30 April 2010

Tuesday 30th April 1940

Mild, getting cooler. Dull, to very dismal, heavy rain all afternoon. Turned over almost half the garden; planted some beans. Short walk in evening; met Dorothy in the street, she smiled at me. Edie Bennett called in evening. She said that Connie has just got a baby boy. The double pink cherry blossom in front of St Mathews Church is like fairyland. Saw also a wonderful pink magnolia also a bird-cherry tree in bloom in Lambton Road.

On this day Germans advancing north from Oslo linked with units around Trondheim, taking the rail yards at Dombas.

29 April 2010

Monday, 29th April 1940

Mild, cloudy: not unpleasant. Small amount of work in garden. Covered with yellow tissue the ,ow wing and doped under side. Out to buy something for Dinky and to post a letter to Chas Staden. Mrs Akroyd called: she had cut her hand severely.

"bought string for my violin... registered Dad at butchers... painted lavatory seat with white enamel"

Ciss's story brought up to date. Here's what Fred tells us of his sister after she returned home, following her three months in hospital and her short time in Bognor and Tolworth - plus a few more entries reflecting their life in wartime London... 
Tuesday, 20th February 1940: ...Had a dinner cooked by Ciss - first one for a long time...
Wednesday 21st February: ...Ciss visited the hospital and saw Nurse Laurie who wished to be remembered to me: she is awfully nice...
Saturday 24th February: ...Ciss went to Tolworth: more than I could do.
Saturday 2nd March: ...Cis went to Tolworth to bring dad back, but he is staying on a bit longer... Took pail of coal to Mrs Chiled who is without.
Tuesday 5th March: ......bought a string for my violin and tin of white celluloid enamel, also registered Dad at butchers. At night painted lavatory seat with white enamel.
Saturday 9th March: ...Dad returned home at last having stayed at Tolworth  since the beginning of October...
Thursday 14th March: ...The steel air raid shelter was delivered and left in pieces in the front garden. Bought glass at Smaldons - one piece for a clock front the other for a tray bottom which I decorated in brown and gold. Woman called from the animals Air Raid Precautions Committee so we registered Dinky and he has a numbered identity disc for him to wear.

This brings us up to date with the household story, from the time Ciss entered hospital in October 1939 up to the start of this Blog with Fred's entry for 20th March 1940.

28 April 2010

Sunday, 28th April 1940

Mild, rain morning and night, rather dull. The trees and bushes are lovely in the freshness of Spring. The flowering trees are beautiful. Saw the tulips on Mother's grave, they are fine. Alb and Lily came to tea. (Fred's brother and sister-in-law.) Uncle Henry and Mrs Akroyd came in evening. Wrote long letter to Rev. Chas Staden.

Ciss's story. Followers of this Blog will know that Fred's sister had finally left Wimbledon Hospital after 3+ months, going to Bognor to recuperate. We are rapidly bringing her story up to date. Fred wrote...
Friday 2nd February 1940: ...Letter from Ciss from Bognor, and one from Alb and Dad with some money enclosed... washed, starched and tinted pair of lace curtains...
Tuesday 6th February: ...card from Ciss saying she is staying at Bognor for another week: I am glad.
Thursday 8th February: ...washed curtains of Ciss's room also my handkerchiefs...
Friday 9th February: ...ironed Ciss's curtains also the short curtains and put them up; that finishes all the curtains at the back of the house, a stage further in getting the house nice for Ciss' return. Dinky (the cat) is a shade better to-day; I bought him some cod-liver oil and malt and I think he will be all right soon if I can keep him in at night; he lets himself out of the skylight - opening it himself, like Pickwick used to do.
Friday 11th February: ...bitterly cold. People are fools to live in this climate.
Monday 12th February: ...card from Ciss saying she will be home on Thursday...
Thursday 13th February - after what seems a full day's entry about shopping etc there is a line under and then: Ciss came back from Bognor to-day and went straight on to Alb and Lily's at Tolworth: I presume that was the plan.
Sunday 18th February: ...Sunday or not I put in a long day's hard work house-cleaning in preparation for Ciss's return probably tomorrow: must make a good impression.

