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Watford at War 1939–45 (Paperback)

Military P&S History > Social History WWII World History > UK & Ireland > England > London World History > UK & Ireland > Towns & Cities in World War Two

By Dr Eugenia Russell, Dr Quentin Russell
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Your Towns & Cities in World War Two
Pages: 156
Illustrations: 25
ISBN: 9781473891708
Published: 3rd April 2019



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On the eve of the Second World War, Watford was a growing centre for light industry with close connections to London. These two facts would play an important role in how the ensuing conflict impacted on the lives of the people of the town and its neighbours in South-west Hertfordshire. This book puts into context local experiences by exploring how the dangers and sacrifices of war became everyday reality, and how the people responded through their involvement in the war effort as servicemen and women and as civilians.

The Second World War was total war. Every aspect of everyday life was a contribution to the war effort and every individual, from small children, to women and the elderly, joined those in active military service in propelling the nation to victory. The thorough exploration in this book of both civilian and military life in the area surrounding Watford brings the reader closer to the experiences of the local population during this time of unprecedented challenges. It is a reflection of the uniqueness of this war in being pervasive on everything individuals and communities engaged with.

Local regiments, the Home Guard, women volunteers, the involvement of schools and hospitals, evacuees, conscientious objectors, spies and prisoners of war, all come alive in these pages and tell the story of a town determined to make the most of life and contribute to the common good during the war years. Illustrated with archival and modern photographs, Watford at War 1939-45 is a fascinating read for everyone interested in the social history of the area, as well as readers looking specifically for material on the history of the Second World War at home.

As featured in: Recommended Reading

Cambridgeshire Country Life Magazine

Article: 'Husband and wife write book on Watford at War' as featured by

My Bushey News, June 2019

Author interview with presenter Nick Coffer

BBC Three Counties, 28th May 2019

Article: 'Husband and wife team from Bushey write history book about Watford during World War II' as featured by

Watford Observer/St Albans & Harpenden Review/Harrow Times/Hillingdon & Uxbridge Times (online), 20th May 2019 – words by Kelly Pells

About Dr Eugenia Russell

Dr Eugenia Russell is an author and Lecturer in History at St Marys University, Twickenham. She has lectured on the history of empires, Renaissance learning and exploration, the Ancient World, art history and political philosophy. 

About Dr Quentin Russell

Dr Quentin Russell is a historian, writer and producer. He holds a PhD in 19th century Anglo-Greek relations. He was part of the writing and production team on Exposure: the Musical (2016) and his TV documentary, An Exile in Paradise: The Adventures of Edward Lear in Greece and Albania, which was broadcast internationally, won the New York Festival’s Arts Silver Medal in 2009. His previous publications include Ali Pasha, Lion of Ioannina: the Remarkable Life of the Balkan Napoleon (2017) for Pen and Sword and an essay on Lear’s travels as a painter of the Balkans (1848-9) in the prestigious British Art Journal.

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