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31 March 2010

Sunday, 31st March 1940

Mild, very dull, coldish wind. No callers. Sunday or not, decided to dig up several roses to make way for air raid shelter to be erected tomorrow.

On this day Mussolini said Italy must go to war, like Germany, in Italy's case to attain 'liberty on the seas; a window on the ocean'. And the USA refused to recognise the pro-Japanese 'puppet' government in China (see yesterday) proclaimed in Nanking.

"She brought love back into my heart when I had almost lost the faculty."

Back on Friday, 5th January Fred ...Polished brass step and door-knocker. Washed tiled path in front of house, and washed living-room floor at night. Bradleys moved from 72 Chestnut to Doris's and Erney Pudneys at Worcester Park bequeathing us Dinkey who is now our cat, so dear Sandy has a successor at last. Bradley's is a house of happy memory: I can never forget the lovely auburn haired brown eyed little Connie who knocked at our door and timidly asked for Miss French. I saw her grow into womanhood and now she has little Christine. She brought love back into my heart when I had almost lost the faculty.

30 March 2010

Saturday, 30th March 1940

Rather mild, coldish wind but some sunny periods - better. Finished planting new rhubarb bed re-planted Xmas tree. Uncle Ben called; gave him a cup of tea & two aspirins: he had got a headache.

On this day China proclaimed a new pro-Japanese government, claiming "a new defence" for East Asia.

And back on Thursday 4th January Uncle Fred had written: ...to Wimbledon along the rail path to buy Ever Ready H.T. battery at Electrical Equipment Co. Saw two Drummond 4-6-0 locos on the way, also a Lord Nelson 4-6-0 and Lemaitre multi-blast chimney. Fitted H.T. battery to wireless and the quality of reproduction is amazingly realistic: grand. Heard that Bradleys really are moving so I suppose we shall have Dinky after all, but have not heard.

Note I believe there was no main electricity at the house, just gas for lighting and cooking, which explains the importance of the H T battery for the 'wireless'.

29 March 2010

Friday, 29th March 1940

Rather cold, bitter wind, very dull, some rain. Out only to the shops. Ciss bought a new violin bridge for me at Maxwells Wimbledon; fitted it in evening - good


On this day Soviet Union will remain neutral in European war says Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov. In August 1939, the Soviet Union and Germany had signed a non-aggression pact, but Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941.

Returning to Uncle Fred's diary and those earlier entries (see a few days ago), this was Fred's entry on
Wednesday, 3rd January 1940.
Very severe frost, very dull, dangerously slippery but got as far as the hospital to see Ciss who is not to be discharged yet. Met dear Gladys with Eileen and Joan who had been to see Ciss. Met Maud at the hospital and Lily came home for a cup of tea. Mr Bradley gave me an old Rexophone(?) crystal set. Got letter from dad with 7/6 postal order to buy a new high tension battery.

Crystal set = a simple radio receiver operating without any battery or mains electricity, receiving its power from radio waves.

7/6 = 7 shillings and sixpence

28 March 2010

Thursday, 28th March 1940

Rather cold, bitter N. wind but some sunny periods, slight snow shower midday. Along rail path to Wimbledon to buy wire and string and screw adjuster for my violin: also bought fish for Dinky. Fred Spooner brought in his Sportster model aero. for me to see. The Almond blossom & Forsythias are in full bloom.

Dinky the cat is also referred to on the inside back cover of Uncle Fred's 1940 diary: Dinkey's Registration Number: A474748 There are lines through that number and below: Corrected Number is: A474758 Were all cats registered during WWII?

On this dayThe Allies ordered that Norway's waters should be mined, and initiated a study for bombing Russian oil producing areas in the Caucasus (in case Germany acquired Russian oil). It was also agree that neither Britain or France would enter into separate peace agreements.

27 March 2010

Wednesday, 27th March 1940

Rather cold, some drizzle and sunny periods. Piercing N. wind, so I kept indoors. Alan Spooner brought his new aero with a new combined tail to show me. In evening Miss Trewin from Payne & Birdseye's ticket office called. Gave her rose and plant catalogues. A very nice girl - natural and genuine, have (sic) a nice disposition. Fitted one more new experimental soundpost to violin; have to give it a good playing test.

barrage balloon prepared by WAAF in London park
"The barrage balloons look very beautiful..."

Following yesterday's blog when we also read Uncle Fred's entry for New Year's Day, 1940, here's his entry for Tuesday, 2nd January 1940: 


Severe frost all day. The snow has been trodden down hard and smooth and frozen into a skating rink and is dangerously slippery. The barrage balloons look very beautiful with the red sunshine on them in a hazy blue sky. To buy brisket in morning. In afternoon bought this book and posted letters, also to chemists. Took Dad's collars to laundry.