"...must make a good impression" 

Monday 19th February: ......Ciss came home in taxicab from Tolworth with Lily with a heap of luggage in afternoon. Cousin Len in uniform came in to see her. So at last she is home, thank God, after having been away since 15th October. Dad remains at Tolworth for a few more days. Saw Aunt Liza who is laid up again.

27 April 2010

Saturday, 27th April 1940

Rather warm, some lovely sun, but thunder in afternoon. Flew aero on Wimbledon Common; saw some flashes of lightning, but only a few spots of rain. Laura Ashenden and her husband saw my aero perform well and I let them both launch it which they did satisfactorily. Cousin Arthur and Kitty brought Dad and Ciss home from Tolworth in the car.

On this day in 1940 (27th April) Himmler ordered the construction of a concentration camp at Auschwitz, in Poland, which would be the central facility for extermination of inmates. 


"The sea is  frozen at Bognor up to 300 yards out."

Ciss's story -  and a very cold January - doctor's bills - and some religion! We left Ciss still in Wimbledon Hospital, on 24th January, hoping to go to Bognor for recuperation - she had been in hospital since 15th October 1939. Fred wrote, rather surprisingly at first...
Thursday, 25th January: ...shops morning, afternoon and in evening to pay doctor's bill. I suppose Ciss went to Bognor to-day; shall hear soon.
Sunday 28th January: ...the Thames is frozen over between Teddington and Sunbury. The sea is frozen at Bognor up to 300 yards out. Ciss is there I expect she will stay in mostly.At night quantities of ice particles fell and made a covering of ice on top of the snow. It made the electric trains blaze with green and violet flashes... The sky was flickering incessantly with the light and the white landscape looked wonderful in the coloured flashes.
Monday, 29th January: ...wind is blowing snow into the house through chinks in doors and windows... Electric trains are being drawn by steam locos.
Tuesday 30th January: ...Met Eddie Conrade - a changed man, he is full of religious fervour and would like to have a talk with me...he himself had been cured by the laying on of hands and prayer.
Thursday 1st February: ...In evening through several inches of slushy snow and in the blackout to the doctor's to get a certificate for Ciss...

26 April 2010

Friday, 26th April 1940

"she is an ideal young lady, and one I love and admire"
Rather warm, lovely sunny day with some gentle rain at night. Did some work in garden, and finished the wood work of the low wing: only needs to be covered now. And Dear Dorothy Longhurst came to buy some marmalade for Mrs Hayward. Had a delightful talk: she is an ideal young lady, and one I love and admire.

Thursday, 25th April 1940

Mild, some nice sun. Flew lifting fuselage model with great height - the first flight this year. Alan Spooners last 3 flights averaged 70 seconds. (Heard two cuckoos in the woods on Winbledon Common.) More work on low wing. Aunt Liza, Gwen and Dorris to tea.

24 April 2010

Wednesday, 24th April 1940

Mild, very dull, gentle rain all day, calm; nice weather for the plants. Removed gas and copper while I laid new oilcloth in scullery. In morning to buy Dinky's dinner, also balsa cement at Hill's. More work deepening the camber of low-wing. The flowering trees are lovely; I like the deep pink prunus triloba.

File:Prunus triloba var. truncata 01.JPG
 Photo credit: Dalgial, via Wikipedia

23 April 2010

Tuesday, 23rd April 1940

Very mild, lovely in the sun, calm and balmy, rain at night; good Uncle Dick called; he does not seem very happy at Worcester Park. Divided up some overgrown perrennials (sic) in the garden. Reinforced centre section of low wing. Bought liver for Dinky.

We left Ciss on 31st Dec 1939 in Wimbledon Hospital - she entered on 15th October and on 17th had an operation to remove a lump in her 'chest'. Here are excerpts from Uncle Fred's diary which help us follow the events... but overnight on 1 January 1940,  Fred was thinking of someone else:
...Dreamed I met dear Annie Chapman face to face, and that she declined an offer of marriage I had made; haven't met her for probably 15 years; wonder whether I ever shall again. Stayed in today as there was no need to go to the shops.

