Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Forgotten Heroes of World War ; Imperial War Museum North Uses Pictures and Stories to Celebrate Those Who Came to Britain to Help Defeat the Nazis

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Forgotten Heroes of World War ; Imperial War Museum North Uses Pictures and Stories to Celebrate Those Who Came to Britain to Help Defeat the Nazis

Article excerpt

AN exhibition celebrating the forgotten contributions and stories of people who came to Britain during the Second World War opens in Manchester this weekend.

Mixing It: The Changing Faces of Wartime Britain, at Imperial War Museum North, features photographs and stories of soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen, refugees and war workers who travelled to Britain from all corners of the world for war work or to escape the conflict.

The pictures show people arriving from the Empire and Commonwealth - from Canada and Western India, for instance - as well as the United States, occupied Europe, and neutral Ireland.

Some depict waving armed forces, others battle weary German and Italian prisoners of war - some of the half a million or so who would be held in Britain during the conflict from 1939 to 1945.

Wendy Webster, an historian and professor of modern culture at the University of Huddersfield (which has co-created the exhibition with IWMN), says the display captures Britain at a time of unprecedented movement and ethnic diversity - and remind us that we have forgotten or overlooked the contribution of many nations to the Allied war effort.

"I have been researching for some time this incredible mix of people in Britain during the Second World War, which is not much remembered," Wendy recalls.

"There was this diverse mix of people, from Europe and from Germany - many who had arrived before the war - and places all over the Empire.

"The American story is quite a well known one: over paid, over sexed and over here! But the rest is not so well remembered: the Canadian troops, neutral Ireland, the thousands of volunteers and 100,000 or so war workers who came across.

"Armies were in exile here from France, Belgium, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Norway - that was the situation in Britain from 1940. …

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