'All children should read my book,' says veteran World War II hero
Veteran World War II hero, Eileen Younghusband is back, and this time she’s got something to tell the children. And with the current political upheaval impacting all of the UK, both old and young, children need this book more than ever!
Eileen’s War explains how on September 3rd 1939 Britain declared war on Germany and everything changed. With Britain standing alone Eileen was determined to help defend her country.
As veterans gradually age and pass away, many of them taking their memories with them, Eileen sees her children’s memoir as her ‘legacy’ book. She says: “It is my hope that all children will read my book. I think it is really important to engage with young people about World War II. It’s a pivotal moment in our history. I feel my book helps to make a sense of the insecurities we all face at the moment. In truth I am not going to be around forever, but if my story can live on from generation to generation this will be wonderful. ”
Eileen joined the RAF as a Clerk Special Duties and found herself in the top secret filter room – a place so hush hush she had to sign the official secrets act to work there!
In 2011 she released her award-winning autobiography, One Woman’s War, to critical acclaim and since then Eileen has found her life has been turned upside down, with numerous social engagements, talks, television appearances and potential film offers filling her diary.
Eileen – who featured heavily in the BBC TV series Britain’s Greatest Generation, Channel 4’s D-Day to Berlin, and who spoke at the Battle of Britain memorial service in St Pauls Cathedral – now feels the time is right to reach out to young people with her story.
Eileen continues: “When I wrote One Woman’s War I wanted to shine a light on the work done by the women of the Filter Room. At the time our position in history had almost been forgotten. Now I am so proud that the women’s contribution has been acknowledged.”
In 2015 Bentley Priory opened a permanent exhibition dedicated to the Filter Room. During her service Eileen saw the invasion fleet heading for the Normandy beaches on D-Day; she received the coded warning of the first V2 rocket as it approached London, and later was one of a handful of WAAF sent to hunt the V2 launchers in Belgium.
Eileen says: “Our calculations not only told the pilots in their Spitfires and Hurricanes where to find the enemy. We also determined where air raid warnings would be sounded and where rescue boats would be sent to pick up downed Allied airmen. Truly these were life and death decisions.”
As a teenager visiting pre-war France and Germany, Eileen had the first intimation of the horrors to come. She continues: “I caught glimpses of the sinister side of the Nazi regime. Every shop in the busy centre ofBonnhad a framed photo of Hitler in the window.
“Following the Germans’ “Heil Hitler” salute, on one occasion two of us went into a greengrocer, gave a smart British Army salute and said: ‘God save the King and a kilo of plums please,’ in our accented German. The shopkeeper did not think it was funny at all; in fact he looked frightened and glanced around him to see if anyone had noticed.”
Eileen’s War by Eileen Younghusband is published by Candy Jar Books, price £6.99. It is available from www.candyjarbooks.co.uk
For more information, or to arrange an interview with Eileen, please contact email@example.com or 02920 157202