Fred had written this at the back of his 1939 notebook, and rewrote it precisely - shown here - in his new 1940 notebook. These notebooks are really intended for cash accounts, as we see from the printed rules.

Tuesday, 2nd January 1940: ...The barrage balloons look very beautiful with the red sunshine on them in a hazy blue sky...
Wednesday, 3rd January: ...dangerously slippery but got as far as the hospital to see Ciss who is not to be discharged yet... Mr Bradley gave me an old Rexophone crystal set...
Sunday, 7th January: ...Ciss is still detained by part of the wound taking a long time to heal - a trial of patience.
Wednesday, 10th January: ... Saw Ciss to-day. Also visited by Lily, Uncle Henry, Madge, Mrs Child and her new baby for Ciss to see. Ciss is having sunlight treatment...
Thursday, 11th January: ...bought my weekly 3/4lb sugar ration...
Saturday, 13th January: ...the milkman leaves a bottle of frozen milk every morning...
Sunday, 14th January: ...Through the bitter weather to see Ciss in hospital: she is almost rteady to go away now. She won a cake in a hospital raffle...
Tuesday, 16th January: ...In the afternoon to buy Scourine for the hospital also stamps for Ciss our sugar rations 3/4lb each week...
Wednesday, 17th January: ...the kettles standing on the gas stove were frozen in the morning... Took some things to Ciss in hospital including her sugar ration. She is almost ready to come out...
Thursday, 18th January: ...Heard the North London munitions explosion at 10-45 this morning. The concussions shook the windows violently twice within a few seconds.
Sunday, 21st January: ...went to see Ciss in hospital despite Arctic weather...Evereything is now ready for Cis to go to Bognor just waiting for the wound to heal up finally. Next Thursday is a probability; wonder if there will be another postponement.
Monday, 22nd January: ...tried unsuccesfully to thaw lavatory cistern: it has been frozen all this year.
Wednesday, 24th January: ...Ciss is due at last to go to Bognor tomorrow having been on hospital since 15th October last...

22 April 2010

Monday, 22nd April 1940

Very mild, lovely sunny day but spoilt by a high cool wind. Bought fish for Dinky. Alan Spooner gave me some yellow Jap (?) tissue. Aunt Liza and little Gwen called. More work on re-building wing for low-wing monoplane.

Ciss's story... to be continued soon...

21 April 2010

Sunday, 21st April 1940

Very mild, perfectly lovely sunny Spring day, quite warm in the sun. The trees are rushing into leaf now and many are beautiful in the bright new foliage. Some buds on the climbing rose at the front door. Saw many models on the Common, met Mr. and Mrs. Essam and the two boys up there with their Warneford model.

20 April 2010

Saturday, 20th April 1940

Very mild, dull, showers on and off all day. Flew the usual lightweight on the Common with best results yet. Spooner boys and their uncle also came. Alan's machine with the twin gear made very long distance flights.

Fred flew model aircraft, but was equally fascinated by railway engines. This LNER locomotive was photographed by Uncle Fred, with his accurate sketch on the back. (Amateur photographers often printed their own photos on paper pre-printed on the reverse as a postcard. There have also been several series of professionally printed railway locomotive postcards. Can any expert identify this engine?)  

19 April 2010

Friday, 19th April 1940

Very cool, dull, rain nearly all day. Took battery to be charged. Put daffodils and narcissus on dear Mother's grave. The trees are coming out now and the elder and hawthorne are quite green. Mr Ward two large ribes bushes are a lovely sight.

On this day France landed 2,000 mountain troops in Norway, without most of their heavy equipment. Yugoslavia said it had foiled a German plot to overthrow its government. The Netherlands confirmed its wish to remain neutral.

