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28 March 2012

21 March 1942: 77-year-old to wed 38 SCANDAL!

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21 Sat. Very cool, very dull; wind getting up. Got groceries as usual then to Merton to buy sprats. Hunted all over the place to buy a galvanised bath; they cannot be bought for love nor money. Both ours are worn out but new ones are unobtainable. Met Uncle Henry in company of Miss Killick who he proposes to marry. He is 77 and she cannot be more than 38. She will not be allowed in this house.
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23 March 2012

20 March 1942: ash tree persistent

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20 Fri: Rather cool; very dull, dead calm. Bought week-end meat, cakes etc. Also to Merton High Street to buy fish: this in the morning. Spent afternoon making another effort to dispose of the ash tree branches. Cleared quite a lot of it away cutting it up for firewood.
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19 March 2012

19 March 1942: Ciss is 56 to-day

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Rather mild, cloudy, rain nearly all day. Took accumulator, bought paper at Raynes Park Sta, then turned back along rail path to Wimbledon to buy fish for Dinkey. Improved cabinet of radiogram to increase baffle effect. Ciss is 56 to-day. Dear Connie Bennett send photographs of her two children Christine and John.
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18 March 2012

18 March 1942: cutting the ash

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18 Wed. Rather cool, dull, drizzly almost all day. Cut up a lot of the ash tree branches. To grocers in morning. Sent letter to Harold Marshall.
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17 March 1942: a baby's photo

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17 Tues. Rather cool, dull. To butchers. Took photo of baby Anthony to Mrs Child. Bought cats meat at Merton shop. Met Mrs Spooner carrying bunch of daffodils. Letter from Harold Marshall saying Rose has had her operation and is progressing well.
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16 March 1942: surprise air raid warning


16 Mon. Cool, dull, rain commencing in evening. Surprise raid warning at 11.15 a.m., all clear at 11.42 no incidents. To Wimbledon in afternoon; bought pair of grey trousers at Hewitts. Also bought seeds of Russell lupins, sweet wivelsfield* and lettuce.  Pruned climbing Mme E Herriot and Lady Penzance roses.

The photo shows a Lady Penzance rose. *Sweet wivelsfield is a dianthus, the group which contains carnations, pinks and sweet william.










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17 March 2012

15 March 1942: twelve visitors

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15 Sun. Milder still 58 degrees, some lovely sunshine: spring is in the air. Dad , Alb, Lily and baby Anthony came and stayed the day; Mrs Jones also came. Other visitors were Uncle Alf, Uncle Henry, Chas & little Gwen, Fred & Alan Spooner with a fine power valve for test. Margaret called on her bicycle. The Tolworth people had dinner and tea here.
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14 March 1942: parsnips & tomatoes

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14 Sat. Mildest day this year 56 degrees. The sun was lovely & the warmth could be felt: heavy rain at night. Dug up some parsnips & planted tomato seeds in pots. Shopping morning & afternoon but got all I wanted without a long journey.
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13 March 1942: ration book groceries

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13 Fri. Hard morning frost but rising to 46 degrees in afternoon. Bright sunny day but bitter east wind. Bought week-end meat & some cakes locally thence to Merton to buy cereals out of points ration book & bought some cats meat. In afternoon to Wimbledon and bought haricot beans, lentils & rolled oats these also are points rationed. Saw Doris, little Gwen & Lawrence back recently from Maud's at Preston. Saw a plover fly over from west to east.
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12 March 2012

12 March 1942: jellied beef & bloater paste

12 Thur. Rather cold, dull, bitter east wind. To grocers to take the week-end order, also to buy jellied beef and bloater paste. Cut up some of the ash tree boughs for firewood.
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On this day: 17,5000 U.S forces land at Noumea in New Caledonia. Meanwhile in the English Channel 3 major German warships, the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and the Prinz Eugen had left Brest on Wed 11th making for the North Sea. They were spotted by RAF Spitfire pilots who delayed reporting them in order to maintain radio silence, then they were attacked unsuccessfully by Swordfish torpedo bombers - all the Swordfish were shot down and no torpedoes hit; six Royal Navy destroyers from Harwich also failed to damage them. Two of the German warships suffered some mine damage. The German dash through the English Channel - on 11th - 13th - was  a great success for them - but probably the wrong strategic decision as they could have hindered Allied efforts more in the Med. 
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11 March 2012

11 March 1942: dark brown daylight

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11 Wed. Rather cold, dismal, dark brown light. Quite dark at 4.p.m. had to light up; rain all day. Have missed Taffy very much: he was more lovable and intimate than Dinky. Alan Spooner called to show me a book with drawings of aircraft from both British and enemy. Did shopping locally in morning.
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10 March 2012

10 March 1942: Taffy gone to the cats' heaven

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10 Tues. Rather cold, dull but calm. Taffy has had a large abscess, it burst this morning, poor old chap, and in order not to let him suffer I took him to the Animals Dispensary Wimbledon. The lady said it was definitely a case, so he was put painlessly to sleep, much to my great sorrow. I took him over from the Fraynes No 70 Chestnut one week before the bombing in Nov 1940 as they returned to Wales. I fed him ever since and he proved a most lovable cat. Many has been the time when he kept me company in the shelter during a raid time & has comforted me with his purring. I shall miss him very much. I am sure he has gone to the cats' heaven.
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On this day: all Allied forces in Dutch East Indies surrender unconditionally to Japanese.
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9 March 2012

