Okeford Fitzpaine at War – Village Voices

About a year ago, some of us from the village’s local history group decided to try to ensure that Okeford Fitzpaine did its bit to mark the 75th anniversary of VE day, then planned for 8th May 2020.

What could we do? We soon decided to try to contact as many as possible of the people who we knew actually lived in the village at the time and try to gather their memories.

We contacted people willing to be interviewed, did our training on how to interview, and borrowed a recording machine from Dorset History Centre. Interviews and other work were done early in 2020, and we set about writing a booklet which we were on track to launch on the 8th May itself.

Then you-know-what intervened. The VE Day celebrations were cancelled and with it the launch of our booklet. However, we had gone too far to turn back and decided to launch the booklet on VJ Day, 15th August, come what may. And that’s what we are going to do.

The scope of the booklet has expanded. It contains great memories and stories from no fewer than six folk who lived in or around the village at the time. They range from everyday life in the village to local connections with the upper reaches of Mussolini’s government, and the Japanese surrender. We have added loads of pictures and cuttings, contributions from villagers born overseas about their native country’s experience of World War 2, and reflections on what happened after the end of the war and in the 75 years since.

The booklet will be a unique record of a unique time. It will be full of local interest but with an international flavour too. If you would like to reserve a copy, please contact us on gcolls9@aol.com or 860743. We have not fixed the price yet as it depends on demand but we expect somewhere between £5-£10.

Okeford Fitzpaine Local History Group