In 1940 Laurie Latchford was working as a customs official at Swansea Docks and acting as an ARP warden covering a sector around his home in Caswell Road, Newton, Mumbles. In his diary, which covers thirteen months from the end of January 1940, we see the growing intrusion of war on his family life, neighbourhood and his employment. He records his concerns about his wider family, German attacks on shipping, and the advance of German forces across Europe.
At the same time he records his gardening, family life and social life, all of which continue as normally as possible. In January 1941 he volunteers for service in Swansea during a heavy raid. The following month he encounters the aftermath of the ‘three nights’ blitz’ when central Swansea was heavily bombed. Both experiences have a profound impact on him.
Laurie Latchford’s diary is a remarkable testament to civilian spirit during the early phases of the Second World War, and to its well-balanced, thoughtful and conscientious author. A delightful read, it will be of great value to all those interested in the impact of the war on Swansea, South Wales and British society as a whole.
South Wales Record Society publication no. 22
Edited by Kate Elliott Jones and Wendy Cope
Published 2010, Hardback
This publication is sold and dispatched by the South Wales Record Society.