The Cotswolds at War
- June Lewis-Jones
15th November 2009
A detailed account of what life was like for evacuees in the Cotswolds.
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On 1st September 1939 evacuee children arrived at Cirencester, the first of 'a sorry procession' to leave the cities for the comparative safety of the Cotswolds. By the end of the Second World War these figures had run into thousands and almost every district had been touched by the events of this time. In this uniquely detailed account of the impact of the Second World War on the Cotswolds, June R. Lewis shows how national policy was interpreted at local level and how it influenced everyday village and rural life. Evacuees' letters describe their terror at seeing cows for the first time and their wonder at finding 'apples grow on trees' as well as the misery of being frightened and away from home. Villagers recount their own local part in the Invasion Plan and the precautions taken against the threat of enemy landings, bomb damage and injury to civilians. As the war went on an increasing military presence was felt in the Cotswolds, as the RAF took over airfields in hitherto quiet rural districts, at Aston Down and South. Cerney among others, and US forces became integrated into local life.The book also describes the role of the Home Guard, and there are accounts of the turning over of factories, now camouflaged, such as Lister's at Dursley; to weapon production. Finally, The Cotswolds at War reveals the changing use of land during the war years. This book provides a vivid recreation of the Cotswolds during a time of war, the result of thorough research based on personal reminiscences and contemporary newspaper accounts. It will be of interest to all who presently live in or visit the Cotswolds, and will also be welcomed by historians for its closely detailed account of local communities during the Second World War.
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