Continuing Ciss's story... she had entered hospital on 15th October 1939 and was still there over Christmas. Uncle Fred wrote...
Tues 26 Boxing Day ...Yesterday's dinner was provided by Mrs Pontifex to-day's by Lily. Heated it up in steamer and was splendid; had Xmas pudding from both sources - good. More violin...
Wednesday 27th December 1939 ...Saw Ciss who had a crowd of visitors - Uncle Henry, Lily, Alf's Lily and her sister Doris, Aunt Liza and dear Gladys. Ciss was examined this morning and her convalescence at Bognor has been postponed another week... am getting into fine form on the violin.
Saturday 30th December 1939 ...the lavatory cistern is frozen solid. The scullery sink had a sheet of ice in it.
Sunday 31st December 1939 ...carried a heavy load - two large tins of Scourine and 4 lbs of jam among other things to hospital. Very heavy going up the Downs with half frozen slush...Ciss is almost like her old self and there is every reason to believe she will be discharged soon - perhaps Thursday... And so ends another year, not a very happy one but thank God for such blessings as we have. The end of 1939.

18 April 2010

Thursday, 18th April 1940

Very cool, howling cold N. wind, dismal, torrents of rain nearly all day. Jean Child came to tea and played the piano while I played the violin. Started modifying the 41 ins wing reducing the span to 37 ins: it will be used in conjunction with the 22 1/2 lifting fuselage as a low wing.

(In 2010, today another gloriously sunny day, with just a few cumulus in the evening - unlike yesterday's dawn to dusk completely cloudless sky - with, again, no contrails while IFR/commercial flights are banned due to the ash from an Icelandic volcano.)

'A.T.S. Before the war... she was a housemaid at a doctor's in a small country town in Somerset...Now she is stationed on a gun battery near London.'

17 April 2010

Wednesday, 17th April 1940

Thick white morning frost, rather mild day with periods of sunshine with some warmth in it. Dug over part of garden and buried garden refuse to make a hot-bed for marrows. To Joseph Hoods to see Alan Spooner's big model with the twin gear - it flew off the field onto the tennis courts. Walked part of the way along the rail-path also.

Returning to Ciss's story shortly...

16 April 2010

Tuesday, 16th April 1940

Rather mild morning, bright sunshine but getting very cool and dull and heavy snow showers in afternoon. The landscape was quite white for a short time but the snow soon melted.Uncle Will called. Finished twin gear for Alan Spooner's aero. Jack and Billie Essam called with their Warnford Imperial aero. Took them to Joseph Hood's and made a few flights - but not a promising model.

On this day in 1940 Iceland requested recognition by the USA. (And on this day in 2010, ash from a volcano in Iceland caused a second day's closure of UK airspace to IFR - effectively commercial - traffic.)

15 April 2010

Monday, 15th April 1940

Mild, fitful periods of sun and rain, very rough chilly N wind. Bought lights for Dinky also a packet of marrow seeds. Did a lot more work on twin propeller gear for Alan Spooner.

On this day joint French, British, Polish force landed near Narvik - but German aircraft dominated the scene. 

14 April 2010

Sunday, 14th April 1940

Mild, dull, getting cooler, cold wind springing up later. Jean Child called. Dad answered the door to a man he believed was Mr. Moore - Doreen's father; he inquired where the Frayne's lived now - Mrs Moore's parents; Dad told him. Saw Dear Mother's grave; the tulips will be in bloom soon. - Oh, heard the Kreutzer sonata on one exquisite violin.

On this day British forces landed at Vaags Fjord to support Norweigan resistance at Narvik.

Continuing Ciss's story...
Thursday 14th December 1939 Fred wrote: Bitterly cold...bought sausages...thoroughly cleaned Ciss' room - washed the floor...
Sunday 17th December 1939: ...Ciss has been put in the hospital annexe, the last stage before discharge: she seemed very cheerful and gave me Xmas present there - a hot water bottle...
Tuesday 19th December 1939: ...Lily called in afternoon saying Ciss was leaving hospital on Saturday. Also her mother was coming to Tolworth and I was to send the camp bed there.
Wednesday 20th December 1939: ...Saw Ciss who knew nothing about coming out yet but I took her coat however. Dr Smith says she is to stay in over Xmas. Saw Joan in there she is a lovely auburn haired girl...
Thursday 21st December 1939: ... Carter Paterson called to take camp bed to Tolworth...
Saturday 23rd December 1939: ...put bunch of holly on dear Mother's grave...bough an exquisite bottle of scent for Ciss. Sent card to Dad.
Sunday 24th December 1939: ...Saw Ciss again, took her presents - a bottle of "Admiration" scent from me also a shoal of Xmas cards... Charlie Cook brought Dad to see Ciss to-day. Saw Joan in there - asked if I was coming to-morrow.
Christmas Day: ...To hospital, met Alb and Lily and Mrs. Jones (Lily's mother) just about to go in. Ciss seemed very cheerful but tires easily. Had tea there in the ward. She is due to go to Bognor on Thursday, but I doubt if she is strong enough yet. Played violin to myself in evening: strangest Xmas day I have experienced

