'I reckon you might be lucky' Pete says, his eyes fixed on the road ahead. 'The weather’s awful; there’s a good chance someone might be home.' A surge of excitement fails to overcome my nerves 'and then what?' I ask silently.

The Somerset countryside seems vast and open, to me, on this rainy Sunday morning drive to Bridgwater. Glimpses of town centres, wet and deserted, flash past us as we retrace the route my mum would have taken, as a Channel Island evacuee, 71 years earlier. We resume our journey in silence, lost in the thoughts we have been navigating together since June 2009 when an email from a girl called Charley, dropped unsolicited into our mailbox and changed my life.

Great British Life: Jag's Mum during the war. Jag's Mum during the war. (Image: Jag Sherbourne)

What must Mum have been thinking as she looked out on this scenery in June 1941? The vista is so very different from the tiny fields, twisty roads and neat hedgerows in her island home of Guernsey. A home that she had only ever left once for her honeymoon. She was 23-years-old and still grieving the loss of her first born 3 months earlier. My life was carefree and easy when I was 23, there was no world war crushing my dreams. Sitting beside me is my husband who has not left my side during this whole journey of discovery. It means as much to him as it does to me and we have laughed and cried together at all its twists and turns. Mum was travelling with her sister and held only the promise that her husband would follow her to Bridgwater as soon as he was able; but the Germans would soon scupper that plan. Within days, Guernsey would be bombed and subsequently occupied by the Nazis, it would be 5 years before she would see her husband and her loved ones back home again.

We are driving beside a river. I hadn’t expected a river. What had I expected? The truth is, I never thought to ask Mum about the 5 years she spent in Bridgwater during World War 2. She once opened up so briefly that I barely noticed. She worked in a munitions factory she said, but other than that she kept her story so quietly to herself that I deduced, as she clearly hoped I would, that it was unexceptional in every way. My dad, on the other hand, spoke often and freely about his life in Guernsey under Nazi Occupation and, to my shame, I showed little interest in that too. My parents were the living history books that I chose not to read. I would give anything to talk to them now.

Pete turns the car into Kidsbury Road. 'We’re here' he announces needlessly, as we cruise past an army of redbrick houses standing shoulder to shoulder to our right. As he pulls up and switches off the engine he takes my hand. 'Go on sweetheart' he urges 'good luck.' I hesitate before opening the car door, and look towards him for reassurance. He smiles back at me, a smile of silent encouragement, gently willing me to go. We have come this far.

Great British Life: Germans marching through St Peter Port, Guernsey. .Germans marching through St Peter Port, Guernsey. . (Image: Simon Hamon collection)

The knot in my stomach tightens as I approach the wrought iron gate that leads into the tiny front yard of number 11. It is rusted with age but swings open easily. I imagine Mum passing through it, pregnant with the grief of babies she knows she cannot keep. My resolve weakens, but the net curtains have already flickered in anticipation of my visit, so I ring the bell and step back a pace before the door is opened by a kindly looking lady with a slightly bemused look at this intrusion into her weekend. 'Hello. Can I help you?' Suddenly I feel stupid. It is 70 years since Mum lived in this house, the chances of this lady knowing anything about its wartime history are so small I feel ridiculous. But I owe her an explanation and we search, briefly, for ways she might be able to help me. As I thank her and return to the car I realise that I had held no expectations of finding answers in this house. I had merely wanted to embrace Mum’s extraordinary story by walking down the pavements of her past. It was a pilgrimage I had made in her honour but I knew I would not come back to this particular door again.

Mum returned to Guernsey after the war and in 1956 I was born; my parent’s last chance to have the family they had always wanted. Charley contacted me in 2009 because she believed that I was her grandmother’s sister. As an only child, I might easily have dismissed her email as nonsense, but a voice deep within me stirred when I read it 'surely you remember' it whispered, enticing me to respond 'isn’t this something you have always been waiting for?' Charley had, unwittingly, fired the starting gun on a race to the truth, and as I ran with her we began unlocking a chain of family secrets that had lain buried for decades.

Great British Life: Guernsey Evening Press June 19 1940. Guernsey Evening Press June 19 1940. (Image: Courtesy Priaulx Library Collection)

When I shared the emerging story with family and close friends, their response was always the same; 'you should write a book'. Which was easy for them to say, but felt impossible for me to do as I was a

science graduate and a maths teacher, with no literary training or aspirations whatsoever. Nevertheless, I became determined to give it a go. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. The burden of responsibility, in the telling of such a sensitive story that was not wholly mine to tell, weighed heavily on me at times and I lost count of the number of attempts I had at writing and rewriting it. Many times I had to walk away from it, for fear of losing myself in the tragedy of the past. But there was such great joy to be found in the future that sooner or later the book would always call me back.

I joined a creative writing class, and to my astonishment, my teacher and fellow writers were generous and encouraging of my work. My journey to the truth had only just begun but they gave me the confidence to document it, and ultimately to see it through to an end which proved almost a decade away. Eventually, with the unwavering support of my husband, Peter, and the encouragement of Steve Foote from Blue Ormer publishing, I am delighted to introduce my book, 'Clouds in my Guernsey Sky'.

Clouds in my Guernsey Sky by Jag Sherbourne is available to buy via blueormer.gg £9.99

Great British Life: Clouds in my Guernsey Sky by Jag SherbourneClouds in my Guernsey Sky by Jag Sherbourne (Image: Blue Ormer)