Review 2


Betty's Wartime Diary 1939 - 1945

by Nicholas Webley

Published by Thorogood

Source: Waterstone's

Book Description:

Towards the end of the 80s, journalist Nicholas Webley, doing some routine research in Norfolk, came across a diary hidden away in a tin box. Betty Armitage, born in the 1880s, had been a theatrical dresser and seamstress and then settled in Norfolk. With the outbreak of the war she started a diary. Unusually, the events of the war - the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, privation and survival, the American forces "invasion" are told from a country perspective. Funny and grim at the same time, here is a vivid and authentic 40s country voice.


The diary of Betty Armitage, a theatrical dresser and seamstress who retired to Norfolk just before WWII. It looks at the events of the war - the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, privation and survival and the American forces "invasion" from a country perspective.

From the Inside Flap:

Some years ago journalist Nicholas Webley stumbled across a remarkable find during a routine investigation in a small house in Norfolk – a diary kept during the war years and scribbled for the most part in school exercise books and scraps of decomposing paper, written as it turned out by a seamstress born in the 1880s. Betty Armitage was a theatrical dresser during the first part of the century and moved to Norfolk before the war.

Her diary is unusual, as it views the events of the war through the eyes of someone born around the time of Queen Victoria's Jubilee. So many accounts of the war are based on military experience or life in cities during the Blitz; here the great events of those years are viewed from the country: privation relieved by the occasional poached pheasant, upheaval as thousands of bright young US servicemen "invade" East Anglia, quiet heroes and small-time rural villains. A time which seems familiar to us today through film but which was really another age springs to life in the pages of Betty's diary, funny, touching and unaffectedly vivid.

The cover is a montage of some of the most vivid and memorable images of WW2 - most of which are collector's items in their own right

The use of the "Stars and Stripes" at the centre of the front cover, with the USAAF Eighth Bomber Group insignia on the back, signify the enduring links with America

The insignia of the "Mighty 8th"

B17 (Flying Fortress)
Check the PHOTO pages links in the sidebar for more.