Halifax and Mosquito aircraft had a large part to play in the winning of the Second World War, according to most historians of aviation.

Then there were the Mulberry Harbours, which enabled the Allies to back up the successful landings of D-Day and push on into France.

The Germans held back some of their forces, convinced the main Allied offensive was going to come via landings at Calais.

They gained that impression after they received reports of mass tank build-ups in Kent, which were in fact no more than tubular steel contrivances, covered in canvas to help them look like a whole range of tanks and armoured cars.

Those deceptive erections, the Mulberry Harbours, the Halifax and Mosquitos, all originated in south west Herts. In fact the Mosquitos were built of wood culled from Whippendell Woods.

These are just some of the revelations of how Watford and the surrounding towns and villages contributed to the war effort back in 1939-45.

The details, and a host more, are featured in our latest publication Watford and the 20th Century Volume 2 (a study of south west Herts 1939-1959).

Much of the wartime production and many wartime casualties were kept from the public and the facts were not unearthed until years later.

Now many of the mysteries from yesterday have been cleared up. How the locality suffered, yet helped to win the War, is featured extensively in the four-part 196-page book.

How south west Herts fared in trying to win the Peace, is also featured in our look at the remainder of the somewhat pivotal 1940s.

Later, in the 1950s, the local workforce would be able to reflect and admit that probably indeed, they never had it so good.

Yet prosperity brings change and with it a change to the nature of our high streets.

Oliver Phillips, who researched and wrote the book, also went down memory lane in the 1950s to recapture some of the spirit of the high streets of yesteryear.

It all adds up to the most in-depth local look at south west Herts from 1939 until 1959 – 20 action-packed years.

Watford in the 20th Century is a limited edition publication available at the following select outlets.

  • Bartholomews, Bedmond
  • Wards, South Oxhey
  • The Pond Post Office, Watford
  • Carpenders Nursery, Carpenders Park
  • Bushey News, 18 High Road, Bushey Heath
  • Watford Museum
  • Waterstones, Harlequin Centre
  • WH Smith, Rickmansworth
  • Van Hage garden centre, Chorleywood
  • Londis, Baldswins Lane, Croxley Green
  • Bushey Post Office, High Street, Bushey
  • Newsbit, 107 Villiers Road, Oxhey
  • Jameson News, The Parade, Delta Gain, South Oxhey
  • Sainsbury's, Dome Roundabout, Garston
  • Chorleywood Bookshop, New Parade

It is also available from the offices of the Watford Observer and through our website via the links below.

Price: £12.99 + Shipping

Please order using the links below:

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Watford Observer: Watford in the 20th Century Vol 2