Film of wartime life in Budleigh available free to view for VE Day

Owl thinks this a fitting commemoration of VE-day across East Devon. It evokes war time life in a small seaside town in rural Devon, including the dialect.

A film capturing life in Budleigh Salterton during World War Two has been made available to view free of charge as local residents commemorate the anniversary of VE Day.

Philippa Davies 

Budleigh At War centres around a voice recording made by a man who was evacuated to the town from Bristol as a young teenager with his mother and siblings in 1941.

Richard Dellenty attended the town’s school and then worked as a telegraph boy at Budleigh Salterton Post Office, before leaving to join the Navy in 1944.

During this time, he made friends with an East Budleigh woman, Ms Olive Dyer, and 40 years later he made a recording for her, talking about his memories of the wartime years in Budleigh.

The recording eventually found its way to Budleigh historian Nick Loman through the wife of a friend, and he realised it was a ‘wonderful piece of history’, featuring people and places that were well-known to many residents.

Mr Loman turned it into a DVD film, illustrating the commentary with archive photos, old film footage and illustrations by Budleigh artist Jed Falby.

During the course of the recording, Mr Dellenty talks about the way the people of Budleigh ‘adopted’ him and his family.

He remembers acts of kindness shown to him when he arrived, including being given a Chelsea bun by the bakery on his first morning in the town.

He describes his first girlfriend from the school, who was later killed in an air raid over Exmouth.

He talks at length about his job with the Post Office and his memories of working as a telegraph boy, including the chore of having to deliver telegrams to Dalditch Royal Marines training camp on Woodbury Common.

He also describes the bombing of the parish church in a daylight attack in 1942, as he was heading home for his lunch break.

His recording is a mixture of sadness, humour, and detailed personal memories that will strike a chord with many residents.

Mr Loman originally released the 45-minute DVD on sale to the public, but as the 75th anniversary of VE Day approached, he decided to upload it to YouTube so that anyone could watch it free of charge and get a real insight into what life was like in Budleigh during World War Two.