A FASCINATING insight into the life of a Swadlincote teacher during the Second World War has been captured in a new book.
These Wonderful Rumours: A Young Schoolteacher’s Wartime Diaries tells the story of 24-year-old May Smith (pictured) as she lived through life in wartime Britain.
She lived with her parents in Swadlincote and also taught at the then Springfield Elementary School.
Her diary was never published at the time but it was preserved by her son Duncan and features a whole host of stories from the horror of falling bombs to the lighter tales of a perm gone wrong.
A spokesman for publisher Virago said: “The book follows May as she navigates her way through irksome days at school, air raids and evacuees, a loyal and steadfast beau and a charming ever so slightly rakish one, the difficulties of buying a dress when down to the final coupon and most challenging of all, falling in love.
“This diary shows her to have been a born writer - insightful, witty and honest, capturing both the terror and mundane nature of life at the time.
“Through May’s words we gain a new insight into how the people of Britain coped with the uncertainty, the fear, the heartbreak and the black comedy of the time period.”
May was born in 1914 in Swadlincote and trained to be a teacher at Goldsmiths College, in London.
During the war, she taught at Springfield Elementary School and welcomed a whole host of evacuees during the war to the site.
After a marriage and children and a break from teaching, she returned to Springfield where she remained until her retirement in 1975.
She died in 2004.
The book covers the period of 1938 to 1945 and is written in a diary format.
The book will be published on September 12 and will cost £7.99.
It is also available as an e-book.
More information is available by visiting www.virago.co.uk