31 December 2014

31st Dec 1944: end of year reflections... and prayer

"a year of hardship, of great trial and danger...
when the bombs have come screaming down I thought my time had come"

31 Sun. Frost very severe and white, clearer with some sun in afternoon. Mrs. Akroyd to tea: poor dear, she had a dreadful cold: gave her some aspirins. To have a look at Mrs. Veale’s wireless. She has bought a new H.T. battery and the set works all right but the new battery makes all manner of background noises. There is nothing I can do about it. If the noises do not subside, I advised her to take it back to the shop. So ends another year. It has been a year of hardship, of great trial and danger and the uncertainty which it brings. Many times when the bombs have come screaming down I thought my time had come. But God has blessed us and brought us to another year. Great advances have been made on the battlefields of Europe and it does seem that the New Year may bring us nearer to our goal or even to Victory and Peace. Pray God it may be so. Amen.

Rocket in NW at 1.45 p.m. followed by a very long drawn out rumble

30 December 2014

30th Dec 1944: goes on... more bombs

30 Sat. Frost very severe to begin with but a slow thaw during the day but freezing again later: much clearer. Cycled to Merton to buy Dinky’s meat and other things as well. Bought scrubbing brush locally and took accumulator. Mrs. Veale said Dennis was unwell with bronchitis: hope he will soon be well again. Mrs. Veale borrowed the clothes horse: she is a dear. Rocket at 9.0 a.m. Rocket at 10.40 p.m.

29 December 2014

29th Dec 1944: frost, fog, flying bombs and a premature death

29 Fri. Six degrees of frost midday: have never seen thicker hoar frost. Fog exceedingly thick especially at night. To butchers, got beef for a change, also to grocers, bakers and paper shop in morning. In afternoon on foot to Merton in the bitter weather but no meat there. Thence to Wimbledon: bought fish and a cycle lamp battery there. Rocket at 6.45 p.m. distant in NE. Rocket at 10.40 p.m. in SE. Heard today of the death of Edie Burton on Boxing Day at the age of 46. She never had good health and had been in failing health for a long time. She was the same age as Connie Bradley and Edie Hopkins and they all attended Ciss’ class together. May heaven give to her what she lacked in this life – R.I.P.

28 December 2014

28th Dec 1944: thick fog; very cold. Advice on model aircraft.

28 Thur. Intense cold; the frost is thicker than ever; misty, becoming thick at night. Have not a thermometer, having lost it in the bombing but we had 20 degrees of frost recently and to-night it seems colder still. Out to local shops only. To Conley’s to give the boys some advice on building model aeroplanes: Victor and Leonard have a kit each.

27 December 2014

27th Dec 1944: crystals of frost & fairy cakes

27 Wed. Colder still but less fog still. The hoar-frost is so thick it is falling from the trees making patches of white crystals on the ground beneath: fortunately there is little wind or it would be beyond my endurance at any rate. Got the groceries locally also bought some herrings. Mrs. Veale brought me a piece of her Xmas cake and two fairy cakes of her own make: both were first class, the Xmas cake was exceptionally good. Fitted a cross-bar and zinc cap to a clothes post I am putting in for her.

26 December 2014

26th Dec 1944: played dirty hearts with neighbours

26 Tues. Boxing Day. Severe frost continues all day but fog not so thick. Ciss returned from Tolworth this morning with some presents. Went into next door 68 to see if they would like Ciss and I to go in this evening: they would. Little Dennis was charming. I built him a house of wooden bricks and knocked it down with a ball. Mrs. Hockney and Mrs. Veale were on their own and were pleased of our company, making a change for us as well. In evening we played “Auctioneer”, the spelling game and dirty hearts*. Also showed them some card tricks. A very happy evening. A rocket during the evening.

*Rickety Kate in Australia - 'Rickety Kate' is the Queen of Spades. Various descriptions online. Here's a clear one: go to game description & illustrations

25 December 2014

Christmas Day, 1944: landscape 'like Fairyland'

25 Christmas Day. Severe hoar frost; the ground is frozen hard, thick fog all day. Had a splendid roast pork dinner and the pudding was excellent considering wartime limitations. Ciss went to Tolworth taking some parcels; she stayed the night. Took a bunch of holly to Dear Mother’s grave in afternoon: the trees are thick with frost making the landscape look like fairyland – all but the fog. Arthur and John Child called.
Another 'fairyland' - a 1908 Christmas postcard from Fred's family

And hearty Christmas Greetings to all Fred's readers in the year 2014. 

24 December 2014

24th Dec 1944: German rocket rattles Christmas Eve window

24 Sun. Cold, overhead haze but clear below: freezing hard by early evening. Took a post-card to Pontifex’s at Worcester Park in afternoon: it was addressed to 68 next door where they lived until the bombing in Nov. 1940. They were pleased and made a fuss of me as they always do. Took a truck of bricks and a soft ball – toys for little Dennis next door. Had some ginger wine with Mrs. Hockney and Mrs. Veale; they are nice people too. Rocket which rattled the windows at 7.30 a.m. Mrs. Akroyd called with a present to be taken to Anthony. Saw dear Gladys in Grand Drive and wished her a happy Christmas: she is very nice too.

23 December 2014

23rd Dec 1944: a few bombs, friends and Xmas shopping

Harold Marshall, Hong Kong, 1924
23 Sat. Less cold, a little clearer. To Cheam in morning to buy cats’ meat, including some for Tibby Veale. A very pleasant surprise visit from Capt. Harold Marshall. An old friend who although he has got on has never forgotten me. Thence to Wimbledon to collect my new shoes also bought sweets and other things, eventually finishing my Xmas shopping – not an easy task in wartime. Mrs. Akroyd called bringing my brown suit which she had been minding since the bombing. Warning at 7.43 a.m. one down very distant N and one very distant NE: all clear at 7.55 a.m. A rocket at 6.50 p.m. also another at 7.40 p.m.

22 December 2014

22nd Dec 1944: shoes 27s 2d. Addie cleans our house for Xmas

22 Fri. Raw cold, dismal brown light, misty, drizzle: most unpleasant. To butchers in morning also bakers, the newsagents and confectioners, and post-office. Bought nice spray of holly for 2/-. Dear Addie Veale called in afternoon and did some house-cleaning out of the goodness of her heart – without being asked, saying it was her Xmas present to us. To Wimbledon in afternoon bought pair of shoes 27/2. To chemists. Bought a bottle of sauce. Bought toys for Dennis Veale – a truck with some coloured bricks in it and a pretty soft cloth ball for him to play with.

21 December 2014

21st Dec 1944: making marzipan... presents... fixing radio

An R&A Challenger loudspeaker - these were manufactured
by Reproducers & Amplifiers Ltd, Wolverhampton
21 Thur. Very cold, very dismal; misty, damp: everywhere running with water. Ugh! Got the groceries as usual. Got some ginger nut biscuits to-day and some soya bean flour from the latter makes almond marzipan for covering the Xmas cake. To post-office and other shops. In afternoon to buy a tie for Dad also bought sprats at Merton. Addie Veale called in evening: I like her company. Put up a little longer indoor aerial as I could not tune in properly; I can now, and the wireless is performing well, the reproduction being nearly perfect. The Magnavox speaker unit has some slight core (cone?) resonance and is hardly as good as the R & A.

20 Dec 1944: ceiling+window+gas light+loudspeaker=comfort

20 Wed. Very cold, dismal; a wet fog all day. The men came to cover seams in plaster-board ceilings with paper strips. The joiners put in two more windows upstairs which completes the upstairs front windows. The gas man fitted four lights for us which were damaged by the bomb: so now we are well on the way to comfort again. To buy tin of salmon locally in morning. Aunt Hannah called with invitation to go there Sunday afternoon. Took ginger wine essence to Mrs. Child in afternoon and brought away wireless set I lent to her some while back. Fitted it up temporarily in evening and got it going. First time we have had a loudspeaker set since the bombing in July. Gave the younger Child children a shilling each for Xmas and sixpence to Victor Conley as it is his birthday. Boiled the Xmas puddings today.

19th Dec 1944: ginger wine... & Welsh influence on evacuee

19 Tues. Raw cold, dull; misty later. The men finished boarding passage ceiling and walls. As they are not allowed to give a finishing coat of plaster, their work is done until the ban on finishing is lifted. Gas man called: says he will do our job tomorrow. On foot to Merton to buy Dinky’s meat; also bought ginger wine essence and tapers.

Put the clothes airer up again in scullery having had to take it down while the new ceiling was put up. Ann Conley came back from N. Wales to-day where she has been since the flying bombs began. I saw her: she has grown taller and speaks like a little Welsh girl – most charming. Bought a new book for writing my 1945 diary.
Fred's 1944 diary ended with a few spare pages. Inside the back cover he has diagrams
of his rhubarb bed and his methodical pattern of replanting. Also, on the left,
 is next door's young widow's address while she was away after the bombing.
At the top of the right hand page (inside back cover) is the telephone number of
Holloway Bros - the major construction company - where his sister, his lifelong
companion, worked - Theresa, always known as 'Ciss',

20 December 2014

18th Dec 1944: Slate Club Xmas share-out: 17 shillings

18 Mon. Rather cold but fine bright sunny day with a clear blue sky. Warning at 4.0 a.m. Saw 11 clusters of searchlights following the courses of flying bombs. The sky was very clear and I saw one with its tail of flame but they were all a great way off. I saw the flashes as they went off but did not hear the bang except in one case to N. All clear 4.50 a.m. Further warning at 5.50 a.m. One very distant E, one very distant S: all clear 6.20 a.m. The men stripped the plaster from walls and ceiling of passage, then covered in with plaster board. They erected a staging in the passage and getting in and out was awkward and messy, the place being heaped up with chunks of plaster. When Mrs. Veale saw it she called it crazy paving. Did a lot of shopping locally morning and afternoon, buying among other things Xmas cards and also posting some. Got the Slate Club share-out in evening – 17/-. Visited Mrs. Child.

17th Dec 1944: good workmanship in scullery

17 Sun. Milder than for a long time; never bright: some slight rain. The men took down damaged ceiling and walls of scullery and repaired same with good workmanship: I was pleased. Dear Connie Freeman in a new rig out with which she was obviously pleased also Clifford Gover called previous to going to Sunday School. Started work on a clothes post for Mrs Veale.

16th Dec 1944: £1 present from Captain - & light at last!

16 Sat. Less cold than of late; a little fairer. The workmen are repairing the walls of the scullery. Cycled to Cheam to buy cats’ meat also some for Mrs. Veale’s animals. Difficult job cooking dinner with workmen about. Posted letter and a novel in French to Roy Cooper in R.A.F. in Belgium. Posted picture book and letter to Anthony. Various shopping locally. Letter, card and a £1 note from Harold Marshall, now promoted Staff Captain: something like a friend. Letter from Alb enclosing Anthony’s photo. Little Dennis Veale came in; he is charming – so is his mother. Took gas bracket from front bedroom and put it up in sitting room in place of bombed one, so we have a light at last.

15 December 2014

15th Dec 1944: lamb again... and Christmas stuff

15 Fri. Very cold, dull but calm. Did the Fri. morning shopping: the meat is half-shoulder of lamb again. To post-office, paper shop etc. Wrote letter to Anthony to post with a picture book I bought for his Xmas present. Little Dennis came in to-day. Bought calendar with a lovely picture of a wheat field on it.

14 December 2014

14th Dec 1944: messy, dusty & noisy. Tricky cooking!

14 Thur. Morning frost, but clearer and not quite so cold. Finished moving into the front room. The men started work on the dining room and scullery taking down damaged plaster from ceiling and walls and started covering with plaster-board: very messy and dusty – and noisy. To Morden to buy fish. Very difficult cooking dinner to-day. The rocket that fell on Tuesday at 10.45 p.m. landed at Shepherd’s Bush.

