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Wartime Hebden Bridge and Calderdale

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

New book by Hebden Bridge history writer Peter Thomas

  • The accents of Bethnal Green and Dagenham in Hebden Bridge
  • A top-secret military establishment above Cragg Vale
  • An invasion of Hipperholme and Lightcliffe by Belgians
  • The 1000 lb Wheatley bomb that failed to go off

These were some of the more unexpected results of Neville Chamberlain's solemn announcement of war in September 1939. But who knew what to expect? Gas masks and air raid shelters had already made their appearance, but was it really going to be so bad?

Seeing it Through

This book seeks to uncover what 'it' was really like: in other words the Home Front in Halifax and Calderdale. Well-researched factual evidence is sprinkled with fascinating personal stories as the author examines every important facet of life during these years - the blackout, rationing, bombing, an influx of soldiers and evacuees, and new challenges for women. Meanwhile the Home Guard stood ready to repel the feared invasion.

If these are familiar enough ingredients, then the flavour is provided by the varied ways in which individuals reacted to these circumstances. Everyone's life was touched by the war. There was, as Churchill promised, "blood, toil, tears and sweat," but these turbulent years were also illuminated by kindness, friendship, love and humour. Both sides of the coin are captured in a book which uses graphic contemporary images to help evoke the spirit of extraordinary times.

Buy now (£10) from the Hebweb online store

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