Oxted & District History Society - Talk
Oxted & District History Society

Chris McCooey , author of many non-fiction books, gave a lecture to the Oxted & District History Society.

In 1987, Chris McCooey was fortunate enough to be introduced to Joan Strange, who had filled 12 notebooks with a record of her daily life in Worthing from January 1939 to May 1945.  The notebooks also contained photos and newspaper cuttings. Life in Worthing was intermingled with national and international events.  Joan had a pro-Hitler, German pen-friend who recommended that she read an English translation of Mein Kampf but Joan did not manage more than a few pages.

The notebooks cover the evacuation of 3 million children over the first weekend of the war, 13,000 of whom arrived in Worthing.  The Blackout started and shortages of certain foodstuffs soon developed.  Wartime food and prices are described against a background of Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain, the North Africa campaign, the Normandy landings and the V1 bombs.  Women always carried shopping baskets when out in case items of food could be found.  Grocers and butchers were very well treated by their customers.  On 8 May 1945, Joan’s mother got out the flags at the end of the war and the diary ends on Thanks giving Sunday, 13 May 1945.



Dispatches from the home front by Chris McCooey