13 December 2014

13th Dec 1944: extra rations for Christmas... repairs continue

13 Wed. Thick white frost, very cold day; thick fog later. Got the groceries including extra sugar and margarine rations for Xmas. Bought paraffin also almond and vanilla essence at Smaldon’s. Bought Xmas cards and a nice railway picture book for Anthony. Also to butchers. The workmen will repair the dining room tomorrow so had to move everything into the sitting room. A hard day’s work.

12 December 2014

12th dec 1944: "red ball of fire" over Bethlem Hospital, Lambeth

12 Tues. Raw cold; very dismal. At 4.25 a.m. I saw a rocket like a red ball of fire fall through the clouds to NE: it went off with a loud report and a long rumble like thunder. Subject to correction it blew up in the air over *Bethlem Hospital, Lambeth. Ciss had the morning off so we started to move contents of back room to the front room. Cooked a midday dinner and had tea at 5.30 p.m. for a change: we had sardines! Good! To Merton in afternoon to buy liver and sprats – half for Mrs. Veale’s animals. She brought me a cup of tea and some biscuits – a dear girl! Warning from 7.17 to 8.0 p.m. no incident save numbers of our own heavy machines going N to S. Rocket at 10.45 p.m. same direction as last night and about as loud: - NE.

*Founded in 1247 - yes, 1247. Europe's oldest extant psychiatric hospital - popularly known at times as 'Bedlam'. The location and building, not to mention attitudes towards mental illness, have much changed. A fascinating history at: Bethlem Royal Hospital.

*Our reader 'greyfox' adds: 'The Bethlem Hospital had moved from the Lambeth site before the War and in 1936 the central part of the building had become the Imperial War Museum.'

11 December 2014

11th dec 1944: routine decorating & bombing

11 Mon. Slight morning frost, raw cold day. To Morden in afternoon to buy cream paint. Also bought glasspaper, jam and mincemeat locally. Warning from 11.5 to 11.45 p.m: one about 8 miles to SE. Heard since it fell at Wallington.

10 December 2014

10th Dec 1944: flying bombs & searchlights

10 Sun. Severe white frost till midday, then raw dismal day with fine rain. Started painting wainscot of sitting room. Took distemper brush back to Chas. Mrs. Veale brought in a document she wanted signed by the minister. Warning at 6.55 p.m. Two groups of searchlights indicated that two flying bombs were travelling from NE to N. Saw two flashes as the bombs went off and the searchlights then went out. All clear at 7.42 p.m.

9 December 2014

9th Dec 1944: I love the young widow

9 Sat. Most severe frost this winter; bitter day, light hazy clouds for the most part. Letter and Xmas Card from Uncle Tom & Aunt Nellie. Cycled to Cheam in the bitter weather to buy cats meat, got some for Mrs. Veale’s animals. Shopping locally in morning. Mrs. Veale came in evening. Gave her some glass paper to smooth a draining board she has cut to fit. Oh, she is a dear girl: I love her ever so much: gave her a sweet.

8 December 2014

8th Dec 1944: nice life... but P.O. & pub destroyed

8 Fri. Raw cold, dismal, rain most of day. To Wimbledon in morning to buy two more yards of wall border which I put up at once: the room looks nice now but I intend to finish the paintwork. Did all the usual shopping locally; got a nice half shoulder of lamb. Cleaned the windows. More shopping in afternoon. The rocket on Wed. night fell in Duke St. W.C. off Oxford St. destroying a public house and a post office. Rocket at 10.10 p.m. distant E.

7 December 2014

7th Dec 1944: Dennis the cherub

7 Thur. Raw cold, dismal; rain all day. To Wimbledon to buy a pretty wall-border for the sitting room. Put it up but found I had not bought enough. Met Willie Willmot in Wimbledon. To Morden to buy sprats in the rain. Little Dennis Veale called Ee-oh! and let himself in: he asked for a “bisc-hole”. He remembers I gave him a ring biscuit and the hole in the centre amused him. Later I saw him asleep in his cot looking like a cherub with rosy apple face. Rocket at 8.10 p.m. between S and SW.

6 December 2014

6th Dec 1944: buff distemper

6 Wed. Very severe frost lasting till mid-day, clear sunny morning, dull, rain later. Got the groceries at Eyle’s as usual: also to the butchers. Mrs. Child called. Distempered the sitting room a nice buff shade. First time I have attempted such a thing but it looks all right. Posted letter to Uncle Tom. Rocket at 11.10 p.m.

5 December 2014

5th Dec 1944: V-2 rocket went into River Thames

5 Tues. Sharp morning frost: bright, clear, sunny day. To Cheam to buy meat for Dear Dinky in morning. The rocket we heard Sun. morning fell in the Thames at Blackfriars with three explosions. Gave sitting room walls a coat of size. Cleaned the new windows in living room. Cleaned rubble from corner from where the gas copper was taken away. Warning from 8.20 to 8.50 p.m. no incident.

4 December 2014

4th Dec 1944: Dennis the stray

4 Mon. Rather cold but clear fine sunny day. Bought candles and torch batteries and a birthday card locally in morning. Little Dennis Veale keeps straying out of his garden so I finished putting the fence up. He keeps coming in to me so I gave him a biscuit or two. One biscuit had a hole in the centre so he went to the cupboard to ask for the “bisc hole”: I do love him.

