Bideford during the War years is author Peter's 'labour of love'

US Forces march along the Quay

US Forces march along the Quay - Credit: Peter Christie

Local historian Peter Christie has just published his 41st book – and the third this year! He blames 'lockdown' which gave him enough time to write them.  
Entitled 'Bideford in the Second World War' he covers all aspects of the town's experience of the war in some 200 pages.  
The author looks at the town's fairly extensive pre-war preparations before examining what happened when war was finally declared.  
The arrival of thousands of evacuees and the establishment of the Home Guard are dealt with at length whilst another chapter covers the 'Home Front' including rationing, fundraising, entertainment, youth groups and wartime industry.  
Another chapter details recycling, which was vital during the years of fighting. The 'Military' section covers not just British and US troops but also German PoWs, many of whom remained in Bideford until 1948.  
The celebrations on VE and VJ Day are extensively covered – with a final section on events of the immediate post-war years. The book has over 400 illustrations in black and white and colour, and draws heavily on local newspapers amongst other records. 
The author, who has just completed his fourth term as Mayor of Bideford and is currently vice-chairman of Torridge district council says of the book: “Bideford was spared the worst impacts of the war but its history through these years is fascinating and full of interest.  
“The writing and collecting of the illustrations has been a labour of love and the process has been hugely enjoyable. 
“I still have a few more books I want to write and indeed one is well advanced.” 
The amazing collection of pictures capture an incredible period for Bideford, and the whole world, with camaraderie and the sense of togetherness shining through in every image.  
'Bideford in the Second World War' is available from Walter Henry's Bookshop in Bideford and the Burton Art Gallery & Museum – or direct from the author £15 post free – phone 01237 473577 or e mail him at peterstuartchristie@gmail.com 

September 1939 Bideford prepares for a gas attack

September 1939 Bideford prepares for a gas attack - Credit: Peter Christie

A collection of scrap iron collected to help the war effort - in front of the Art School on the Quay

A collection of scrap iron collected to help the war effort - in front of the Art School on the Quay - Credit: Peter Christie

The Geneva Revels - a local group of entertainers formed to boost morale during the war

The Geneva Revels - a local group of entertainers formed to boost morale during the war - Credit: Peter Christie

The programme for 'Salute the Soldier Week' 1944

The programme for 'Salute the Soldier Week' 1944 - Credit: Peter Christie

1943 Home Guard parade passing the Kingsley Statue

1943 Home Guard parade passing the Kingsley Statue - Credit: Peter Christie

Evacuees from London having tea and cake in Bideford

Evacuees from London having tea and cake in Bideford - Credit: Peter Christie


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