LAY Canon at Christ Church Cathedral Sarah Meyrick found out more about her family history as she wrote a novel featuring the D-Day landings.

The Restless Wave is published this week by Marylebone House Books, in time for the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, which played a key part in the Allies winning the Second World War.

The novel contrasts the perspectives of Edward, born in colonial India and later serving as a military chaplain in the D-Day landings; Hope, a misfit who relinquishes Swinging London for the hippy trail; and Nell, a talented teacher in a deprived area of Oxford.

Oxford Mail:

When Nell comes across an old envelope in a desk drawer, the discovery sets her on a path to uncovering a secret dating back to the Second World War.

Ms Meyrick said: “I really enjoyed doing the research for this novel.

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“Because Edward served as a chaplain during the Second World War, one of my first visits was to the Museum of Army Chaplaincy in Hampshire.

“The curator, Dr David Blake, very kindly showed me round and showed me all sorts of interesting artefacts.

Oxford Mail:

“As well as answering any number of questions, both on the day and then afterwards by email, David made some very helpful introductions to others who were researching the story of army chaplains in the Second World War.

“One of these was a woman called Jenni Crane who bought a suitcase in a junk shop – and then discovered it had belonged to one Padre George Parry, who was killed on D-Day.

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“And she put me in touch with Frank Treble, whose father Harry had left an unpublished memoir about his D-day experience.”

Ms Meyrick added that Dr Blake mentioned that a number of padres were sent for highly secret battle training in Northamptonshire just before D-Day.

She added: “On asking for the location, I discovered to my surprise that it was a little village called Church Stowe, barely six miles up the road from where I lived at the time.”

Oxford Mail:

When Ms Meyrick was writing The Restless Wave she pinned a picture of her paternal grandfather Bobby above her desk for inspiration.

She said: “Bobby was born in 1901, so he’s a little older than my character Edward, who arrived in 1908.

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“Also in my possession is the Latin dictionary Bobby took to boarding school, with his name embossed on the cover in gold. I think of him setting off to school with his dictionary, a few days after the outbreak of the First World War. The War that killed his brother Aylmer, and no doubt a number of boys who’d been a few years ahead of Bobby at school.”

Ms Meyrick has worked as a journalist, editor and PR professional.

Alongside her day job as media and public engagement adviser at Christ Church, she is the Director of the Bloxham Festival of Faith and Literature.

Her first novel, Knowing Anna, was long-listed for Not the Booker Prize 2016.

About 80 guests gathered at the cathedral on Friday for a book launch event.