3 December 2014

3rd Dec 1944: you can call me Addie, says neighbour

3 Sun. Rather mild, dull, but colder and very rough later. Mrs. Veale brought some apples: she said we could call her Addie, her name being Adelaide. Short walk along rail path in afternoon, saw a Pacific loco. with its electric headlights on. Mrs. McAinsh and little Jeanette called. Jeanette pretended there was a ghost in the scullery and I had to shoo it away. She thought it was fine fun. Mrs. Akroyd to tea

2 December 2014

2nd Dec 1944: roast lamb for mid-day dinner

2 Sat. Rather cold but fine sunny day. Cycled to the Cheam meat shop in morning. Cooked a nice roast lamb dinner with baked potatoes etc. Did some shopping locally in afternoon. Did some more work on Mrs. Veale’s fence; only two sections remain to be done. Dennis Veale came and called “ee-oh, door”, at the back door to come in: I mended his toy engine. Plastered up the holes in the sitting room walls prior to sizing. Rocket at 8.30 p.m. in E direction.

1 December 2014

1st Dec 1944: evacuated boy back from Coventry

1 Dec. Fri. Rather cold: dull. Did all the usual Friday morning shopping locally. In afternoon a short visit to Mrs. Child thence to Merton and Morden to buy a few things. Mrs. Veale brought little Dennis home from Coventry to-day: he has been there since the bombing. Saw him and had biscuits and tea in their home. Dennis is a friendly little chap. Small amount of work on their fence. Finished stripping the paper off the sitting room.

30 November 2014

30th November 1944: even more repairs.. continuing

30 Thur. Rather mild for season; dull morning sunny later. Rocket in S at 12.5 a.m. also another at 3.0 a.m. Made and put up black-out blind at new back-room window. More work on Mrs. Veales fence. To Merton to buy cats meat returning via Morden, buying a paper there. More wallpaper stripping in sitting room.

29 November 2014

29th November 1944: flying-bomb's blast & woof...

29 Wed. Cold, dull morning but the sun was pleasant in the afternoon. Got the groceries at Eyle’s also sausage meat at Johnson’s. Thence to Shorts’ to buy soda and matches. More work on Mrs. Veales fence, halved a piece of Harris rail in the gap where it was broken and filled in the gap with palings. There is still more to do yet. More wall-paper stripping in sitting room. Man painted the outside of new back window. At 11.55 p.m. a heavy rumbling explosion. I heard the blast wooff and hiss past the shelter – presumably a rocket in SE direction.

28 November 2014

228th November 1944: windows replaced... taken four months

28 Tues. Cold, dismal morning, driving wind. A few gleams of sunshine late; then heavy rain. Some more wall-paper stripping in front room. Joiner brought two newly-made window frames with glass and fitted them in living room. We can now look out upon the garden for the first time since July. Bought fish at Morden.

27 November 2014

27th November 1944: gas iron for young widow

27 Mon. Cold, dull morning, some weak sun later. More stripping of wallpaper in sitting room. Did some shopping locally. Bought fish in Wimbledon. Further repairs to fence for Mrs. Veale. She borrowed our gas-iron. Also she got me to witness a document for her in respect of her late husband’s will. I am deeply sorry for her: she is a dear girl: Mr. Veale went down with H.M.S. Isis he was 34, A brave man: we knew him. Rocket at 11.15 p.m. in NE

HMS Isis (notes from Wikipedia): Isis took part in the evacuation of Greece in April 1941. On 19 February 1943 she and the frigate HMS Hursley and a Vickers Wellington medium bomber-attacked and sank the German submarine U-562 in the Mediterranean Sea northeast of Benghazi.
Isis was hit in 1941 off BeirutLebanon after the Battle of Crete. She pursued two Vichy French destroyers which escaped. A Junkers Ju 88 aircraft then attacked and severely damaged her. Hero tried to tow her HaifaPalestine. The tow rope snapped, but the engines were started and she successfully reached Haifa.
Isis struck a mine and sank off the Normandy landing beaches on 20 July 1944.

26 November 2014

26th November 1944: friend went to Holland and Belgium

26 Sun. Severe white frost: cloudy day. Ron Cooper came to tea. He told me of his air trip to Holland and Belgium and of how he stayed with the Burgomaster of Brussels, showing me many photographs. Cousin Len and his wife paid us a visit while Ron was here. The sitting room ceiling looks nice in daylight.

25 November 2014

25the November 1944: boiled beef... and good neighbours

25 Sat. Rather cold but bright sunny day. Warning from 4.55 to 5.10 a.m. one down between S and SE. To Cheam meat shop in morning, bought some for Mrs Veale as well as my own. Cooked a nice boiled beef dinner. Mrs Veale helped me to put up part of her fence blown away at the time of the bombing. Put another coat of whitewash on sitting room ceiling.

24 November 2014

24th November 1944: home and gardens

24 Fri. Rather mild; cloudy. Helped Mrs Veale to clear her garden of debris and also cleared ours as well. Bought meat and other provisions locally. Also to Smaldons to buy more ceiling white and blue. Whitewashed the sitting room ceiling: it may require another coat.

23 November 2014

23rd November 1944: more decorating after bombing

23 Thur. Rather mild, dull morning, sunny afternoon. Bought envelopes locally, then to chemists at Morden. To Morden in afternoon to buy fish. Finished removing old paper from drop ceiling of sitting room, filled up holes with plaster and gave the ceiling a coat of size. From 1.0 to 1.25 a.m. no incident. Rocket at 2.0 a.m. in E.

22 November 2014

Fred's Dad, 110 years ago

Sunday School Outing to Oxshott, 1904

Back: Mrs Laurence, Mrs Blackman, Mr Barrett, Miss Chapman, Mr F French, Miss Hay,
Mr Bond, Miss Waller, Unknown.
Front: Mr Walden, Miss Seeley, Miss Yalden, Miss Read, Miss Ringwood, Mr Dawson

22nd Nov 1944: sunshine & old gold distemper... USA radio

22 Wed. Rather mild, dull, rain later. Got the groceries locally also to the butcher’s. Thence to Wimbledon to buy distemper powder at Woolworth’s, colours - sunshine and old gold. Also bought concentrated size and ceiling white at Smaldons. Fitted curtain brackets and put up curtains. Fitted indoor aerial for Mrs. Veale and got good results – two U.S.A. stations.

