Bomb Happy

Bomb Happy the audio play to launch in time for Remembrance Sunday to commemorate 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe

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Watch the trailer here:

The award-winning verbatim play Bomb Happy, which brings to life the first-hand accounts of five Normandy Veterans, will be released as a three-part audio drama online on Friday 6th November in the lead up to Remembrance Day, which this year marks the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe.

The play tells the stories of five ordinary lads who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances, following each veterans’ unique journey and depicting how these inexperienced young conscripts found themselves as part of one of the most dangerous and audacious operations of World War II.

At times humorous, at times harrowing the play allows a close-up insight into life on the frontline, and highlights the lifelong impact of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The introduction to the audio drama will also include an audio excerpt of an interview from upcoming documentary The Last Liberators, with veterans Bert Barritt & Ken Smith, discussing the importance of the play.

Bomb Happy the audio play is made possible thanks to support from public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England funding.

Five D-Day Veterans, five breath-taking true stories

” A powerful sense of immediacy & involvement”

★★★★★ – Broadway Baby

“A must -see play that will stay with you forever”

★★★★★ – World at War

” Verbatim Theatre at it’s best”

★★★★ – Edfringe Review

“An almost unique piece that transcends theatre” 

★★★★The Wee Review

“A powerful and emotionally charged play…brings alive the reality of warfare through an honest and sensitive portrayal of lived experience.”

★★★★ – Edinburgh Reporter

APOSCOT-2019-093-Bomb Happy Army at the Fringe-366photo Nick Johns

Recipient of a Summerhall Lustrum Award 

One of Fringe Guru’s top five recommended shows at the Fringe 2019

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photos Michael J Oakes, Nick Johns & Veterans own

About the play

“I haven’t seen anybody dead before and we’re in the water wading to the shore and we’re literally brushing against…. bodies rolling in the surf – people that we know…eighteen, nineteen year olds –they’re people that we know…”

Evocatively built from the verbatim testimonies of the last remaining York Normandy Veterans by playwright Helena Fox, with a haunting soundtrack by Sam McAvoy, and atmospheric lighting design by Steven Woolmar, this important new play immerses you with surging immediacy into the lives of five ordinary young conscripts as they set out for Normandy, allowing you to experience through their eyes events of D-Day to VE Day, events that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Bomb Happy brings to life the verbatim first- hand accounts of the last five York Normandy Veterans (interviewed in 2016) , Smudger, Hank, Cookey, Bert & Merry, telling the story of the D-Day Landings and the battles to liberate Europe from the point of view of these raw young conscripts- lads from York, Leeds, Sheffield and London.
Having finally received the highest accolade for their bravery from the French Government over seventy years later in 2016 through the presentation of the Legion D’Honneur medal, the play also highlights the lifelong impact of PTSD /Conflict Trauma.
Bomb Happy is a verbatim play, written by Helena Fox, from the recorded interviews and personal memoirs of the last five York Normandy Veterans and originally produced by Everwitch Theatre in partnership with Helmsley Arts Centre. The play originally came about when the Veterans voiced their concern that their experiences – a critical moment in British History where so many young men lost their lives – would die with them. They believed a play documenting their experiences would help future generations understand the sacrifices made by many of their comrades, whose graves they visit each year on 6th June.

Meet the real soldiers behind

“Bomb Happy”


R to L:  Ken ‘Smudger’ Smith, Ken ‘Cookey’ Cooke,  Dennis ‘Hank’ Haydock,  Albert ‘Bert’ Barritt and George ‘Merry’ Meredith.  Photos courtesy of BBC Historian and Presenter Paul Reed

“The five veterans had voiced their concern that their experiences would die with them. Helena Fox has honoured them, both the young men who never came home and the veterans, by telling the old soldiers’ stories in verbatim form, giving equal measure to all five. Fox said everything they wanted to say, the veterans said immediately afterwards at Helmsley Arts Centre on the opening night, visibly touched by what they had just witnessed.” Review, York Press

Thanks to our supporters York Civic Trust, York Army Museum & York St John University Drama Department.

Thanks to our funders and supporters for Bomb Happy in 2019: