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31 December 2011

Wed 31st Dec 1941: God help us!

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Raw cold, dirty dismal, misty, damp day. To grocers to take order in morning. Finished re-fitting pick-up and tried it, but mystified because it sometimes operates the phones and at other times not. It works all right on the amplifier, am not satisfied with it and would like to buy a new one. The last of the old year. We have much to thank God for but do not know what lies ahead but I feel all will be well by this time next year.
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30 December 2011

Tues 30th Dec 1941: ever-handy Woolies

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Raw cold, still ice lying about, dismal, dirty misty day. Shopping locally and thence to Wimbledon. Bought valve rubber at Woolworth's. In evening re-rubbered the armature suspension of my Burndept* pick-up once again but found a thin wire lead was broken so could not finish the job at one attempt.


*Burndept, a company founded in the 1920s, acquired in 1934 by Vido, and moved to a the former Light Gun Factory in Erith, Kent, a factory destroyed by bombing this very year, 1941. Illustrations show a 1934 advert (right) and an early advertising van (above).
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On this day: Churchill speaking to Canadian Parliament in Ottawa about President Roosevelt - "That great man whom destiny has marked for this climax of human fortune."


Churchill also said: "When I warned them (the French Government) that Britain would fight on alone, whatever they did, their Generals told their Prime Minister  and his divided Cabinet: 'In three weeks England will have their neck wrung like a chicken.' Some chicken! Some neck!"

Mon 29th Dec 1941: BBC Brains Trust

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Severe white frost, freezing hard all day, cloudy, misty. Posted question to B.B.C. Brains Trust. Shopping both in Raynes Park and Wimbledon. Bought a book for my 1942 diary. Mr Costilla up from Portsmouth on business in London called in early evening for half an hour.
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Sun 28th Dec 1941: brrrrrrrr...!

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Sharp morning frost, bright, sunny day, blue sky but cold wind coming - surprisingly from the south; freezing hard by early evening. Len Garrod called in afternoon and returned my micrometer; he now works at aero. factory at Mitcham.
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27 December 2011

Sat 27th Dec 1941: surprise visit

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Raw cold, dull, damp. To Wimbledon along rail path to buy fish for cats. Dad and Alb paid a surprise visit* and stayed for tea.

Note: they'd have caught a double-decker red London Transport bus, probably a No 72 or 152, along the Kingston-by-pass from Tolworth . No phone in either home to warn of a visit... and they didn't tell Ciss yesterday?
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Fri 26th Dec 1941: Boxing Day

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Thick white morning frost which was not dispelled till midday. Very cold cloudy day. Miss Dickson* came to do the cleaning as usual. In afternoon to Russell Road to inquire about Fred Spooner; he has not yet been operated on. Walked home through Wimbledon and along rail path. Ciss went to Tolworth.**

* So a normal Friday's work for the young housemaid.
**This would be for tea with her other brother, Albert, and his wife, Lily.
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24 December 2011

Thur 25th Dec 1941: Christmas Day

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Christmas Day. Mild: 50 degrees but dull and a chilly north wind blowing. Aunt Liza called to say that Len is now in Rouen - nearer home at any rate. Just for a short walk in the afternoon. No visitors, so Ciss and I had our Christmas by ourselves. Played a match with her on the pin bagatelle board.** Played the gramophone. Heard the King's broadcast, also the bells of Bethlehem.

**This dark wooden board about 26in x 18in (estimated) had circles of metal pins (small nails) and inset small circular metal trays which would just take a single silver-colour metal ball, pushed up a side alley by each player with a shaped wooden rod. Lesser scores were achieved by getting the ball inside a circle of pins, while the higher scores came from resting in the individual trays. The scores relating to each tray or circle were printed on small gold on black labels on the board. Great fun!

Wed 24th Dec 1941: walloping

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Remarkably mild 50 degrees and not at all like Christmas Eve. Sun shone all day with a warmth that was perceptible Got the joint, beef, and other provisions. Took some presents to the Child's for Mrs. Child to give to the children. Young John Child came in crying, another boy had given him a walloping, but he soon forgot it. Mrs. Child gave us some eggs. Thence to Wimbledon and got home late by half an hour. Cleaned the windows earlier in the day.
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Tues 23rd Dec 1941: tea for a sailor

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Rather cold; as much sunshine as might be expected at this time of year. Did some shopping locally and thence to Wimbledon but came back empty handed. Saw a Wainwright 4.4.0 loco on a siding: unusual. Mr. Veal called unexpectedly and found the house - No.68 empty. He was not expected and Mrs. Veal and her mother must have gone away for a day. He is a sailor on leave and did not know he was coming till midday. Gave him a cup of tea: he must have been disappointed.
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Mon 22nd Dec 1941: rationed food; Xmas; death

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Rather cold, very dull, misty and damp. To grocers to buy jam, salmon and meat loaf. All rationed goods. Thence to Wimbledon; bought sprats and a soup bowl and saucer for a present for Ciss. Met Mrs Conrade and Joan in Wimbledon. Mrs.Kingham told me her sister has just died, she is dear little Violet's mother: it will be a sad Christmas for many.
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Sun 21st Dec 1941: my radio gram

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Very cold, dismal day, but no wind. Alan Spooner called to tell me his mother is laid up with flu and his brother Fred was taken to hospital this morning with severe abdominal pains: an operation may be necessary. Went to see Jimmy Wiltshire's new radio-gram.  Fitted new 120 volt high-tension battery to radio gram and played same - fine to have ample H.T. once again! good volume and quality.
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Sat 20th Dec 1941: holly wreath on grave

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Severe morning frost; very cold, dull day; foggy. To greengrocers in morning to buy potatoes, parsnips and Brussels tops. In afternoon to buy groceries. Thence to dear Mother's grave to put on a holly wreath. Continuing to Merton to buy ginger wine essence. Met Mrs.Child, Ivy Hessey(?) as was, and another. Bought grid-bias battery, clear dope, Christmas cards & sprats at respective shops and home along rail path. A busy day. Oh, and stamps.
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21 December 2011

Fri 19th Dec 1941: more cards...

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Severe white frost, very cold - coldest day this winter, so far, dull and very misty. Did the usual shopping in morning also to Wimbledon in afternoon. Addressed a number of Christmas cards in evening. Getting more like Christmas now.
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Thur 18th Dec 1941: parcel and letter day

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Severe white morning frost. Very cold, dull day: pinkish mist in later afternoon. Posted parcel to Harold Conrade. Also to grocers and to Wimbledon to do shopping. Wrote letter to Chas Staden.
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Wed 17th Dec 1941: house badly shaken

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Rather cold, mostly cloudy. Did shopping locally in morning including posting some Xmas parcels, letters and cards. Wrote letter to Harold Conrade also sent a card and also a book he lent me. A very heavy bomb explosion in afternoon which shook the house to its foundations and rattled the windows, followed at intervals of a few minutes by two other reports getting successively less severe. Mr.Norriss said an unfamiliar plane had just gone over in a S.E. direction where the sounds came from. It was announced that an enemy plane was shot down off the S.E. coast this afternoon but it was not stated if it had penetrated inland and dropped bombs. It seems likely as surely all the delayed bombs must have been disposed of by now.
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Tues 16th Dec 1941: emotionally toughened by war



Christmas cards and searchlight practice
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Rather cold but as perfect and cloudless a day as is possible at this season. Remarkable. The sun shone all day and its warmth could be felt. Did some shopping locally and thence to Wimbledon along rail path. Bought some Christmas cards at Woolworth's. Doing up the presents and parcels for posting. Searchlight practice at night; a plane was held in the beams for a long time: it was British of course. The sky was so dark and clear at night that I was able to see Uranus without optical aid near to and between the Pleiades and Saturn. It is about 5th or 6th magnitude - on the limit of naked-eye vision. Have never seen it before. I know I should have been thrilled but my emotional reactions are very slight nowadays. I suppose it is one result of a toughening process - the result of war.

"my emotional reactions are very slight nowadays"
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Mon 15th Dec 1941: most laughable boxer toy

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Rather cooler than of late, alternate sunshine and showers with a rainbow thrown in. Chilly West wind: almost like fitful Spring weather. Did some shopping locally including buying a child's rag picture book and a comic mechanical toy of a whirlwind juvenile boxer who spars with a celluloid punch ball in a most laughable manner! And all for 4 1/2d. Thence to Mrs. Child's to regulate the clock and to Wimbledon to but cats' food.
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19 December 2011

Sun 14th Dec 1941: trial air raid warning

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Phenominally (sic) mild for time of year - 57 degrees: very dull; rain all day, wind blowing great guns. Aunt Liza called. Air raid warning at 6.23 p.m. lasting about two minutes when the all clear sounded. It was announced on the wireless that the warning was just a test - for practice purposes. The sirens have not sounded for such  long time that I suppose it was thought wise to see if all were in working order.
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Sat 13th Dec 1941: I am paid 7/6d for the aero

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Rather colder, dull, chilly S.W.wind. Got the groceries in afternoon then to Wimbledon to get food for cats. Got paid 7/6 for the aero. and took a bottle of rubber lubricant. Discovered that the people's name is not Williams after all but Freeman; don't know how I came to know them as Williams. Wrote letter to Uncle Tom and Aunt Nellie.
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Fri 12th Dec 1941: model aircraft delivered

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Mild, some sun also some heavy showers. Did the usual Friday shopping in the afternoon instead of morning. Took the completed aero. to Williams so that finishes that job.
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Thur 11 Dec 1941: bought sprats; war on USA

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Mild, some sunshine in morning. To Wimbledon, not along rail path this time but through Wimbledon Housing Estate and Dundonald and back the same way. Bought sprats. Wrote out instructions for using model aero. made for Williams. Germany and Italy declare war on U.S.A.
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Wed 10th Dec 1941: house railings to make tanks

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Singularly mild for season 55 degrees: dull, damp, windy. Flew William's aero on Common with very steady flights in gusty weather - a little too much negative thrust but that was afterward rectified and the model is ready for delivery. I should like a good spar model of my own, they are very free flying. The whole of the front railings of houses in this road were removed to-day: they are to be used chiefly for making tanks. Madge & Margaret called in evening.
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On this day: battleship Prince of Wales and battle cruiser Repulse sunk off Malaya - by 99 Japanese aircraft - the first ever battle between aircraft and capital ships on the high seas (as opposed to in harbour).  
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Tues 9th Dec 1941: perfect model aero

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50 degrees; dull, damp, windy. Did shopping in morning including two nature study books for Jean and Audrey Child. Met Gladys. Thence to Wimbledon Common to test Williams aero. Perfect in every way from the start but being very windy made a rough landing which started two joints later repaired. Cycled to Wimbledon to buy meat for cats.
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Mon 8th Dec 1941: news of Pearl Harbor


Sharp morning frost, cold clear day, some sun in  morning, To Wimbledon to buy cats' meat. Also to get accumulator from Whitbrown's, two torch batteries and the long-awaited 120-volt high-tension battery, price 9/3. So now we are well-equipped and should get another six months of listening. Japan attacks American and British Possessions in the far East, also lands troops in Thailand without a declaration of war: the latter capitulates on the first day.

Churchill, writing about the declaration of war against Japan:
 'When you have to kill a man, it costs nothing to be polite.'

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Sun 7th Dec 1941: Pearl Harbor

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Very cold, bitter wind after night of deluge: but a sunny day: rain again at night. To Childs to fit up the reconditioned clock in the hall and left it going well. Took a railway book for Arthur.
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On this day: Japan attacks US fleet at Pearl Harbor sinking 4 battleships and destroying 188 aircraft.  1,103 men died on the battleship Arizona; 2,334 in the raid all told. 12 other major vessels were damaged. Japan also attacked British territories in the Pacific. 
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Sat 6th Dec 1941: news of Doreen

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Mild for season but, boisterous, chilly S.W. wind. Cloudy, rain setting in towards end of afternoon. Bought vegetables in morning. Groceries locally in afternoon thence to Wimbledon to buy cats provisions and on to Merton Road to by 1/4" elastic & balsa at Collins. Also bought new dishcloth in Wimbledon. Oh, and lentils. Came home via Merton. A very long walk. Fitted wheels to chassis of Williams model. {Put new washer on tap. During afternoon met Leslie Moore walking through this road on his way to a football match on the fields. They live at Twickenham and I asked him about his mother and in particular Doreen of course. They are well and Doreen works at Woolworths; she is 15 - fancy, and she was seven when they moved to this road. Glad to have news of her again.
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On this day: Russian army of 9 million start counteroffensive against Germans. Finnish forces reached most easterly point, on railway north of Lake Onega. Britain declared on Finland, Hungary and Rumania. Roosevelt approved funds for research towards atomic bomb.
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18 December 2011

Fri 5th Dec 1941: a shilling for my mercury

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Less cold - 45 degrees, cloudy but a little fairer. Two outings in morning to Raynes Park shops, thence along the rail path to Wimbledon. A shop has just opened which buys old gold, silver or any metal ware for reclamation. A notice in the window says that mercury is urgently needed. So I took a small quantity of it and to my surprise got a shilling for it, seeing it was only about a dessert spoonful. I was pleased at the price. Mrs Williams and little Connie called to see how the plane is getting on: I showed it to her. Fitted the chassis in evening also propeller. bearing and tried it for running with a temporary rubber motor: very smooth and steady. Not much more to do.
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On this day: Hitler stopped anti--Moscow operations. 750,000  of 3.5m Axis troops had been died or were missing. Secret US mobilization plans published in some US newspapers. 
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13 December 2011

Thur 4th Dec 1941: Points Rationing for tinned foods

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Cold, dismal, damp, misty. To Wimbledon to do shopping. Fitted cane crossbar to landing chassis of William's aero: used aluminium fittings. Aunt Liza the only caller save for Uncle Henry's usual morning visit. Made first purchase under new Points Rationing Scheme for tinned foodstuff, namely meat roll.
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On this day: Japanese forces leaving Haiman Island prior to invading Malaya and Thailand.
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Wed 3rd Dec 1941: crystal music expensive

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Very raw cold, damp, dismal, misty. Being early closing did shopping in morning. The weather being so foul and not having any business to do in afternoon stayed at home. Alan Spooner called to tell me he knew the principle of the crystal pick-up which has puzzled me: he explained that a Rochelle salt crystal of special size and shape made only in America was used - the crystal actually generates voltage pulsations under varying pressures, the vibrations being applied by the needle mechanisms of the pick-up. Should like to try one but they are very expensive. Staretd making bamboo landing chassis for Williams aero.
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On this day: Sagadahoc, a USA merchant ship, torpedoed and sunk in South Atlantic.
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Tues 2nd Dec 1941: just one of those days

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Very cold, dismal, rather foggy, thicker at night. Bought a few things locally. Met Alf Snudden twice; he was going to Whitbrown's for advice as his wireless had broken down. Also met Doris Pudney. Spent some time repairing ball valve of lavatory cistern: put in new rubber.

