Greetings from the American Heartland! I'm new to this so please bear with me as I wind through a preface.
A few months ago, a friend recommended "Foyle's War" to me as he knew I was writing about World War II to include the period in Northern Ireland and England from one American soldier's perspective. From the first episode, my wife and I were hooked and have since seen every episode of all the series. I had an additional appreciation because of my reading many books on the topic and the extensive correspondence of my parents during WWII. My father was an American infantry officer who sailed to Northern Ireland with Fifth Army Corps in May 1942. In June, he went to Matlock in northern England for additional intelligence training for photo recon. and interpretation. After that, he was stationed at Allied Headquarters in London for four months, taking part in the planning of Operation Torch. He enjoyed the Irish and English people immensely, and he had many friends in the English and British Commonwealth soldiers he served with--many of whom went on with him to the war in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Sicily, and Italy.
More to the point here, he wrote to my mother a few times a week and included detailed narratives of the people, the countryside, and current happenings...at least as much as the U.S. Army censors would allow. He wanted to share everything with her as they were a young married couple with a baby, very much in love, and suddenly separated by the war.
In addition to the quality of production in "Foyle's War," there is a reality about World War II which most Americans on the homefront never experienced--the bombing of their homes, the violent deaths of their families and neighbors, and the very serious possibility of being invaded by the Germans. And, in those early years of the war, things seemed very disheartening for the English. The inclusion of the Dunkirk experience demonstrates some of this. It's impressive that they could keep up their spirits in spite of it all.
In early November 1942, the English finally had some good news from the battlefront in North Africa and this brought some joy. It was the victory of British Eighth Army at El Alamein--a powerful event which began to be followed by more and more victories.
In recognition of the El Alamein victory, the church bells of England were ringing once again. After Dunkirk, they had been silenced in order to have them ring as an alarm when the expected German invasion started. Instead, they were ringing to signal the good news of Eighth Army's victory. My father wrote to Mother of this and included a newspaper clipping about the ringing of the bells. The English people were so buoyant about it.--a country with such a rich tradition of church bells was again able to use them in a joyous spirit. This would make an excellent episode of "Foyle's War" I believe--the return of hope in a most trying period of history.