Edith, an eyewitness participating in IWM's We Were There programme
IWM

9 Questions

  • Where do you call home?

    I was born in Redruth, Cornwall. But I have lived in South London since I was 18 – so London is home.

  • What conflict(s) do you discuss when volunteering for We Were There?

    Second World War.

  • How were you involved in that conflict?

    I was born during the Second World War and my memories are like snapshots from an old album. Due to air raids we had a ‘Morrison Shelter’. I also remember the preparations for D-Day, the drone of German aircraft, blackouts, parachute silk, queues, the popular radio comedy programmes – It’s That Man Again and Workers’ Playtime, and rationing. Meat was tough as old leather, but anything could be put in a Cornish pasty!

  • How long have you been volunteering for WWT?

    I have been volunteering with We Were There since it began, 10 years ago.

  • What do you enjoy most about participating in WWT?

    I have always found IWM staff and fellow volunteers to be friendly and helpful. Aside from the serious nature of the subject – it’s full of fun. I also believe that visitors to the museum should hear as much as possible from all sides of conflict. Having a space for personal first-hand accounts and discussions with visitors is invaluable. It’s also my small part in aiding British tourism!

  • Tell us your favourite moment so far during the sessions?

    Every session there has been moments that have stood out and stay with me. The little boy who knew much more than me. The dear lady in her best sari from Sri Lanka who sang A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square with me. The young student who spent so long talking to me – discussing all aspects of conflict including the Elgin Marbles. Also the ladies who cried when they saw my baby books, along with all the cups of green tea ‘fuel’ that keeps me going!

  • What’s your favourite object in IWM’s collections and why?

    My favourite object in the whole museum’s collection is HMS Belfast. Along with all those who are ‘docked’ in her. It’s like a second home. There’s nothing like the Drumhead Service on the deck, held on Remembrance Sunday. The singing of Eternal Father, Strong to Save and the children from the Scout Groups who present the wreaths, and meeting up with old friends.

  • What do you like to do in your spare time?

    Non-fiction reading, singing in two choirs, craft work, gardening, visiting art galleries, museums and National Trust houses, and going to the theatre. Travelling – railways and family outings. I am also sometimes driven to get to know my vacuum cleaner and washing machine a little better!

  • What is your favourite biscuit?

    Sugar-free choc chip biscuits!

Volunteers help bring to life the stories of our collections. Find out more. 

Stories that deserve to be heard

Stories that deserve to be heard

Discover more

Women and men queuing outside Wood Green in 1945
Second World War
What You Need To Know About Rationing In The Second World War
In January 1940, the British government introduced food rationing. The scheme was designed to ensure fair shares for all at a time of national shortage.
'Dr Carrot', a bright orange bespectacled carrot, skips left to right carrying a top hat and a doctor's briefcase marked 'Vit- A'. text: DOCTOR CARROT the Children's best friend.
Second World War
11 Amazing Home Front Posters From The Second World War
From 'A handkerchief in time saves nine' to 'Plan ahead - allow for growing', the Home Front posters of the Second World War give a fascinating insight into life in Britain during the Second World War.  
two young boys dressed in school uniform. The boy on the left is smiling and wearing a uniform that fits him well. The image on the right appears to be the same boy but a little older and taller, wearing the same school uniform. He appears miserable as the uniform is far too small for him. text: Plan ahead allow for growing.
Wartime Fashion
8 Facts about Clothes Rationing in Britain During the Second World War
The imposition of clothes rationing was announced by Oliver Lyttleton, President of the Board of Trade, on 1 June 1941. Making the announcement just before a Bank Holiday allowed the Board of Trade time to brief retailers before the shops reopened. 

SUPPORT THIS PROGRAMME

As a charity, now more than ever IWM needs your support to ensure we can continue to tell personal stories and experiences of conflict for current and future generations to come.

A Balloon Site, Coventry
© IWM (ART LD 2750)
Donate Now
Make a donation to IWM and help us to tell the stories of those affected by conflict, launch our ground-breaking exhibitions and deliver our world-class learning programmes. 
IWM Membership
Become an IWM Member
Help tell stories that deserve to be heard by supporting us as a member and uncover a host of benefits including free standard admission to Churchill War Rooms, HMS Belfast and IWM Duxford.
An interwar Earl Haig Fund 'Remembrance Day' poppy
© IWM (EPH 2313)
Support us
Discover the many ways you can support our historically important sites and world-leading collection.