"Played violin to myself in evening: strangest Xmas day I have experienced"

13 April 2010

Saturday, 13th April 1940

Mild, dull but pleasant. Flew lightweight on Wimbledon Common with perfect results - great height, steep climb and flat glide. The Spooner boys were also there and got fine results; Alan did a flight of 1 min 58 secs; their uncle Mr. Woodgrove came as usual. Saw Knight and Double; the flying to-day was of a high order.

Regular readers of this blog will recall that we looked back a few months to follow the story of Fred's sister 'Cissy' who went into hospital on 15th October, 1939. Below: a postcard sent to Ciss many years earlier,  postmarked 7th September 1905.

On Wednesday 19th November, 1939 Ciss was still in hospital. Fred wrote: ...Ciss still improving, took her raspberry roll for tea...
Thursday 30th November, 1939 Fred wrote: ...Gave Mrs. Pontifex Bus Rose Catalogue. Russsia invades Finland: wicked!
Friday 1st December, 1939: ...Re-boiled 9 lbs of greengage jam that needed after-treatment...
Saturday 2nd December: Fred's first mention of Ciss since 19th: ......took battery for charging, also Dad's collars to laundry and bought a cherry cake for Ciss in evening...
Sunday, 3rd December: ...Saw Ciss - looking much like herself. Brought away her glasses for repair...
Monday 4th December: Took parcel to Ciss including her repaired glasses and a lovely Souvenir de Claudius Pernet rose; the young lady clerk at the hospital admired its bright yellow colour. Took bundle of washing to Aunt Lizas for Sunlight laundry.
Wednesday 6th December: ...Ciss is making real headway and seems very cheerful. She won a box of chocolates in a hospital raffle...
Sunday 10th December: ...Saw Ciss to-day, still getting stronger and in fine spirits...
Tuesday 12th December: ...Air Warden called late at night as he had seen a bright light show at back of house; asked him into the garden and found it was Frayne's next door but one.
Wednesday 13th December: ...Saw Ciss in hospital; she is nearing the day when she will be discharged - another week or so...

(Can anyone complete the name of the rose, from 4th December? It's a short first name like Low or Louv. Comments please! - Now entered. Thank you Groatie.

Friday, 12th April 1940

Mild, dull, slight rain morning and night. More work in garden, turning over rose bed and planting golden glow nasturtium seeds. Only out to buy food for Dinky.

11 April 2010

Thursday, 11th April 1940

Rather mild, some sun, less wind, pleasant. Flew model without lifting fuselage with splendid results on Wimbledon Common. Alan Spooner took his two aeros and got fine flights. Lady called to inspect gas masks: was interested in my violin: said she played and was an L.R.A.M.  Aunt Liza called.

10 April 2010

Wednesday, 10th April 1940

(Modern comment: 10th April 2010 is a gloriously sunny day, with four deer visible from our Devon window, the stag's antlers held magnificently alert as he turns, watches and listens before returning to browsing grass which still glistens with the morning dew. But, back in wartime south-west London...)
Rather cold, dull, bitter N wind. Out in morning to buy liver for Dinky. The ornamental plumb trees are coming into bloom. Harold Conrade called in afternoon; he is staff sargeant-major (one of Fred's few spelling mistakes) - shortly to get a commission. Miss Read called in evening.

