The words ‘Second World War’ evoke strong images of a time that very few of us have experienced directly.
But these images are shaped by the thousands of TV programmes, films and books that document this time from an adults perspective.
Children, unless they were directly involved in momentous events such as the evacuation or the blitz, are rarely heard especially if they lived in the country rather than towns or cities.My dad Harold is one of those unheard children whose perspective on the war was very different. Rather than sadness and hardship, it brought fun and excitement.
These are his memories from Ampney Crucis, a small village in South Gloucestershire that few people of heard of and fewer can spell. It describes a life with Lords of the Manor and the power they had over the community as well and the lives of his own family who have lived in the village for hundreds of years.
Events of the war, the attacks, crashes and victory celebrations are described from his perspective as are the daily pre-occupations of a child school, food and fun. After the war he ‘Harold’ became ‘Harold and Joan’ and together they describe how the social changes of the 1950s and 60s allowed them to use their skills to break away from tied cottages and build their own home.
Along the way they recall the how the village has changed, highlighting what we have gained now in our modern life but also what we have lost.