Memories of WW2 contained in book

Memories of WW2 contained in book

6 January 2021

A NEW book evoking wartime memories of Newcastle has been published.

Newcastle Co Down 1939-1945 Snapshots from a Family Diary has been written by Judy Grove-White, who is a local librarian, and tells the story of the war years through the eyes of her grandfather.

Using family stories and information from local newspapers, including the Down Recorder, this book is a glimpse of what life was like when Newcastle was home to British and American soldiers training to fight overseas and a time of Home Guard patrols, rationing, cross border smuggling, celebrations and tragedies.

Judy’s grandfather, Ian Knighton Smith, was originally from Dungannon and studied civil engineering at Trinity College in Dublin.

He left for Canada in 1909 to work on the Canadian Pacific Railway and then went to India where he designed and built new rail routes.

On retiring in 1938 he and his family settled in Newcastle, having brought a large house, Burrendale, where the Burrendale Hotel now stands. During WW2 he served in the local Home Guard.

Judy says: “Listening to stories that my mother told about life as a teenager in Newcastle during the war, with rationing, black-outs and the arrival of American soldiers, I wanted to find out more about what the town was like and reading copies of the Down Recorder from those years  gave me a real insight into events.   

“Rather than tell a straightforward narrative of events, I have told the story through the eyes of my grandfather and have used family photographs, as well as photos from the Newsletter to help tell the tale.

“I’ve always been interested in this period and then I had the chance to look through the Down Recorder newspaper reports of the time and found a fascinating story of what life was like.

Combining the family stories of my mother and her parents and information from the newspapers, this book is the result.”

After studying history at university Judy has worked in local libraries and has a keen interest in local and family history, researching the history  of midwives as part of  a masters in Irish studies. She lives in Newcastle, and works in Newcastle Library.

Newcastle Co Down 1939-1945 Snapshots from a Family Diary is available from Amazon price £6, Kindle version £1.50.