Second World War Drama ‘Stronghold of Happiness’ at the Dorset County Museum

Kitty Sansom and Toby Ingram in the play 'Stronghold of Happiness'

Kitty Sansom and Toby Ingram in the play ‘Stronghold of Happiness’

In 2015, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the ending of Second World War, Dorset couple, Peter and Ella Samways, have answered an advert placed by the local drama college, for couples who were married in Second World War to write in with their story.

They are excited when their story is chosen for dramatization, and are invited to watch a rehearsal of the play and to answer questions posed by the actors about the war and local history.

Watching their story unfold, with its shattering wartime events, turns out to be more dramatic and cathartic than the couple initially realised.

Stronghold of Happiness PosterThe play based on the book ‘Stronghold of Happinessby Devina Symes is fiction based on fact, and includes the true story of the RAF’s 151 wing’s unique mission to Russia, where the latter were the only members of His Majesty’s Forces to serve alongside the Russians as allies, and were on the first convoy to leave the United Kingdom.

Intrinsic to the story is Peter’s father, Archie, who, like other Dorset characters, copes with the dark side of life through humour and wisdom, and makes innocent observations about life at that time, little realising he is standing on the cusp of a vanishing world.

The performance is at the Dorset County Museum on Saturday 17th October 2015.  Tickets for the play cost £7.00 each to include a complimentary glass of wine or juice, and nibbles. Tickets are available from Dorset County Museum Shop or by telephone on 01305 756827. All proceeds will go to the refurbishment of the William Barnes Gallery at the Dorset County Museum.

  • 1940s dress optional!. Please note this event contains adult themes and is not suitable for children

Sponsored by Mark Cummins Chartered Certified Accountants & Tax Advisers www.cumminsaccountants.co.uk

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Basic sources for tracing World War II soldiers

Somerset & Dorset Family History Society

The SDFHS Military Advisor, Col Iain Swinnerton, summarises basic sources for tracing British soldiers who served in the Second World War. (Note: the details below apply equally towomen.)

Service Records

All records of post-1920 servicemen are confidential and remain with the Ministry of Defence (MOD). They are available free of charge to the man himself.

However, in recognition of the duty of care owed to the family of the deceased subject, for a period of 25 years following the date of death of the subject and without the consent of the next of kin, the MOD will disclose only: surname, forename, rank, service number, regiment/corps, place of birth, age, date of birth, date of death where this occurred in service, the date an individual joined the service, the date of leaving, good conduct medals (for example, Long Service and Good Conduct Medal LS&GCM)), any orders of chivalry and gallantry medals awarded…

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