21 November 2014

21st November 1944: escaped rocket in vicarage

21 Tues. Cold, clear, sunny day. To Cheam meat shop in morning; met Mrs. Snudden. To Mrs. Child; saw Audrey – just returned from Nottingham where she has been since summer: John Child also came back to see me. To Morden in afternoon but could not see what I wanted. Did some more stripping of paper off walls of sitting room. Rocket at 12.5 p.m. in NE. Rocket at 11.10 pm; it fell near the Prince’s Head at Battersea. It struck the steeple of Christ Church. Lily Bickerstaff escaped: she was in the vicarage

On this day: 21st November 1918, if you'll forgive me switching to WWI for a day, today was the day the entire Germany Navy surrendered - as significant as Armistice Day. Here's a link, below, which will open in a separate window. 'For those who witnessed "Der Tag" or "The Day" it was a sight they would never forget - the greatest gathering of warships the world had ever witnessed.'
This is a link to BBC feature:  article - painting - photos - charts. Well worth a look.

20 November 2014

20th November 1944: pudding basins... & puncture repair

20 Mon. Rather mild for season, sunshine in morning, rain later. Bought candles, matches and two pudding basins locally in morning. To Wimbledon in afternoon. Rocket at 6.50 p.m. in E. Started stripping paper off sitting room walls. To pay Slate Club. Mended puncture; first one for a very long time.

19 November 2014

19th November 1944: neighbour using our cooker still

19 Sun. Rather mild for season but wind of hurricane force; dull. Jean called. Mrs. Hockney cooked a dinner on our gas cooker. Finished painting woodwork of sitting room windows: looks nice. Rocket at 8.30 a.m. it fell at Hazlehurst Rd Tooting. Warning from 8.35 to 8.45 p.m. no incident.

18 November 2014

18th November 1944: many killed... we enjoyed radio Music hall

18 Sat. Rather mild, very damp: dull. To the Cheam meat shop; got some for Mrs Veale to whom Tibby has now returned. Started painting the interior of sitting room in lovely cream enamel commencing on the window frames. Fitted up Mrs. Veale’s wireless and got good results; it withstood the bombing without damage. Having got it going she invited Ciss and I to hear Sat. night’s Music Hall and enjoyed it very much. While at Cheam I saw where the flying bomb dropped on Wed. last at Frogmore Gardens: the damage was terrible and very extensive and many were killed. Also saw great demolitions – the result of earlier bombing in Wrayfield Rd. Windsor Av. and Henley Road.

17 November 2014

17th November 1944: neigbour used our gas stove for dinner

17 Fri. Less cold, dismal; rain all day. Got the meat also to cold meat shop, bakers and the confectioners. To Morden also to chemists. Mrs. Veale cooked a dinner on our gas cooker to-day; they are still without gas. Warning from 7.20 to 7.36 p.m. no incident.

16 November 2014

16th November 1944: charming neighbour

16 Thur. Very cold but a sunny afternoon. Put up a shelf in Mrs. Veale’s scullery to put the saucepans on: bought some brackets at Smaldons. To Merton to buy fish. To Morden to buy cream enamel. Heard two rockets in morning. A letter from Uncle Tom: he said a rocket had fallen in Green Park. Mrs. Veale called in evening: she is very charming.

15 November 2014

15th November 1944: camp bed by rail, a few miles from Tolworth

15 Wed. Very cold: dull. Received the camp bed by rail from Tolworth. Got the groceries in morning also to the butchers. Started preparing woodwork of sitting room for painting. Warning from 12.10 to 1.5.a.m. Two in SE; one at Frogmore Gardens, Cheam. Also from 5.45 to 5.58 a.m. one distant SE: one passed over quite near making a loud noise, falling at Lovelace Rd. Surbiton.

14 November 2014

14th November 1944: daughter & furniture return to 68

14 Tues. Cold sunny morning, dull later. To the Cheam meat shop. Mrs. Veale, no 68, next door came back from Coventry with her furniture: she went away after the bombing. They have no gas or water yet in their repaired house so I made tea for Mrs. Veale and her mother Mrs. Hockney. I also cooked late dinner for them and we sat down together both for dinner and supper. Warning from 7.10 to 7.30 p.m. no incident. A rocket distant ENE at 10.25 p.m.

13 November 2014

13th November 1944: back to an empty house

13 Mon. Cold, very dull. Bought paraffin, glass paper and putty locally. To Wimbledon to buy fish. Mrs. Hockney came back to no. 68 next door to-day: her furniture will arrive to-morrow. As there is nothing in the house we entertained her to meals here. I lit a fire for her and lent her some curtains which I put up in the living room. She cleaned some of the floors ready for tomorrow. Rocket at 5.10 a.m. in E. The rocket at 8.50 p.m. yesterday was at Victoria.

12 November 2014

12 November 1944: seven bombs

12 Sun. Severe white frost; very dismal, rain late in day. Did a bit of cleaning in sitting room. Two rockets at 1.30 a.m. At 11.35 a.m. two rockets, one in NE and SE respectively. At 5.30 p.m. one rocket in E. At 8.50 p.m. a rocket between E and NE very heavy report followed by long drawn-out rumble. At 9.55 p.m. another due E.

11 November 2014

11th November 1944: another ceiling & German rockets

11 Sat. Very cold, rain in morning: dismal. Warning at 1.45 a.m. preceded by two explosions and followed by two bombs distant in S. and two more nearer in S. all clear at 2.2 a.m. The two rockets at noon yesterday fell at Middlesex St E. London or nearby. Cycled in the rain to N Cheam cats meat shop. Men finished plastering the sitting room. Shopping locally in afternoon. One rocket in E at 6.40 p.m.

10 November 2014

10th November 1944: why two birthday cards?

