30 May 2013

30th May 1943: London quiet; Devon tragedy

30 Sun. Rather warm; some really hot sunny periods. Went to see the "Hurricane" in Mostyn Gardens. A platform has been erected beside it, and the public are allowed to go up and look in the cabin and have things explained to them. Warning from 2.0 to 2.25 a.m.: no incident.

On this day. Meanwhile, 190 miles away, in Devon, German aircraft bombed and machine-gunned the English seaside resort of Torquay.  The principal target appeared to be a church - St Marychurch - where children were gathering for Sunday School. There were many other incidents nearby. It is believed 26 people were killed, most of them children attending the Sunday School. Among those who died at the time or later in hospital were these young people and adults.

GLADYS BEALE - 12 years old
PHOEBE LOUISA COOK  - 12 years old
MARGARET COOKE - 11 years old
IRENE DAVIS - 9 years old
 KATHLEEN McDONALD - 11 years old
GERALD BABBAGE - 9 years old
PETER BARBER - 9 years old
AUBREY HAROLD BROWN - 10 years old
EDWARD CHARLES W. BURN - 10 years old
SYLVIA MARY DANIEL - 9 years old
DONALD THOMAS J. HEXT - 10 years old
MARY LILIAN PERROTT  - 12, Michael's twin
BETTY EDWINA REES - 13 years old
CHARLES COLLINGS - 75 years old
CLIFFORD  COOKSLEY - 16 years old
WILLIAM CRIBBETT - 14 years old
EDITH ELSON - 18 years old
EDITH FOX - 58 years old
ALICE JAMIESON - 26 years old
HERBERT  MARSHALL - 77 years old
LETITIA MARSHALL - 41 years old
MARIE MARSHALL - 70 years old
THERESA SCANES - 67 years old
VIOLET  SCOTT - 62 years old
AUDREY SHARKEY - 21 years old
ELSIE SHEPHERD - 30 years old
RUBY TREEBY - 56 years old

Please see: The bombing of St Marychurch, Torquay - with acknowledgements and appreciation.

29 May 2013

29th May 1943: model aircraft lost over Putney

29 Sat. Rather warm, some periods of glorious sunshine. Did all the usual shopping locally. In afternoon flew 34 ins model on Common: conditions were good in spite of a few gusts. After a few experimental flights got model trimmed to perfection. It fifth flight was too good as it flew right away at a great height in the direction of Putney. I followed as fast as I could but lost sight of it when I reached the limit of Putney Heath; it disappeared as a speck in the sky, I should say it was well over Putney when I last saw it. It carries my name & address so perhaps I shall hear of it. In evening scoured the Putney Roehampton district on my bike but it was worse than looking for a needle in a haystack.

28 May 2013

28th May 1943: helped fit a Hurricane's wing

28 Fri. Rather warm; lovely sunny day. Did shopping locally also cycled to Morden meat shop. While on my way there saw a Hawker Hurricane fighter being taken into Mostyn Gardens for the Merton "Wings for Victory" week. In afternoon went there and saw it unloaded by a motor crane & saw it assembled. I myself helped to lift a wing into position. Washed the downstairs floors and beat & brushed the rugs and mats as Miss Dickson had a day off to-day. Mr Bonham called twice and left some manuscript for Ciss to read: he is writing a history of Wimbledon Methodism.

27 May 2013

27th May 1943: a busy day

27 Thur. Rather warm, lovely day with a fair amount of sunshine. Did small amount of shopping in afternoon. Mr. Courtney gave Ciss some Brussels sprouts plant which I planted in evening. Got battery. Aunt Liza and Gwen called, also Jean & Audrey Child & Leonard Conley. On fire watch duty.

26th May 1943: marigolds & poppies

26 Wed. ...spent afternoon & evening gardening; put in various marigold and poppy seeds.

26 May 2013

25th May 1943: inspiring preacher

25 Tues. Very mild, some pleasant sunny periods; slight thunder in afternoon.Cycled to Morden to buy fish. Went to the week night meeting of the Church Anniversary. Dr. Luke Wiseman gave a most inspiring address, speaking with great power and eloquence: he is 85. Alan Spooner called.

Note: the Rev Frederick Luke Wiseman, born in York in 1858, died on 16 Jan 1944.** He was an 'evangelist, orator, elder statesman and a gifted musician' who held several senior positions in the Methodist church - see this link for example (scroll down to 1938-39). 
**Elsewhere there is this overly sentimental account: 'On a dreadful, foggy day this old saint of eighty-six preached twice - once in Wesley's own pulpit in City road. Then the old man made his way home... We can imagine the old man sitting in his armchair by the fire. He went to sleep and awakened in heaven.' (From 'The Will of God' by Leslie Weatherhead.)