On this day: new Japanese cabinet confirms decision to attach Pearl Harbor - the coded message translated as 'Climb Mount Nikita'.
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6 December 2011

Mon 1st Dec 1941

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Very cold, dismal, foggy, visibility 200 yards: rain commenced midday. Nearly finished propeller shaft gear for William's aero. To Wimbledon as usual for shopping; also shopping in Raynes Park.
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On this day: Japan made final decision to go to war with USA, Britain and the Netherlands, at a meeting in presence of Emperor Hirohito.
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Sun 30th Nov 1941: bottle of peppermint

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Very cold, dull. So unpleasant out of doors that, having no reason to go out stayed at home. Len Garrod called for some final instruction on the micrometer. Ciss went to Tolworth and Alb sent back a bottle of peppermint for me; very acceptable.
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Malta, 1941. RAF bomber in protective pen at Luqa. From The Air Battle of Malta, HMSO 1944
On this day: Malta receives 1,000th air raid of the war. In Britain, past two months had seen 351 fatalities in bombing raids. In Leningrad, besieged by German troops, an estimated 11,000 people starved to death during November.
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Sat 29th Nov 1941: could not oblige

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Very cool; getting colder; very dull. Got the groceries as usual and thence to Wimbledon along rail path; saw the Atlantic loco Beachy Head. Met Madge and Margaret in Woolworth's. Alf called in evening - wanted an accumulator but could not oblige.
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Fri 28th Nov 1941: Dear Gladys

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Very cool dismal, rain all day. Did the shopping in morning in the rain and got very wet. Also on an errand in the afternoon when I met Dear Gladys. I have always admired her lovely and un-selfish disposition. Fitted trip to propeller gear of William's aero.
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On this day: Japanese remind other countries that Providence decreed that nothing must interfere with Japan's leadership in east Asia. Russia recaptures Rostov. 
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4 December 2011

Thur 27th Nov 1941: pianist, technician, modeller

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Rather cold, cloudy but another astonishing rise in temperature late at night to 50 degrees. Len Garrod called in morning to have his first lesson on reading the micrometer; lent mine to him for practice purposes. To Wimbledon; bought music of first movement of Beethoven's 5th Symphony arranged for the piano. Fitted stop pin to propeller gear of Williams aero.
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On this day:  US forces in Pacific on alert for Japanese attack. German Panzer tank advance stopped 19 miles short of Moscow. Allies occupied final Italian outpost in Ethiopia; this ended fight for Allied control of Red Sea and Gulf of Aden - in less than a year 21,500 Allied troops had beaten 350,000 Italian troops.

Wed 26th Nov 1941: micrometer man

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Sharp white morning frost; cold sunny day but suddenly turning milder late at night. Did shopping in morning when I met Len Garrod and Jack - in uniform of course; he is on leave. Len has resigned the police and is going on war work and has to train to use the micrometer. He is coming here t0-morrow for me to give him a lesson in use of same. Work on propeller bracket of William's aero.
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On this day: German forces attack Moscow. USA still trying to negotiate with Japan, but Japanese forces have secretly set sail.  
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3 December 2011

Tues 25th Nov 1941: mad dash for fish

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Still 54 degrees* but getting colder as the day wore on. Cloudy and misty at night. Did some window cleaning and shopping locally. Met Doris Pudney and Mrs Child with the three youngest children. Had to dash into Wimbledon to get some fish for the cats as there was nothing to be had in Raynes Park. - on my bicycle I ought to have said.
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*Note: that's 12.222 degrees Celsius
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2 December 2011

Mon 24th Nov 1941

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Less mild, dull, wind S.W: drizzle. Shopping locally; met Len Garrod in Whitbrown's(???). Thence to Wimbledon. To Hick's to have a look at both their wireless sets but could not readily detect the fault so advised them to consult Mr. P. G. West.
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On this day: British battleship Barham sunk in Mediterranean; great loss of life. US commanders in Pacific warned of possible Japanese actions.
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Sun 23rd Nov 1941: model flying

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Cooler to-day but some sunshine that was cheerful but had little perceptible warmth. Flew the 34 ins model on Wimbledon Common with good result but the (elastic) motor which was very old gave out: repaired it and got a few more flights. A lovely sunset.
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On this day: Japanese strike force given orders re Pearl Harbour. In North Africa, the 5th South African Brigade practically wiped out by Rommel, who issues orders for a dash to Egypt-Libya border. German ultimatum to Denmark.
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Sat 22nd Nov 1941: rolled oats & lentils

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Mild 55 degrees which was maintained till midnight. As lovely a sunny day as could well be for this time of year: rain late at night. Did shopping in morning; apart from household duties: Also to Wimbledon in afternoon along the rail path bought rolled oats, lentils, etc. and something for the cats.Made brass brackets for prop shaft for Williams aero. Alb & Lily called to get their spectacles from Gleed's. They say Dad is making a good job of Mrs Child's clock.
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On this day: German raider Atlantis sunk in southern Atlantic by British cruiser Devonshire. British advance in North Africa blocked by Rommel. USA and Japan trading proposals.
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Fri 21st Nov 1941: the cornet player

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Mild - 54 degrees. Lovely sunny morning., some little warmth could be felt in the sun but dull and rain later. Miss Dickson called as usual to do the house cleaning. Spent the morning doing the shopping: met the cornet player in Coombe Lane again; had a short talk with him and gave him something. Doped the wing and tail of Williams aero. looks fine and true.
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On this day: troops from New Zealand cross Egypt-Libya frontier and take Fort Capuzzo.
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Thur 20th Nov 1941: relative peace

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Milder than ever up to 54 degrees: dull, damp. Water-tightened wing of Williams aero, also starting making propeller shaft and bearing: fitted rear hook. To Wimbledon along railway to do shopping. News today of British offensive in North Africa. Have been comparing these days of freedom from raids with our experiences last year.
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On this day: Commonwealth forces have reached Sidi Rezegh in Libya, triggering a four-day battle with Rommel's troops.


Churchill at Mansion House, London: "Should the United States become involved in war with Japan, the British declaration will follow within the hour."
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30 November 2011

Wed 19th Nov 1941: perfect tissue

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Rather cold, dull, very damp. Did shopping in morning. Walk along Arterial Rd in afternoon. Saw County School boys playing Rugby. Arthur Child took the clock case to Tolworth for Dad to repair. Vovered tail, fin and rudder and wing of William's aero. with white tissue most perfectly: very pleased. Aunt Liza called.
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29 November 2011

Tues 18th Nov 1941:

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Mild for season, a little hazy sunshine. In afternoon to Colins to buy tissue, balsa cement and a pair of celluloid wheels for Williams aero. Did a bit more work on same. Also shopping in Wimbledon and home along rail path.
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Mon 17th Nov 1941: 5d ID card case, bomb dreams

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Mild for season - 52 degrees. Very humid and dull, rain, clearing up at night. To Wimbledon to do shopping. Bought fine transparent Identity Card case for 5d at Woolworths. More work on tail of Williams aero. Last night I dreamed the Souther Railway had fitted all the Lord Nelson Class locomotives with bomb-dropping tenders!
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28 November 2011

Sun 16th Nov 1941: "I thank God for our safety"

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(Note: Fred wrote 'Sat' not 'Sun' in his diary. A rare mistake.)
Sharp morning frost which gave rapidly. The day became milder until 50 degrees were reached at night when rain began to fall: very dull all day. Not having to go out on business preferred to stay in. It is a year ago at 6.55 p.m. that four bombs fell in this - Chestnut Rd. damaging practically every house in the road. Four were completely destroyed and about twelve to this day are broken and derelict. Our own house was damaged but is now in good repair save for a few windows still covered with fabric. To-day my thought are turned towards dear Mrs. Child and her six children now living in Chatsworth Avenue. Mr. Child was so badly injured during the raid that he died the next day. I am still amazed that loss of life should have been so small but it was a great loss to those bereaved. I thank God for our safety. I saw the bombs that wrecked Child's, Lundy's and Spooner's houses - only 28 and 30 yards away from me. We have had a long respite from raids, the Germans are so occupied on the Russian front, but we know that Hitler's final aim is to destroy Britain so we must still be prepared.
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Sat 15th Nov 1941: Mr Ward's garden

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Very cold, brighter than of late, some sunshine but it has no warmth in it now. Did shopping in morning and trotted backwards and forward getting provisions etc in afternoon. Was glad to get back the weather is so bleak and chill. Mr. Ward showed me his garden. Fitted tail skid to Williams aero. Letter from Uncle Tom.
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Fri 14th Nov 1941: heavy detonations, house jolted

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Very cold, dismal yellow light, misty and it has left off raining. The usual shopping also to see Mrs Child. Had a letter from Dad to say he has got Mrs Childs' clock going. I wrote him in reply. Several heavy detonations to-day, the one at 10.45 a.m. being very heavy and jolted the house.
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Thur 13th Nov 1941

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Rather cold, half-dark rain all day. To Wimbledon to do shopping. Met Alf's Lily in Woolworth's. Madge called in evening. More work on Williams aero.
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Wed 12th Nov 1941: tinfoil recycling

