Derbyshire’s unsung heroes – war on the home front
Thousands have written of their experiences during those years, but many more have not, and time is running out to capture the memories of those who lived through the extraordinary period between 1939 and 1945. There have been plenty of wars since, but no generation has had to experience total war, where the lives of every man, woman and child was affected. In this second of three articles, Tom Blyth reflects on a new book by local author Malcolm Cowper.
NO PREVIOUS WAR in British history had relied so heavily on the contribution of the civilian population to achieve victory. In the 1914-18 war a large number of women had worked in factories to replace the men at the front, but in the Second World War not only did thousands of women go into the workplace, but men too old or unfit for military service, or in reserved occupations, were also required to do war work, as air raid wardens, first aid workers, firewatchers or in the Home Guard. Some were drafted into the coal mines. Others were engaged in secret code-breaking work which enabled military commanders to know what the enemy was planning .Everybody ‘did their bit’…
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