Published in the Hastings & St.Leonards Observer on Thursday
8 November 2012 16:00
(Me pictured with Burma Veteran Hugh
Seaward and Peter and Irene Hayesmore)
"The launch of a historians latest book has
brought together relatives of men who died in the Second World
War with veterans who served alongside them.
Local author Victoria Seymour last week launched Letters
to a Part Time Barmaid, the ninth and final in her series
of books on Hastings and St Leonards pre-war, wartime and
post-war social histories.
Despite its flippant title, the book charts the story
of those who returned to England following the war and set
about rebuilding their lives.
While conducting background research for the book last
November, Victorias search for the relatives of six
local men, who died in the Second World War, appeared in the
letters section of the Observer.
Responses to the appeal eventually brought forward several
relatives including Peter and Irene Hayesmore, the children
of Ernie Hayesmore, who had died in battle in 1944, as well
as two 92-year-old veterans of the Burma Campaign, who had
served with him.
The book launch, which took place at a benefit for the
local branch of the Royal British Legion, at the East Hastings
Sea Angling Association on October 25, was the first time
these people had met.
Victoria said: Out of the six, four people came
forward who were connected with those men.
You can imagine how emotional it was.
She added that these war children, now in their seventies
had said that the meeting with their fathers comrades
brought them a feeling of peace and closure.
The inspiration for Letters to a Part Time Barmaid is
a collection of post-war letters, found at an auction in Hastings.
The letters were written by a Dunkirk survivor, who had
returned to his pre-war job in the construction industry and
was travelling about England, repairing and rebuilding bomb-damaged
It was during these travels that he met a part-time barmaid,
to whom he wrote shy love letters during the mid-1950s.
Victoria said: This postal courtship is very much
of its time and also gives an insight into the day-to-day
working life of the 1950s.
Victoria will be signing copies of her book at Waterstones
in Priory Meadow on Saturday , November 10 from 10am onwards."
© 2012 Johnston Publishing Ltd