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Historians say thank you for D-Day stories with tea and cake

(back l-r) Georgie Busher, chairman of Bishop's Waltham Museum Trust, Anita Taylor, registrar of Bishop's Waltham Museum Trust, Pat Lambert, member, Amy Radford, D-Day Museum project officer and Betty Hiscock, oral history leader, with (front l-r) Melva Avekukk and Peggy Soreley. 

Picture: Sarah Standing (141945-4072)

(back l-r) Georgie Busher, chairman of Bishop's Waltham Museum Trust, Anita Taylor, registrar of Bishop's Waltham Museum Trust, Pat Lambert, member, Amy Radford, D-Day Museum project officer and Betty Hiscock, oral history leader, with (front l-r) Melva Avekukk and Peggy Soreley. Picture: Sarah Standing (141945-4072)

 

HISTORIANS held a tea party to thank people who shared their experiences of D-Day and contributed to a museum exhibition.

The Oral History Group from Bishop’s Waltham spent six months collating these stories from more than 40 older residents from the town and surrounding villages.

The group of six volunteers spent hours researching, interviewing and transcribing the records after receiving cash from the National Lottery Heritage Fund last year.

The group used the money to buy a recorder and put it to immediate use to capture ‘A child’s eye view’ of 1944 events for a D-Day exhibition at the Bishop’s Waltham Museum.

There was a tea party at St Peter’s Church and Church Hall, in Free Street, Bishop’s Waltham, yesterday to thank their contributors.

Gillian Atkins, of Victoria Road, Bishop’s Waltham, was one of the historians.

Mrs Atkins, 70, said: ‘They are very personal records of what happened. These people are not going to around for much longer, we’ve even lost two since we started the project. That’s why it was so important to document their stories.’

Among dozens of stories, Pete Turner, from Meonstoke, recalled selling newspapers to American troops as a 13-year-old.

He said: ‘I went up there one night as usual and when I went there, there were about half a dozen blokes cleaning up. They’d gone. Just like that, they’d gone.’

Farmer’s daughter, Jean Emery, picked strawberries for a cream tea for Churchill and Montgomery when they visited Curdridge.

Anne Horn, now 81, spotted Churchill in his railway carriage when she visited the Droxford where he spent the tense final weekend before the invasion of Normandy.

Historian Betty Hiscock, of Blanchard Road, Bishop’s Waltham, encouraged people to see the exhbition.

Mrs Hiscock, 59, said: ‘We have some very interesting stories and they are now preserved for the future, so that the young people of today can learn what it was like to grow up in the war.’

The D-Day 70th Anniversary Exhibition is open every Saturday and Sunday from 2pm until 4pm at Bishop’s Waltham Museum, which is housed in the Farmhouse at Bishop’s Waltham Palace, until September 21.

 

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