New for 2016, The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is working with York Normandy Veterans and Everwitch Theatre to create an innovative new verbatim play as part of the annual Railway in Wartime event.

The play will be based on the first hand experiences of D-Day and the subsequent battles to liberate France by the last five living members of York Normandy Veterans. ‘Bomb Happy’ will be performed on the 14th October at 8pm at Pickering Station, Platform 2, in an original 1930’s historic railway carriage.

This extraordinary new play, built from testimonies of the last remaining York Normandy Veterans, explores through first hand experiences how at the tender age of 18 years these ordinary young conscripts found themselves part of the Normandy Landings.

“The noise was horrific. We used to say we were bomb happy…after several months of constant shelling, you begin to get-it’s not shell shock – but we used to say we were bomb happy. And I could just feel that starting in myself, and I had to get out…” (excerpt from play).

One such veteran, George Meredith, volunteered at the NYMR for 10 years restoring wagons, and has this month been presented with the Legion D’Honneur medal by senior personnel of the French Armed Forces, honouring his bravery.

Aged just sixteen years old when he signed up for the army, George explains, “My friends who were eighteen went and signed up, and I didn’t want to be left behind! We wanted to fight for our country.

The York Normandy Veterans are all getting older – there are only five of us left now. So it’s important to us that this project happens so that younger generations will know about our experiences.”

The play will be created from interviews with the York Normandy Veterans documenting their experiences of D-Day and the subsequent battles to liberate Europe, together with archived interviews held at York Explore. Tickets cost £15 per person, contact Customer Services on 01751 472508. This is a static 60-minute performance (It does not include a rail journey). Rehearsed reading of a brand new play.

For further information visit Railway in Wartime. Prices from £26 for adults and £13 for children or families can take advantage of the family ticket, starting from £54. Pickering to Grosmont or Grosmont to Pickering return.

 

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Transcripts of the York Normandy Veterans Testimonies can be found at York Explore as part of The Legacy Project.