Wartime Memories by Betty Walker
Betty Falconer was one of nine. Growing up in the 20s and 30s, rural poverty was all around, even in the idyllic village of Milnathort in Scotland. When she started work as a children’s nanny, however, Betty had only one child to look after and was waited on hand and foot. But her employer’s luxury London apartment was only the start of her journey.
When War broke out, Betty wanted to do her bit. A few short months after joining up, she was in the thick of it – in the Operations Room of an RAF station. In autumn 1941, the aircrews of Bomber Command were gearing up for the long campaign of night raids over Germany. And Betty and the other Watchkeepers were waiting for them to return.
Here's what Betty said after reading her memoir...
“[In the war], you got to know some of the air crew and you’d sit up at night waiting for them to get back. Every night. It was all such a waste of life.
Now I’m losing my memories of people’s names. But [writing my memoir] has brought back memories. I can remember everything about it. It’s brought the past alive again. It’s just like life was.
I find it strange that people are so interested in reading my book. I’m just a very ordinary person.” – Betty Walker
Here's how I wrote Betty’s memoir
When I found out how old Betty was, I was amazed that a 98 year old could look so bright and speak so clearly. She has an incredible memory of the past, and I wanted to take down her story as soon as possible.
I visited Betty once a week for 10 weeks, and recorded her while she told me about her wartime memories. Usually, I have a schedule for each interview. But this time I allowed Betty to tell me about whatever she remembered, whenever she liked.
She told me some stories several times over, but this just added to the depth of her memoir. Each time, there were more details, better words to describe them, and extra information.
Back at my computer, I was able to weave the different versions of her story together, to make it flow smoothly from beginning to end.
Betty and I are very proud of what we’ve achieved together.
This is what Betty's daughter said
“In her memoir, I found out details about my mother’s life I’d never heard before, especially from before she met my father.
It’s really moved me. It’s made me appreciate how different her younger years were, and the sacrifices she’s made.
The interviewing was done very sympathetically, Joss never put my mum under any pressure. Mum really enjoyed talking about such an important part of her life.
The books look very professional. They’re very easy to read, flow well, and there’s a good choice of photographs.
Whenever I show the books to anyone, I feel proud of my mother, and how she’s adapted to a different way of life. Whenever family members see the books, they’re all so interested to learn about my mother’s early years.
Her sister particularly enjoyed reading it, and said it brought back memories.” – Betty’s daughter
Ready to start your memoir with a free introductory interview?
Sharing your story with a stranger, and the world, is a big decision to make. That’s why I offer the first interview for free, so that we can get to know each other before you commit.