Sequel to Lexden in Wartime to be released

First published in Your Second World War Memories by

A second volume of local wartime memories will be launched next week.

Like its predecessor, Lexden in Wartime II features residents' recollections of the area during the Second World War.

The memories have been collated by Liz White, secretary of the Lexden History Group, who said she loved the process.

“We had such fun,” she said.

“The participants were very honest, and enjoyed talking about their memories.

“We've got some very interesting accounts.”

Mrs White is hoping that the second volume will be as well received as the first, which is now used as a source in Lexden's primary school.

“What's nice is that these are the memories of normal people,” she said.

“They were not politicians or soldiers – they were people at home who can tell you what a doodlebug sounded like when it went overhead.

“They can tell you what life was really like.”

One of the participants, Phyllis Gill, remembers her mother telling her to run home if the air raid siren sounded.

She said: “One day when it had gone off, we delayed going home.

“By the time we got to the top of our road the German plane was machine gunning.

“Mum had been looking out of the front door to see if we were coming and she shouted at us to lie down in the hedge.”

She added: “The plane just went over.

“That was really frightening but it was the nearest fright we had.”

Fellow contributor Peggy Byford said she learned to tell the difference between the siren and the all clear.

“When the all clear sounded, my son Barry and I used to run up and down with our Union Jacks,” she said.

“I think when we were in our shop, Byford’s Bakers, we just carried on.”

Meanwhile, Gwen Warner has memories of the gas masks handed out during the war.

She said: “The smaller children had Mickey Mouse ones.

“We always had to take ours with us in a square cardboard box, but I only remember putting them on when we practised at school.

“They smelt of rubber and rubbed your skin a bit.”

Lexden in Wartime II will be launched next Wednesday **Oct 21**.

Limited copies will be on sale through the history group, priced at £10 - visit for details.

A copy will also be available at the local studies centre at Colchester Central Library.

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