LETTERS TO LIZ
Memories of a Farmer’s Wife in War-Torn England
by Peggy Pickford
The Liz of Letters to Liz is a young Englishwoman who emigrated to Australia with her new husband not long before the outbreak of the Second World War. Left behind was her sister Peggy, living in the depths of the countryside with her husband Austin and young family of boys, her mother, and her brother Nick who was at the time serving in the Merchant Navy.
This story is an account of the war years from Peggy’s point of view: the nightly horror of air raids nearby; the restrictions on daily life; and the constant worry over friends and relatives in the “danger zone”. By contrast, anecdotes from Austin’s involvement in the Home Guard provide some humorous relief, and Peggy’s descriptions of domestic scenes are told with much warmth.
Excerpts from “Ma’s” letters provide a further dimension to Peggy’s story. A strong and fearless woman, Ma longs to help the war effort but, to her great annoyance, she is often thwarted in this desire by her age. However, and much to her delight, she is able to sail away in the middle of the war to Jamaica, serving en route as a stewardess.
It is interesting to compare the different outlooks of Peggy and her mother as shown in their letters. The story finishes with a surprise decision by Peggy and her husband to emigrate, in 1946, to a farm in Kenya.