10 Fri. Severe frost lasting till midday; bright afternoon, cutting wind. To the butchers, cooked meat shop, bakers and sweet shop in morning. To Merton in afternoon to buy fish; also two birthday cards for Anthony locally. Two rockets distantly at noon, also two loud ones at 2.25 p.m.: the latter fell at Edmonton. Warning from 7.40 to 8.15 p.m. one distant in E.

9 November 2014

9th November 1944: liver & a lamp

9 Thur. Bitterly cold; fairly clear: windy. To butchers to buy liver – ¼lb. between two: also other shopping in morning. Bought cycle lamp battery and a paper in Wimbledon in afternoon. Warning from 7.7 to 7.35 p.m.: one down in NE. From 10.36 to 10.45 p.m. one very distant in S.

On this day: US troops crossed the Moselle, planning to take Metz.

8 November 2014

8th November 1944: bombed ceiling completed

8 Wed. Raw cold, dismal, damp, rain. Got the groceries as usual on Wed also a loaf. The men put a finishing coat of plaster on sitting room ceiling – over the plaster boards. Aunt Liza brought photos, of cousin Len and Doris wedding. Warning from 8.47 to 9.37 p.m.: one* very distant SE.

*Note: a reminder, or for readers new to the blog... Fred is referring to the 'new' generation of German flying bombs, later known as the V-2, against which we had no defence. They were the precursors of space rocket technology, epitomised by Dr Wernher von Braun (1912-1977). The photos show him with Nazi officers in 1941 and with President Kennedy in 1963 - he worked with NASA. He was inducted into the 'US Space and Rocket Center Hall of Fame ' in 2007. Several German cities have streets named after him, as do several American university centres of research.
Left: advert for book. (No, you can't 'look inside! - Sorry about that!)

7 November 2014

7 Nov 1944

7 Tues. Cold, dull, windy. To Cheam to buy cats’ meat. Several explosions to-day but I believe they were experimental from Richmond Park: it was announced that such would be heard. To butchers in morning. Nita Hart, Pamela & Pauline Easterbrook, three such sunny girls who have made themselves friendly, came to the door and I gave them some biscuits: O, they did make me happy. A man painted the new window sashes in sitting room.

6 November 2014

6 Nov '44

6 Mon. Rather cold, cloudy; wind getting up at night. Mrs. Hockney came up from Maidstone to-day. She borrowed a few brooms and so on to clean some rooms in her repaired house next door. To Mrs. Kingham’s to bring away some goods she has been minding since the bombing. Saw Kitty also her friend May with a little girl aged 13 months who runs about like a flash of lightning and talks in her way. Little Gloria patted a chair for me to sit down and she said “tatah” when I went away. To Wimbledon to buy fish.

5 November 2014

5th November 1944: nasty weather... tea for a few

5 Sun. Rather cold, cloudy, wind of hurricane force; rain later. The wind blew one of the damaged houses in this road down. To tea at Mrs Child’s. Geoffrey Trory** was there. Warning from 7.30 to 8.30 p.m. one flying bomb in S: I was returning from Mrs. Child’s when it came down.

**I couldn't be sure of the spelling from Fred's handwriting, but have now researched - a Geoffrey  Brian Trory ARCO (I guess an Associate of the Royal Colleg of Oragnists... without having looked it up) was indeed an organist at Cottenham Park methodist and was mentioned as an organist in a BBC 'Songs of Praise' by the BBC researching whether a 60s' programme mentioned in the 'Radio Times' was ever in fact broadcast! 

4 November 2014

4th November 1944: soldier sees his ruined home

4 Sat. Cold, clear day: the sunshine was as bright as could well be for November. To N. Cheam to buy cats meat: Jack Bradley called in afternoon to say good-bye: he is going abroad with the army. He saw his old house No. 72 Chestnut road, now a ruin. Bought things locally also in Wimbledon: saw the Spooner family also Uncle Dick. Jean Child called inviting me again to tea tomorrow. Warning from 7.30 to 8.0 p.m. no incident. Alb & Lily called in afternoon: gave them some wood for Dad to make Anthony a toy.

3 November 2014

3rd November 1944: only one room has glass in windows

3 Fri. Cold, dismal, rain later. Got the week-end joint and other provisions locally in morning. To Wimbledon in afternoon to buy batteries etc. Cleaned the sitting room windows – the only glass in the house, fitted gas-globe & mantle and put up the curtains. Ciss scrubbed the floor so it looks more homelike. Lit a fire in sitting room to dry the plaster on the walls.

2 November 2014

--------------- Your opinions & ideas, please ---------------

Dear Readers,

Fred's last diary entry is on 1st January 1969, that's 25 years from now. I believe it will be at or shortly before the death of his sister, his lifelong companion.

Clearly his wartime memories have special interest, and peace will bring a different flavour to his life. So, looking to the future, how do you think I might proceed?

One day at a time, as now, with the occasional notes I add on world events? Or summaries - perhaps less about the weather! - bringing in more than one day at a time (and reducing the 70 year gap between his writing and our reading), but not losing the flavour of Fred's own words and unique perspective on life? I've not read ahead myself in the actual diaries, just dipped - and I see there's a reference, for instance, to taking his first colour photographs. There is certainly social history in the pages.

Comments and thoughts most welcome - in public, here - or privately if you wish - if you type the e-mail name tony and after that: ...that is my main personal mail.


Tony French

PS I have promised to donate the actual diaries to the library service in the Merton/Raynes Park area - with no commitment as to when.

PPS Approaching 100 people read these pages each day.  

2nd November 1944: railway bombed... helped neighbour with gas cooker (post bombing)... happy, innocent, dancing days

2 Thur. Cold, some hazy sunshine in afternoon. Loud rocket at 3.30 a.m. it fell on the railway between Surbiton and Thames Ditton. Two loud rockets following each other at 10.10 a.m. Another very loud one with a shattering echo at 5.5 p.m. A letter from Mrs. Hockney to which I replied. She asked me to instruct the gas men where to put the gas cooker in her repaired house next door. Bought sausage meat, posted a letter and bought a curtain rod locally. Also bought fish and a paper at Morden. Little Pauline took my arm and danced along the road with me this afternoon this afternoon: she is a happy little love. Bought sweets: gave Clifford some.