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Still rather mild; dull, heavy showers. Out to do shopping in morning. Short Walk to Grand Drive in afternoon to put tinfoil in the collecting box in front of a house there. Finished the wing fixing to Williams aero.
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Tues 11th Nov 1941: an orange for Ann

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Armistice Day. Bought a poppy in Coombe Lane. Still mild but dull; downpour of rain commencing in evening. Did some shopping locally, meeting Mrs. Seeley in Coombe Lane. Thence to the Morden Food Office by way of Martin Way to get the new Points Ration Books for obtaining tinned foods. While at Morden took a short walk along Morden Hall Road: I had not been there for a great many years. Home via Kenley, Tibenham, Seafield(?) and Aylward Road. Gave little Ann Conley an orange. She comes across the road to see me when Mrs.Wheeler calls to deliver the vegetables. Started making stanchions and wing fitting for William's plane. (Note: Ann's home is pictured in the left-hand column of this blog.)
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Mon 10th November 1941: cutting railway line

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Very mild for time of year - up to 54 degrees. Small amount of sun but heavy showers and cloudy. To Wimbledon to do shopping. On way back along rail path saw some men working on the line cutting through a rail with a lever-driven hack saw. They evinced the information that it takes a little more than half an hour to cut it through. More work on Williams model.
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27 November 2011

Sun 9th Nov 1941: can Dad repair Mrs Child's clock?

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Cold but fine for the time of year. Had a lazy day. Ciss took the movement of Mrs.Child's blasted clock to Dad at Tolworth to see if he can repair it. Finished reading The Battle of Flanders by Ian Hay lent me by Harold Conrade. Being a short history of the disastrous campaign in Flanders of May 1940. Len Garrod called at night giving him a cup of cocoa and some ginger cake.
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26 November 2011

Sat 8th Nov 1941: a rare treat meeting LPO violinist

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Cold, cloudy: dead calm: damp. Got the groceries etc. Thence to Wimbledon Common to fly the 34 ins model. Found Alan Spooner up there with his large model which flew exceedingly well. The conditions were dead calm and got so beautiful glides but there was little lift so did not get great height. A clever golden haired young man came up to me and asked about my model: he seemed interested. He said he was not mechanical - he was a musician. Had a delightful talk with him. He told me he was a violinist in the London Philharmonic Orchestra. A rare pleasure to talk to a lover of fine music; his favourite was Beethoven, so we agreed as he is my favourite too.

[This note added by Fred in the diary:] This man was Matthews, leader of the L.P.O.
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Fri 7th Nov 1941: friend or foe?

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Cold, but as much bright sunshine as might be expected at this time of year, but of course there is no warmth in it. Did the shopping in the morning and walked up Grand Drive and across what was the playing fields past the camp. Fitted the hinged rudder to tail of Williams aero. Aeroplane hovering about late at night - friend or foe I do not know. There was no warning but usually the warning follows the commencement of a raid so what good it is I do not know.
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Thur 6th Nov 1941: clothing coupons

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Less cold, up to 50 degrees to-day, and a little fairer too. The usual shopping locally and also to Wimbledon. Got a new card of clothing coupons from the post office and bought some collars at Hewitts. More work on fin & rudder of Williams aero - fitting the ribs.
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Wed 5th Nov 1941: looking after graves

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Did shopping in morning getting all I wanted in Raynes Park: good! In afternoon to plant Dear Mother's grave with daffodils and hyacinths. On my way there met Mrs.Pontifex who had come over from Worcester Park to clear the Snudden's grave - her father and mother, also to see if Mrs Child was at home, unfortunately she was out. I having a garden fork with me promised to dig over Mr & Mrs Snidden's grave which I did: it is now ready for spring planting. Met Mr.Standsfield. More work on fin and rudder of Williams aero.
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Tues 4th Nov 1941: fin for plane

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Very cold, dull, piercing north wind. Did all shopping locally. Started making fin for boy Williams aero. Alan Spooner called.
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Mon 3rd Nov 1941: last rose of 1941

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Cold, very dismal and cloudy. Uncle Henry's usual morning visit. To Wimbledon along rail path. Bought torch batteries at Woolworth's. Also "Tibbs" cat powders for Dinkey at Faulkener's., and some fish at fishmonger's, of course. Assembled tail for boy Williams plane. Cut a Mme Butterfly (pale pink) rose: the lats this year, I expect.
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24 November 2011

Sat 2nd Nov 1941: I don't know how to accept present

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Very cold, dismal, windy. Harold and Rose called in evening.They brought me a present of a new high-tension battery for which I was deeply grateful and if I admit it not a little feeling of humility and unworthiness: I do not know how to accept a present.
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21 November 2011

Fri 1st Nov 1941: enemy aircraft destroyed

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Bitterly cold, piercing north wind, heavy clouds. Got the groceries, also Ciss' hat from Eastman's, Coombe Lane. Thence to Wimbledon to buy cats' meat. Saw a former S.E. & (?) loco a four, four, nought tender engine. Distant gunfire at 9.58 p.m. Then a machine came over from north to south with some heavy gunfire and I should say about five bombs Londonwards. Warning at 10.10 p.m. Then another light sounding machine from north to south was heavily fired at and got a few rounds from the local guns: all clear at 11.16 p.m. The wireless has just announced the destruction of three enemy aircraft over this country to-night; so that is good news.
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Thur 30th Oct 1941: Celestion replacement

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Sharp morning frost changing to rain. Bitterly cold cloudy day. Did all the shopping in morning. Miss Dickson did 4 hours cleaning as usual. Alan Spooner brought aero - with new tail he has made to show me. To Mrs Winsley's to examine her wireless which has failed. Found output transformer broken down. Lent her my Celestion loudspeaker for the time being. She was pleased to hear it going again.

Note: Celestion was a local company (click Celestion ), now with a fascinating international history, including it is thought, the first dedicated guitar loudspeaker; the company history, through mergers, can be traced to this day.
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Wed 29 Oct 1941: too cold to do anything...

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Bitterly cold, raging north wind; a little weak sunshine in morning, otherwise cloudy. Early closing so did all the shopping in morning. Too cold to do anything much.
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20 November 2011

Tues 28th Oct 1941: a model day

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Cold, boisterous North wind, dull. Rain early and hail. Alan Spooner called in afternoon: Gave him balsa for making a nose block for aero. Did shopping locally and returned along rail path - the little one. Started shaping nose-block for my own 37 ins model.
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Mon 27th Oct 1941: cats' food and wireless sets

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Coldest day since last winter but some feeble sunshine in afternoon. Did some shopping locally but had to go to Wimbledon along rail path to get something for the cats. To Aunt Liza's to fit micro-capacity air gap series condenser to wireless set to sharpen up the tuning as they are troubled with interference.
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Sun 26th Oct 1941: tea and the military

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Cold, very rough, north wind, cloudy but a little weak sunshine. Mrs.Ackroyd to tea. Harold in officer's uniform and Rose called in evening.
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Sat 25th Oct 1941: bitterly cold

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Bitterly cold, north wind.; dismal. Did shopping in morning and afternoon. Started designing tail for a 34 ins spar model for Frank Williams.
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Fri 24th Oct 1941: roses and railways

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Rather cold, dull, cloudy. N.wind. To do shopping in morning. I always get the weekend meat on Fridays. Also to Wimbledon along rail path. Saw large blue(?) mixed traffic loco. 489 at Merton Hall Road; ity is now painted black. First time I have had a close up view of this type. Bought roses Pres.Herbert Hoover and Mrs Herbert Stevens at Woolworth's. Met young fellow in Wimbledon whom I only know as a Merton cricket enthusiast: I do not know his name. Planted the roses in afternoon.
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Thurs 23rd Oct 1941: no wartime ham+cooked meat

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Rather cold, piercing North wind, a little weak sunshine. Did all the shopping without going to Wimbledon, Met Mrs Conrade in the - what was, in the pre-war ham and cooked meat shop. Cleared some of the spent annual in the garden. It is getting wintry now.
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16 November 2011

Wed 22nd Oct 1941: Wimbledon Common too small!

