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Town’s wartime story told in new volume

PUBLISHED: 11:38 12 August 2020 | UPDATED: 11:38 12 August 2020

Tim Groves has written Sheringham at War – 75 Years On. Images: Karen Bethell/Out of Box Publishing

Tim Groves has written Sheringham at War – 75 Years On. Images: Karen Bethell/Out of Box Publishing

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The story of Sheringham during the Second World War has been told in a new book to be released for the anniversary of war’s end.

The front cover of Sheringham at War – 75 Years On, which is to be published to mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day marking the end of the Second World War. Picture: Supplied by Out of Box PublishingThe front cover of Sheringham at War – 75 Years On, which is to be published to mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day marking the end of the Second World War. Picture: Supplied by Out of Box Publishing

Sheringham at War – 75 Years On, written by Sheringham Museum director Tim Groves, shows how the town coped under the pressure of war, and hones in on the observations of two residents: Mrs RM Dhonan of Cromer Road, who recorded everyday life and Jack Farrow, who spent four years in the notorious Changi prisoner-of-war camp in Singapore.

Mr Groves said he owed a lot to the research of fellow museum founder, Peter Brooks.

He said: “Peter copied many of his extensive notes to me in the late 1980s used in the writing of ‘Coastal Towns at War’ and further archives were given to the museum following Peter’s death.

“I feel fortunate to have been able to draw from his research and transcripts of many interviews.”

Museum trustee and director Tim Groves outside the seafront attraction. Photo: KAREN BETHELLMuseum trustee and director Tim Groves outside the seafront attraction. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Lord Richard Dannatt, former head of the British Army, wrote the book’s foreword. Lord Dannatt said Sheringham played its role in the war by taking in evacuee children from London, facing bombing from enemy planes, defending the coastline from invasion and having soldiers from the town become prisoners as Singapore fell.

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He said: “These events, and many more, were the daily stuff of conversation and the lived experience amongst the congregation in St Peter’s Church, in the shops along the High Street, over a beer in the Two Lifeboats and in the Lifeboat Station itself.

“In the era of total war, everyone was fully committed; there were no spectators.”

Madeleine Ashcroft, town mayor, added: “As a community, Sheringham has shown itself able, time and time again, to rise to whatever challenges fate has thrown at it.

“As I browsed through the pages of this beautiful and fascinating book, I immediately saw the parallels there with the months of lockdown we have all experienced as a result of the Covid-19 virus pandemic.”

Lord Dannatt is due to officially launch the book at Sheringham’s North Norfolk Railway station on Friday, August 14.

It will be on sale at the station, as well as at the town’s Tesco, Starlings and other stores, as well as online at OOTBShop.co.uk.

The book can also be purchased on offer with its sister publication ‘Sheringham at War – 100 Years On’.


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