Monday, 21 June 2021

Families tell their stories of wars

Families tell their stories of wars

AN amateur historian has published a book detailing anecdotes of time spent in the armed forces or as a civilian in wartime.

Jerry Cockeram, from Whitchurch, will be selling Glimpses of War: Volume 1 on his website from Monday.

Proceeds will go to the charity Blind Veterans’ UK, formerly St Dunstan’s.

Mr Cockeram began compiling the book after the British Modern Military History Society, which he co-founded two years ago, had to cancel its programme of monthly talks at Woodcote village hall because of the coronavirus outbreak.

He spoke to more than 120 contributors who had served or had a relative serving in the armed forces at any point in the past 200 years and took copies of old photographs or documents such as military records.

He also drew on his own family history and spoke to professional historians.

The 500-page volume includes more than 220 accounts from both world wars, including anecdotes from the Battle of Britain, Arnhem and Dunkirk, the Gallipoli campaign and the French resistance against Nazi occupation, and later conflicts such as Korea, the Suez crisis and the wars in the Falkland Islands and Afghanistan.

Mr Cockeram said: “We felt the project would help people to focus on something other than covid-19 and take their minds off all the terrible news around us, in some small way making a positive difference.

“With many of us having time on their hands, it was an ideal chance for supporters, their friends and families to research and write about their own or their family members’ experiences.

“We’ve had some remarkable stories of bravery and valour while others have told of being civilians enduring hardships and fear we cannot imagine.”

A second volume of the book will follow next year, with hopefully a third to come after that.

Submissions are still being accepted and people should send anything from a few paragraphs to three pages, ideally with documents or photos, to info@bmmhs.org

Glimpses of War is available for purchase at the society’s website, bmmhs.org

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