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Rather cool, fitful clouds; windy. To do shopping in morning as it is early closing. Flew 34 ins model on Wimbledon Common in half a gale of wind but the machine behaved amazingly well. One flight was magnificent and the model came down only a few yards from the water(?) beside Parkside. The Common seems much smaller than it did and I shall have to get it enlarged: it is not large enough to fly recent models on.
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Tues 21st Oct 1941: seven pence rose bushes


Mild, bright sunny day with some delightful warmth in the sun in the afternoon. To Wimbledon along rail path. Bought some provisions also two roses (sic) bushes at Woolworth's 7d each; Norman Lambert and Mrs. Edward Laxton. Repaired fin of 34 ins model broken accidentally by John Child last Wednesday. Alan Spooner called in afternoon, gave him a 24 ins fuselage.
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10 November 2011

Mon 20th Oct 1941. Blog read by Raynes Park families

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Mild, dull, showers in morning. Fitted two new metal clips to other sliding clothes prop. To Wimbledon as usual to buy something for the cats and also a purchase at Boots. Posted letter to Uncle Tom. Am still feeding Fluffy night and morning.
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Note: the 1941 residents of the house illustrated on the left have been in touch, and drawn this blog to the attention of  Raynes Park families mentioned by Fred French in his diaries.
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7 November 2011

Sun 19th Oct 1941

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Very mild, 62 degrees. A small amount of sunshine but mostly cloudy. Wore my new tie with a new collar and carried a new hanky in my pocket. Walked past Annie's house and round the Roads of Cottenham Park in afternoon.
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Sat 18th Oct 1941: clothing coupons & salted cod

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...bought four collars... vile smelling cod... I am 53 today... given embroidered handkerchiefs
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Mild, exceedingly windy; some rain. To get the groceries etc. in morning. To Wimbledon along railpath in afternoon. Bought four nice Luvisea faced, polo shaped collars at Hewitts. Had to part with one coupon for each collar. Bought some salted cod for the cats. It is being imported in great quantities from Iceland. It smells vile.I would not eat it but Dinkey went mad over it: it is 9d per lb. Repaired the sliding cloths prop; had to fit two mew metal sliding clips. I am 53 today. The last time Uncle Tom called he gave me a parcel to be opened on my birthday. It contained dome handkerchiefs with my initials embroidered on them and a very nice glossy tie in an art shade of brown.

Note: a reader identified the word Luvisea for us, and described it in the comments.
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Fri 17th Oct 1941: a walk with Albert

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Mild with some nice sunshine in morning. Rain and high wind late at night and a surprising rise in temperature. Alb (Fred's brother) called in morning: he has a weeks holiday. I went for a walk with him round the local roads. Did shopping morning and afternoon. Alb and Lily came again in evening. A surprise visit from Mr.and Mrs.Hippel; first time they have been here; they brought some lovely Cox's Orange apples, home grown in their garden in Amity Grove.
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2 November 2011

Thurs 16th Oct 1941: spectacle expedition

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Mild, rain early but clearing later; some gentle sunshine in afternoon. Did all shopping without going to Wimbledon: returned along little rail path. Dad, Alb, Lily and Mrs Jones called just as I was getting up the dinner. Alb, Lily and Mrs Jones had been to Gleed's to see about new spectacles.
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Wed 15th Oct 1941: flying high

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Mild, some gentle sunshine in afternoon; not unpleasant. To do shopping in morning also to Mrs.Childs' to see if Arthur and John could come with me to fly my aeros in afternoon. They did and launched both machines taken - the 37 and 34 ins models. Splendid flights were made, the boys chasing after them. Alan Spooner came up and saw the last two flights.
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Tues 14th Oct 1941: Valor oil stove


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Rather cool, dull after rain in morning. Bought new wick for Valor oil stove and fitted same. Did all shopping locally. Repairs to blackout curtains.


Notes: thanks to Grace's Guide for the illustration - many more old adverts and photos on their website at www.gracesguide.co.uk/Valor_Co



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Mon 13th Oct 1941: tea, a shilling & two plants

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Very cool, dull. Uncle Tom called in morning. He looked very unwell. Gave him a packet of tea, a shilling and two plants in pots & a few other things. To Wimbledon along railway to do shopping. Stripped underside of 34 ins wing from blank Y section to one having a convex-concave curve. It should increase the lift and slow down the air speed of machine.
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29 October 2011

Sun 12th Oct 1941: model flew to anti-aircraft guns

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Cold morning and night. Mild day with some bright sunshine in afternoon but little warmth in it now. Flew my 37 ins model on Common in afternoon with splendid results. Mr.Tomes(?) was there with his red model. Mine flew over into the anti-aircraft gun enclosure, but a soldier got it back for me. Saw Mr and Mrs. Jones there and demonstrated my machine to them. Also Mr. and Mrs.Frank Collis.
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25 October 2011

Sat 11th Oct 1941: railways, batteries & secret love

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Very cool, rough chilly wind; dull. To Wimbledon along rail-path. Saw a Brighton Atlantic loco North(?) Foreland also 4.6.2 tank and a South Eastern 4.4.0 tender engine. Tried in vain to buy a high tension battery but Whitbourne put my name on his waiting list. Commercial three grid-bias batteries in series and am getting some loudspeaker results which will have to do for the present. Audrey Child called in morning, B, I do love her and Jean in evening to borrow a flat iron.

Fri 10th Oct 1941: electricity in sister's bedroom

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Mild, dull, damp. Miss Dixon came to do the cleaning in morning as usual. I did the shopping in morning including buying the week-end piece of beef. Also along line to Wimbledon to buy flex wire at Woolworth's. In afternoon I fitted up the electric light in Ciss' bedroom running it off an accumulator. A switch over the bed controls the light - a great convenience.
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23 October 2011

Thur 9th Oct 1941: friend to cats

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Very, very mild almost warm; calm, dull and some light rain. Did shopping locally. Posted letters and a parcel containing Pts. Griefs pencil and a postal order for him. Am still feeding Fluffy night and morning.
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Wed 8th Oct 1941: soldier climbs oak to Fred's model

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Very mild after chilly, misty morning. Fine afternoon with some nice sunshine for time of year. Flew 37 ins aero on Common in afternoon. One extra good flight right across the Common ended by the model landing on top of an oak tree opposite Calonne Road*. Gave it up as lost but while watching a man and a boy with a model saw a soldier with my machine in his hand. I noticed a number of soldiers up there and had previously spoken to a subaltern who was in charge of them. They were on duty but one Pte Grief climbed the tree and got my model down unharmed except for a few tears in the tissue. I flew it again immediately. I took the man's name and address and promised to send him a slight reward. Walking home I found his silver pencil in my pocket to my great surprise. I started to take his name and address with his pencil which I put absentmindedly into my own pocket. Wrote a letter of thanks to post him tomorrow which  will accompany a postal order for 2/6 also his pencil. Alf called in evening; gave him a cabinet loudspeaker also a Blue-Spot(?) cone assembly.

