Former history teacher journeys through Europe to collect the untold stories of Second World War children

Sheila Renshaw with her new book
Sheila Renshaw with her new book
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AFTER a two-year journey hearing the untold stories of children living through the Second World War, a former history teacher from Stubbington has published her first book.

Sheila Renshaw collected first-hand accounts and experiences of children living across Europe for her book entitled Voices of the Second World War  A Child’s Perspective.

She said: ‘These accounts are from all over Europe, stretching from Russia to the Channel Islands, Germany to Malta and include a number from the United Kingdom.

‘Those in occupied Europe had amazing stories and some saw events that no adult should witness, let alone a child.’

She originally was inspired to write this book having talked to a neighbour who lived in the USSR during the Second World War.

Shelia said: ‘She told me she had never told anyone before as she did not feel anyone would be interested.

‘This urged me to get involved with providing a platform for people to share their story.’

Sheila, who grew up in an RAF family, maintained sourcing her information directly by travelling across Europe to speak to people and interviewed each person several times.  

‘I didn’t want any information I gathered to be from the internet or any other book published.

‘There are stories of bravery, danger and life under occupation. The stories were relayed according to their perspective at the time and the contributors were happy to share their experiences and memories.’

Sheila, who joined the WRAF after leaving school and married an RAF pilot, studied history and taught it locally in South Hampshire until she retired.

‘I have always been interested in history. This gave me the passion to write my first book,’ Shelia added.

‘It took me over two years to research, write and publish this book as I wanted to make sure everyone I wrote about was correct and accurate. I wanted to give a perspective from everyone involved in the Second World War.’

Voices of the Second World War  A Child’s Perspective can be purchased from Waterstones and it is also available online, through Amazon.