19 April 2014

19th April 1944: many planes bomb London & plants galore

'shrapnel was whizzing about like a battlefield'

19 Wed. Slight morning frost, becoming milder; brilliant sunny day but spoilt by a stiff chilly wind. Warning at 12.55 a.m. A great many planes bombed London and the North Middlesex Hospital* in Edmonton was badly hit. There was no local damage. Gunfire was not very severe although some rockets were fired. Only three planes came directly over here the local guns firing at one of them. Mobile guns were about and at times shrapnel was whizzing about like a battlefield. Fourteen enemy planes were destroyed; all clear at 1.50 a.m. Got the groceries and other things in morning. Finished the second border of ferns. Planted out some fancy grass and asparagus fern. Peter Child, sent by his mother asked if I had anything for her garden; she has more room now that their shelter has been taken away. I gave him several clumps of fern and other plants, telling him to call again which he did. Gave him Michaelmas daisy, montbretia, fancy grass, companula, polyanthus and aqualegias. Mrs Collins called for some pea sticks I promised her. She liked the garden and called it "old world". Maud stayed the night. Warning at 10.25 pm. Only three planes came at a very great height in the rain. Only very slight, distant gunfire; they were practically left alone; all clear at 10.55 p.m.

* The 'North Mid' hospital began life as a workhouse, in 1840, and from 1915-20 became the Edmonton Military Hospital. During WWII six high explosive bomb fell on the hospital site. See THIS LINK, a Wikipedia page, for a history. 16 people died at the hospital on 19th April; some bodies were unidentified. (Those last facts from a brief discussion at http://forum.keypublishing.com/showthread.php?114658-London-bombing-raid-dates-WWII.)

18 April 2014

18th April 1944: D-Day expected

18 Tues. Rather cool, becoming milder. The sunshine became warmer as the day advanced to a lovely afternoon. To Morden to buy a few things. Dinky rolled on the lawn in the sunshine and liked it. Divided up the big ferns and planted them out on the other side of the garden but the job is not finished yet. Maud stayed the night. The invasion of the Continent by Anglo-American forces is daily expected.

On this day: for secrecy in the lead-up to D-Day, the UK began censoring diplomatic bags from London, stopped foreign diplomats leaving the country, and banned all coded radio transmissions - - the USA, USSR and Polish are exempted. The distribution of newspapers to Southern Ireland and and Gibraltar was stopped on 5th April. In the Crimea, Russian troops take Balaclava and start operations near Sevastopol.

17th April 1944: played piano for Emily and Len

17 Mon. Very cool, very, very dull. To Wimbledon to buy fish. Planted some aquilegia. and double daisies in garden. To Len Garrod's in evening to play the piano for his 'cello. Also played some song accompaniments for his wife Emily. Maud stayed the night.

16 April 2014

16th April 1944: chemical weapons

16 Sun. Mild, dismal, rain nearly all day. In morning to Joseph Hood's Rec. to hear a lecture and to see a demonstration on how Fire Guards should tackle phosphorus bombs. The bombs contain a highly inflammable mixture of phosphorus benzine and rubber solution. The bombs when broken burst into flames when air reaches the phosphorus and they can only be put out by the application of water spray or wet sand; as soon as it dries they burst into flame again; nasty thing to have about the house. Len Garrod called. Mrs. Akroyd to tea.

15 April 2014

15th April 1944: threepenny seeds & a new fighter plane

15 Sat. Mild, very cloudy; a long heavy shower in afternoon. Letter from Rev. Chas. Staden. To do shopping locally and at Merton in afternoon. A writing pad and two packets of envelopes cost 1/11d. Bought a packet of wallflower seeds 3d. Dug up and divided another large fern and planted it out to finish the fernery near the house. Have now to plant out the ferns on other side of garden. Cousin Maud called and brought some China tea. Mr. Conley called to tell me to go to a demonstration at Joseph Hoods ground to-morrow morning on how to deal with phosphorus bombs now being dropped by the Germans. Midday saw a very fast small fighter plane fly over; it had six cannon - three in each wing. A new type presumably - should shoot Jerry out of the sky. On fire duty tonight.

14 April 2014

14th April 1944: army tank... and tale of the cat's fur

14 Fri. Very mild, some nice sunshine in morning, cloudy & rain later; still breeze. Did all the usual Friday morning shopping locally and in afternoon bought fish at Morden. Saw a large tank coming along Martin Way. Ginger Emery a Persian cat came to see me. He had some long loose fur on his chest so I took it off and threw it into the air in the garden. A gust of wind took it up and it sailed away up and up. A sparrow saw and chased it, caught it in his beak while on the wing. Sat on the gutter of a house very pleased with his find and then flew off with it presumably to show his wife and to line the nest. Remade the side path of the garden. Dug over a small bed at house end of garden and planted some ferns in it.