Note: not until 35 years later did Calonne Road, Wimbledon Parkside, acquire Wat Buddhapadipa, the UK's first Buddhist Temple. See www.buddhapadipa.org/temple
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Tue 7th Oct 1941: Ciss may get electric light

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Mild, dull morning but brighter in afternoon. To Wimbledon along railway path to do shopping in afternoon. Bought a switch at Woolworth's also some flex wire. I intend to put up an electric light in Ciss' room when I have got all the material together.
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Mon 6th Oct 1941: painted blackout blind

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Very mild, lovely warm sunny afternoon; perfect moonlight night. To do shopping in the morning including going to Wimbledon on cycle to get cats' meat. Flew 37 ins aero on Wimbledon Common in afternoon with good results including a flight of 105 seconds. Used the cane undercarriage but this is heavier than the normal one so shall discontinue it. Painted Ciss bedroom blind black to make it light-proof. Saw on the Common what appeared to be several smallish dragon-flies with slender black bodies and two pairs of perfectly clear wings. (Note: not quite as shown, but it's nice to have a photo here!)
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Sun 5th Oct 1941: Holland Gardens

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Mild, very dull. Walk through Holland Gardens; the dahlias are lovely as they are the bedding plants; the gardens are a delights with a riot of colour. I Watched a tennis doubles match there which was easily the best tennis I have ever seen - really marvellous play, Mrs.Akroyd came to tea.
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19 October 2011

Sat 4 Oct 1941: no fish in shops for cats

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Mild. Dull, misty. Hunted about all afternoon trying to find something for the cats and after going to every cats' meat shop I know and also every fish shop was either closed having nothing to sell or not having cheap fish such as herrings was almost despairing but ultimately bought a jar of Kit-E.Cat in Raynes Park. Fluffy will not eat this food and Dinky is very half-hearted about it but today was most difficult and the week-end outlook for the pussies is not a bright one. Lightened and shortened the cane undercarriage for the 37 ins. model; I don't much like it however and am undecided about the design of landing gear - very difficult as I prefer a chassis that is strong but easily detachable.
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Fri 3 Oct 1941: 30lb tomato crop

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Mild, some autumn sunshine in afternoon, chilly wind. Cold morning and night; thick white morning mist. Did all my shopping in morning including going to Wimbledon along rail path. Gathered the tomato crop that remained on the plants as there may be a night frost now. Seventeen pounds of fruit were weighed. We must have had about 30 lbs of four plants. One tomato weighed 9 ozs and many other almost as large.
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15 October 2011

Thur 2 Oct 1941: more modelling

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Very mild after cold, damp morning. The day improved and the sunshine during afternoon was very bright and warm for the time of year. Flattened dihedral of 37 ins. wing and re-covered and doped: should be steadier in a wind. To Wimbledon to buy cats' meat also dope at Colins. Also shopping locally.
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Wed 1 Oct 1941: wonderful vegetables

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Mild, dull, and that is all that can be said for it. Cycled to do shopping in morning.To Wimbledon Common in afternoon to fly the 37 ins. model with the new fuselage. Results ere the best so far this year and I had to put the wing back a bit to spoil the glide or it would have flown off the Common which it nearly did one when it made a duration of 100 seconds. Picked about 3 lbs of home grown tomatoes of splendid quality; they are a great success as are the beans. On tomato plant in particular has dome marvellously as the fruits are very large indeed. I am surprised that such results are possible. I only put the plants in the ground without preparation.
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5 October 2011

Tues 30 Sept 1941: rubber lubricant & soup

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Mild, dull, but brilliant moonlight night. Did shopping journey by cycle. Bought rubber lubricant and a book on aerofoil sections at Colins, South Wimbledon. Also cats meat. Took Aunt Liza some soup which she enjoyed.
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Monday 29 Sept 1941: romantic sunset

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Very mild, dull after rain, but the most lovely sunset I have seen for years. A deep slaty mauve band of cloud just above the horizon had above it layer upon layer of scarlet cloud interspersed with bands of pure deep bottle green. These bands gradually became blue at higher levels and the clouds became a deeper crimson. A beautiful spectacle which lit the commonplace scene and endowed it with enchantment and romance. Took Taffy to Wimbledon in a basket but found the P.D.S.A. animals hospital closed. He has a nasty place on his neck and he makes it worse by scratching. Met Edie Bennett.
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Sun 28 Sept 1941: dahlias very fine

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Between very mild and rather warm, lovely sunny morning but deteriorating until heavy rain at night. Walk in Holland Gardens* in evening; the dahlias are very fine; the variety of form and colouring is superb.
*Note: Holland Garden was a gift to the people of Merton from Lady Holland in 1928. Sir Arthur and Dame Mary Catherine Barbara Holland were well-known and highly respected residents in Wimbledon, well known for the tireless service to the local community. (From Merton Council website.)
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4 October 2011

Sat 27 Sept 1941: lovely September day

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Rather warm: max. shade temperature 72 degs. max sun 105 degrees. A lovely day for September. The days are short and mornings and evenings are chilly. Covered new fuselage with dark blue tissue and doped. Looks beautiful; the lines are so pleasing and sweeping. Did shopping locally and got some nice cooked cats' meat at the little animal and poultry shop in Kingston Road. Little Ann Conly came across the road to me to show me her new shoes: sweet little mite. To Wimbledon Common to try 37 ins model with new fuselage: promises great things. Two Kings College boys came up, I showed them the aero. and they appreciated a technical talk on such matters: their names were John and Tony.
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Fri 26 Sept 1941

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Very mild, only a little sun but quite pleasant. Did all the shopping in the morning including walking to Wimbledon along the rail path. More work on new fuselage; nearly ready for covering, then I shall be glad.
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Thur 25 Sept 1941: ...she signed herself Kathie

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Very Mild. Dismal, unpromising morning but improving surprisingly in afternoon when the sun appeared and shone brightly and with some warmth. Finished the woodwork of new 23 ins fuselage; its lines are really beautiful and it is lighter than the one it will replace. Did all the shopping without going to Wimbledon.The nice girl in the Amity Grove cats' meat shop had just finished writing a letter which was lying on the counter; it seemed as if she signed herself Kathie. Gave little Ann Conly three lovely roses.
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28 September 2011

Wed 24 Sept 1941: Wimbledon's massive new guns

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. 'If the Germans do come again Wimbledon will have something to say on the matter.'

Very mild; dismal morning but lovely sunny afternoon. Shopping in morning as it is early closing to-day. Then to Wimbledon Common with my 37 ins model. It immediately finished up a flight by going down in a trench with water in it which filled the tail with water and upset the trim. However, it gradually dried out and I eventually obtained some magnificent flights after taking off one strand* of rubber. Saw the new, immense anti-aircraft guns on the Common on the massive concrete foundations which have taken months of excavation and building. If the Germans do come again Wimbledon will have something to say on the matter. I don't know the bore of the guns but it looked like six inches. To Aunt Liza's to take meat for Fluffy. Had a chat to Chas.

*Note: the strand of rubber would have been one of the thick multi-stranded lengths, bound at each end, which stretched inside the length of the fuselage and which when twisted many times provided the power.
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Tues 23 Sept 1941: biscuits & chocolate

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Mild, dismal morning but sun coming out during the afternoon. Finished second side of new fuselage and started uniting the two sides. To Wimbledon along railway. Took biscuits and chocolate to the Child children who in the evening paid us a visit. Had not seen them since they went away after their home was destroyed last November.
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26 September 2011

Mon 22 Sept 1941: feeding Fluffy

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Very mild, a lovely sunny afternoon: perceptible warm in the sun. Twins(?) furniture van called early to take Mrs.Child's furniture which has been stored here since the bombing to her new address in Chatsworth Avenue. They are moving in to-day. Shopping in afternoon. To see Aunt Liza who is unwell. I shall have to feed Fluffy for a time. I took some roses to Mrs Hippel. Also completed building two sides of a new 23 ins fuselage. Repairs to black-out blind.
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Sun 21 Sept 1941:fire-watching duties; pail of coal

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Mild, nice sunny afternoon. Went to register for fire watching duties. I don't know what good I shall be but it is compulsory. Took a pailful of coal to Miss Sweeting(?) - Mrs Child's sister who is preparing the house in Chatsworth Avenue; Mrs.Child is moving in tomorrow. Walk in evening. Passing Hippel's house In Amity Grove, she was standing at the gate so had a little chat. Dear Gladys called wearing a Chas.P.Kilham rose. She is moving from Richmond Rd. where she had lived all her life to Grand Drive.
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24 September 2011

Sat 20 Sept 1941: Uncle Henry visits three times

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Mild, lovely sunny afternoon. Did some shopping locally. Ciss came back from Wilstead this afternoon. Letter from Mrs.Child making arrangements for Monday. She is moving from Farncombe to Chatsworth Avenue, Merton Park. Her sister also called. Uncle Henry called three times; gave him some wander plugs. Started on a new fuselage for the 37 ins model.
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Fri 19 Sept 1941: model looks beautiful

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Cold morning and night. Mild, very dull day. To do much shopping in morning. Then in afternoon cycled to Colins, Merton, to buy yellow tissue and bals cement. Finished re-covering 37 ins wing after modifying the under surface. Water-tightened and doped it, looks beautiful. Should be an improvement.
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Thur 18 Sept 1941: yellow tissue

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Morning frost but mild day with some hazy but pleasant sunshine. In morning to buy something for dinner. In afternoon to do shopping locally. Walk along Bushey Road in evening. Having altered the section of 37 ins wing, commenced re-covering with yellow tissue.
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17 September 2011

Wed 17 Sept 1941: Fred plays; sister's holiday

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Sharp morning frost; mild, hazy day, with some pleasant sunshine. Shopping locally, also cycled to Collins's Merton Road to buy aero-elastic. Called on Mrs.Spooner. Flew 34 ins model with new fuselage on Wimbledon Common in afternoon with fair results but definitely not satisfied. Altered Eiffel 400 under curve of 37 ins wing. Ciss went to Dolly Coopers, Wilstead*, for a holiday.

