E.J. Rudsdale’s role as a museum curator and air-raid shelter superintendent at Colchester Castle during the Second World War gave him the perfect opportunity to record life on the Home Front in his journals. Seventy years later, the selected extracts gathered here provide a remarkable insight into wartime life.
Rudsdale’s writing is characterised throughout by his wry observations of wartime officialdom and his lack of conformity with the prevailing views of the time. He was a pacifist, which gives his journals an unusual perspective. However, even as a civilian he could not escape the conflict, living in a garrison town threatened by invasion and regular bombing raids. His journals, therefore, record anxious and tragic events, but throughout it all his sense of humour is never diminished.
This absorbing collection demonstrates Rudsdale’s ability to bring a scene vividly to life and each account highlights the daily pressures that people endured as they valiantly tried to carry on with normal life in spite of the war.