The stories behind the story
FT Podcast Ep 34 – Wartime Holidays - WW2 history podcast
Great WW2 podcast unpublished history!
Hear the diary Anne Cheall wrote on holiday in Wales in July 1943. A brief sojourn before returning to the bomb making factory.
Learn about midnight prowlers sneaking around the youth hostel in war time Wales
Hear some wise advice about how to lead your life from my Mum’s secret jottings in her recipe book – such as:
I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading me. Listen in to hear the rest …
I’m Paul Cheall, son of Bill Cheall whose WW2 memoirs have been published by Pen and Sword – in FTFDTH.
The aim of these podcasts is to give you the stories behind the story. You’ll hear memoirs and memories of veterans connected to Dad’s war in some way – and much more.
I’m going to start by saying I’ve been very naughty. I know I said last time that this episode was going to be about veteran Freddie Linacre, but I’ve decided to quickly sneak something else in first. But I’ve started to record the Freddie episode aswell so if all goes to plan you’ll be downloading both (podcast) episodes at once. Ww2
But the reason I’ve changed the order is that I’ve been helping Mum sort out some boxes of old photos and I came across a little diary written years ago. It’s entitled Colwyn Bay July 1943 and it’s Mum’s record of a short holiday she had with some friends in Wales. It’s very sweet and innocent and full of the sorts of memories that would have undoubtedly have been of their time.
And it rather fits in nicely with the theme of women at war so it’s logical to publish it now as part of a trio. Also included in this episode are some sayings that my Mum used to use to guide her thinking in life. Before we turn to Mum’s diary, just a few quick words from me,
Firstly, hello Sweden! And thank you for listening – Sweden is No 5 in my listening charts. Massively in the lead is USA, followed by UK, Canada, Australia, then Sweden. I can see I’m going to have to learn how to speak Swedish here! Stay listening to the end my friend.
Planning to cover Sweden in the war sometime, it won’t be for months yet so you have plenty of time to get your grandparents or parents to tell you any stories they might have. Sweden was neutral but I bet any money there was secret stuff going on behind the scenes.
But you know this doesn’t have to be just about Sweden or bombs blowing up. We’re recording history here and I think I’m finding out from Mum’s stuff that it’s all interesting material.
And I see I’ve just made it to the heady heights of no 97 in the podcasting charts in Belgium!
Allo, gooey morgjer, alles hoot?
And Hello Korea – It looks like there are around 40 of you listening in. So I’ll say:
Hwan yong ham ni day
Or should I say
Oh sayo sayo
I’ve just been reading Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare
recommended by Andy Dryden. And what a book – if you’re looking for a good present for someone I’d say look no further, well other than Dad’s book of course! It’s all about the dirty tricks Britain learnt to play against the enemy during WW2, including resistance activity in other countries, and it is absolutely breathtaking. It’s a Sunday Times top ten best seller. I’ll put a link in the show notes and if you use that link to buy it I will get a small commission which will help towards the costs of the show. I’d stress that you will not pay any extra for this privilege. The price you pay will be whatever the going rate is on Amazon. And if you buy anything else through Amazon whilst you’re there, I’ll get a small commission on that aswell. So thank you in anticipation.
So this episode isn’t full of good old army action but tales of a more genteel nature. Of course at this point Mum would never have met my Dad, and he would have been fighting for his life in Sicily around this time – so quite opposite ends of the spectrum really. Dad was sheltering from heavy shelling near the River Simeto at the battle of Primasole Bridge, Mum was probably sheltering from the rain under a tree!
Dad? – he was eating Bully Beef and flies, Mum was enjoying smoked Salmon! There’s the peaceful tranquillity of a sojourn in Wales compared with the breathtaking brutality of War.
So, in 1943, Mum was 21 years old. She was working in an armaments factory making timers to go into bombs. And for a few wonderful days she forgot about the war:
Here goes. It’s written in rather feint pencil and I’m reading direct from the pages so if I wet the girds wrong you’ll have to excuse me … So, close your eyes and picture the tranquillity of these wonderful holiday memories. I managed to record Mum just a few days ago when I told her what I was doing and her memory suddenly sparked into overdrive and she gave me a lovely introduction to it all:
Mum’s recipe book and little sayings and proverbs which guided her:
I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading me. It vexes me to choose another guide – Emily Bronte
It is not wisdom to be only wise
And on the inward vision close the eyes
But it is wisdom to believe the heart – George Santayana
To do something however small to make others happier and better is the highest ambition, the most elevating hope, which can inspire a human being – Lord Avebury. WW2 podcast
Friends – see book
May the best you’re ever seen
Be the worst you’ll ever be
May the mouse ne’er leave your larder
With a tear drop in it’s ee
May your rum keep blithely reekin
Till you’re old enough to dee
Maye you always be as happy
As I wish you now to be
You will be hearing the Freddie Linacre interview, a veteran who fought a similar war to Wilf Shaw – hear his Alamein memories of North Africa and more.
In conclusion, thanks you for listening to the show. I’m very grateful to everyone who’s been putting up ratings, reviews, liking my Facebook page. And to all those people listening in from outside of the UK, I love you all! Well. I love the Brits aswell!
If you haven’t actually subscribed to the show in your listening app of choice, I’d be very thankful if you could do so because it will help me get up the search rankings and assist other people to find one of your favourite shows – and who knows what fabulous memoirs they might have to share with us at some future date?!
I’m off to have coffee with veteran Stanley the next few days and I’m going to take that steel helmet to show him that you might have already seen Wilf trying on – so maybe I’ll try to get a bit of video of Stanley to post on Facebook and Twitter.
About Betys y Coed
Johanna’s sign off - Tack och hej leverpastej! (Translated to "Thanks and hi liver paté")
Anyway, to all those people listening in Sweden and courtesy of johanna who tipped me off about this phrase
I’ll finish now …
I’m Paul Cheall, saying
Tack och hej leverpastej
Bye bye now!
A few place names mentioned in the show:
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Hear the diary Anne Cheall wrote on holiday in Wales in July 1943, aged 21. A brief sojourn before returning to the bomb making factory.
Learn about midnight prowlers sneaking around the youth hostel in war time Wales
So this episode isn’t full of good old army action but tales of a more genteel nature.
At this point Mum would never have met my Dad, and he would have been fighting for his life in Sicily around this time – so quite opposite ends of the spectrum really.
Dad was sheltering from heavy shelling near the River Simeto at the battle of Primasole Bridge, Mum was probably sheltering from the rain under a tree!