*Note: 'Willow Dene', Ivy Lane, Wilstead, Bedforshire
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Tues 16 Sept 1941: Harold has "two pips" up

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Mild, some sunshine with a little warmth in it: not unpleasant. Some shopping locally thence to Wimbledon where I bought more provisions and a pair of fine rubber soled shoes. I was served by two charming young ladies. Another surprise visit from Harold Conrade in battle dress this time - officers, with two "pips up". He has now got a commission and is a full-blown lieutenant and will be stationed in London and will now live at his Mitcham home.
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15 September 2011

Mon 15 Sept 1941: the tale of Mrs Child's table

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"...roses and a shilling. You can always please them..."
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Cold, very dull and overcast. Uncle Tom and Aunt Nellie called in morning. Packed them up with home grown beans, marrow and tomatoes. Also a bunch of roses and a shilling. You can always please them by giving them things.  They also took some grounsel and planting for the dicky birds. Mrs.Child called. She came to see the Council about her house in Chatsworth Avenue: she will be moving in next Monday. In afternoon I went round and she and her sister showed me the house and helped them get a large table into the dining room which was too large to go through the room door. We had to take it out the front door, down the alley way a few houses along and in through the french doors at the back. Mrs.Child had her lunch here. Did some shopping.
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On this day
  • Leningrad now completely besieged.

Star of David must be worn by all Jews over six years-of-age in Greater Reich. Illustration: yellow badge Star of David called "Judenstern". Part of the exhibition in the Jewish Museum Westphalia, Dorsten, Germany. The wording is the German word for Jew (Jude), written in mock-Hebrew script. Daniel Ullrich, via Wikipedia.
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14 September 2011

Sun 14 Sep 1941: nice girl from Portsmouth

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Mild, very dull and overcast, slight rain in evening. Olive Costella called; she is on holiday from Portsmouth: nice girl! Walked in evening along Coombe Lane. The roses are very nice just now and better in colour than earlier when their colours were mostly very washy. Wrote letter to Harold Conrade.
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On this day: from 12-22 there is a series of relief operations to Tobruk in North Africa. Sea transports bring in some 6,300 men of the 70th British Division, replacing almost as many Australians.
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Sat 13 Sep 1941: fun on Common with model

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Very mild, dull, humid, calm; not unpleasant. To Raynes Park shops on foot, thence to Colins, Merton Road to buy dark blue tissue and balsa blocks, also to buy cats' meat in Wimbledon on my cycle to do the journey quickly. Covered new fuselage with dark blue tissue and doped it - a good job. To Wimbledon Common in evening and got very graceful flights in dead calm with my 37 ins model: very pleased with it.
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On this day

  • Iran expels Axis diplomats.


In Norway, the Quisling regime has banned the Boy Scouts, et al,  requiring boys to join the Nasjonal Samling (National Gathering) fascist party's youth wing. The NS party was banned in 1945 and the leader Vidkun Quisling executed for treason. The name quisling became and remains synonymous with anyone co-operating with an occupying force.  
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    13 September 2011

    Fri 12 Sept 1941: model looking nice

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    Mild, dull, hazy. To do shopping in morning. Miss Dickson to do house cleaning as usual. Finished building new fuselage; only needs covering now, looks very nice. I have used a spruce dowel in place of the usual back motor hook - lighter in weight.
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    11 September 2011

    Thursday 11 Sept 1941: model aircraft

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    Very mild, some nice genial sun; pleasant. Built second side on new 22 ins fuselage in morning; started uniting the two sides later. Local shopping also to Wimbledon along railway to buy herrings for the cats.

    Illustration: undated postcard inherited from Fred's collection of St Mary's, Wimbledon. Probably early years of C19th.
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    Wed 10 Sept 1941

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    Very mild, very dull mostly but a little hazy sunshine in afternoon. Saw a boy with a model aero.but could not get much out of it although I tried for him. Visited Alf in evening. Built one side of 22 ins fuselage
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    9 September 2011

    Tues 9 Sept 1941: unhappy sister

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    Very mild, very hazy; calm and pleasant. To local shops. Bought stewing steak and sausages - among other things. Took a bunch of roses to Mrs.Hippel. Ciss came home from work* in a dreadful frame of mind. She makes things bad for herself and everyone else.

    Note: Fred's sister worked at Holloways, a builders - I believe this was in Vauxhall.
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    8 September 2011

    Mon 8 Sept 1941: Mrs Child returns with Peter

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    Very mild, hazy and calm; quite pleasant. Did all my shopping by means of my cycle. To Raynes Park shops also to Wimbledon and bought balsa cement at Collins in Merton Road. Cut up some lengths of 1/8 x 1/8 ins balsa with a view to making a new fuselage. Berlin was raided by hundreds of our planes last night. Dear Mrs Child paid a flying visit with little Peter. She had been to Merton Council offices to see if they could get her a house. She has decided to come back from Farncombe as she cannot get accommodation there. She has got a house in Chatsworth Avenue and I hope they will be kept safe.
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    Sun 7 Sep 1941: first Sunday cycle ever

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    Very mild, some pleasant sunshine. Cycled to see Pontifexes at Worcester Park. They were pleased to see me and made me stay to tea. Had some home made butter. Their rose trees were very fine. Quite a change and this is the first time I have cycled on Sunday having been riding since 1907.
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    Sat 6 Sept 1941: Eyles had JAM!

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    Very mild, dismal all day. To butchers in morning also to Eyles to get the groceries - the first order from them: got some jam! To see Mr. and Mrs. Hippel in Amity Grove; they seemed very pleased to see me. Cycled to Wimbledon to buy cats' meat.
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    Fri 5 Sept 1941: tall & graceful Annie

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    Rather warm, dull and hazy. To the shops, getting all I wanted locally. I followed dear Annie Chapman along Coombe Lane; we were both doing shopping and carrying baskets; I did not overtake her but saw her from behind and had a longer view of her than for years. She is so tall and graceful. The cleaner woman smashed my medium sized fuselage accidentally. Finished cane chassis and landing wheels for my large model - looks nice. Cycled to Worcester Park in evening.
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    Thur 4 Sept 1941: meat shop with roses

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    Warm; some genial sunshine: cool morning and evening. Did shopping in Raynes Park; the cats meat shop in Amity Grove was embellished with two bowls of roses to-day. Ate two home grown tomatoes. Aunt Liza called in evening also Madge and Margaret.
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    6 September 2011

    Wed 3 Sept 1941: enjoyed cycling around


    Cheam Hill, Worcester Park, 1905. Card sent to Fred's sister
    Rather warm; some warm sunshine; lovely. To butchers and Eyles our new grocers in morning. Cycled to Worcester Park in afternoon.to Pontifex's but found them gone out. Continued ride around the new delightful district of Stoneleigh, thence to Ewell, through the square at Epsom and then home via Epsom Common, really Old Malden, Worcester Park. Ewell is a very interesting old town with many picturesque buildings and quaint roads and narrow turnings. I enjoyed the ride very much.

