After much preparatory work and visits to the Western Front, Gallipoli and, most recently, Malta, I'm commencing work on a related book - Two Lives, Two World Wars.
Thank you to Oliver Phillips for a kind mention in his Watford Observer blog:
"...It serves as a further reminder that books on local subjects deserve as much publicity and exposure as we can muster. They are essentially a labour of love, for I know that had the two people closely involved in the production ofWatford in the 20th Century series been paid the normal hourly rate, the books would have had to be sold at least double the cover price.
It is a further reminder of a fact I have begun to appreciate: it is the journey that is the delight, rather than reaching the publishers. There is great fillip to be obtained from the book finally making it to publication, but really, as far as I am concerned, it was the research, the writing and the honing, which I found most rewarding and absorbing.
You can become hooked on that. For instance, after publishing her father Ted Parrish’s Echoes of Old Watford, Bushey and Oxhey a year ago, Lesley Dunlop is now working on another book. Entitled Two Lives, Two World Wars, it will focus on local historian Ted Parrish and his father Reginald.
Lesley will delve into Ted’s life in the area and his experiences in the Royal Air Force in India and Burma during the Second World War. Extracts from the many letters he sent to his future wife, Peggy, will be included in the book, as will cartoons he created based on life within the South East Asia Command (SEAC). He did not forget his beloved Watford and Oxhey while he was at war, as is evidenced in his letters.
As a comparison, Lesley will research the life and experiences of Ted’s father Reginald, a military musician and regular soldier with the Royal Fusiliers. Policing the Empire, his regiment was called back in late 1914 to support the fighting on the Western Front, but instead was sent to Gallipoli. After being wounded, he was despatched to Malta to convalesce and subsequently fought on the Western Front.
He, too, spent his married life in Watford, instilling a love of the area in his only son, Ted, and entertaining local people with his band, The Sylvanians.
“I have visited sites on the Western Front and Gallipoli where my grandfather fought and will visit Malta, where he convalesced, in the spring. I am also exploring the possibility of visiting World War II-related sites in India and Burma, where my father was stationed,” Lesley tells me, adding the fact she intends to weave life in Watford during the First and Second World Wars with the two life stories.
That declaration of intent sums it up, for however well a local book sells, it will not refund the cost of flights to India, Burma and travels round the Western Front and the hours it will take to put it all together. Lesley is writing and researching, much as George Mallory approached his mountaineering: “Because it is there".”
I’m pleased to say that ‘Echoes’ has been positively received and is selling well. This illustrated limited edition publication makes a perfect gift for those interested in learning what it was like to live in the area from the 1920s onwards – or those who remember and would appreciate a nostalgic read. The free-standing chapters explore the different aspects of life, and the people and events that took centre stage, in what was then a quiet corner of south west Hertfordshire. If you are looking for a real local history insight – this is it!
I must declare an interest because I was a friend of Ted Parrish's until the day he passed away. His daughter has done him proud with this book. Ted always wrote from the heart, he had a great interest in local history and this book proves it. Anyone with an interest in Watford and the area around it will enjoy this book enormously and anyone not familiar with the area will wish they lived there! Warmly recommended.
I just want to say how much I enjoyed your father’s articles, they are very interesting. How pleased he would be to know that thanks to your editing and all the nice photographs, it is now a really good book!
A local author and friend has kindly sent me a copy, which I have enjoyed reading. I consider that we are singularly fortunate to have so much relevant material on the history of the Watford District.
Knowing the area for most of my life I believe this work would grace many a local collection.
If you'd like to know a little more about the book and the author, listen to Nick Coffer's programme on BBC Three Counties Radio on Monday 7th October, around 1230.