Gone, But Not Forgotten is the nostalgic memoir of former World War 2 schoolboy Stanley Blackmore, whose wartime years were spent at home with his parents in Leicestershire and at boarding-school in neighbouring Rutland.
Stanley’s father was in the church and consequently his childhood homes were vicarages – at St James the Greater in Leicester and later St Mary’s in the village of Bottesford.
Events depicted include the aftermath of Dunkirk, when battle-fatigued troops of the local regiments filled Victoria Park opposite his father’s church and later took part in an impromptu service of thanksgiving for their deliverance. Then there was ‘Leicester Blitz’ of November 1941, when for three successive nights the city took the full force of the Luftwaffe bombers (having been mistaken for Birmingham, it later transpired).
Later in the war, after the family had moved to Bottesford, young Stanley observed with keen interest the comings-and-goings at the airfield at nearby Normanton. The aerodrome was occupied by the USAAF – giving rise to some amusing incidents featuring US servicemen – and later used by the RAF to train pilots and troops in the use of Horsa and Hamilcar gliders for the airborne assault on Arnhem in 1944.
During all this time, of course, Stanley was continuing with his studies and putting up with the many constraints endured by civilians all over the UK during the war years. His keen observations of many small details of life on ‘the home front’ combine to create a lucid and colourful portrait of the times, which will be of considerable historical interest to modern-day readers and in particular to those from Leicester and Bottesford.