24th May 1943: fishing trip

24 Mon. Very mild, becoming cool. Dismal cloudy, steady downpour till afternoon, then showers. Cycled to Morden to buy fish. Also to pay club in evening.

25 May 2013

23rd May 1945: Croix de Guerre & God

23 Sun. Between very mild and rather warm, some pleasant sunshine. Went to church in evening. Church Anniversary Rev Jacoby M.C., Croix de Guerre preached. Subject - our partnership with God. Saw Len Garrod's garden.

22nd May 1943: loud bombs & a cricket match

22 Sat. Between very mild and rather warm, mostly cloudy and overcast, a few spots of rain. Warning from 1.30 to 1.40 a.m.: no incident. Also from 3.0 to 4.0. a.m. Three raiders from N. to S. the first and third each dropped a bomb, the last one very loud, which I have been told fell at Norbury. The second machine was hardly fired at but the local guns fired about a dozen rounds at the third. Got the groceries as usual. Saw Merton beat their opponent 114 to 75. At one time the visitors score was 4 (runs) for 2 (wickets); saw Uncle Dick at the match.

21 May 2013

21st May 1942: encyclopaedic Methodist

21 Fri. Rather warm, pleasant because the wind had dropped; the sunshine was hazy. Did all the |Friday morning shopping including cycling to the Morden meat shop. Read some interesting papers by Mr. Bonham on the Methodist Hymn Book; his knowledge is encyclopaedic.

20 May 2013

20th May 1943: gold brooch repair

20 Thur (con.) Between very mild and rather warm; some pleasant sunshine between cloudy periods. Did shopping locally including taking Ciss' gold brooch to Ellis to have a new safety pin fitted. Did some gardening also some more cleaning of paintwork in scullery. Aunt Liza called. Warning from 11.35 to  11.55 p.m.: no incident.

19 May 2013

19th May 1943: Methodists & marigolds

Raynes Park Methodist Church, Worple Road. The church also houses the Lantern Arts Centre (LAC) and Lantern Cafe. This was the church attended by Ciss (Fred's sister) - they called it by the name of the area, 'Cottenham Park'. The church is a Grade II listed building, octagonal-shaped, built in the Byzantine style 
Google Street View, 2012. 
19 Wed. (con.) The chilly E. wind completely spoilt an otherwise brilliant day - pity.  Did shopping by cycle including going to Morden. Sowed four varieties of my own experimental marigolds. Mr F. J. Bonham came to interview Ciss; he is writing a history of Methodism in Wimbledon and Ciss was able to give some interesting particulars. Started washing the painted walls of the scullery. Warning from 11.55 p.m. to 12.25 am. on 20th Thur. Warning from 1.0 a.m. to 2.45 a.m. Three enemy planes came from the N. and took moderate gunfire: the Raynes Park guns fired a few rounds at the last plane.

On this day: Winston Churchill
"...there is nothing more important for the future of the world than the fraternal association of our two peoples in righteous work both in war and peace."
- in a broadcast from Washington DC.

"It is a poor heart that never rejoices; but our thanksgiving, however fervant, must be brief."

"The proud German Army by its sudden collapse, sudden crumbling and breaking up, has once again proved the truth of the saying, 'The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet'."
- speaking to the US Congress

18 May 2013

18th May 1943: bomb swished down & exploded

18 Tues. Very mild, the bright sunshine was not able to make itself felt because of the very rough chilly E. wind. Shopping locally in afternoon and along rail path. Uncle Tom & Aunt Nellie called in morning. Alan Spooner called in evening. Warning from 1.0 to 2.00 a.m. from 2.20 to 3.0 a.m. A few machines and moderate gunfire, and a few bombs heard one bomb swish down and explode. From 6.30 to 6.43 p.m. From 11.55 p.m./ to 12.7 a.m. on 19 Wed. Also from 2.25 to 3.36 a.m. Three enemy planes from N. to S. The first one was followed fairly closely by one of our night fighters because it was not fired at. Gunfire was a little more accurate but still not anything like enough of it: one machine was destroyed but not known where.

Note: Fred's entry for '19 Wed (con.)' appears tomorrow.

17 May 2013

17th May 1943: the dam busters

...17 Mon. Then further warning at 12.30 a.m. A few machines from N. to S. flying very high received moderate gunfire but they did as they liked and a few bombs were dropped. All clear at 2.35 a.m. Also 3.50 to 4.15 a.m.: one more machine which was almost ignored by the gunners dropped one bomb over London: local guns did not fire.     

