Between April and December 2020, over 20 accounts of the World War Two memories and experiences of Radley people and life on the home front in the village were published on the Radley History Club website. The accounts were produced by Club member and former chairman, Christine Wootton, and were published initially to mark the 75th Anniversary of VE Day in May 2020. Some of the accounts are about the wartime experiences of individual Radley residents (often in ways unrelated to Radley) and some about life on the home front in the village.
The accounts are based on recordings from the Club’s oral history collection and material acquired by Christine during research on other topics.
You can read the individual accounts online here or you can now download a PDF (2.3MB) containing all the accounts grouped in the following eight categories:
For August, in recognition of the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, five short articles of people’s memories of World War Two taken from the Souvenir Programme for Radley’s celebrations in May 1995 marking the 50th Anniversary of VE Day were published. Read more
Below is a photograph from the Club’s archives of a children’s fancy dress party held to commemorate VJ Day. It’s likely the party was held in a field on the other side of the Lower Radley mobile home park (where 3 Lower Radley now is) which was opposite the old village hall. The photo is labelled ‘V.J. Party 1946’, which is a bit of a mystery. However, it’s possible that the party was one of a series held after 1945 until well into the 1950s to celebrate VE Day and similar events, and so the date of 1946 may in fact be correct.
The May set of this series of short accounts of war experiences of people with connections to Radley and life on the home front in the village are now available.
The first account is that of a German lady, Lorre Stebbings, who married an English soldier after the war and later was a worshipper at Radley Church for many years.
The second is the wartime story of Doug Rawlinson, a long-time resident of Radley and member of Radley History Club who died in March. His account covers his time as an evacuee from London and his time in the Navy from 1944 to 1947.
The first three in a series of short accounts of the war experiences of Radley people and life on the home front in the village are now available. More will be published each month
Learn more about the project and read about evacuees in Radley in the war and the wartime tales of Bill Small and Charles Lockett. Bill was a private in the 4th Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (a Territorial unit), and Charles a squadron leader in the RAF. Both were captured by the Germans in northern France in May 1940 and spent the rest of the war as POWs.