    Tues 2 Sept 1941: pilchards & braces

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    Rather warm; some genial sunshine: cloudy later. To Wimbledon along rail path to buy pilchards. To Wimbledon a second time by cycle on this occasion to buy two pairs of socks and a pair of braces at Hewitts. Also other shopping locally.
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    5 September 2011

    Mon 1 Sep 1941: grocer closes, ration book change

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    Between very mild and rather warm, some pleasant sunshine in morning. Cycled to Wimbledon in afternoon to buy cats' meat thence to Food Office at Morden to get ration books altered as Mr. Pomeroy our grocer has gone out of business and we want to transfer to Eyles. Returned via Lower Morden. While there took the opportunity to visit the graves at Morden Cemetery of Aunt Frances, Cousin Frank and Mr. Wheals.
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    On this day: German artillery is within range of Leningrad.
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    Sunday 31 August 1941: sunny day flying models

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    Between very mild and rather warm; lovely sunny day: nicest day for a long while. Had an afternoon and evening on the Common with my 37 ins model. Got superb results and only just succeeded in keeping it on the Common; once it came down very near the swamps. Alb, Lily andDad to tea but did not see them as I was out.
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    Saturday 30 August 1941: flew 34in wingspan model

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    Very mild, cloudy but a little sun with some warmth in it during the morning. To buy potatoes in the morning. Re-set hinges on coal cupboard as it had dropped and scrapped the floor when it was opened. Flew 34 ins model on Common in evening; first time I have flown it this year. Obtained excellent results - great height and good glide but sometimes troubled by air-pockets which temporarily upset it, but it soon recovered and settled down again.
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    Friday 29 August 1941: houses beyond repair

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    Very mild, fearful clouds and thunder showers a few periods of weak sunshine, very rough. Did shopping in morning, also along rail-path; saw men hoisting new electric signals into position on the gantry. Along Worple Road in evening to see how repairs to damaged houses are progressing, some houses ruined beyond repair have been taken right down including (?)Dr. Roses house. Maud called in evening gave her some roses.
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    Thursday 27 August 1941: Len, Emily, Jack...

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    Very mild, some weak sunshine; showers. To butchers in afternoon; met Len Garrod. Emily and also Jack - a soldier home on leave. Also along the rail path in evening to see the big engine at Merton Hall Road.
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    On this day: a German submarine, U.570 surfaces below a Hudson bomber from Coastal Command and surrenders. It later enters British service as HMS Graph.
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    Wednesday 27 August 1941: Alf,Joy,Frank,Barbara...

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    Very mild, some cool sunshine; boisterous west wind. To do shopping in morning; met Ethel Killick she has a holiday, Cycled against fierce head wind along Arterial Road but was glad to turn back. Met Uncle Alf, Aunt Hannah, Cousin Joy, and her Frank and little Barbara who is a most handsome and bonny little girl. Along rail path in evening; saw loco. Lord Nelson at Merton Hall Road bridge.
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    Tuesday 26 August 1941: pay rent

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    Very mild, some periods of bright sunshine but little warmth in it. To Post Office to send money order to Mr. Payne the landlord also other shopping. Harold Conrade and Rose called in evening, they told me that Joan Conrade was married last Thursday.
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    Monday 25th August 1941: gifts

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    Between very mild and rather warm, cloudy, humid. Swarms of mosquitoes this year. Uncle Tom called in morning. Gave him bunch of flowers, packet of tea, one shilling and a few other things. He gave me a book and a pair of drivers goggles: handy for cycling. To Wimbledon in afternoon, saw Gladys there. Alan Spooner called in evening. Did a bit of weeding in the garden.
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    3 September 2011

    Sunday 24 August 1941: burned on lips by bombing

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    Very mild, some gentle sunshine: not unpleasant. Went for a short walk in afternoon and on returning found a Rudge-Whitworth road racer cycle in the front garden and wondered who was the visitor. Was agreeably surprised to find it was Harold Conrade home from Ireland on leave for a few days. He was burned on the lips during a bombing raid on Belfast. He has now recovered but is scarred. Was indeed pleased to see him. In evening walked through Mostoyne Gardens and home through Poplar Road, Tybenham Road, Leafield Rd and Alward Rd. The peoples gardens looked surprisingly well for so unkind a summer. Dinky caught a mouse and ate it too.
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    2 September 2011

    Saturday 23 August 1941: herrings for Dorothy

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    Very mild, dismal, heavy downpour all day without respite. In afternoon to do shopping locally in the rain. Met *Dorothy Longhurst by the railway arch, she was on her way here to spend evening with us. She had tea and I cooked some herrings which she obviously enjoyed. Showed her some photographs; a happy time. She has a lovely smile.

    *Note: we've met Dorothy before. She came to tea a few months back and Fred played the gramophone. And last year she called one day to buy some marmalade. 'A lovely girl.'
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    Friday 22 August 1941: the week-end joint

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    Very mild, some few hours of weak sunshine; windy. Did the usual Friday morning shopping including buying the week-end joint of meat. Saw Dear Mother's grave in evening; some more of those very large marigolds on it. Met Len Garrod on police duty in evening.
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    Thursday 21 August 1941: figs and herrings

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    Very mild, some nice sun with some warmth in it but showers at night, windy. More work on new undercarriage. To Wimbledon to buy figs and herrings. Flew 34 ins model on Common in evening with fair results under very damp and windy conditions.
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    1 September 2011

    Wednesday 20 August 1941: poorer parts of Kingston

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    Mild, some feeble sunshine and thundery showers. The usual shopping - in Raynes Park only. In afternoon cycles nearly to Tolworth, thence to Norbiton and Kingston, returning along Coombe Lane. Some bomb damage at many points and where blocks of houses were demolished in the poorer parts of Kingston and Norbiton. Started making new undercarriage with some struts for 37 ins model plane.
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    Tuesday 19 August 1941: wild poppies

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    Very mild, sunshine of the gentle sort but torrential rain setting in again in late afternoon. To post some letter in Raynes Park also to get something for dinner. Then along rail path to Wimbledon doing shopping in Broadway, Merton Road to Collins to buy sheet balsa & clear dope and home Merton way. Saw wild poppies in bloom beside Fosters Works.
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    Monday 18 August 1941: repaired bombed bath

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    Very mild, deluge through the early morning till after daylight; less wind and some weak sunshine during the day. Repaired the large bath which was gashed by a bomb splinter last November: quite a big soldering job but managed it successfully. Paid Raynes Park tradesmen, posted letter and thence to Wimbledon. Staked and tied up the marigolds in the garden; they are a special selection of my own and are very fine.
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    31 August 2011

    Sunday 17 August 1941:

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    Very mild, some weak sunshine, boisterous showers. Warning from 1.45 to 2.0 a.m. no incidents here. Dear Gladys called again to-day: she took a bloom and a leaf of an aromatic plant growing in the garden for identification.: it was tansy. Short walk in evening.

    Tansy, also known as Common Tansy,Bitter Buttons, Cow Bitter, Mugwort, or Golden Buttons.

    Saturday 16 August 1941: Gladys a ray of sunshine...

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    Mild, boisterous W. wind; some weak sunshine. Went to Wimbledon along the rail path to do the usual shopping. Dear Gladys called, which brought some ray of sunshine into my dull and unhappy life. Bought a black-out blind at Woolworth's and put it up in evening.
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    Friday 15 August 1941: played gramophone for Maud

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    Very mild, very dull, rain till afternoon but still no sunshine. Miss Dickson did a morning's house cleaning as usual. I did some shopping in the morning also calling to see Cousin Maud and to take a cookery book to Aunt Hannah. More shopping in afternoon. Cousin Maud came in evening; played the gramophone for her; she liked Toccata & Fugue in D minor by Bach, played on the organ. French polished 14 ins balsa propeller; looks very beautiful with a surface like glass. (Illustration: 1899 painting by Francis Barraud which became basis of trademark of HMV - His Master's Voice - records. The dog's name was Nipper, owned by the artist's brother, Mark.)
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