1 November 2014

1st November 1944: plastered

Nov 1 Wed. Cold, dull, N. wind. Loud rocket at 12.5 a.m. also another at 5.5 a.m. Got the groceries during the morning also other shopping. The Polish plasterer put the first layer of plaster on sitting room walls. To Morden to buy a paper. Rocket at 4.0 p.m. also two within a second of each other at 6.35 p.m. Distant rocket 10.45 p.m.

31 October 2014

31st October 1944: high & fast rockets, no defence possible

31 Tues. Cold, very dull, N. wind; showers. To the Cheam meat shop: also shopping locally. Saw Pacific loco 21C6. Finished the moulding above sitting room window and cleaned out the room. At 3.0. a.m. heard a very loud rocket fall. Warning from 6.50 to 7.0 a.m. one flying bomb distant S. At 7.45: a rocket. From 8.0 to 8.30 a.m. one flying bomb, NE. From 8.55 a.m. to 9.2 a.m. one near NE. During the day heard three rockets: they travel so high and fast no warning can be given and there are no possible counter measures: they carry about 3½ tons of explosive. Very loud rocket at 9.5 p.m. in N direction.

30 October 2014

30th October 1944: nails and candles

30 Mon. Cold, cloudy: strong wind. Bought nails and candles locally; returning along little rail path. Cycled to Wimbledon in afternoon to buy fish. Paid the slate club. Heard three rockets to-day, but none within some miles.

29 October 2014

29th October 1944: own piano & organ in storage

29 Sun. Rather cold after white frost. Dismal, some showers. Warning from 5.35 to 5.50 a.m. one fairly near in S. Went to tea at Mrs. Child’s and had an enjoyable time. Had a happy time playing her piano – an unusual thing for me since the bombing. Our damaged piano and organ are in storage for the time being. Little Jennifer Child always pleases me.

28 October 2014

28th October 1944: carpentry & rockets

28 Sat. Rather cold, cloudy, but a few intervals of autumnal sunshine. To N. Cheam to buy cat’s meat: saw where a flying bomb fell in Hamilton Av. To greengrocers in morning to buy brussels tops. Arthur Child called to invite me to tea tomorrow. Sawed and planed a plank & cut some mitred moulding to finish the woodwork of sitting room window. Loud rocket at 5.0 a.m.; at Kingston I believe; heard five others more distant during the day.

27 October 2014

27th October 1944: white balloon?

27 Fri. Rather cold, clear; a day of bright sunshine, but little warmth in it now. Got the week-end joint, also to the bakers etc. in morning. Put a polished oak plywood top on the hall cabinet which finishes it. Bought fish at Merton in afternoon; saw where a flying bomb fell in Christchurch Close, Collier’s Wood. While at Morden saw what I thought was a white balloon drifting over: everyone was gazing up at it.

26 October 2014

26th October 1944: dried peas

26 Thur. Rather cold, dismal. To butcher’s and other shops locally. To Merton meat shop in afternoon; returned via Haydon’s Rd. Durnsford Rd and Wimbledon Park. To Morden to buy dried peas and a paper.

25 October 2014

25th October 1944: rubbish

25 Wed. Very cool; dismal, misty. Got the groceries as usual locally, also sausages & bread. Cleared more of the pile of debris from Mrs. Veale’s garden; there is still a lot left. More work on hall cabinet. Warning from 7.36 to 8.0 p.m. one in E.

24 October 2014

24th October 1944: coming up roses

24 Tues. Rather cold, dull. From 1.5 a.m. to 1.11 a.m. one distant in S. Cycled to N. Cheam in morning to buy cats’ meat. More work repairing hall cabinet only needs a top now. Warning from 7.45 to 8.2 p.m. one very distant in E. The flying bomb that passed to SW last night came down in Ashtead Woods. Two lovely, deep, orange-pink roses on Climbing Mme Edouard Herriot rose and a beautiful white one on Marcia Stanhope.

23 October 2014

23rd October 1944: nice dolls & searchlight on bomb

23 Mon. Rather cold, dismal; rain nearly all day. Bought a few things locally also bought fish at Morden in afternoon. Mrs Akroyd brought some dolls for us to see. She designed and made them herself and very nice they were too. Warning from 7.40 p.m. one in NE, one passed across the S and could be seen: it was followed by searchlights, it exploded distant SW, also one E: all clear 7.57 p.m.

22 October 2014

69,988 + medals + lanes

Just one of those passing statistics... I just noticed that this blog has been viewed 69,988 times... so your's could be the 70,000th!

Also, recently, a reader queried Fred's exemption/or WWI service. I have a medal... and our reader traced exactly what it is... probably (on an unpaid for search) awarded to Fred's brother in WWI... for services rendered to 'King and Empire'. If anyone would like details or to explore, do please contact me.

One more thing. A friend noted that the road next door to the C of E (presumably) church in which Fred's 'Dear Mother's grave' lies is called CHAPEL Lane - and she wondered at that, given that a chapel is non-C of E....  Comments welcome!

Another thought. As a result of this blog, I wonder if the grave could be gently restored? Our readers' photo, having traced it, shows a cross lying flat... restoration may almost be indecent among the other untended graves. But, just a thought.

Tony French   

22nd October 1944: destruction in Melbury Gardens

22 Sun. Very cool, dismal, calm. Shirley is back and called here to-day. Walk to Melbury Gardens; had not seen damage here before: twelve houses are destroyed. Mrs. Akroyd came to tea.

