Around Lingfield at War
Wartime Experiences in South-East England 1939-1945
- Janet Bateson
15th October 2010
Around Lingfield at War is an extraordinary account of the life of a rural community during the Second World War. More people came in to this community in the Second World War than left to serve in the armed forces. As hundreds of men and women left the area for wartime service, hundreds of Canadian soldiers moved in. One thousand Enemy Aliens were imprisoned on Lingfield Racecourse in 1940, in what became known as 'Lingfield Cage'. Documentary evidence of home defences, files on prisoners of war, and sparse information on the secret organisation known as the Auxiliary Units are gradually being released into the public domain. The book includes previously unseen accounts of the war from military veterans and survivors, all illustrated with photographs. The contribution made by Canadian forces to the defence of Britain between 1940 and 1943 has been sadly neglected by local historians. This book highlights the visible presence of Canadian armed forces in south-east England and their valuable contribution to Home Guard training. Several fascinating personal memories from evacuees and refugees are included, but not all of the memories are happy ones as some householders regarded evacuees as intruders. Seventy years on, as the war generation is gradually disappearing, Around Lingfield at War is an essential record of the story of this community for future generations.