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Publication Review
A VILLAGE AT WAR - EYNSFORD 1939 - 1945
D.G. (Bill) Burcham
£2.50   A4, 39 pages, 11 sketches, 9 illustrations, 1 map, published 1995

You don't have to be old enough to have experienced the effect of war on Eynsford to find this publication fascinating. The paper gives an account of the problems and humour of the times, drawing on first hand experiences as well as documentation. Bill Burcham displays as much skill with words as he does with the artist's brush, and paints a picture of a village adapting and coping with everyday life in war time uncertainty. The comments in the local press by "Elvira", the pen name of Mrs. Hall, who lived in Sparepenny Lane, bring a balance of humour, reality and the much recalled "Wartime spirit". The paper is written chronologically, a year at a time in the first chapter. The second chapter then highlights aspects of village life. This chapter is liberally illustrated with Bill's detailed black and white sketches and here, the readers who knew the village at this time, will find a lot to reminisce over. The "war work" undertaken by the paper mill was, I found, an unexpected piece of information to emerge, as were the names of famous dance bands who played at the village hall, Maurice Winnick, Carole Gibbons and Victor Sylvester! Present residents will be surprised to read the list of the shops in Eynsford, the 3 tearooms, 5 grocers, a greengrocer, a baker, a butcher, Post Office and coal merchant that flourished in this period. However, they will not be surprised that the four pubs still survive in full vigour! Many residents of those days survive and I hope will even enjoy recalling those difficult days. The reality of War is inevitably death, and the Roll of Honour to the eleven Eynsford men who died, is listed. Appendix I lists the main events of the War, which is very useful in placing Eynsford's War in the global setting. Appendix II shows where bombs fell in the Parish and it is good to know no civilians were killed. The publication ends with photos of places and people which, given the limited printing facility of the publishers, gives added interest.

Audrey Gee
Amended review reprinted from The Trident magazine.