Helena Hall's war journals

By Claire Cooper

Marshal Voroshilov’s army has halted the German advance on Leningrad where an ‘immense and bloody battle is going on day and night.’ A fine hot day. I spent it at Birchgrove picking blackberries and made blackberry jelly and apple jam in the evening, There was no raid.

It’s 1941 and Britain is at war with Germany. But in Lindfield, like many other Sussex villages, life went on, with villagers determined to ‘keep calm and carry on’ against the backdrop of war.

Over the years many accounts have been written in the aftermath of World War II in an attempt to capture life on the Home Front.

But a series of diaries, meticulously kept by a Lindfield ARP warden, give a unique first-hand account of the war years and have now been published in a fascinating new book.

‘A Woman Living in the Shadow of the Second World War’ is Helena Hall’s daily diary of the war years from 1940 to 1945.

The book has been painstakingly put together by Lindfield residents Linda Grace and Margaret Nicolle over the last four years. “We read the diaries and fell in love with them,” said Margaret.

They found themselves enthralled by Miss Hall’s personal account of village life. “We knew that we were reading something really special,” said Margaret. “The diaries are absolutely fascinating and we quickly realised that just to publish the bits about Lindfield wouldn’t be a true tribute to what Helena had done.”

Read full article on page 16/17.