War memories brought back by volunteers’ forthcoming exhibition at Thameside

MEMORIES of the Second World War and its impact on Thurrock will be evoked by an exhibition due to open at the Thameside Complex next month.

‘Remember World War II’ is a free exhibition researched and presented by Thurrock Museum Volunteers in the ground floor exhibition space of the complex from Monday, 2 September to Friday, 20 September (closing at 11am on 20 September).

The exhibition commemorates the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of war and features Thurrock memories. Neville Chamberlain, the Prime Minister, announced the declaration of war on 3 September 1939 and this exhibition is the first in a series which will commemorate major events and recognise the home front.

The exhibition features 40 living memories and family contributions from Thurrock. Some of the memories are from people who were children at the time and recall air raids, collecting shrapnel and rationing.

Many children were evacuated from Thurrock, mostly with their schools, and experienced vastly different lifestyles while they were away. At home a strong theme is air raids and bomb damage, in the towns and along the river.

Other contributions cover the armed forces, the men who went away to war, and people at home who volunteered in the civil defence. Thurrock people were at the D-Day landings, the invasion of Italy and on arctic convoys among other theatres of war. Every memory and contribution has a local connection.

Images on display come from personal collections, Thurrock Museum archives and the Thurrock Gazette.

The intention of this project is to publish the memories and family contributions in a book.

Among the pictures with this story are images of the Cromwell Road bomb damage, the Winkworth Family at an air raid shelter in Purfleet,
ARP wardens giving a lesson on a stirrup pump at Purfleet and a Spitfire fund collection held at Grays Fire Station in November November 1940. All pictures courtesy of the Thurrock Museum. Also featured is a picture of Peter Giggens, Essex Regiment, provided by Pamela Patterson.