30 August 2012

24 to 27 August 1942: life-long love

24 Mon. ...Uncle Tom called and gave me a photo of dear Mother when she was 17: I shall prize this as long as I live. To Dorset Hall about my fire-watch duties. Took roses to Mrs.Hippel. Paid slate club.

(Editor's note: surely this photo would be among those I inherited, via Fred's brother Albert. I will search.)

25 Tues. Walked to Merton for cat's food but got nothing.; then cycled to Morden and got some fish. Warning from 4.55 50 5.25 p.m. Enemy plane from N. to S. A few shots fired but the shells burst literally miles away from it. Started work on repair of Mrs.Akroyd's wireless set.

26 Wed. ...Cycled nearly to Mitcham but rain made me turn back, having to shelter at Morden.

27 Thur. Warm, grand sunshine all day, perfect! Took note from Ciss to Gladys at her new home in Grand Drive. All the A.A. guns are back on the Raynes Park camp also a barage balloon. Work on Mrs.Akroyd's set. Weeding in the garden in evening.

22 August 2012

20 to 23 Aug 1942: night spent fire-watching

20 Thur. ...Shopped locally also cycled to Morden to buy fish. Callers were Alan Spooner & Mrs.Akroyd. Planted mustard & cress.

21 Fri. ...Did all the Friday morning shopping locally then along rail path to Wimbledon to get Ciss' umbrella from Trotts where it has been repaired. Went to Mrs.Akroyd's to see her wireless set; brought it away for repair.

"Saw loco. 423 which took me to Weymouth when I was a youth..."
(That was for one week, in 1906, his only seaside holiday. See both sides of two postcards
he sent back home at this blog's entry for 30 Jan 1942 ) 

22 Sat. ...Got the groceries etc locally then to Wimbledon along rail path to buy several things. Saw loco. 423 which took me to Weymouth when I was a youth, also Lord Anson: have been on the footplate of the latter.

23 Sun. ...Ron Cooper to tea and to stay the night. Mrs. Jordan Beryl & her baby to tea. Did fire watching at Duff's Depositaries from 8.30 p.m. till 6.30 a.m.

The locomotive Lord Anson. "I have been on the footplate of the latter." The engine's designer, Richard Edward Lloyd Maunsell, is in the bowler hat. Photo copyright of the Charles Brown Collection at the Royal Air Force Museum. 

19 August 2012

17 to 19 Aug 1942: short -wave experiments

17 Mon. Warm, lovely fine sunny day. Tried somer short-wave experiments with the radio-gram. Took accumulator to Whitbourn's.* Also did some gardening.

* Blog-follower Fred Bewer's comments refer to his memory of Whitbourn's cycle shop on the corner of a road near the station. This exacty fits the location of the 21st century's Bright Cycles Ltd on the corner of Gore Rd at 57 Approach Rd, Raynes Park. The diarist Fred French wrote last year (1941) that Mr Whitbourn who he'd known for many years had just died. Photos of other Whitbourn cycle shops can be found on Flickr.

18 Tues. Warm, perfectly lovely sunny day; ideal, not too hot. Shopping locally, also cycled to Wimbledon to see if I could get some aero. rubber** but shop had none. Ron Cooper called midday to see if we could put him up for the night. He came for a late tea and stayed.

*aero rubber would be strong, thick elastic to make a multi-strand motor to power his model aircraft.

19 Wed. ...Did shopping in morning & a short cycle ride in afternoon. Ron came in evening and stayed the night. Mr. Honor brought me some poppy seeds; showed him the garden.

15 August 2012

13 to 16 August 1942: Dad's eightieth

13 Thur. Very mild, dismal, calm. Out only to butchers. Altered radio-gram but altered it back again. Observed distant raid by seeing the the flashes & light in the sky & warning from 2.45 a.m. to 3.15 a.m.

14 Fri. ...Did all the shopping in morning. Met Miss Pearce who told me Annie Brayshey was dead, aged 85. Saw two Southern Pacific loco:  they seem very fast. Ron Cooper called in evening en route for Farnborough.

15 Sat. ...Got the groceries, then cycled to Morden to buy fish. Out again to get accumulator. Ciss went to Tolworth to Dad's 80th birthday party.

16 Sun. Warm. Torrent of rain in early hours until after daw, then a lovely warm sunny day: best for a long time. Met Judge the aero.modellist who introduced me to his wife. To Wimbledon Common: saw many modellists. Dad & all the Tolworth people to tea. Mrs.Akroyd called.

On these days: 13th: anti-British riots continue in India. 16th: US Army Air Corps attack German's Egyptian positions - their first action in North Africa. 17th: US Marine Raiders - 'Carlson's Raiders' - kill all Japanese garrison (about 90 men) on Makin Island in the Gilbert Islands, and destroy all installations. Also on 17th, American Eighth Air Force launch first independent raid in Europe, on rail centre at Rouen - Brit Spitfires provide fighter cover.  Click here to see some WWII Rouen photos.

12 August 2012

6 to 12 August 1942: Armada of bombers

Note: 6th to 12th are excerpts. Every entry starts with a weather report, and most days mention local shopping. The daily fountain pen entries start with the date and day of the week, as shown (but in bold here). Spellings and punctuation are as in the diary. And yes, Fred does say he finished writing a letter to 'Chas' on both Mon and Tues. And we now know that...

