Wartime memories explode into book

Swindon Advertiser: Ron Burchell has written a book called Saucepans On Our Heads about what it was like to live in Swindon during the war Ron Burchell has written a book called Saucepans On Our Heads about what it was like to live in Swindon during the war

A LIFELONG Swindon resident who belongs to a popular writers’ cafe has taken the leap into the literary world with a collection of vivid memories from the town’s war years.

Ron Burchell, 83, will take readers on a trip down memory lane to when he was a schoolboy living under the barrage of German bombing raids during the World War II.

Ron, who worked in accounts for British Rail Engineering before retiring, said: “While I was in the library looking at a diary of wartime events, the memories came rushing back. I realised that this is a story that needs to be told because soon there will be nobody left to tell it.

“It’s part of the town’s history.”

Ron, who attended the former Euclid Street secondary school, has taken encouragement from fellow members of the group – called the Writers’ Kitchen – which is held at Lower Shaw Farm. His vivid memories, interspersed with touches of gentle humour, have already won him many fans at the monthly group.

Members share their work at sessions facilitated by poets Michael Scott and Hilda Sheehan, with Swindon Festival of Literature Matt Holland, who runs the farm, often on hand to give advice.

“I announced the news at the cafe and there was a round of applause,” Ron said. “Matt Holland also came rushing in to congratulate me and to say I would be on a table at the Festival of Literature. I couldn’t believe it.”

Ron’s book picks up the trail in 1939 and follows life in Swindon through to the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan and the rebuilding effort after the war. He grew up near his secondary school, in Princess Street, during the conflict and still lives around the corner in the town centre.

Saucepans on our Heads will be published by Ex Libris Press, based in Bradford-on-Avon, and Swindon Waterstones is considering a request to include it in the store.

The kitchen takes place on the last Thursday of each month. Visit http://swindonwriterscafe.blogspot. com for more information.

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