26 March 2010

Tuesday, 26th March 1940

Rather cold, dismal, torrents of rain all day, rather rough. Out only to buy liver for Dinky. Made another balsa soundpost and fitted it to violin.

On Monday, 1st January 1940 Uncle Fred wrote the entry below in his diary. I'm adding it here as the above was a very short entry, so I've just browsed some earlier pages. Had it been a white Christmas, at the end of 1939? And just how honest can you get about your dreams? I wonder if anyone who reads this has a photo of Annie Chapman or knows anything about her. By the way, it sounds as if some shops were open on New Year's Day. Here's Fred's entry...

Very cold, freezing all day, still a lot of snow left, rather foggy. Dreamed I met dear Annie Chapman face to face, and that she declined an offer of marriage I had made her; haven't met her for nearly 15 years, wonder whether I ever shall again. Stayed in to-day as there was no need to go to the shops.

25 March 2010

Monday, 25th March 1940

Easter Monday. Rather mild but cold, boisterous wind, dull, some rain. Flew aero on Common with Alan Spooner. Used the lifting fuselage which gives good height but poor stability. Alb, Lily and Mrs. Jones came to tea. Played violin and Alb played the piano.

The 'Common' mentioned is Wimbledon Common. And 'Jones' was Lily's maiden name, so the Mrs Jones mentioned could have been Lily's mother - without more research, this is not certain. The piano was probably Albert's, but allowed to remain in his old home, with his brother Fred (the writer of this diary).

24 March 2010

Sunday, 24th March 1940

Easter Sunday. Rather mild, dull, some drizzle. Jean Child called. Short walk in evening, past Annie's house.Uncle Henry and Miss Akroyd called - coming (sic) their old tricks again.

Gordan's Gin diary
For someone who was probably teetotal (let's continue reading his diaries and find out), it's ironic that Uncle Fred was prompted to start his daily record, back in January 1933, by being given this small diary with pages of glossy adverts extolling the purity and medicinal qualities of Gordon's Gin. The verse on the left reads: WHEN it's WHITE then it's PURE - No fact could be truer: It's logic that all can digest. Be the world full of sin, there remains Gordon's Gin - still WHITEST and PUREST and BEST!

23 March 2010

Saturday, 23 March 1940

Very cool, very dull, some drizzling showers. Alb, Lily and Mrs.Jones to tea. Dear little Violet is staying with Mrs.Kingham: gave her an Easter egg and a ball. Out to buy food for Dinky: enough to last over the holidays. I believe that Jesus Christ died for me.

Alb(ert) was Fred's brother, married to Lily. They lived in Tolworth, Surbiton, Surrey. Dinky was a cat.

On this day This became an important day for the future Pakistan. The principal text of the Lahore (or 'Pakistan') Resolution was passed on 23 March, in Lahore, by the Muslim League. It called for greater Muslim autonomy in British India. This has been largely interpreted as a demand for a separate Muslim State, Pakistan. It formed the basis for the decision of the Muslim League to struggle for one State for Muslims. See wiki - Lahore Resolution.

22 March 2010

Friday, 22nd March 1940 (Good Friday)

Mild, cloudy, some drizzle. Jean Child called having been sent away since outbreak of war: she is on holiday: lent her a music book. Alan Spooner brought me some new elastic for my aero. Started making a new nose-block for his machine. Miss Watts who was in hospital with Ciss called and brought a pink hyacinth in a pot.

Fred's large model aircraft were made of balsa wood covered by a thin, light, doped paper. They were powered by very long, strong, multi-strand elastic 'ropes' which extended (inside) the length of the fuselage. The ropes were bound at the end with leather, which also formed a loop. Prior to hand-launching the models, the elastic motor was wound using a hand-drill with a hook to put through the leather loop.

On this day Russian forces occupied Hanko (Swedish: Hangö) a port on the south coast of Finland.

21 March 2010

Thursday, 21st March 1940

Rather mild, cold wind. Dull. Took accumulator to Whitbourne's and thence along rail path continuing along rail path to Cranbrook Grove. Saw two Lord Nelson loco's also Stephenson - Engineer class. The hawthorn hedge along the path is break (sic) into growth - apple trees also.

On this day Russia had protested possible alliance of Norway, Sweden & Finland, in light of existing Russo-Finnish peace treaty.

20 March 2010

Wednesday, 20th March 1940

Rather mild, rain and shine alternating, very rough cold wind. Started making new rhubarb bed in order to make room for the air raid shelter; planted eight roots. In evening I put some daffodils on dear Mother's grave.

On this day Paul Reynaud became French premier, believing that France should pursue the war with determination. He succeeded Daladier who had resigned.