Bucks History Festival 2021

Researching a Village in the Second World War: Whitchurch

Professor Ian Beckett

7-8pm Wed 24 Nov 2021

Live via Zoom

The Second World War has entered popular memory as the ‘people’s war’.
Whereas just 1,570 British civilians died as a result of direct enemy action in the First World War, British civilian war dead in the Second World War totalled 66,375.

One constantly recurring wartime theme was of the English countryside as visual shorthand for all that was at risk. On 24 August 1940, H. V. Morton, the journalist and travel writer, encapsulated much of the rural vision in Country Life: ‘It came to me that one of the most remarkable things about this war is the quiet way England has, for many of us, ceased to be a country, or even a county, and has now become a parish.’ It is perhaps appropriate then to look at one particular wartime parish.

The talk will examine the sources available for studying the local history of the Second World War from servicemen and women to the Home Guard, other emergency services, agriculture, fund raising, the impact of national events, and two unique aspects of wartime experience – ‘Winston Churchill’s Toyshop’, and the connection to Mrs Miniver.

The talk will not be recorded

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