Sunday, 14 June 2015
Many a Shadow by David Barter
Bill was a country boy, born on a farm only 40 some miles from London, it might as well have been 1,000 miles away, such was the gulf between the two places.
He received his education at the local village school, played all of the usual games that country boys played with their school mates, enjoyed the country pursuits that dated back to times immemorial, let school at 14 to be apprenticed.
Unfortunately for Bill his idyllic rural lifestyle came to an abrupt end when Europe went mad and began devouring itself during the madness that was World War 2.
Bill was yanked from the safe, comfortable countryside that he was familiar with and thrust into the hellstorm of World War 2.
We follow Bill as he fights his way across Europe having landed on the beeches of Normandy and, somehow, lived to tell the tale.
The horrors of the war were leavened, just a little bit, by a variety of factors such as finding oak barrels of calvados in the cellars of an abandoned French farmhouse.
It also touches very movingly on the transition from armed forces to civilian at the end of the war, which was otherwise known as the demob and the adjustments that husbands, wives and children had to make after six years or so apart.
It is a moving, well-written account of Bill's life.
It is published by Matador at a very reasonable £8.99.