Following the fateful announcement in 1939 that Britain was again at war, a hastily formed Home Guard prepared for a final stand against invasion, Covert Auxiliary Units were instructed to ‘lay low then kill off important Germans’, and schoolboy Henry Moss was dispatched to hide Aconbury church’s silver.
It was all change in Herefordshire. With men off fighting, women stepped in, making munitions, working in farming and forestry as members of the Land Army and Timber Corps, and joining the WAAFs, Wrens and ATS. In came evacuees and refugees, foreign soldiers and POWs.
Moments of fear and tragedy – the loss of Ken Hursey’s family to a runaway bomb at Rotherwas, or the unimaginable journey of Eddie Dzierza – were interspersed with lighter moments: a group of wounded GIs demonstrating the jitterbug in the middle of the Hoarwithy Road, or the Tupsley Home Guardsman who hit his own house during mortar training.
Herefordshire’s Home Front in the Second World War offers a rich insight into all aspects of life in Herefordshire in wartime, through memories and photographs gathered by the county reminiscence group, Herefordshire Lore, and with important new research into the county’s conscientious objectors by Dr Elinor Kelly.
Bill Laws is the author of twenty titles on subjects ranging from rural architecture and a social history of walking, to gardens and local history. He helped found Herefordshire Lore in 1989.
Paperback | 176 pages | 242 x 171 mm | 2019
b&w illustrations, mainly photographs