31 July 2013

31 July 1943: unconscious robbed in bombing

31 Sat. Glorious, hot, sunny day, but a thunderstorm at evening. 83 in the shade. Did some shopping in morning also to Morden to buy meat for Dinky. To Tolworth in afternoon. Fred Fraine, Ruth Stokes and Hilary were guests: Ciss went also. Fred Fraine's sister Phyllis & her husband were injured in the East Grinstead Cinema when it was bombed. While they were unconscious they were robbed of all their money.

30 July 1943: great heat

30 Fri. Very warm; 80 in the shade the sun shone all day but through overhead haze otherwise it would have been very powerful. Did all the usual Fri. morning shopping including going to Morden. Spent the afternoon house-cleaning: did a lot in spite of the great heat. Watered dear Mother's grave in evening. Met Mr. & Mrs. Hurst there.

29 July 2013

29 July 1943: searchlights on own ten planes

29 Thur. Very warm, a fair amount of sunshine, quite powerful at times.Warning at 12.25 a.m. Ten great concentrations of searchlights with a plane lit up in the apex of each, but they were our planes. There was however some very distant gunfire; all clear at 1.5 a.m. To Wimbledon in morning to get my new brown suit from Rego; also other shopping. Cycle ride in afternoon; the wheat is now quite ripe and an excellent crop. Finished repairs to sofa. Tested Chas. Staden's valves and wrote him a report. 

28 July 2013

28 July 1943: sunny leisure + sofa repairs

28 Wed. Warm, lovely sunny day. To the butcher's also to Morden to buy fish. Short ride and walk along Beverley Brook and the Common in afternoon. Finished fitting new webbing to sofa: it took 12 yards. It only needs the bottom covering in with canvas to finish the job. Received 3 valves from Chas. Staden to test.

Illustration: Beverley Brook Walk - still an attraction. Click HERE to see Merton's brief page. Or download the local government's pdf leaflet HERE describing the 6.5 miles gentle stroll alongside the river named after Badgers' Ley - the place where badgers live.

27 July 2013

27 July 1943: all very peaceful

27 Tues. Warm, lovely sunny day. No shopping to-day; only tradesmen called. Cycled to Old Morden in afternoon. Started repairs to sofa; the webbing needs replacement. Mrs. Akroyd called with H.T. battery for me to test - O.K.

26 July 1943: Fireguard routines

26 Mon. Rather warm, some pleasant sunshine. To Morden to buy Dinky's meat. Also to take a card to Len Garrod saying I shall not be able to visit him as I am attending a Fireguard meeting. Went to the meeting to have an explanation of the new system of duties. Gwen and Laurance called. Warning at 12.0 midnight. Two aircraft cruising about but I think they were ours. Some distant gunfire in S.E.: all clear at 1.0 am on 27 Tues.

25 July 1943: Sunday visits

25 Sun. Rather warm; lovely day of soft sunshine. Gwennie & Laurance called. Dad, Alb, Lily & Anthony to tea. They visited at Aunt Liza's so Anthony made the acquaintance of Gwen and Laurance and was very friendly and played with their toys.

24th July 1943: flower day

24 Sat. Cool, dull morning becoming more genial later but no sun. Did the usual shopping: took alarm clock for repair; needs new spring. To Dear Mother's grave; took some cut flowers and planted some antirrhinums; grave looks nice. Weeded garden in evening. Nice show of Los Angeles roses. Met Edie Bennett.

26 July 2013

23rd July 1943: buried by cinema bombing

23 Fri. Very cool for season; very dull and depressing all day. Did all the usual Friday morning shopping. Miss Dickson is not yet well enough to work so had to set to and clean the downstairs rooms myself. In evening a gentle cycle ride as far as Tolworth Rise. Letter from Fred Fraine saying his sister Phyllis and her husband were in the East Grinstead Cinema that was bombed in daylight. They were cut and bruised and buried for an hour under debris but are recovering now. About 100 people were killed at the time.

Notes on cinema bombing from Wikipedia: East Grinstead, 27 miles south of London,  became a secondary target for German bombers which failed to make their primary target elsewhere. On the afternoon of Friday 9 July 1943, a Luftwaffe bomber became separated from its squadron, followed the main railway line and circled the town twice, then jettisoned seven bombs. Two bombs, one with a delayed-action fuse, fell on the Whitehall Theatre, a cinema on the London Road, where 184 people at the matinĂ©e show were watching a Hopalong Cassidy film before the main feature. A total of 108 people were killed in the raid, including children in the cinema, many of whom were evacuees; and some twenty Canadian servicemen stationed locally, who were either in the cinema when it was hit, or arrived minutes later to help with rescuing survivors. This was the largest loss of life of any single air raid in Sussex.