On this day British and German ships fought the First Battle of Narvik - each nation losing two destroyers, and five other German ships being badly damaged, pursued and sunk. Meanwhile, Iceland declared independence from Denmark - and Belgium reaffirmed its neutrality while going to a status of military alert. Also on this day dive-bombing Blackburn Skua aircraft (890hp nine-cylinder radial engines) of the UK's Fleet Air Arm Britain's achieved the first sinking of a major warship by aircraft - the Konigsberg, already damaged by Norwegian shore batteries. 

9 April 2010

Tuesday, 9th April 1940

Rather cool, dull, a few sunny periods, however chilly stiff N wind. Did a bit of gardening but too cold for much. Germany invades Denmark which is completely occupied and also parts of Norway: the latter is resisting.

Those comments on wider aspects of the war were from Uncle Fred's diary - not my modern 'On this day' additions.His report was indeed up to date - it was a rapid German advance by land, sea and air. Norway's Vidkun Quisling, a name that became synonymous with traitors,  proclaimed himself prime minister. Denmark's troops were directed, reluctantly, to offer no resistance. 10,000 German troops concealed on merchant ships stormed Norweigan ports. Any hopes of a negotiated peace were over - the end of 'The Phoney War'. The Soviet Union wished Germany every success in her 'defensive measures'.

8 April 2010

Monday, 8th April1940

"...a genuine girl quite innocent of modern artificiality"
Rather cool, very dull, some rain, cold N wind. Slight repair to propeller gear for Alan Spooner's big model. Miss Trewin called in evening; a genuine girl quite innocent of any modern artificiality.

On this day British destroyer Glowworm sunk by German cruiser Hipper off Norway - few survivors. Also, Norway protests at UK and France mining its waters (because Germany obtaining goods from Norway). Also, Polish submarine sunk Orzel sank Rio de Janeiro, a German troop-transporter - one of a fleet of invasion ships bound for Norway - few survivors.

Continuing Fred's earlier entries about his sister Theresa, 'Ciss' who went into hospital on 15th October 1939
Monday, 6th November ...Took eggs and tomatoes to Ciss in hospital; they said she was fairly comfortable...
Wednesday, 8th November ...Saw Ciss again and found her much better; she had many visitors...
Thursday, 9th November ...Bought assorted stationery and posted it to Ciss in hospital...
Saturday, 11th November ...Alan Spooner brought some sunflowers to take to Ciss. Did a lot of cleaning today... Heard broadcast message from Queen Elizabeth.
Wednesday, 15th November ...To Wimbledon Hospital and found Ciss still improving. Mrs Bradley, Mrs Pontifex, Mrs Conrade, Mrs Smith, Uncle Henry, Alf's Lily and own Lily besides myself went. Alan Spooner showed me one side of fuselage he is making.
Sunday, 19th November ...Took enormous armfull (then one -l- crossed out) of  chrysanthemums to Ciss in hospital: she is still progressing but slow work however. Met Hilda Payne - married name unknown; she had been to see Ciss...
Monday, 21st November ...posted parcel of stationery and stamps to Ciss...
Wednesday, 22nd November ...Ciss can raise herself up in bed; took her some ginger cakes...
Friday, 24th November ...Card from Ciss saying she had been up for a short time; good. Took jars of jam to Conrade's...
Sunday, 26th November ...Saw Ciss again to-day - best yet after collapsing through being out of bed for too long; still she is stronger every time...

7 April 2010

Sunday, 7th April 1940

Rather mild, sunny morning, getting very cool and dull. Alb and Lily to tea. Uncle Henry and Mrs Akroyd - just them in evening.  Fred Fraine sent me a twin-gear propeller shaft and nose block for aero.

On this day Booker T. Washington becomes the first African American to be depicted on a United States postage stamp.

Continuing entries mentioning Ciss
Wednesday, 1st November, 1939 ...Went to see Ciss who is improving, slowly however: she can now have bananas...
Friday, 3rd November 1939 ...Took bananas and papers etc to Ciss, who I found on enquiry was "very comfortable"...
Sunday, 5th November 1939 ...Saw Ciss to-day; she is definitely better but has a long way to go yet... Mrs Pontifax provided a sumptuous roast pork dinner.

