Rosa Bell (b. 1902): War & Memory

The majority of the events in Rosa’s memoir do take place during the Inter-war years although it is not directly mentioned by name. She does discuss mass employment and the poor having trouble feeding themselves, but nothing in detail about men joining the army and this includes her own family. But, because Rosa’s timeline begins in 1902 and concludes around the 1980s, I can guarantee that she would have witnessed a great deal of political conflict and war throughout that period of time.

However, there is only one specific mention a of certain war in the memoir. After Rosa talks about moving straight to London, she says that her brother George’s son Peter was a soldier during the Second World War: “… poor Peter who was such a nice boy, never thought they d make him a soldier – But he went all through the African Campaign then was killed at Arnhem.” (pg. 158) The African Campaign occurred from 1940 to 1943, which means Peter would have serviced in Libya and Egypt before losing his life fighting in the Netherlands, presumably during the Battle of Arnhem.

There were certain points of the memoir where Rosa did mention other deaths of men during certain wars, but they are not really touched upon. It was understandable in this case because she was reflecting on a member of her own family. Around 1914 when the First World War took place, Rosa and her siblings I imagine would have been too young to have had any actual physical involvement, so this understandably goes unmentioned. By the Second World War, she and her siblings had children old enough to recruit themselves. But, overall there is very little to work with in the memoir in this respect because it is not a pivotal focus unlike her home and family life.

 

Further Reading:

  • Bell, Rosa. R.h.n. Remembers. Brunel University Library, July 1987.

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