9 March 1942: tramped miles for cat food...

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9 Mon. White frost but calm, mild day with some pleasant sun with a little warmth in it. Tramped miles for cat food and only succeeded in getting a few fish cuttings. Taffy is very ill with a large abscess on the side of his face & expect he will have to be put to sleep.
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On this day: Dutch surrender Java; 100,000 Allied troops to be surrendered Japan in East Indies; Dutch government evacuated. 
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8 March 1942: one big sound

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8 Sun. Severe morning frost - 8 degrees & the most picturesque hoar frost imaginable. Brilliant sunny day which dispelled the frost; the temperature rising to 44 degrees. Alan & Fred Spooner called & I demonstrated the huge Ferranti transformer as an input for the gramophone pick up. It steps up the volume amazingly.
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On this day:  'The Juggernaut of events is overwhelming... just incredible that our Eastern Empire built  up, however unjustly, over two centuries, should have vanished, with that of the Dutch, in 2 1/2 months. So much for Imperial power - a house built on sand.' - Vera Brittain's Diary, 1939-45, F.A.Thorpe, ISBN 0-7089-8716-8.
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7 March 2012

7 March 1942: 3 clothing coupons for 3/6d socks

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7 Sat. Severe morning frost giving slightly mid-day but freezing again later: less dull. Got the groceries and thence to Wimbledon to buy two pairs of socks @ 3/6 per pair and gave up 3 coupons a pair. Then walked as far as Tooting Broadway in search  of cats food and only got some fish cuttings. Mrs Jordan & Beryl called with the new baby. Met Alan Spooner who lent me two Ferranti transformers for test.
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On this day: Japan starts invasion of New Guinea; in Burma, British evacuate Rangoon and Japanese occupy by nightfall. 
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6 March 2012

6 March 1942: oh dear... dinner is late!

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6 Fri. Severe frost, getting even colder at night. Dismal, cutting icy wind. Miss Dickson to do the cleaning as usual. Did the usual Friday morning shopping also to Wimbledon to buy a few things. Ciss went to Tolworth after leaving work so dinner was as late as 7.15. The baby Anthony who Lily is minding is progressing amazingly and is a fine child.


On this day: Japan took Batavia; potentially useful installations for Japan in Rangoon to be destroyed. Carrier Eagle ferries 18 (wartime book said 15) Spitfires to Malta - the first to go overseas.
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'THE SPITFIRES COME. Bound for Malta, a Spitfire roars down the flight deck of the Eagle. She was one of fifteen from Gibraltar, the first Spitfires to enter the battle. They arrived on the desperate day of 7th March 1942.'  (Photo from: The Air Battle for Malta, HMSO, 1944.)






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5 March 2012

Thur 5 March 1942: landscape is white again

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Very cold, dull and cloudy; one inch of snow fell; freezing by later afternoon. The landscape is white again. Only out to get accumulator. Ciss let me read a lovely letter from Connie, telling how her two little children love to splash in puddles and how she has to hoist the little boy out of ditches.

On this day: Sir Harold Alexander takes command of British in Burma. Japanese enter Pegu (now Bago) a major Burmese port. 


Photos: the 55m-long 16m-high Shwethalyaung Buddha, constructed in 994 A.D. for King Migadepa (photo: via Wikipedia); and Sir Harold Alexander, Time magazine, 1944. 
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4 March 2012

Wed 4 March 1942: gramophone, clothes coupons

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Rather cold, dismal, deluge of rain that started in the early hours & continued till late afternoon. Bought sausages locally & thence to cats meat shop in Merton in a deluge before early closing time. Alf & Lily called in evening with some records to play on my gramophone. Letter from Rose Marshall returning my clothes coupon card which I lent her as she is in need of garments: she is going into hospital.

On this day: at Broome refuelling station, Australia (for Perth-Java flights), 23 Allied aircraft destroyed by Japanese Zero fighters. And US carrier-based aircraft attacked Marcus Island in the central Pacific.
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3 March 2012

Tues 3 March 1942: meat shop closed...

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Fred wrote: (con.) - i.e continued, after the date, reflecting his late night reporting on the eclipse.

Rear gunner - "The striking thing
 about the rear turret is the sense of detachment
 it gives you."  From: Bomber Command, HMSO, 1941.
Price 1s 6d or 20/- for 15 copies.
White morning frost but less cold later; very calm with some hazy sunshine in afternoon. Mr.Norriss cut hard back the lime tree in front garden. To Merton but meat shop closed so bought sprats. Saw huge four-engined bomber from east to west at dusk. Much searchlight practice at night. One machine was picked out by search light the pilot showing an orange light. Later I saw a machine pass over, clearly seen against the sky which was not very dark.
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2 March 2012

Mon 2 March 1942: perfect total eclipse

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Very cold, rising somewhat in afternoon. Many hours of hazy sunshine, calm, pleasant. Walked along little rail path in afternoon. Only one errand today apart from going to pay the slate-club money. At night watched eclipse of the moon under perfect weather conditions. Eclipse became total at 12.35 a.m. on 3rd.Tues. The obscured moon was a deep coppery colour. At 1.10 a.m. was still total and a very deep reddish colour and darkness was intense. At 1.35 a.m. still total but could not stay up to see it pass out of the earth's shadow.
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1 March 2012

Sun 1 March 1942: ash chopped

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Very cold but just above freezing; calm and dull. Mr.Norris pollarded the ash tree in the garden for 5/-. It had become too large. Aunt Liza called in late afternoon.
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