22nd July 1943: repaired organ

22 Thur. Cool dull morning... to Merton to buy webbing to repair the sofa also some refined webbing to repair the blowing air arrangement on the organ. Fitted the organ webbing in evening - a rather difficult job but accomplished satisfactorily. Chas came to take away the armchair as the organ takes up so much room.

21 July 2013

21st July 1943: 21st birthday

21 Wed. Between very mild and rather warm; dull and humid after a night of deluge followed by a day of steady rain. Did shopping locally in morning. Sent 21st birthday card to cousin Alan. Wrote letter to Fred Fraine.

20 July 2013

20th July 1943: repair complete

20 Tues. Cool, but getting warm later; dull & cloudy, still windy. Did some shopping locally. Finished repairing Alf's pick-up and returned it in perfect order but his set needs attention. Met Alan & Vera.

On this day: from 19-21 July German planes attack Russian tanks near Orel (or Oryol), inflicting the heaviest losses ever suffered by armoured vehicles from the air. Modern photo shows the city's sculpture of  Orel ( meaning eagle). Orel was occupied by Germans on 3 Oct 1941 and liberated on 5 Aug 1943. The city was almost completely destroyed.

19 July 2013

19th July 1943: weather dull, "usual music"

19 Monday. Cool, very dull morning, improving later but no sun. Very high wind continues. To Morden in afternoon also local shopping. To Len Garrod's in evening for our usual music practice. Gwennie and Laurance called.

18 July 2013

18th July 1943: demonstrated organ

18 Sun. Cool for season; very dull, very boisterous cool east wind. The children called, also Jeanette Mc.Ainsh. Demonstrated the organ to Jean Child & Mr. Mc.Ainsh. Walk along line in evening; saw Collins. Mrs. Akroyd came to tea.

17 July 2013

17th July 1943: RAF's fiance

17 Sat. Warm; would have been a perfect sunny day but for the boisterous wind. Did shopping locally, also to Morden to buy fish. On my way back saw some cricket at Merton. The home side 206 for 6; bowling very weak. Also called in at Alf's to report on pick-up. Saw Alan who is on leave - he is in the R.A.F.; was introduced to his fiance Vera.

16 July 2013

16th July 1943: detonations & housework

16 Fri. Warm and close after a night of steady rain. Very hazy and the little sun we had was weak. Heard distant detonations at 2.10 a.m. Distant warning & more shots followed at 2.15; all clear at 2.30 a.m. Did all the usual shopping including going to Morden. As Miss Dickson is still unwell I did a hard day's house cleaning.

15 July 2013

15th July 1943: borrowed time

15 Thur. Rather warm, some sun in morning but very dull the rest of the day; rain setting in later. Borrowed an alarm clock as the one Ciss uses has broken down. Sone shopping locally also some garden; sowed more lettuce seed.

14 July 2013

14th July 1943: half-ton of coal at £1.13s 11d

14 Wed. Rather warm, some bright sun in morning, otherwise cloudy; less wind. To Morden to buy Dinky's meat, also shopping locally. Took delivery of 1/2 ton of coal - £1.13.11. More work on Alf's gramophone pick-up - a difficult job. On fire-watch duty but no incident up to midnight.

13 July 2013

13th July 1943: gramophone repair man

13 Tues. Between very mild & rather warm, a few sunny periods: very boisterous. Along line to Wimbledon to buy something. Cleaned almost all the windows inside and out. To Alf's: took away his gramophone pick-up for repair and it seems it will be difficult as the moving parts are all riveted and not held together by screws. Warning from 2.45 to 3.10 a.m.: no incident.

12 July 2013

12th July 1943: practised a sonata

12 Mon. Rather warm; dull morning but some bright periods in afternoon. To Morden in morning to buy fish. Along line in Wimbledon in afternoon to buy haricot beans. To Len Garrods in evening for some music. Practised a sonata for cello & piano.

11th July 1943: kids like "pop tree"

11 Sun. Between very mild & rather warm; very dull; showers in evening. The children called: Gwennie & Laurance twice. They are very pleased with the "pop tree". Short walk in evening.

Notes: can anyone identify the "pop tree"? I recall it had light green seed pods perhaps a couple of inches long which went "pop" and burst if you squeezed them - no doubt a means of seed dispersal.

Note 2: Wisteria has been suggested, and sweet peas...

