Author(s): Anthony Dodsworth
In 2003, a heavy parcel posted from New Zealand arrived at a bungalow in Rawmarsh, Near Rotherham,Yorkshire. The parcel consisted of a huge, typewritten diary produced by Gwennie Peacock, a young woman from Auckland, while completing a journey around the world and visiting her family in Britain. This extraordinary account, which covers the period between February 1939 and August 1940, vividly brings to life the approach of war and its first few months. Gwennie's journey crosses five continents - particularly Europe and North America - and is described in fascinating detail by someone with a zest for life. She survives her camel running amok in Egypt and listens to Mussolini haranguing a crowd in Rome. She is warned in Germany not to go to England and threatened that soon all English people will speak German. Gwennie settles with her family in a Yorkshire mining village and visits every corner of the British Isles. Her return journey via America is dangerous, but she still 'lives it up' in New York and Hollywood. Gwennie finally returns home having explored the world and discovered herself.
She writes of herself, 'Laugh at her faults, forgive her indiscretions and live with her on her trip which is going to be fun all the way.'
Anthony Dodsworth is a retired geography and history teacher from Rotherham, Yorkshire. Born in London and a graduate of Birmingham University, he spent most of his career teaching in South Yorkshire. He helped to set up a local history group in Rawmarsh and Parkgate over ten years ago and has produced old photo books on Rawmarsh and Greasbrough as well as an oral history book on Rawmarsh. Dodsworth is a keen visitor of old churches and cake-serving tea shops. He gives history talks to local community groups in his home area.