Screening remarkable story of town at war

PUBLISHED: 13:40 26 January 2006 | UPDATED: 14:35 12 May 2010

American servicemen in a VE Day parade in Royston, 1946

American servicemen in a VE Day parade in Royston, 1946

A DOCUMENTARY on the people of Royston during the Second World War is set to be screened next month. The documentary, Royston A Town at War, has taken the past seven months to produce. It tells the stories of life in the area during the war-time years a

Chris Murphy

A DOCUMENTARY on the people of Royston during the Second World War is set to be screened next month. The documentary, Royston - A Town at War, has taken the past seven months to produce. It tells the stories of life in the area during the war-time years and the experiences of those on active service. The man behind the project has been Chris Murphy, chairman of the Royston branch of the Royal Air Forces Association. He received a grant from the National Lottery's Home Fund Recall to meet the costs of making the documentary - and then had the task of putting together the material for a unique record of the period. "I decided that we needed to do something which was long lasting and would re-call the war-time years," said Mr Murphy. "It's the war years seen from a personal point of view." He said residents talked about the Home Front while veterans - who served throughout the world during the war - told vividly of their experiences. There is, too, a section on the arrival of the USAAF, which was based at Bassingbourn, Steeple Morden and Nuthampstead. "The documentary is laced throughout with original footage which, I believe, has not been seen before," said Mr Murphy. To help in the making of the documentary he called on the experience of John Harwood, of Exposure TV. Mr Harwood is an ex-Royston resident who "developed a real passion for the project". Said Mr Murphy: "He was quite unaware of the war-time years and the events that were happening locally. But once we started he was really enthusiastic. "We wanted to make it as professional as possible and, I believe, that's what we have achieved." Mr Murphy said one problem he had during the making of the documentary was making people open up. "It all seemed rather daunting to some of them and to begin with some didn't want to say much. But in the end they started talking and some of the things they said were quite close to the bone," he said. Editing of the documentary caused its own problems, said Mr Murphy. "We had about 30 hours of material which has to be edited down," he said. "It was quite a task and we had to be ruthless about the selection of material." The result will be seen when the documentary is screened at two showings at the Royston Town Hall on Saturday, February 18 and Sunday, February 19.

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