The Peacetime Diaries of George Mainwaring

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In early 2003 an antique shop which had stood in Amherst Road in Bexhill for many years closed following the death, at age 85, of its owner Albert Hickman.
Mr Hickman was, by all accounts, an eccentric and during sixty or more

years had amassed a huge collection of items, mostly little more than junk, thought to have come from house clearances. Many had remained at the shop unsold for decades.
It was following the clearance of the shop, whilst executors of Mr Hickman’s estate were sifting through paperwork relating to the business that the find was made – and then by merest chance.
Walmington-on-Sea 1948One of the executors, Mr Matthew Harman is a keen historian of the East Sussex coastal towns and very familiar with the story of George Mainwaring and the Walmington-on-Sea platoon. He explained:
“I was sorting through some boxes of papers found at the back of an old cupboard. They had been stacked under a leaking skylight and were very damp and mildewed. I was really just checking through quickly , because they were obviously too old to be of relevance to the recent business activities of my great uncle, when I found a stack of old school-style exercise books.
To begin with I thought they might be account ledgers from the early days – before he could afford proper books. But I quickly saw that they were some sort of diary. Thinking that they were uncle Albert’s own diaries I took them home as a family memento.”
Diary pageCloser examination, however proved that these recollections were not those of Albert Hickman. They dealt almost entirely with life in Walmington-on-Sea in the late forties and Mr Hickman had always lived in Bexhill. Matthew Harman quickly recognised the references to the now infamous Home Guard Unit from Walmington and it did not take long to identify the books’ true source.
“I was astonished to think that, by pure chance, I had discovered the personal recollections of one of Sussex’s most famous sons – and from a time in his life that has, until now, remained a mystery.”
The diaries are an exciting find – but not a complete one. The damage caused by damp and mould have rendered whole sections illegible. Nevertheless they are presented here as an important historical record.
We hope you will enjoy them.

Read the Diaries

[catlist name="diary"]

19 thoughts on “Diaries

  1. I am confused. Are these the diaries of the person that played Mainwaring (Arthur Low) ? They read as if they are notes from the actual series scripts. Yet according to the dates they are circa 1948. You mention Sussex’s famous sons – who? Can you please explain the provenance of the diaries. Thank you

  2. The diaries are a fictional account of how life might have turned out for George Mainwaring after the end of the war.

  3. OK I’ll admit I was almost caught – “hook, line and maybe some of the sinker”

    Thanks for replying. The diaries are well written and very entertaining 🙂 Those interested in the series should read them.

    It would be good to have .pdf version available for download, printing and easier reading (for those who prefer to read on paper rather than glass, plastic & electrons). Cheers, Iain

    1. Glad you like them. You’re not the first to almost be taken in! Maybe I’ll get some more onto the site before long.

    1. Well there’s a challenge – let’s put it to a vote. Who out there would like to see more of the diaries?

  4. you didn’t mention pike in the diaries did he go to weston super mare with his mum

    1. I wrote these about 10 years ago and to be honest I really can’t remember. I’ll dig out and post up some of the later entries and maybe we’ll discover!

  5. We watch Dads Army box sets over and over and found the diary very entertaining and the humerous. We both thought it would make at least 1 episode if the actors were still alive. It would be interesting to find out how people coped with life after the war. Adjusting to the new world as it were. Perhaps the new film should go down that route.

  6. I vote for more diary entries to be transcribed. Too many questions left unaswered!. For example why did Mainwaring got to India?

    Perhaps it could be into a collaborative writing project?

  7. Hello; Have you made any progress with regard to expanding the diaries ? They were a great read. Best, Iain

  8. It’s now 2022! I think the idea of continuing the stories of Walmington on sea post 1945 is great, I’d like to see what became of some of the fringe characters like the boy Raymond. Did he take over the shop, or maybe he did his national service and ended up as part of the secret services & was a James bond type.?

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