Eastside Community Heritage

A Working Class War

The Second World War was not an event but an era. it was a time when many people had to make hard choices and many more had no choices at all. For working class families this was not unusual. Survival continued to be the essential guide to life. While Billy Welch crouched in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, Harry Shingler split rope in an English prison as a conscientious objector. Both of them had chosen the course of action which seemed right; both of them faced unexpected and unpleasant results. Two ordinary working class, families divided by the Thames retell their experiences of life during the Second World War on the home front. This oral history of real lives brings home to us the  massive diversity of experience of that one war, over half a century ago, which continues to fascinate us.