6 April 2010

Saturday, 6th April 1940

Rather mild getting very cool, some sun with perceptible warmth in it. Flew the usual model on Wimbledon Common with great height. Fred and Alan Spooner doing well with theirs.

And continuing Ciss's story (see yesterday's blog)
Thursday, 26th October 1939 ...Dad saw Ciss to-day Charlie took him in his car. Saw doctor at night...
Friday, 27th October 1939 ...Ciss very weak and suffering from nettle rash; she had many visitors including Lily as she felt anxious...
Saturday, 28th October 1939 ...saw Dr Metcalfe at his Wimbledon Hill residence; he thought Ciss would pull through.
Sunday, 29th October 1939 ...Saw Ciss again. Eddie Hopkins among visitors. Still anxious. Phoned hospital in evening, they said she was a little better then. Jack Bradley and Alan Spooner enquired in evening.
Monday, 30th October 1939. ...Saw Ciss and found her a little better; she said she felt she had turned the corner. I was pleased to note an improvement. Got a certificate from the nurse.
Tuesday, 31st October 1939 ...Phoned hospital in early evening and got the best report so far. They said Ciss was still improving, that I could see her that evening but then only on visiting days. So she is now out of danger and turned the corner, thank God.
But Ciss stay in hospital. More entries tomorrow...

And yesterday, in 1940, in a major public speech UK Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, in what proves to be a tragic misjudgment, declares that Hitler has "missed the bus" (Wikipedia 1940 dates page)

5 April 2010

Friday, 5th April 1940

Rather mild morning, sunny periods but getting very cool; cold N wind increasing. Did some work piling up earth on Air Raid shelter and repairing the path. Out to do some shopping. Alan Spooner took delivery of new nose-block and propeller gear. Ciss bought new G string for my violin: good.

Ciss was in hospital for months...
We've seen some of Fred's entries for the start of this year. These made me look back to see just when his sister - 'Ciss', real name Theresa - went into hospital, and why. Fred's daily entries always began with the weather which I've omitted in this edited version of those referring to Ciss:
Sunday, 8th October 1939 ...saw an A.R.P decontamination squad practising in the Ridgeway...
Monday, 9th October 1939 ...Ciss went to doctor who found a lump on her chest which he said must be removed at once.
Tuesday, 10th October 1939 ...Out to buy meat for Dinky. Uncle Dick called to hear about Ciss. Lily also called to make arrangements.
Thursday, 12th October 1939 ...flew model on Common with Alan Spooner... His two behaved perfectly, the parachute lowering the big model most realistically... Alb and Lily to tea to make arrangements.
Sunday, 15th October 1939 ...Lily came and saw Ciss into Copse Hill Hospital. I pray God the operation will be successful. Took bundle of washing to 34.
Tuesday, 17th October 1939 ...Ciss was operated on to-day; I telephoned the hospital in evening and had a reassuring report. Told all relatives within reach. Mr. Bradley brough me one of his water-colours seacapes as a keepsake.
Wednesday, 18th October 1939 51 to-day, feel a lot older... went to see Ciss in Copse Hill Hospital and found her better than I expected. Took fine bunch of dahlias. Lily and Eddie Bennett were there and Miss Read waiting outside for news. Visited Bradley's in evening and Dinky was in his old home asleep in the armchair.
Thursday, 19th October 1939 ...saw Dr. Metcalf who gave a good report of Ciss
Sunday 22nd October 1939 ...Went to see Ciss...she seemed weaker than on Wednesday, but she is bound to vary, it is early yet. Alb and Lily also went and came for a cup of tea. Charlie Cook was at hospital as his wife and daughter were on duty there.
Monday, 23rd October 1939 ...Did a lot of shopping. Took towels, calvesfoot jelly, eau de Cologne, oranges and fruit jelly sweets to Ciss in hospital; did not see her but was told she was fairly comfortable...
Wednesday, 25th October 1939 ...Many people to see Ciss whose condition remains very weak. I saw a great difference in her and am very concerned.
More entries about Ciss added to blog tomorrow...

