Winifred Challis (1896-1990) spent most of her life in West Suffolk. Born in Newmarket, during the Second World War she was working in Bury St Edmunds for the Public Assistance Committee and was one of nearly 500 people who at some point during the war kept a diary for the social research organization, Mass Observation. From November 1942 she wrote at length about her everyday life, her feelings, and the social and political attitudes of both herself and others. Winifred, while often introspective, was also a close observer of the world around her, a free thinker, and an accomplished and penetrating writer, with a questioning mind and a quick wit. For several months in 1942-1943 she immersed herself in her diary-writing, producing on some days at least a couple of thousand words of perceptive commentary on the wartime scene - rationing, shortages, the often bleak texture of daily life, the sometimes disconcerting presence of outsiders in Bury, but with various moments of satisfaction and pleasure. Her diaries provide an unusual and fascinating record of a critical period of Suffolk's history. Robert Malcomson is Professor Emeritus of History, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario; Peter Searby was until his retirement Fellow at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.