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‘I was awarded the Burma Star and the Yankee Star for my service, but all I really want is for the people who fought alongside me to be remembered.’ So said Ivor Roberts Phillips, one of hundreds of men and women interviewed here about their personal experiences of World War Two. It is more important than ever that we remember, and that children growing up now understand something of what they went through. There are lots of interviews not just with soldiers but with airmen, land girls, members of the Desert Rats and the SOE, and civilians, including those who as children lived through the bombing, in the UK, Germany or Japan. They tell stories of resilience, grief and unexpected happiness, speaking candidly to their interviewers, many of whom are children, and it’s impossible not to be moved and humbled by them. ~ Andrea Reece
A note from Tatti de Jersey, Walker Books There are over 80 witness accounts and interviews in the book mostly done by children. The children have spoken with grandparents or neighbours who were prisoners of war in Japan, lived through the Blitz in London, Portsmouth or Manchester, fled the war zones as refugees on the Kindertransport, one who worked with Winston Churchill at the War Rooms and Eve Branson who was a wren.
How important is it for our children, our future generation to learn about living and working through WW2 and the aftermath of war? The children learnt what it was like to live during WW2, living on rations (Martha Vine, daughter of Jeremy learnt about boiling up onions which were delicious!) or being the bomb aimer on the dambuster raid, Johnny Johnson the last surviving dambuster was interviewed by his grand daughter! They were awestruck by the stories and how their grandparents relived their experiences.
Moving narratives include Lady Zhava Hohn recalling her experience in a concentration camp, the last surviving dambuster, Johnny Johnson telling his great grand-daughter about his time as a bomb aimer, Joy Hunter relating her work alongside Winston Churchill at the War Cabinet to her great grand-daughter, RAF Gunner Harry Irons recounting his first bombing raid on Germany, Anita Lasker-Wallfish explaining how playing the cello in the orchestra at Auschwitz saved her life, Dutch Kirk, the navigator of the Enola Gay on navigating and dropping the bomb on Hiroshima and Takashi Tanemori who was playing hide and seek at school in Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 describing what happened after the atomic bomb fell in his city.
Other voices include narratives from Judith Kerr, Shirley Hughes , Jan Pienkowski, Baroness Trumpington, Eve Branson, Esther Ranzen and the last interview with Sir Nicholas Winton on why he set up the Kindertransport programme in Czechoslovakia in 1936.
A powerful, moving collection of first-person accounts of the Second World War. Contributors include a rear gunner who took part in sixty bombing raids, a Jewish woman who played in the orchestra at Auschwitz, a Japanese man who survived Hiroshima and Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved 669 children by setting up the Kindertransport program from Czechoslovakia.
Many of the interviews were conducted by children, and the book is being published in association with award-winning children's newspaper First News.