On these days: 5-13 Aug 1942. German submarines, U-boats, attacked convoy SC-94 which lost 11 ships. Two U-boats were sunk and four damaged. On Aug 7, Prime Minister Winston  Churchill visited Egypt. On Aug 8, six German agents who had landed by submarine in the USA were executed by electrocution. On the same day, Gandhi and others were arrested in India for resisting the war effort. On the 10th, the RAF raided Osnabruck and military targets in Belgium and Holland. On the 11th, the carrier Eagle was sunk while excorting a convoy to Malta. The RAF bombed Mainz.US planes attacked Canton, Hankow and Yoochow in China. On the 12th, Churchill arrived in Moscow for four-day visit. 

6 Thur. ...Shopping locally, also bought fish in Merton. Cycle ride in evening, also to see the dancing on Joseph Hood's ground. Mr Honor showed me his allotment there & gave me a fine large cabbage. In early hours an air Armada of British bombers past over taking 3/4 of an hour.

7 Fri. ...on cycle to buy paint brush. Enamalled back mud-guard of cycle. Gunfire at 2.0 a.m. to northward: no warning.

8 Sat. ...Did shopping locally also to Merton to buy fish. Warning from 6.5 to 6.35 p.m. no incident. Cycled to Uncle Alf's also to Harold's in Monkey* Road; first time I have been there. Small amount of work re-building moving-coil loud-speaker.
*I think this is Fred's joke way of writing Monkleigh Road, Morden

9 Sun.  ...Short walk in evening. Saw a special train with Drummond 4.4.0 loco. and four Pullman coaches.

10 Mon. ...Mrs Hodges called in evening as she is spending a few days with her sister locally... Finished writing letter to Chas. Staden. Card from Alan Spooner.

11 Tues. ...a cloud-burst in afternoon; boisterous. Met Dear Gladys on my way to Merton to buy fish. Finished writing long letter to Chas. Staden. Warning from 1.5 to 1.35 a.m. O.K.

12 Wed. ...Did shopping in morning locally. Cycled to Croydon Aerodrome. Saw American fighter planes making practice take-offs & landings. Saw four quick wickets fall at Mitcham cricket greern. Did weeding in the garden in evening. Birthday card & letter to Dad. He is 80 on Saturday. Warning from 2.15 to 2.35 a.m.

Note: official 1930s pilots' charts of Croydon Aerodrome from editor's collection

11 August 2012

1 to 5 Aug 1942: played pin board...

1 Aug. Sat. ...Flew 34 ins model on Common in evening. Met some interesting people. One, a musician knew Matthews of the London Symphony Orchestra. I met Matthews on the Common last Autumn; he was interested in my model.

2 Sun. ...To Holland Gardens in evening; saw the fine mixed doubles tennis players I have seen before: met Charlotte Cook there. Hald an hour's gunfire and probably the sound of distant bombs in early hours.

Wood pin board (this by Vectis) as owned by
Fred. The silver ball is pushed up the right-hand alley
with a wooden stick, with the aim of getting it to arc
around and come to rest in a high-scoring area

3 Mon. August Bank Holiday. ...Mrs Matson came to dinner & tea. Played pin board with her. Short cycle ride in evening when I reached 200.9 miles for the year so far. Warning from 3.35 to 3.50 a.m.

4 Tues. ...Shopping locally also to Merton.

5 Wed. Very mild, dismal, cloudy: fresh wind. Along rail path to see Pacific loco. pass at 3.5 p.m. but saw little of it as two other trains passed & hid the view. Cycled to Lower Morden. Did gardening in evening. Aunt Liza & Gwen called. Letter from Harold Marshall.  

7 August 2012

25 to 31 July 1942: air raids, Wimbledon guns

Note: 25th to 31st excerpts

25 Sat. ...usual shopping including a money order to Mr.Payne for £2-13-0. In evening cycled round the old haunts at Malden: saw Winifred Bishop's house. A car tyre burst just as the car was overtaking me - bang! It soon pulled into the side. Have heard a lot worse!!

26 Sun. ...The usual children called. To Wimbledon Common in evening, saw a few beginner modellists including a Rutlish boy I know - but not his name.

27 Mon. ...Raid warnings from 6.35 to 6.50 a.m. & 7.20 to 7.30 a.m. To Uncle Henry's to see wireless which I brought away. To Mrs.Hippel to enquire about Mr.Hippel who has been ill; she told me he had passed away. Fitted new H.T. battery to Mrs Child's set. Put comic poem in Audrey's autograph book.

28 Tues. ...Heard gunfire at 2.45 a.m. German planes over London; warning at 3.5 a.m. more enemy activity than for some time.

29 Wed. ...Gunfire to northwards at 2.30 a.m.: no warning. Overhauled Uncle Henry's wireless. In evening cycled along Coombe Lane, Robin Hood Way & back over Wimbledon Common.

30 Thur. ......Raid warning from 1.55 to 4.20 a.m. A few raiders miles to eastwards. They were fired at by the Wimbledon Common guns at great range. These gunds are very heavy for such a purpose as they are naval guns. Took Uncle Henry's set back, but he needs a new H.T. battery.

31 Fri. Warm, lovely sunny day: perfect... Cycled along Sutton Common Road as far as the Angel Bridge, now demolished by a bomb. In early hours raid warning from 2.0 to 2.35 a.m. no trouble. Also from 3.5 to 3.35 when an enemy plane passed over from N. to S. under fire. The Wimbledon guns fired: pointing this way they sound terrific.

Below, the Angel Bridge, "now demolished by a bomb". This photo from the collection of Mr Mark Donohue at on the website 'Old UK photos'.