First to appear will be former WAAF, Eileen Younghusband, who has written her memoirs of WW2, entitled One Woman’s War.
The book reveals the truth about the forgotten wartime women, barely out of their teens, who were employed for this critical job because they were quicker than men. It also has contributions from Dame Vera Lynn and Emma Soames. Emma Soames, who is Winston Churchill’s granddaughter and editor-at-large at Saga Magazine, believes that this story must be heard. She says: “It is excellent to be reminded what a great debt we owe to this group of brave, dedicated young women who, in a highly charged and stressful situation, where time was of the essence, did so much to save our country from destruction.
Now in her 91st year, Eileen has appeared on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Breakfast, and has contributed to a documentary series "WW2: The Last Heroes”. She has also been in talks with a production company about turning aspects of her life into a drama series.
For 83-year-old Barbara Pontin it is almost like coming home. She worked in the Fairwater Library for twenty years and is excited to be returning as a published author. Barbara began writing her book, Merlys, in her early forties. She says: “With a family to look after it became increasingly difficult to devote my time to the book, and although I did have some interest from Hollywood, I put the manuscript away and forgot about it.”
Early in 2011 Barbara came across the 40-year-old manuscript and decided to breathe new life into the 18th century story of murder, anguish and love across the Welsh valleys. She continues: “I wanted my story to reach as many people as possible, so I contacted Candy Jar Books in Cardiff. They were very supportive, but did encourage me to start the book with a shock. I don’t think they expected it to be so blood-curdling though.”
Barbara is quietly pleased by the reaction to the pre-release of Merlys. Mischievously she says: “My friends have been very shocked by this book. They didn’t know that I had it in me. Most thought butter would not melt in my mouth. It has been fun to prove them wrong!”
Shaun Russell, director at Candy Jar Books, is very proud of Eileen and Barbara. He says: “At Candy Jar we like to support new talent. Barbara Pontin’s Merlys is quite a brave book. It takes romantic fiction into a slightly gruesome world of wreckers and highwaymen. On the other hand, Eileen Younghusband’s One Woman’s War describes WW2 in considerable detail. It is an important account of women’s contribution to the Allied victory in 1945. Eileen's story is an inspiration to us all.”
Eileen Younghusband will be at Fairwater Library between 11am-1pm, with Barbara Pontin there between 2pm- 4pm.