Offwell residents share their wartime memories

Dick Erith was the eighth of ten children (nine boys and a girl). Four of his older brothers were in

Dick Erith was the eighth of ten children (nine boys and a girl). Four of his older brothers were in the war, one died and one returned from a Japanese POW camp. The photograph of seven of Dick’s older brothers was taken in 1926, the year Dick was born. - Credit: Archant

Four Offwell residents, aged between 84 and 94, have spoken about their memories of the war years and how the conflict impacted on their lives as children.

On May 8, 1945, VE Day, crowds flocked to Buckingham Palace to celebrate with the royal family while towns and cities across Britain held street parties.

But after six years of war not everyone recalls VE Day as a moment of victory.

For those who had lost family and friends celebrations were more muted.

Across Europe the killings continued, millions were strving, homeless and traumatised, and VJ Day was still some months off.

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Offwell resident Barry Tuke, a navy man, remembers, aged four, seeing the merchant ship convoys at Southend and saying to his father: ‘I want to drive one of those when I grow up’

Dick Erith was working on his father’s farm on the Suffolk/Norfolk border, alongside American Air Force bases and German and Italian POW camps.

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Grace Ayres father was a local baker and St John Ambulance Driver.

She remembers the relief at not having to sleep under the kitchen table any more.

May White’s school in Newbury was bombed 20 minutes after school finished fo the day - she completed her education at an Elizabethan manor house.

Their personal stories have been posted on the Offwell village website.

See them at:

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