Thornley, Ludworth and Wheatley Hill - Their Contribution in the Second World War 1939-1945
Large A4 size softback, 265 pages (N5450)
From the introduction: This book documents the role of men and women from the three County Durham coal-mining villages of Thornley, Ludwworth and Wheatley Hill during the Second World War. The book contains detailed Rolls of Honour of those who died from the three villages and also as much information as we have been able to find on the active service of those lucky enough to return home and resume their peacetime lives.
Some were prisoners of war in Germany, Italy and Japan. Some were wounded. Many returned unscathed, in body if not in mind. All were left with a legacy of memories. Some experiences were never spoken of and have been lost forever.
Other memories, happier and increasingly taller in the telling and re-telling, have become the subject of much genial banter in the pubs of the three villages down to this day. Rommel, Montgomery, Churchill and more were certainly names to conjure with, through the years, under a plume of cigarette smoke and with a pint in hand.
However, it is remarkable how far and wide the war took our local men and women. From the Russian convoys to the jungles of Burma, from the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940 to the ruins of 1945 Germany. Someone from these parts was actively involved in almost every major action in which British forces were engaged. As many as possible of these experiences are documented here.
The main section of the book is organised as a chronology of key wartime events, with local context added from wherever we could find it: the local press, eyewitness memories and handed down family stories, personal letters and papers supplied by relatives, official archive documents and, not least, the casualty records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
However, the Home Front has not been neglected either and the book also includes much information on those involved in munitions work and the Home Guard. The collieries were a vital part of the war effort, so much so that many 'Bevin Boys' were drafted in to help fill the labour shortage caused by those many miners who were away in uniform. And the huge munitions complex at Aycliffe (and the smaller one at Tuthill) employed a-very large number of local women and some men.
It's now almost 70 years since the start of the Second World War. This is still an era which is just within living memory, but not for much longer. With this book we have tried to put on permanent record the achievements and sacrifices of local people in 1939-45.
The condition of the book is generally very good. The covers have one or two very minor scuffs but are clean and bright, the spine is tight and intact, and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound. There is a small price sticker on the rear side cover, and the book curves upwards along the left and right hand edges from where it has been stored flat on the shelves.