Official Launch of Betty's Wartime Diary

Wartime diary rescued from shed (this article is from the East Anglian Daily Times, August 7th 2002)

THE first copies of a wartime diary which was rescued from a Norfolk shed have been delivered to the Dad's Army Museum at Bressingham by Corporal Jones' butchers van.

Badly damaged by damp and vermin, the journal was written by Betty Armitage, a widow who lived near Attleborough during the war. It gives a personal account of life in a rural area where many episodes of the popular BBC TV series were filmed.

Historian and journalist Nick Webley discovered the diary in an old tea chest, during routine research of American wartime air bases, and spent ten years transcribing and editing the boxes of papers.

He said: "Betty had about four jobs and sat down every evening to write this diary so she couldn't have got much sleep. She was a natural with words which made my job very easy.

"In it's own small way it is a masterpiece of observation and, as far as I know, is the only complete diary of the period from East Anglia."

Cpl Jones' 1935 Ford BB Box Van, which featured in the series written by David Croft, who lives at Honington, near Bury St Edmunds, was brought out of retirement from Birmingham especially for the book launch.

*Betty's Wartime Diary 1939-1945 is published in paperback by Thorogood. Priced £9.99, it is available from Jarrold of Norwich and other local outlets.

Photographs taken at the launch can be found on the photo pages

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