Wild Strawberries

Derek Smith (2011)

History   Non-fiction   World War 2

This is the true story of a nine year old boy who at the height of the Birmingham blitz in 1941 is evacuated to a remote hamlet in south Stafforshire were he finds himself living with domestic and sanitary arrangements that had remained unaltered for over a thousand years. These experiences try a ‘tough little Brummie’ almost to the limit of his endurance.

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About this book

This is the true story of a nine year old boy who, at the height of the Birmingham blitz, is transported from his ‘all mod cons’ big city home to the safety of a house in a remote south Staffordshire hamlet, a mile and a half from nowhere, where he finds himself living in domestic and sanitary conditions that have remained unaltered for over a thousand years – the culture shock to end all culture shocks.

It describes his acceptance of and assimilation into the country ways of life; his struggle for an education in a village school built to house ninety local children, but then grossly overcrowded by more than a hundred evacuees from not one but two Birmingham schools; his first faltering love, and the adventures that he was able to undertake by virtue of the fearless freedom afforded to children in that far off time exactly seventy years ago.

A contagious affliction sees him whisked away from the now familiar village of Yoxall and he finds himself living in a grand country house where a whole new series of adventures begin, resulting in an episode that tests the resolution of a tough little ‘Brummie’ almost to the limit.

About Author

Derek Smith

Derek Smith was born in 1931 at the Selly Oak Hospital Birmingham to parents who had relocated from Merseyside. He attended Yardley Wood School and in 1942, shortly after returning from the Staffordshire village of Yoxall where he had been an evacuee, he won a scholarship to Moseley Grammar School. After leaving school he worked for the International Nickel Company at their Research and Development Laboratories in Birmingham and continued his studies on a day release basis. In 1952 he was called up for National Service in the Royal Air Force and joined Number 256 Squadron based in Western Germany. He was demobilised in 1954 and in 1956 went to work for the Steel Company Wales near Swansea. In South Wales he, his wife Marjorie and their two boys, Roger and Duncan, lived in the village of Pennard on the wonderful Gower Peninsular, the first ever designated ‘area of outstanding natural beauty’. In 1978, after 21 years with British Steel, as it had then become, he moved to a new plant being built by the Aluminium Company of America (ALCOA). Unfortunately, the British arm of the company fell into financial difficulties and his new job became redundant. In 1983 he [...]

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