'Greyfox' writes: 'I think the “pop tree” could be laburnum (which Uncle Fred mentions a couple of times, so could have been in his garden).  The pods are pea-like & “pop” when ripe.' And yes, the tree was in his garden. 

11 July 2013

10th July 1943: troops invade Sicily

10 Sat. Rather cool for season, dull & cloudy; rain all afternoon. Cycled to Morden in the rain to buy fish for Dinky. In evening thoroughly cleaned and overhauled the three tuning coils of Chas. Staden's wireless set. Allied troops invade Sicily  in early hours - little news yet.

9 July 2013

9th July 1943: late afternoon air raid

9 Fri. Rather cool for season: showers, cloudy. Did all the usual shopping in morning. As Miss Dickson did not come, had to set to and do some house cleaning. Alan Spooner called in evening so he saw the organ for the first time: he was very excited and interested in it, especially the air-driven tremulant fan.

9 Fri. (continued) Warning at 5.20 p.m. Two enemy Dornier 217's bombed Thornton Heath and East Croydon; several lives were lost and damage done as we heard later; a factory was hit. The bombers flew at roof-top height. Heavy explosions were heard. Fighter planes went up from Croydon and shot one down at Caterham and the other at Sittingbourne. All clear at 5.50 p.m.

8 July 2013

8th July 1943: summer routine

8 Thur. Between very mild and rather warm, showers; heavy later and some distant thunder. Did some shopping locally. Also some gardening in evening. 

7 July 2013

7th July 1943: cricket cricket; sheet lightning

7 Wed. Rather warm, cloudy but some nice sun in afternoon. Showers and distant thunder in evening; sheet lightning at night. To Morden to buy fish; also bought a few things locally. Saw a nice bit of cricket at Mitcham in afternoon. Fitted new 1/2 meg. anode resistance to Chas. Staden's wireless.

Note:  Mitcham Cricket Club - the oldest cricket club in the world!

6 July 2013

6th July 1943: cress & shallots

6 Tues. Rather warm very cloudy & threatening; some showers and distant thunder. Only to the local shops to-day. Sowed cress seed in a metal tray as usual. Dug up shallot crop - very good. Planted lettuce seedlings. Cleaned all the downstairs windows inside and out.

5th July 1943: new suit, mock battle & music

5 Mon. Rather warm, very dull and overcast; slight shower in evening. To Morden in morning to buy cats' meat. Along rail path in afternoon saw Pacific 21 cq. (?) Ordered brown suit at Rego's price 95/-; not bad for war-time, had to give up 26 coupons. Also bought 1/2 meg. resistance for Chas. Staden's set. In early evening a thrilling mock siege was waged by regular troops on the bombed houses opposite. Soldiers hiding in front gardens fired blank cartridges into the buildings while bombs burst inside with great noise; it was very realistic and the damaged houses had more damage done to them. Finally a white flag was waved from an upstairs window. Mr. Bonham called. To Len Garrods. I played violin this time as Alf played the piano; Len, the cello, of course.

4th July 1943: stroll

4 Sun. Fine, warm, sunny day. Walk on Wimbledon Common in evening.

3 July 2013

3rd July 1943: aluminium for vicar

3 Sat. Warm, lovely sunny day. Did shopping in afternoon, including buying a tin of aluminium paint for Chas. Staden; posted latter. Cycled to Robin Hood Gate in evening; Gwennie called.

2 July 2013

2nd July 1943: making maps

2 Fri. Firewatching: no incident. Warm, fine sunny afternoon; some wind from east - rather unusual to get warm weather from this quarter. Did all the usual shopping including going to Morden and to Wimbledon twice. Cycled to Tolworth in afternoon; played with Anthony who is getting very charming. Mr Foster* showed me some ordnance survey maps and told me a lot how they are made: he is a map maker.

*Note: Mr Foster was one of a succession of many lodgers at 98 Largewood Avenue, Tolworth - at Fred's brother's and sister in law's. Mr Foster worked for the Ordnace Survey, then based in Chessington, Surrey, later to move to Southampton.

1 July 2013

1st July 1943: dry days

1 July Thursday. Warm, fine sunny afternoon. To Morden to buy fish. Wrote letter to Chas. Staden. Aunt Liza and little Laurance called. Garden is getting dry; had to water it.

On this day: at the end of the financial year in the USA, 93 per cent of the government's expenditure had been on the war. In the far east, amphibious landings are being made on Japanese held islands, in Operation Cartwheel. Over 1,000 heavy US bombers are now operating from British bases.