THIS week sees the republication of Patrick Wright’s non-fiction classic, The Village That Died for England: Tyneham and the Legend of Churchill’s Pledge.

Originally published in 1995, this updated edition by Repeater Books includes a new prologue, bringing this fascinating story up to date.

Tyneham, for those who don’t know, is the historic village on the Dorset coast requisitioned by the military in order to help with practice and preparations for the D-Day landings during the Second World War.

Eviction notices were given to residents on November 16, 1943, giving them one month to pack up and leave.

“The government appreciate that this is no small sacrifice which you are asked to make,” the letter stated, “but they are sure that you will give this further help towards winning the war with a good heart.”

Leaving their homes just before Christmas, the villagers at least had the promise of their eventual return.

“When the War Department has no further use for the property and it is handed back,” a War Department Land Agent told them, “you have every right to return to the property.”

But in 1947, the newly-elected Labour government decided to renege on Churchill’s promise: the Second World War might have finished but a new Cold War needed fighting instead.

Lord Hinchingbrooke, the local Conservative MP, was one of the loudest to campaign for the villagers’ return.

“The part of Dorset I love best,” he told a meeting in 1947, “is bound like Andromeda to the rock. The War Office is breathing its fire and smoke over her and we, like Perseus, must go to her rescue.”

He concluded his speech arguing that “What is the use of a great standing army … if the source and inspiration of patriotism is lacking through the spoliation of our countryside?”

Tyneham, though, has remained in military hands ever since.

Tyneham wasn’t the only village requisitioned during World War Two – Imber in Wiltshire and Stanford in Norfolk are two other examples.

But as Patrick Wright chronicles in his book, Tyneham is the place seen as chiming with the wider themes behind Hinchingbrooke’s question: what exactly is the nature of England and Englishness?

For some, Tyneham became the perfect example of a pastoral and patriotic England frozen in time in 1943.

What happened to the village after World War Two became a metaphor for what happened to the country in miniature: broken promises and post-war decline.

But as Wright wryly notes in his new prologue: “Anyone with an eye for the role of English nationalist narratives in British politics might sense a similarity between the legend of Churchill’s pledge and the promises of restored sovereignty made in the name of Brexit.”