years there may never be an accurate number for the casualties. The worst military air accident to occurred on the 23rd August 1944, during a storm a Liberator on a test flight crashed into the centre of Freckleton Village, demolishing three houses, a school and a snack bar for servicemen. Sixty-one people lost their lives in this accident including thirty-eight children. The following week the parish magazine had a forward from the Vicar of the Holy Trinty Church - “I still find it difficult to write or say what I feel after the experience of the last week… Those who witnessed it cannot possibly ever forget…
The vicar goes on to describe the plane hitting the school, and trapping the children. The crew are also mentioned in the vicars forward. A memorial garden, new school and village hall now mark the site of the tragedy.
This book brings to life items that the population used and saw during the years 1939-45. The ration book is something that I also find interesting as I have one that belonged to my Mother. The parish magazine with a forward written by the Rev. Broadbent and how his emotions after a tragedy befell the village in which he preached really brings home the importance of these items.
A well set out and informative book, it would be of Interest to those who are taking part in a school project or those who are just interested in this period of English history. What a story these items could tell if only they could talk.
Fay Baker takes a look at a book from Frontline Books courtesy of Pen and Sword titled 'The Home Front 1939-1945 in 100 Objects'.
Copyright ©2021 text by Fay Baker [ ]. All rights reserved.
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