Review of the year - Men

PUBLISHED: 12:45 04 January 2007 | UPDATED: 14:57 12 May 2010

John Harwood, left, and Chris Murphy, whose Royston: A Town at War documentary tells an important story

John Harwood, left, and Chris Murphy, whose Royston: A Town at War documentary tells an important story

ONE of the most ambitious projects of the year was Chris Murphy s idea to make a documentary on the Second World War. The idea turned into a labour of love as Mr Murphy and his cameraman John Harwood spent time working on original material and interviewin

ONE of the most ambitious projects of the year was Chris Murphy's idea to make a documentary on the Second World War.

The idea turned into a labour of love as Mr Murphy and his cameraman John Harwood spent time working on original material and interviewing veterans - and then faced hours of editing the work into a three-hour documentary.

The result, however, was well worthwhile, and the documentary, Royston: A Town at War, has come to be seen as recording an important piece of history.

Veterans of the Second World War told in their own words about their experiences of those dark days.

Those interviewed spoke about the war involving the North Atlantic convoys, the battles in Europe, and the experiences of being captured in the Far East.

Each had a story to tell and their descriptions were both vivid and moving.

At the time, The Crow described the work as an important part of history which had to be preserved for future generations.

There were recollections, too, of life on the home front, and recollections of everyday life in Royston and the surrounding area during the war.

The second part of the documentary looked at the role the Americans played in the war, especially those based at Bassingbourn, Nuthampstead, and Steeple Morden.

Forty hours of interviews and days spent working through war-time archives produced this unique record.

Air Commodore Ed Jarron, secretary of the national Royal Air Forces Association, said after seeing the DVD: "It's a tremendously researched documentary which has taken a huge amount of work.

"It's memorable and compelling, and in the end a remarkable achievement."

Mr Murphy said: "Everyone who appeared in the documentary earned the right to say what they had to say."

The cost of making the documentary was helped with a grant of more than £7,000 from the Lottery Home Recall Fund, which was set up to aid projects revolving around the 60th anniversary of the ending of the Second World War.

"We set out to cover every aspect and every angle of the war through the people who were living here and those who served," said Mr Murphy.

- Royston: A Town at War costs £20 and is available from The Cave Shop in Melbourn Street, Royston and the Royston & District Museum or online at www.roystonatwar.co.uk

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