The “A Village at War “ CDs
The “A Village at War “ CDs are now available from Graham Noble and are free of charge. This of course will be on a first come first served basis, I am available on g.rc.noble at btintetrnet.com and phone contact is 01373 859770.
CDs will also be available at our next talk.
In February 2014, the Dilton History Society started a journey to explore the impact of WW2 on the village and some of the people that passed through during that period. The idea being to capture the memories of those that lived through that time before they were lost forever.
We had been awarded a grant of over £14,000 to do this and a year to complete by the Lottery funding to deliver the results on a DVD that could both be shared by the community and be held as an historic record for future researchers to make use of.
At the initial meeting it was clear that there were certainly a number of people in the village willing to share their thoughts and additionally we were given access to some artifacts found locally which gave us some focus on the troops that were located in the area during the war.
From this we developed our ideas to help plan and explore the various areas that formed the core of what went on, from village life, through evacuees to the American troops that were based around the area. It was a fascinating time.
We interviewed a number of local people and their thoughts are now captured for posterity on our DVD; a really revealing exploration of people’s memories which seemed as sharp as if it was yesterday. Village life, evacuees, crashed planes and school life at the time.
We also researched the American troops, discovering 2 murders on the way! It seems that there were over 5,000 troops based in the area, a significant number being black Americans, on the build up to D Day. They were largely responsible for the development of what is now West Wilts Trading Estate, then known as G47, a logistics centre for delivering troops and goods to D Day and beyond, ending up as a hospitalisation centre for wounded troops returning from the front.
We also tried to track down a particular soldier who lost his dog tag at the camp based at the Brake’s farm, where upwards of 1,000 troops were based before D Day. Private Holloway, an African American, joined up in ’42 and was a part of the 960th Company who have a really fascinating history through the war.
In the summer Prof Neil Wynne came to give us a talk on African Americans in UK during WW2 and a fascinating talk it was; quite amazing the influence their being in UK at that time had on the future of black Americans when they returned to USA, seemingly a catalyst for change that is still happening now.
The work is now done, the DVD is available and everyone who wants one in the village can have one. We hope you enjoy it and it provides a history of the time that you can reflect on over time.
Onward and upward to our next project.