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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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