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Young Film-makers Want To Record People’s Memories Of The Second World War

Published on: 4 Apr, 2022
Updated on: 4 Apr, 2022

By David Rose

A group of young film-makers from Guildford are asking: “Do you remember the war years?”

They would love to hear from people who have memories of the Second World War on the home front and who would be willing to be filmed telling their stories and memories.

Damage caused by a V1 flying bomb, Recreation Road, Guildford in 1944.

One of the film-makers Scott Burchell says: “We’re looking for participants to be interviewed on camera to capture local stories of Surrey and the surrounding areas during the Second World War.

“The footage will be used to archive history, told by people who lived through it, and may also be made into a local history documentary.

“We are looking for all kinds of stories: air raid memories and bombs dropping on Guildford, rationing, evacuees, doodlebugs, VE Day parties and changes in domestic life. We’d love to hear your stories about what local life was like during the war.

“Interviews will be filmed professionally with a crew of two people taking full Covid safety measures and filming outside, when weather allows.

“If you or someone close to you was alive during the war years in Guildford, Surrey or the surrounding areas and would like to participate, please email us at warstoryarchive@gmail.com or you can phone us on 07376 421026.”

VE Day party, Ardmore Avenue, Guildford.

This is indeed a great idea to capture on film wartime memories that I, in my local history research, have only written examples of.

And I think it is also fantastic that the group’s intentions are to make sure the project is an archive of what is without doubt a very important part of the local area’s more modern history. If you have those memories and stories, do get in contact with them if you can.

Scott and his brother Thomas are very talented. I know them well as their dad and I grew up together!

And here are some more photos to jog people’s memories…

Wartime evacuation poster.

Bomb damage in Addison Road, Guildford, 1941.

Chief Air Raid warden’s medical box, Westborough area, Guildford.

A group of people in front of one of the Westborough prefab houses built at the end of the Second World War.

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test 3 Responses to Young Film-makers Want To Record People’s Memories Of The Second World War

  1. Aubrey Leahy Reply

    April 5, 2022 at 10:43 am

    Interesting how the interest continues. I was at the Ardmore Avenue party but don’t remember much about it as was just over one year old but family lore recalls my father had the mightiest of hangovers.

  2. Sheila AtKinson Reply

    April 6, 2022 at 4:57 pm

    I knew two of the boys in the Ardmore Avenue photo, they were evacuees living with my great aunt.

    The eldest of the two wrote down his memories of his time as an evacuee and gave me a copy. Sadly he passed away a couple of years ago.

    One of my aunts was a bus conductress during the war and I have a photo of her with other members of the crew. My aunt’s friend met a Canadian soldier and married him in Guildford in 1946, I have a photo of their wedding. They also came back to Guildford to celebrate their Silver and Golden Weddings.

    I was born just a few days after the war finished so I can only pass on what others have told me.

  3. Peter Chilvers Reply

    April 21, 2022 at 5:43 pm

    I am in the Ardmore Avenue [off Manor Road] photo, the blond toddler perched on the knee of Big John Sheffield. “Big John” had been evacuated from his London home to live with his aunt and uncle and younger cousin John Sheffield, who were our neighbours.

    Whilst the photo shows I was there, I do not remember the event. But I do remember much of the war as a baby and young child.

    I recall being lifted to the ceiling by my dad on his visits home from the RAF; having a Micky Mouse gas mask and a cramped bomb shelter under the dining table (both fortunately only ever used for practising); an older aunt and uncle living with us who were deployed from their normal life as part of the war effort to work in Dennis’s; and on or about D-Day being stood by my mother in our bay window to watch a sky that was continuously black with an endless succession of planes, all flying south.

    There must have been fear, anxiety and disruption around for everyone but I was shielded from all of that.

    Upon my dad’s demob we all went on holiday to my mum’s favourite sister, who at that time lived at Aboyne on Deeside. A very happy adventure, warmly remembered, that instilled my love of Scotland, still continuing despite the worst efforts of Nicola.

    The so-called post-war period of austerity seemed blissfully OK, unimpeded and defining to me, but perhaps that was because I did not know of anything else and was protected by careful and loving parents.

    I can recall evolving childhood thoughts triggered by the war, of being grateful and proud for being born British and being on the winning side. Conversely how terrible it must have been to be German and to live in such a dark place. Which of course led to an ultimate questioning and realisation, of different cultures.

    At that time everything American was brashly promoted and to a growing child seemed a bright route to the future. We had a direct North American input as a branch of our family had prosperously settled in British Columbia. It was exciting to receive parcels from them containing fruit, cookies, sweets, magazines, toys, etc. But it should never be forgotten that they also sent a son who was killed in action as a fighter pilot in our defence.

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