Wymondham in the war years

A fascinating new book takes a look at Wymondham in the war years - and Derek James has five copies to give away.

A friendship between two pals that was formed at school more than 60 years ago has resulted in a book which tells the illustrated story of a town at war.

That town is Wymondham, and the double act behind the fascinating publication is made up of historian and author Philip Yaxley and publisher John Nickalls, who always encourages local authors. Both have one thing in common: a love and a real passion for all things Norfolk, and especially Wymondham, the market town they know so well.

They have known each other since they both joined Thetford Grammar School in 1948.

Around Wymondham in World War Two is Philip's sixth book on the town; his last one came out 10 years ago.

Using more than 160 evocative illustrations, the book chronicles the town's preparations for war, together with activities, events and scenes in the town and surrounding areas through the dark years of conflict.

From air raids to Americans, all aspects of the war, as they affected the lives of Wymondham folk, are highlighted.

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And to set the scene each section starts with a list of major events in the global conflict.

'The book serves as a nostalgic trip for the older folk and gives younger people a real insight into what life was like in and around the Wymondham,' says Philip.

What comes across so clearly is the resolve and the determination of the people to accept the challenges and hardships thrown up by war, face them head-on and make the best of it.

What made life in Wymondham so different was the friendly invasion by hundreds of young American airmen: they were like a blast of warm air on a cold day. And the bond of friendship has been pased down from one generation to the next.

Around Wymondham in World War Two, by Philip Yaxley, is a John Nickalls Publication and is on sale now, price �8.99.

But you could be able to enjoy it free – because I have five copies of this charming book, packed with delightful pictures and stories, to give away. For a chance to win a copy, just answer this question:

Name the Hollywood film star who was based in Norfolk during the war and flew many missions.

The name I'm looking for went on to become a great supporter of the US Army Air Force Memorial Library in Norwich. Drop your answer on a postcard, add your name, address and a contact telephone number, and send your entry to me at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE, or email derek.james@archant.co.uk, to arrive before Friday December 10.

The senders of the first five correct answers out of the hat will win a copy of the book. Usual Archant competition rules apply.