Colin Russell aged 11
Colin Russell aged 11

A new book will tell the story of life in Lichfield during World War Two.

A Wartime Schoolboy: Memories of Fradley by Alrewas author Colin Russell will be published on 29th March.

The cover of Colin Russell’s book

The construction of RAF Lichfield in 1939 had a huge effect on the lives of villagers living nearby has giant hangers dotted the landscape and the flightpath took military aircraft over the nearby church.

Colin, 86, was six when the war started and uses the book to lift the lid on his wartime experiences as a local resident and student at King Edward VI School in Lichfield.

Publisher Anne Loader, of Léonie Press, said:

“We came across Colin’s manuscript by sheer chance and loved it.

“It’s beautifully written through the mindset of a child and richly deserves a wider readership.

“We would like to thank Fradley Heritage Group for helping to bring the project to fruition.”

Anne Loader, Léonie Press

As well as rationing and air raids, Colin’s eye-witness account describes living with the constant roar of engines, playing with live ammunition, and waving to pilots flying just above his head. 

Colin Russell

The almost weekly crashes of old aircraft being flown at Fradley by trainee aircrews – sometimes with tragic consequences – were magnets for the unsentimental village boys searching for souvenirs in the wreckage.

Colin’s wartime experience ended when he rang the church bell for the first time after peace was declared.

A Wartime Childhood: Memories of Fradley is available from 29th March, priced £7.99. Copies are available from Fradley Post Office, with digital versions on offer as an ebook via Amazon.

For more details visit the publisher’s website.


Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.