17 Mon continued. Rather warm, lovely genial sun all day. Cycled top buy cats' meat at Morden, also bought lettuce seed and took accumulator. Sowed two sorts of lettuce seeds and cut lawn. Last night our airmen burst 3 great reservoirs in Germany with bombs and let the water free which flooded great tracts of the Ruhr. Warning at 11.25 p.m. a single enemy plane passed over from N. to S. and to eastward; it dropped a bomb which I heard coming down, it drew only very slight gunfire; the local guns were again silent: all clear t 11.43 p.m. This bomb fell at Brixton Hill. The bomb before midnight last Sunday was at Richmond.

 "Last night our airmen burst 3 great reservoirs in Germany"

16 May 2013

16th May 1943: midnight air raid

Salmon-cream Admiration
16 Sun. Rather warm, bright sunshine all day, but spoilt by a chilly wind. Short walk in afternoon, along rail path in evening. Warning from 1.40 to 1.50 p.m. The first rose out in back garden is Admiration, salmon-cream. A loud bang just before midnight followed by the sirens; all clear at 12.19 a.m on 17 Mon.

Note: Fred runs his Sunday entry on into Monday - when he gives details of that German air raid. And tomorrow he also reports the raid by the British forces on German reservoirs that we now know as The Dam Busters.

15 May 2013

15th May 1943: trains (clean), bike (nice), uncles (Bill & Ben), roses (gorgeous), planes (air raid warning)... & "Wings for Victory"

15 Sat. Rather warm, sunny, fresh wind. Did all the shopping in afternoon by cycle. While in Wimbledon saw the grand "Wings for Victory Week" procession - good. Also saw the Southern Railway's up local line "fly over viaduct" between Wimbledon and Earlsfield Stations, also saw the carriage washing machine - trains go in dirty one end and come out clean the other. Bought silver dope at Colins and did some more painting to my bike, begins to look nice. Uncles Ben and Bill called in afternoon, short raid warning while they were here. The Heriot rose is gorgeous to-day. Dear Monica called; gave her a sweet.

14 May 2013

14th May 1943: really enjoyed sunny cycling

14 Fri. Warm, perfect sunny day, even better than yesterday. Did shopping in morning including going to Morden to buy fish. Cycled along Coombe Lane, Bye Pass to Robin Hood Gate, Kingston Hill and home from Norbiton down Coombe Hill. I really enjoyed it.

13 May 2013

13th May 1943: 150,000 prisoners

13 Thur. Warm, fine sunny day, tempered by a fresh S.W. wind; lovely. Shopping locally, also to Wimbledon. Short cycle ride in evening, heard the first cuckoo over Kingston Hill way, also saw swifts and house martins, the first this year. The N.African campaign is over and Von Annim and over 150,000 of the enemy have been taken prisoner.

12th May 1943 continued... War report

...The enemy forces in N.Africa are routed and completely cut off from the coast: the African campaign will soon be over. The long expected attack on the enemy in Europe may soon materialise. Mr. Churchill in Washington to see Mr.Roosevelt: things will happen soon.

12 May 2013

12th May 1943: quiet for train spotter

12 Wed. Very mild, very dull. Had no shopping to do this morning. Did more enamalling to cycle. Along rail path in evening saw Collins. Saw Southern twelve wheeled electric locomnotive.

11 May 2013

11th May 1943: "she really is a dear"

11 Tues. Mild, some sunny periods, but the wind although chilly has moderated a lot. Cycled to the Morden cats' meat shop. The lovely girl who serves there was giving a dog a run. I saw her when I was riding to the shop. She recognised me and said good afternoon; wasn't that kind of her; she really is a dear. Aunt Liza called.; Doris' new baby will be named Donald Vincent.

10 May 2013

10th May 1943: grounded may

10 Mon. Mild, heavy clouds, rain all day; the wind blows in great gusts. I saw a lovely pink may tree in bloom lying flat on the ground, blown down by the wind in Martin Way. Fought my way through the wind and rain to buy fish and mustard seed at Morden; also took accumulaor but that was a local errand.

9 May 2013

9th May 1943: 3 sweets & 1 birth

9 Sun. Mild chilly rough wind but some bright sunshine with little warmth in it. Little Connie, Monica and John called: gave them a sweet each. Cousin Doris had a baby to-day; she now has two boys and a girl. Short walk in evening, and glad to get back; best indoors. Oh, Mrs Akroyd came to tea.

On this day: overnight the US 6th Armored Division penetrated the retreating Axis forces in Tunisia.

8 May 2013

8th May 1943: hunting for boot polish

8 Sat. Mild but the raging sou'wester made it seem quite cold; heavy showers all day following a night of deluge and hurricane. Got the groceries as usual and hunted all over the neighbourhood to buy boot polish which I did after traversing literally miles.

7 May 2013

7th May 1943: vegetable world

7 Fri. Mild, cool wind, but some nice sunshine. Did the usual Friday morning shopping including going to Morden to buy cats meat. Bought three more tomato plants and planted them. Also preparing borders for other plants.

