While the Bombs Fell


While the Bombs Fell is a fictionalised account of the life of Elsie Hancy Eaton, growing up in Bungay, Suffolk in the United Kingdom during world war 2. Elsie was just under one year old when the war started and just seven when it ended.

While the Bombs Fell is available as a soft copy book and ebook from TSL Books and Lulu.com

and from Amazon US


What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?

Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.

Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.

Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes


While the bombs fell 2

Recent reviews

5 star Amazon review by a verified purchaser

There’s a saying about real life: it’s very poorly organized. In fiction, we can have our make-believe people say all the right things in all the right places, craft our villains into anything from being totally evil to fatally misunderstood, and decide if our protagonist is going to be a hero. When you’re writing about something that really happened, all that freedom goes away. In many respects, it’s the ultimate writing challenge.

This book rises to that occasion. It’s the remembrances of a girl growing up in WWII England, so the antagonist is the war itself. Young Elsie couldn’t remember a time when food, coal, and clothing hadn’t been rationed. One of her greatest reliefs was that she didn’t have to actually wear her gas mask. She’d never seen poison falling from the sky, but she could see the worry in her father’s face when he talked to her about it.

That’s the sort of detail that makes up this story. A terrible threat that modern readers never had to face—or worse, prepare their children for—but it’s taken in stride. That’s what life was, and people simply had to adapt to it. The house was cold, but there wasn’t enough to coal to heat the front room. Everyone grew gardens as part of the “Dig for Victory” war initiative, and the children remembered the words to the anthem that went with it decades later. And at night before she fell asleep, young Elsie would listen for the engines of German bombers and the whistle of the bombs as they flew toward England.

Not all the story related directly to the war. Elsie went to school, made plum pudding with her mother for Christmas, rejoiced in the gift of her very own doll, and went swimming in the summer. But even there, on something as idyllic as a riverbank in rural England, unexpected tragedy could befall. One of Elsie’s neighbors cut his foot while playing, like any kid could do, only he died swiftly of lockjaw. No tetanus vaccines or antibiotics were available back then.

This is the sort of history that I love to read—all the stuff you can’t find in newspaper stories, but it made up the fabric of people’s lives. If that sort of tale is your cup of tea, I strongly recommend checking out this book.

5 star Amazon review by a verified purchaser

What a lovely, poignant book! It’s the only one I’ve read that describes what life was like for very young children growing up during World War Two. There is also quite a bit of English history included, which I found quite interesting. The wartime recipes are a nice touch.

It’s told from the perspective of a girl aged 4-6 years old, and focuses mainly on the daily life of kids living through horrendous times, without truly understanding what was going on in the adult world. Many of the stories told reminded me of my Dutch father-in-law’s descriptions of growing up during WWII in the Netherlands.

It’s appropriate for young children as well as young readers. Fascinating read.



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