Memories of life in village during Second World War

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A BOOK recalling villagers’ memories of the Second World War was launched to mark the 60th anniversary of VE Day.

The Cheddington History Society (CHS) interviewed more than 60 people, including London blitz evacuees and English prisoners of war who fled a German camp.

The making of Voices from An English Village began five years ago when archivist Marlene Lee suggested the CHS commemorate the milestone anniversary of VE Day.

Members held an exhibition on Monday (December 6, 2010) of photos and memorabilia from the Second World War and collected people’s memories from the time.

Recollections were so interesting that the history enthusiasts visited the wartime survivors in their homes and borrowed photos from the time.

They heard from girls who made parachutes and barrage balloons in Gossards, Leighton Buzzard, and a young laboratory assistant who worked in India and Burma.

Villagers remembered the Cheddington RAF airfield being taken over by the American air force.

A Second World War driver even gave accounts from behind the scenes of Heads of State conferences at the Reich Chancellery in Berlin at the end of the war.

CHS chairman John Smith said: “There is a real cross-section of people and of their reminiscences, some short, some much longer.

“They give us a vivid picture of what life was like during those six years of our recent history.”

The writing of the 152-page book began earlier this year.

CHS members researched war records from sources including the Cheddington School Log and Cheddington Parish Council.

Mr Smith said: “It is unlike anything else we have come across and is also the first published book that features Cheddington and its people. It has been an enterprise of which we can be proud – and it is a very good read.”

To buy a copy for £9.50, phone John T Smith on 01296 668 582.