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Diaries of a Wanstead air raid warden on show at Redbridge Museum
A diary kept by a banker and his wife of their time as air raid wardens during the Second World War has gone on display.
The diary and accompanying photographs belonging to Frederick George James and his wife Daisy are on display at Redbridge museum until September 28 in the ‘Caught on Camera’ display.
Fred and Daisy were stationed at Warden Post 43, situated in Harpenden Road, Wanstead.
Their diary starts on the day war was declared on Germany - September 3 1930 - and ends on June 18 1945, giving an insight into wartime Wanstead and Woodford and the local air raids.
The first two diaries also discuss personal matters like Fred’s father’s illness and subsequent death in 1939.
“It is a very moving and emotional account,” says Alexandra Lyons, exhibition curator at Redbridge museum.
Fred and Daisy were keen amateur photographers who attained Associate of the Royal Society of Photography in 1934 and 1954.
The photographs in the exhibition show air raid personnel and bombed houses with detailed descriptions added by Fred.
An extract of the diary from March 1940 about Fred’s younger brother Leslie reads: “A letter from sister-in-law Elsie this morning asks our advice: Should Les join up as a Ships Carpenter in the Navy to avoid serving as a fool stopper in the conscripted army - Gawd Knows.”
Fred’s anti-war sentiments are a theme running through this first hand account of life in Wanstead and Woodford during the Second World War.
For more information visit www.redbridge.gov.uk/museum or call 020 8708 2317
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