Montacute in Somerset is an ancient village with a proud history, known to many
for its fabulous Elizabethan mansion house. But along with so many other places
in Britain, perhaps its “finest hour” came in the Second World War, when many
of Montacute’s sons and daughters served at home and abroad in the Armed
Forces and other Services.
As the war progressed Montacute also played host to
American Forces who were billeted in Montacute Park, along with other British
Using a mixture of pen portraits of those from the parish who served in the war,
and personal recollections of the village and its home front during these years,
Clarence Bradley paints a vivid picture of what it was like to live in this precious
and peaceful corner of Somerset and how it was affected by the cataclysm in
the world beyond.
In words and pictures (original and restored photographs) he
pays a heartfelt tribute to the individuals from Montacute who in their various
ways played an essential part in the eventual victory.
Clarence Bradley was born in Stoke-sub-Hamdon, Somerset in 1941. He lived with his mother
and grandparents, his father having been killed in Norway while serving as aircrew with the
Royal Air Force. The family moved to Montacute in 1944. Clarence attended Montacute National
School, Stoke Secondary Modern School and when he was fifteen he continued his education
at Yeovil Technical College, doing apprenticeship training as a carpenter.
During his working life as a carpenter, Clarence took an interest in local government, joining the
Parish Council in Montacute and was also a governor for Montacute and Stanchester Schools.
His interests took the form of clay pigeon and game shooting and playing cricket, and later
becoming Chairman and President of the Cricket Club. Another interest
was taking part in motor cycle trials, where he achieved some success.
When in his teens he joined 1032 Squadron Air Training Corps. The experience
nurtured in him an interest in military aviation and local people’s
involvement in the Second World War and subsequently led him to
write this book, to record events, personal accounts, and the exploits of
individuals serving in His Majesty’s Forces during the war.
Imprint: Ryelands. ISBN 978 1 906551 39 1, hardback, 210x148mm, 112 pages. Published March 2015.