We'll Meet Again

 World War Two is a goldmine for a novelist. There were battles to be fought at home and abroad, secret to be kept, risky assignments, targets to reach. There were service men and women doing their bit and those left at home coping with the blitz, shortages, rationing and war work. There was great courage as well as cowardice, self sacrifice and selfishness, stoicism and impetuosity, joy and tragedy, mystery and secrecy and all of it well-chronicled.

I have written half a dozen books with a World War two background and my latest, We’ll Meet Again is no exception. I have chosen as my premise the secrets people were asked to keep in the interests of security, secrets they could not even tell their nearest and dearest.
Most people have now heard about the work being done at Bletchley Park. Towards the end of the war, around ten thousand people were working at BP and its scattered outposts. Some were in the services, some were civilians, but rank and uniform counted for very little. Each had his or her allotted task and, apart from the people they worked with, had no idea what others were doing. Mail was sent all over the country by motor cycle to be posted so that Bletchley was never identified.
With so many people of both sexes working in such a close atmosphere romance was inevitable. There is one story that a couple who married after the war did not know that each had been working at Bletchley Park until the secret came out in the seventies. Ten thousand people keeping such a vast secret is difficult to comprehend nowadays, but keep it they did. And the work that went on there is said to have shortened the war by at least two years.

My story involves two girls from very different backgrounds who work there. Lady Prudence Le Strange, daughter of an earl, is recruited, as so many were, by recommendation. Sheila Phipps has lost all her family in the first big raid of the London blitz and is living at Bletchley with her strait-laced, snobbish Aunt Constance and is taken on as a messenger. Their work is the secret they must keep.

But others have their own secrets and there are mysteries to solve. Pru’s father, head of the local Home Guard, is tasked with creating a secret bunker to be used to harass the enemy if there is an invasion. Her brother is sent to France to help the resistance; her fiancé is shot down over Germany and taken prisoner. Sheila thinks her brother might still be alive, but everyone tells her it’s not possible. Her boyfriend, who is in the navy, has been torpedoed and has apparently lost his life in the freezing Arctic seas. And Constance’s strange behaviour hides a secret from the past.

We’ll Meet Again is out in paperback today, 20th August, published by Allison and Busby and available from all good bookshops, price £7.99. ISBN: 9780 7490 17040