Last night on the Olympic broadcast, Tom Brokaw did an excellent piece on how the British held off the Nazis alone. He showed video clips of the devastation of London, and he interviewed survivors of the war. One of the interviews was an eighty-year old man who had lost his mother in an air raid bombing when he was only seven years old. The poor man still remembered every detail of that horrendous day. It’s hard to imagine that kind of emotion.
In Brokaw’s broadcast, we saw the resolve of the people to defend their homeland, which was fired by their leader, Winston Churchill. Through Churchill’s carefully crafted words broadcast over the “wireless,” he inspired the British to confront overwhelming odds and hold on.
My new novel, “Tea and Biscuit Girls,” brings this period of history alive through the eyes of girls who were sent away from London for their safety and sanity. Like all people in the island nation, these characters endured days when bombs fell from the Luftwaffe for over 50 days straight. They see their homes destroyed, neighbors die and still they keep their “stiff upper lip” and spit in the eye of the enemy.
After the bombings started, the O’Neill girls were exiled by their parents to go to Scotland to live with relatives they had never met. The story follows these city girls as they were forced to grow up as Land Girls and later became WAAF officers, who learned to plot the information received from the new technology–RADAR.
Such courage is rarely seen in everyday life. It takes a disaster to bring out this kind of resolve. Can you imagine your town being blown to bits by an enemy who wants to take away your freedom? We had a taste of this when the twin towers fell in New York, but we never worried about falling into a hell of sadistic SS officers and foreign invaders. At least I didn’t. I can only image how the war-torn Brits felt.
But I can appreciate their sacrifices and admire their steadfast resolve to fight to the death, and put it all in a story from girls’ perspectives who must grow up in a very difficult world.