Tonight’s episode of Antiques Roadshow left viewers feeling emotional (Picture: BBC)
Tonight’s episode of Antiques Roadshow left viewers feeling emotional as the Coventry Blitz in World War II was revisited on the programme.
Host Fiona Bruce explained to viewers that there would be no valuations due to the personal nature of the items on the show.
Instead, guests shared their own stories from the Coventry Blitz, which was a series of bombing raids that took place on the English city of Coventry, which was bombed many times during the Second World War by the German Air Force.
The most devastating of these attacks occurred on the evening of November 14 1940 and continued into the morning of November 15.
The aim was to knock out Coventry as a major centre for war production and it was said Hitler ordered the raid as revenge on an RAF attack on Munich.
Expert Will Farmer heard the story of two survivors when he spoke to one woman, whose grandfather John Wiggins went to war with his friend Ronald Searle, Ronald being a celebrated writer and illustrator who is best remembered as the creator of St Trinian’s School.
Houses wrecked by German bombing on the outskirts of Coventry (Picture: Getty Images)
Will explained that Ronald would draw when he was a prisoner of war as it acted as a ‘mental life belt just to keep himself afloat’.
‘One of the most startling facts for me is where he hid the drawings. If the prison guards found them, what would it have meant, we can imagine the truth of what it would mean,’ Will said, as the guest was brought to tears.
‘He would hide the drawings under the mattresses of the cholera patients because he knew the Japanese soldiers wouldn’t go near them.
‘He said that even if he hadn’t survived, he would hope that his drawings survive so people could see what humans were capable of doing to each other.’
Story after story was shared from guests whose family members were affected by the war.
One woman revealed that when her mother was taken to a prison camp, she hid her favourite ball gown in her sleeping bag.
‘The dress was showed her that she was going to be ready for the good times ahead and she eventually wore it at a ball,’ the woman said.
‘She wasn’t bitter [about her experience], she looked at it and thought that it meant everything could get better.’
Another guest divulged that her most prized possession was a lemon, which her father had sent her mother when fruit was scarce.
‘This lemon to me, means the love of two people. One my mother, one my father. It was my dad’s way of saying I’ve seen this and I’m thinking of you,’ she said.
Fiona finished the show by encouraging viewers to discuss the war with family who may still be alive that witnessed it.
‘So many times people bring along items and they say they belong to their parents of their grandfathers who went through the war but they never talked abiut it,’ she said.
‘And all that’s left is a model or a photograph or some souvenir pulled from the rubble, and then it’s up to us to try and bring them back to life.
‘So if you get a chance, don’t miss it. Ask them what they remember from the last time we had to start again. You may hear a story you’ve never heard before.’
Twitter users gave tonight’s episode high praise, with many appreciating the stories that were finally being told.
‘Antiques Roadshow tonight is way beyond amazing,’ one person wrote.
Another simply said the programme was ‘so moving’.
‘One of the most charming programmes I’ve enjoyed for a long time & I’m no super fan! #antiquesroadshow,’ a different viewer tweeted.
Antiques Roadshow returns next Sunday at 7pm on BBC One.
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