4 April 2010

Thursday, 4th April 1940

Mild, rain in morning, some sun in afternoon. Made free-wheel and tension gear and fitted to new propeller shaft for Alan Spooner. Out only to buy Dinky's meat.

That was 1940 in SW London - here in 2010, the 4th is a sunny Easter Sunday in Devon.

Names and addresses
In the back of his diary for 1940 Fred has addresses for:

Jack and Lousie Bradley, Luton
Annie Chapman, Wimbledon
F W Frayne, East Sheen
The Coopers, Wilstead
Joyce Head, Ferring
Mrs Child, Farncombe, Nr Guildford
Pontifex, Worcester Park

Do you know any of these people?

3 April 2010

Wednesday, 3rd April 1940

Rather mild but coldish North wind: some rain mostly dull. Finished pruning the roses. Miss Read called. With Alan Spooner to fly aeros on Joseph Hoods with good results. I flew my model with the lifting fuselage. More work on nose-block and propeller gear for Alan.

One week's shopping in 1940
In a separate notebook which Fred headed Housekeeping a/c, he has about thirty weekly household accounts - all in pencil, unlike the neat ink of the diaries. This is for Week Ending April 6 laid out as far as possible as he wrote it. The amounts are in shillings, pence, halfpennies and farthings.

Cats food 2 Cheese 5 Meat Paste 3½ ........................10½
Cornflour 3  Scourine(?) 3 Sardines 5½......................11½
G Syrup 8 Marmite 6 Dates 5½.................................1-7½
Gas 1/- Oil 6½ Beef 2/10 Chops 8.............................5-0½
Cats food 2 Sausages 7½ Potatoes and Onion 3.........1-0½
Accumulator 6 Gas 1/- Rent 13/- Bread 1/11½........16-5½
Milk 2/4 Butter 9½ Eggs 3/7½ Insurance 1/-............7-9
Flour 7½ Sugar 11 ¼ Bacon 6
Milk 9¼ Margerine 7 Cooking Fat 3½
Starch 5 Blue1 Soap 5 Blue Bell polish 7¼
Soap Pds 4.................................................................5-7
Carrots 2½ Cats food 3 Vegetables 2/4......................2-9½
Gas 1/- Carrots 3 Sweets 2½ Lentils 6.........................1-11½
Greens 3 Bones 1 Liver 9 Chop 4 Steak 7.....................2-0
Window cleaning 6 Cats food 3........................................9
Gas 1/- Cats food 5 Gas 1/-..........................................2-5
Potatoes 6 Bacon 4 Suet 2 Fish 6..................................1-6
Papers 7.........................................................................7
Gas refund 8............................................................less 8

So, that's  £2-11s-4d for the week, with rent for the house the largest single item by far. Most weeks saw a bill about this sum.

 P.S. What is Scourine? What is Blue? Answers on a postcard... or as a Comment, please!

2 April 2010

Tuesday, 2nd April 1940

Cool, very dull, some rain but less wind. Started pruning the roses. Out to buy liver for Dinky. Alan Spooner called in evening; discussed electrics with him.

On this day The US navy set sail from western USA for exercises near Hawaii.

And, back on Sunday 7th January Fred had written ...To hospital: Ciss is still detained by part of the wound taking a long while to heal - a trial of patience. Alb and Lily made their usual call for a cup of tea. Dinky doesn't seem to understand we can stay in all night.

1 April 2010

Monday, 1st April 1940

Mild, fine sunny day but very boisterous. The men came to erect the steel air raid shelter at the end of the garden, it is sunk 4ft deep in the ground. Got down into it to see what it was like. Re-planted the rose bushes that I dug up to make room for the shelter. With Alan Spooner to Joseph Hoods Rec. to test the new lifting tail he has built for his big aero. It brings the wing further forward which is what he wanted.

And back on Saturday, 6th January ...the thermometer rose continuosly until at night it had reached 45 degrees - a phenomenal rise and the cold snap ends although a little slushy snow remains. Mrs Ackroyd called and bought some jam. Out to register for meat rations also to buy stamps and postcards for Ciss. More housework to-day. - Oh, I heard Ida Shepley the glorious contralto on the wireless.