Stairwell Books has recently introduced a new series of memoirs, letters and Historical accounts.
Lewis Hill was mustered into the RAF in 1941. From the very beginning he wrote home to his wife, Doris, describing his life as an enlisted serviceman. This incredible record follows ‘Lew’ through his training, life with a balloon squadron in England, his journey to the Middle East on the troopship Queen Mary, service at Eldoret in Kenya, and his career in Egypt. He returned to England by way of Malta and France, fully expecting to be demobbed at Wythall near Lichfield but spent a further 8 months at RAF Cardington , another demob centre, near Bedford.
This memoir, edited by Pauline Kirk, gives readers a remarkable insight into life in the services during the Second World War; day to day life on and off the base; an alternative view of wartime. It is a valuable record of the places Lew visited, places whose names feature so much in present day news. He demonstrate the remarkable freedom of movement available to members of the armed services, compared with the off duty limitations experienced by military personnel in today’s conflicts.
This is also the testament of a man and his love for a woman whose hand in marriage he had to fight for. Mail home was censored so his letters were written with restraint, both to prevent the enemy discerning valuable details, and to keep the privacy of his relationships. Lew’s letters are a remarkable testament to the endurance of his love through five years of separation.
Edith Jerram, Rita's grandmother, left her rural Derbyshire village in 1884 to join her fiancé in Canada. Edith kept extensive journals graphically describing her life on the Canadian prairies, documenting the hardships and heartbreak of rural living.
Rita has transformed the journal entries which reflect the joys and hardships of nineteenth century life, and also reveal the growing maturity of a young woman becoming a mother and widow, marrying three times and living in a harsh landscape. Throughout her life she endured great tragedy, yet also found a lasting love. Despite her many setbacks, she never lost her deep appreciation for the opportunities that Canada offered to young women of her era and never tired of the beauty and splendour of her adopted country.
The Tales are not a transcription of the journals, but are a drawing out of the stories told in Edith's voice as if recounting her experiences to younger relatives or visitors. Readers can imagine themselves sitting in front of the parlour fire on a chilly evening, wrapped in a blanket and equally rapt listening to Edith reminisce about her past. These stories are a brilliant glimpse into the daily realities of the rural frontier half a world away from the turbulence in Europe which marked the turn of the century.