6 May 2013

Extra Notice - Poetry

Dear readers of this blog. If you are a poet, or know of a poet you can mention this to, please let me draw your attention to my website Poems Please Me.
 The reasons I'm giving the website a bit of extra publicity here is: 
1. I have a competition which is nearing the deadline closing date - 31st May. International entries are most welcome.
2. The website has been going for about 3 years, and I have just introduced a Monthly Newsletter which readers can request via a coupon.

Here's a poem about Fred:

               My Uncle Fred

His narrow, terraced house survives the blitz
until its blacked-out windows can enjoy
sashed daylight, hazed by lace, creating
patterns on the polished, oilclothed floor.

Hiss click, hiss click. Steel needles conjure
symphonies from brittle, shellac discs
(a giddy dog admires His Master's Voice)
spinning new worlds between the dull brown walls
– and on the picture rails, hung by their wheels,
aircraft, created by a master's craft –
doped tissue paper cloaks the balsa frames
glued under gaslight, employing self-taught skills.

With equal gentleness he strokes a bow
across a violin or – on Sunday,
a day for ritual – sets foot
inside the musty, hallowed sitting-room,
draws in his fragile breath and
pulls with sympathetic strength
at organ stops, summoning a fugue by Bach
to rattle doors, disturb the cats,
shake off a week of post-war toil.

His diaries record the thud of bombs,
the price of fish, a flower seller killed,
a rose in bloom, a broadcast by the King
and other miscellaneous things... a baby's birth

- Tony French

6th May 1943: a quiet day

6 Thur. Very mild, very cloudy; fresh wind. Did shopping locally, met Mrs Child & Jenefer. Sowed cress seed.

Note: I think this is Fred's shortest entry since I started blogging his diary - Tony

"We shall continue to operate on the Italian donkey at both ends - with a carrot and with a stick." - Winston Churchill speaking at a press conference in the USA, May 1943.

5 May 2013

5th May 1943: paid for 2 cwt of coal

5 Wed. Very mild, very dull, but it is calm at last - what a relief. To Trewins(?) to pay for the coals. 2 cwt @ 3/8 per  cwt. Also bought 3 Carters' Sunrise tomato plants @ 7 1/2d ea: planted them in afternoon. Planted out lettuces in evening then for a short cycle ride. Alan Spooner called with two wireless coils for me to see.

Photos and postcard:
1. Link to photo & memories of the remarkable Carters' Tested Seeds factory
2. Link to postcard of the same stately-home like Raynes Park factory

4 May 2013

4th May 1943: devastating wind

4 Tues. The otherwise mild day was completely spoilt by the fierce east wind which is smashing down the newly grown plants in the garden: dreadful. To Merton in afternoon. There remains a lot of work to be done in the garden but but I can't work in such a devastating wind.

3 May 2013

3rd May 1943: landlord admires my roses

3 Mon. It would have been mild but for the east wind which was very violent and chilly; some sun but its effect was spoilt by the wind; terrible. To Morden in the gale to buy fish also to the post office etc. On fire duty to-night. The landlord admired the roses at the front door.

2 May 2013

2nd May 1943: 'delightful... cheered my heart'

2 Sun. Very cool, very dull, chilly E. wind. To Dear Mother's grave in afternoon also walked through John Innes Park.: the flowering trees and shrubs most of them named enchanted me: saw some unusual plants. To Wimbledon Common in evening, did not venture far on: saw the most glorious wisteria on the front of a large house in Lingfield Road. Met Alf & Lily, Len & Emily Garrod. A little girl named Rita who I have not seen lately laughed with pleasure at seeing me again. "Where have you been all this time," she said. I told her I still lived at the other end of the road. "I have been away at school all day," she said, I expect that is why I haven't seen you." Now wasn't that delightful; it cheered my heart.

1 May 2013

1st May 1943: 14 children to tea

1 May. Sat. Very mild, cloudy, some rain. Did small amount of shopping in  afternoon then along line to Wimbledon: a Lord Nelson loco stood on a siding at Wimbledon. Fourteen young children of the Sunday School came to a tea party here. Gladys, Jean Child and Miss Lawyers (Sawyers?) came. First roses out on climbing Mme.E.Herriot; the earliest it has ever been. One or two blooms have been half open for several days. 

30th April 1943: Gladys is very loveable

30 Fri. Very mild, very dull & cloudy; rain most of the day. Did shopping in morning including going to Merton to buy haricot beans: got meat, groceries and most of the week-end supplies, so shall have little to buy tomorrow. To see Gladys who promised some things to help with the children's tea Ciss is going to give tomorrow. Saw the garden; Gladys is very loveable. Also to see Mrs. Akroyd's wireless - new high tension battery needed: slight attention to her sewing machine.