Pictures capture resilient spirit of wartime families

Derek James takes a look at a new book about wartime in a Norfolk town

It is a picture which tells a story of heartbreak and hope...and one which captures the spirit of the people who were determined never to be beaten.

This Norwich family are among the stars of a new book by historian and author Philip Yaxley called Around Wymondham in World War Two.

It was taken on D-Day, June 6, 1944, the beginning of the end of the war, and Emily Green was using her specially made cycle-cum-trailer to take her children to Browick Road School from their temporary home in a cottage opposite the Chapel Bell public house on Crownthorpe Road.

The Green family had been bombed out of their home in the city during the savage Norwich Blitz of April 1942 along with hundreds of others as great chunks of Norwich were blown to pieces.

Emily moved her children first to Norwich Road at Wymondham before moving in with cousin Fred Bunn on Tuttles Lane and finally to Chapel Bell.

In the delightful photograph young Ron Green is seen, hanging on to Flossy the dog who looks to be up for a run, with his sisters Joyce and June.

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And although the war was coming to an end another 26 evacuees, nine mothers and their children arrived in Wymondham the following month to dodge the doodlebugs.

The other picture was taken in the Market Place at Wymondham just before Christmas 1939 at the beginning of the war when some parents of evacuated children travelled to Norfolk to see their offspring.

More than 160 evocative illustrations are featured in the new book by Philip which is published by his old school friend John Nickalls. They both joined Thetford Grammar School in 1948.

The book chronicles preparations for war in and around Wymondham together with activities, events and scenes in the region through the years of conflict.

From air raids to the arrival of thousands of young American airmen who were like a blast of warm air on a cold day... so many of them never returned home.

'The book serves as a nostalgic trip for the older folk and gives younger people an insight into what life was like in the Wymondham area at the time,' said Philip.

The book is on sale at The Book Fountain, George R Reeve Ltd. and other local shops in the Wymondham area, as well as Jarrold in Norwich. It is priced at �8.99.