North Mymms during the war years
In September 1939, soon after Germany invaded Poland and war had been declared, the vicar of St Mary’s Church, North Mymms, the Reverend Leonard Buxton, sat down in his office to write a special edition of his parish magazine.
It was possibly the most difficult piece of writing he had ever undertaken, because many in the parish had loved ones and friends involved.
He had clearly decided he needed to address not only the political issues of war in Europe, but also the spiritual issues and, at the same time, encourage all who had remained at home to play their part in the war effort.
"My dear friends, On September 1st, Hitler's troops and aeroplanes invaded Poland. And on September 3rd Great Britain and France, in fulfilment of their promise, declared war on Germany. That, very briefly, as we all know, was the immediate cause of war. But we also know that we are not only fighting for Poland, but for those eternal principles of righteousness, mercy and good faith upon which alone security and peace can be based," he wrote.
Towards the end of his article he addressed the issue of the war effort 'on the home front', writing about what those who were not on the front line could do.
"In our parish we can try in every way to do our duty. One obvious task is to care for the children whom we are sheltering in our homes, to provide occupation for them, and to make their lives happy. We can also volunteer for various forms of service, and as far as possible, give our time freely to the service of the country", he continued.
Twenty parishioners died fighting in that war, their names are etched at the foot of a stone cross on the green at the end of the lane leading to St Mary’s Church, North Mymms.
Six years later another vicar, the Reverend Hamel-Smith, sat in his study at St Mary’s writing to his parishioners following the ending of the war.
"Soon now those who have been parted from their families for so long will be returning to their homes and they and we will be putting our hands to the plough to build a better and happier England in the faith of God, beginning, as we must always begin, in our own homes and in our own Parish," he wrote.
Now a booklet, entitled ‘On The Home Front’, is being reproduced, in full, on this site, thanks to the North Mymms Local History Society.
The booklet will be presented in ten chapters including Rev Buxton’s letter in full, the role of the special constabulary during the war years, local bomb damage, the work of the auxiliary fire service, the children of the parish, local civilian life during the war, the North Mymms Auxiliary Hospital, the church and its people and a chapter about ‘secret visitors’.
The booklet will take some days to scan and reproduce online so please be patient. Chapters will be added as time permits.
If you want to add your memories you can do so in this site’s forum.
11 May 2003