A rich account of the impact of the Second World War on the lives of people living in the farms and villages of Britain.On the outbreak of war, the countryside was invaded by service personnel and evacuee children by the thousand; land was taken arbitrarily for airfields, training grounds and firing ranges, and whole communities were evicted. Prisoner-of-war camps broughtA rich account of the impact of the Second World War on the lives of people living in the farms and villages of Britain.On the outbreak of war, the countryside was invaded by service personnel and evacuee children by the thousand; land was taken arbitrarily for airfields, training grounds and firing ranges, and whole communities were evicted. Prisoner-of-war camps brought captured enemy soldiers to close quarters, and as horses gave way to tractors and combines farmers were burdened with aggressive new restrictions on what they could and could not grow. Land Girls and Lumber Jills worked in fields and forests. Food – or the lack of it – was a major preoccupation and rationing strictly enforced. And although rabbits were poached, apples scrumped and mushrooms gathered, there was still not enough to eat.Drawing from diaries, letters, books, official records and interviews, Duff Hart Davis revisits rural Britain to describe how ordinary people survived the war years. He tells of houses turned over to military use such as Bletchley and RAF Medmenham as well as those that became schools, notably Chatsworth in Derbyshire.Combining both hardship and farce, the book examines the profound changes war brought to Britain’s countryside: from the Home Guard, struggling with the provision of ludicrous equipment, to the role of the XII Corps Observation Unit. whose task was to enlarge rabbit warrens and badger setts into bunkers for harassing the enemy in the event of a German invasion; to the unexpected tenderness shown by many to German and Italian prisoners-of-war at work on the land. Fascinating, sad and at times hilarious, this warm-hearted book tells great stories – and casts new light on Britain during the war....
|Title||:||Our Land at War: A Portrait of Rural Britain 1939-45|
|Number of Pages||:||464 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Our Land at War: A Portrait of Rural Britain 1939-45 Reviews
4.5Thoroughly enjoyed this book which describes life in rural England during World War 2. Each chapter covers a different aspect, for instance sport or how paintings were stored to prevent damage or how some of the great houses were utilised. I thought I knew a fair amount about this period but I learnt something new on every page.The writing is clear with just the right amount of quotes from original sources. It really does put you in the mind of the people who lived through this period with a real sense of events unfolding in front of you.
This is proving to be an invaluable resource for those tiny details on every day living in rural England in those years. I would have appreciated some issues to have been tackled with a little more depth - hence 4* rather than 5 but read over all it gives an excellent base from which to explore the various subjects at greater length.
The Second World War irrevocably changed life in Britain in a multitude of ways, but none more so perhaps than the way it changed the very face of the countryside. Urban renewal is an inevitability across the centuries - buildings are torn down, re-built, refurbished, extended, torn down again - but the face of the British countryside had never been so drastically altered since the days of Enclosure. Parkland was put to plough, grassland dug up and devoted to new crops, vast swathes of forest cut down to meet the demand for timber, moorland turned over for firing ranges, airfields and bases beyond counting constructed across the South and Southeast of the country, new roads, new buildings, new camps, new runways. Little wonder that some returning soldiers scarcely recognised their homes at the end of the war.Most histories of the Second World War focus on the glamour and drama of the war - the military histories, of course, and histories of the Blitz or life on the home front - but there was little glamour or drama in the countryside, and this is what Duff Hart-Davis focuses on in this book, drawing on oral accounts, letters, diaries and memoirs of those young and old at the time. From country sports to village fetes, evacuees and Land Girls, prisoners of war, foraging and the black market, new farming techniques and traditional country crafts, whole villages evicted to make way for military training, country houses requisitioned for soldiers and HQs, all of country life is here, and it's a marvellous read. I found this quite a moving read in many places - and funny too, from the turning of badger setts into bunkers and the declaration of grey squirrels as public enemies. There are bombs here too, of course, and heroism, perhaps of a quieter sort, but to tell the story of the War by only focusing on the soldiers or the Blitz is to miss out the heroism of the rural backbone of the country.