Midhurst WW2 Memoirs Publications

Aims and Development

Guide and Story Line Booklet

Guide and Story Line Booklet


The Midhurst WW2 Memoirs Project 

This long term, project is documenting the life and times during WW2 of the Midhurst Rural District of West Sussex. Its story line comes from the memories of a young evacuee there from London. His own story line is used as the thread for the many remarkable and unexpected, back stories of the times.

WW2 was the most traumatic period for the Midhurst District. Change was major as the impact of the war tool hold locally. The aim of the project is to leave a consolidated record of that period. To do that it was first necessary to pull together the knowledge that is available: the prior 2000 year old  history of the rural Midhurst District. That foundation is needed to appreciate its place in things. One evacuee’s story is just one face of the story. It is used as the story-line on which the much larger back-story is threaded as the war progressed.

A collection of some 200 printed books and leaflets has been assembled as the project’s hard copy research base. These all have relevance to Midhurst events and objects.  Dating back decades, and only being in print, they are unlikely to ever be converted into digital files. The intention, when the project ends, is to gift these to 

Midhurst Town as a local reference resource for use by future generations.

Lists of figures and an index, are included for each volume. The Book 4 will contain a full index to all books. The e-book versions can be searched to find topics 

Guide and Story Line Booklet

Guide and Story Line Booklet

Guide and Story Line Booklet


Midhurst WW2 Memoirs: The Evacuee’s Story. Peter H Sydenham. Published 2018.

This is the companion guide to the Midhurst WW2 Memoirs series of 4 books. It gives the main points of the personal story and then describes the follow-on from that event and how the books are being developed.

46 pp. 21 colour and 9 B&W images. 150 x 234mm x 3mm RRP £2.50. 



What Luck - I got Midhurst  illustrated presentation

What the Lecture Started

The Book Series (as envisaged in early 2018!)

Book 1

Guide and Story Line Booklet

Book 1


Book 1. Midhurst WW2 Memoirs: 1. A Place Close to My Heart. Peter H Sydenham. Published 2018

Midhurst, West Sussex is a small English town, much awarded for its natural beauty. During WW2 it was awakened from rural slumber when overrun with troops and evacuees. This series of 4 books, covers its WW2 life and times. It uses the author’s evacuee memories to guide the reader through many, previously untold, back stories of that time. There having been no comprehensive history of the Midhurst district, most of Book 1 presents the pre-war 1000 yr history to give a solid foundation for the project.

374 pp. 50 colour, 140 B&W pictures. 150 x 234mm x 25mm  RRP £15.00


Midhurst WW2 Memoirs:  Introduction

1 Journeys Begin

2 Shaping Up

3 Good Outcome

4 Religious Influences

5 Catholics Lose Out

6 Under New Management

7 Unlocking Lives 

8 Freedom to Move

9 Poverty: A Crime You Did Not commit.

10 Man of 'Golden Deeds'

11 Improving the Quality of life

12 Haphazard Path to Beauty

13 Pre-war Lives

14 All Paths Lead to Midhurst

Book 2

Books 3 and 4

Book 1


Book 2. Midhurst WW2 Memoirs: 2. ‘Evil’ Rising: ‘Good’ Awakening  Peter H Sydenham. Publication expected late 2019.

This second book deals with formation of WW2. It did not just happen. 

It answers many questions; ‘who caused the war?’ Who were the Good and the Evil countries, and what were their long-term aims? Who resisted the Evil elements and what was their build up to the war over the last half of the 1930s? What kind of negative effects took place globally? Where were the Nazis in Britain before war on Germany was declared by Britain?

This book looks at how the people in Midhurst District reacted. Where were the wealthy estates? How did the growing presence of another war effect daily lives. What did families experience?

 How did the British Government react being the most World’s most powerful, but declining, nation?

ca.550 pp, 154 colour, 140 B&W pictures. 150 x 234mm x 25mm  RRP £20.00 

Contents of Book 2

1 Storm Clouds are Forming

2 Nazi Germany; the First Arch enemy of Britain

3 Others of the Evil Camp

4 The Good's Responds

5 The Allies

6 War Approaches

7 Persons without Essentials

8 Money Makes the World go Around

9 Glimpses of a Then Possible Future 

10 Midhurst Life with War Imminent

11 Where the 'Other Half' lived in the District

12 Entertainment and Sport         

13 Some Local Memories

14 War Begins in Britain

Books 3 and 4

Books 3 and 4

Books 3 and 4

Books 3 and 4 on period 1940-1950

Not yet completed, these last two books have their content topics and relevant research material deeply defined in the Scrivener authoring tool. 

Topics - will cover:

  • Events Elsewhere
  • Rapid Preparedness for War
  • Dad's War Service continues
  • Allied Military invades Sussex
  • Women’s Land Army
  • War time in the Midhurst District
  • Summer of 1940: Phoney War period
  • Things don’t go well for Britain and its Allies
  • Hitler not to be Pushed back: Dunkirk
  • Bombing - each way; the Blitz
  • Memories of Evacuees and Local Children
  • Operation Sea Lion. Hitler's Plans for Invasion
  • Battle of Britain 
  • St Ann's Hill Billet
  • War Time Fund raising
  • Build up to D-Day
  • Massacres!
  • Resistance to Hitler's Rule
  • Enemy activity in Sussex
  • Midhurst Town a target
  • Life in Easebourne
  • Steam power
  • Life in Red Lion Street
  • British Free Corp
  • Adrian Hill and the birth of Art Therapy 
  • The Lot of POWs
  • Dad's new Roles at RAF Balloon Command
  • D-Day - just before 
  • The Tide is about to Turn
  • Local War Production
  • Bombing the Bombers - The Allied Bomber Offensive
  • Sleaziness in Midhurst
  • Life on and after D-Day
  • Midhurst District’s Fallen
  • Midhurst housing expansion
  • Return to London
  • What the ROW was doing
  • Midhurst Continues to Surprise
  • Reflections
  • Off to Oz
  • Conclusions

Expected details for each book:: 500pp. 150colour, 150 B&W pictures. 150x 234mm x 25mm    RRP to be decided.