21 October 2014

21st October 1944: Tibbles and Rusty

21 Sat. Rather chilly, very dull, less wind. Heard a rocket fall at 1.20 a.m. I hear it fell at Norwood. Cycled to N. Cheam: bought cats meat; sold some to Mrs. Norris for her Tibbles and Rusty who I minded while she was away. From 11.12 to 11.26 p. m. one flying bomb distant in S

20 October 2014

20th October 1944: sweet ration & repair of bombed furniture

20 Fri. Rather chilly, very dull; rain all day. Got the meat and cakes and other provisions locally. Bought the weekly sweets ration. Cycled in a deluge to Merton to buy fish, thence to Morden; bought an oilstone and spade terminals at Woolworths. Also out again to grocers just before the shop shut. Nailed and glued together the front, sides and back of the hall cabinet, blown to pieces by the bomb. Warning from 5.5 to 5.30 a.m. no incident.

19 October 2014

19th October 1944: bombed loo repaired

19 Thur. Very cool, dull, cloudy. Took some knitting wool to Aunt Liza. Bought something for lunch round the corner. To Morden in afternoon to buy fish. The men repaired brickwork of lavatory* also the woodwork of roof and slated it. Warning from 8.26 to 8.40 p.m. no incident.

*The toilet was out the back, if memory serves your editor correctly.

18 October 2014

18th October 1944: "I am 56 to-day." Started repairing bombed cupboard.

18 Wed. Very cool, rain in afternoon. Got the groceries, some sausage meat and a loaf locally in morning. Started repairing the hall cupboard, knocked to bits in the bombing. Fitted new blocks to front brake of bicycle. A birthday card from little Anthony: I am 56 to-day. Warning from 11.25 to 11.45 p.m. one distant in SE.

17 October 2014

17th October 1944: Worcester Park suffered

17 Tues. Chilly, bright morning, strong wind. Heavy rain commencing midday, becoming very mild. Cycled to Cheam to buy meat. Thence to Worcester Park; saw where a flying bomb destroyed some houses in Grandison Rd. also saw where 14 houses were down in Caldbeck Av. Saw Doris & Ernie Pudney’s house with some damage. Letter, birthday card and a tie from Uncle Tom and Aunt Nellie. Warning from 10.15 to 10.23 p.m. no incident.

16 October 2014

16th October 1944: glass in front windows again

16 Mon. Very cool. Alternate bright sunshine and heavy showers. From 5.5 to 5.20 a.m. one very distant in E. The men fitted window sashes and glass to sitting room windows. Did shopping locally in morning. Bought fish in Wimbledon in afternoon and went for a short ride round Wimbledon Common. Warning from 8.25 to 8.45 p.m. no incident.

15 October 2014

15th October 1944: quiet day... a few distant bombs

15 Sun. Chilly morning, milder and calm later; not bright. Warning from 1.50 to 2.20 a.m. the sound of several flying bombs in flight very distant SE but did not hear any come down. Jean and Micky Knight took some more of their salvage away. Had an idle walk along rail-path in afternoon. From 10.40 to 10.55 p.m. no incident.

14 October 2014

14th October 1944: Veale and Norris... neighbours... noiser next door

14 Sat. Very cool, cloudy, strong wind. Cycled to N. Cheam to buy cats’ meat in morning. Got the dinner as usual. In afternoon to buy a birthday card for Edie Bennett. Potted the geraniums taken from Mother’s grave. Cleared more debris from Mrs. Veale’s garden stacking up the wood at end of garden. Mrs. Norris and the six children returned from Bristol where they have been staying since the height of the bombing: it is noisier next door now. Picked a generous cooking of good runner beans. Warning from 3.30 to 4.3 a.m. no incident.

13 October 2014

Friday 13th October 1944

'Dear Mother's grave' in 2014
(Photo; Sean & Norah Galvin)
13 Fri. Rather mild, becoming colder with rain in afternoon, but some lovely warm sun in morning. Got the usual provisions etc in morning. Also stood in a queue in the sunshine outside the Merton meat shop and got served after a long wait. Planted wallflowers on Dear Mother’s grave in afternoon. Men started making window sashes for the sitting room. Warning from 5.10 to 5.17 a.m. one very distant. From 5.37 to 5.45 a.m. no incident.

12 October 2014

12th October 1944: new clothes line

12 Thur. Rather mild, cloudy, rain all the afternoon. To buy a card for Laurie’s 4th birthday. Bought new clothes line and other shopping locally in morning. Cycled to Merton in the rain in afternoon to buy fish returning by way of Morden. Aunt Liza came out of hospital to-day: went to see her. Mrs. Collis called to-day she is back from Winchester where she has been staying since her injury and shock of the bombing. From 11.50 p.m. to midnight; no incident.

11 October 2014

11th October 1944: loves the kids

11 Wed. Rather mild, cloudy, rain in afternoon; windy. Got the groceries in morning. Had a crowd of children in and about the house to-day: quite a number have got to know me: I do love them. Warning from 8.10 to 8.20 p.m.

10 October 2014

10th October 1944: house repairs continue, so does bombing

10 Tues. Rather cool, thick morning mist, a little brighter in afternoon. Cycled to N. Cheam in a thick, wet mist to buy cats’ meat. Started picking out the wood from debris in Mrs. Veale’s garden and stacking it for firewood at end of garden. To butchers in afternoon thence to Wimbledon to buy a few things. The workmen are stripping the lath & plaster walls of sitting room and filling the house with white dust: the front upstairs room has had its grate put back again, it was blown out. Warning from 12.20 a.m. one distant SE, one SE, all clear 12.50 a.m. Also at 4.45 a.m. two very distant SE, all clear 5.10 a.m.

9 October 2014

9th October 1944: ...these little piggies went to market

9 Mon. Very cool, dismal, occasional drizzle. Warning at 12.50 a.m. Heard one flying in an easterly direction going further SE exploding in the distance: all clear 1.0 a.m. Two plasterers are at work upstairs to-day they are Poles, father and son, both spent four years in a concentration camp in Germany. Labourers are also knocking down plaster walls and ceiling in sitting room. Bought fish at Merton this morning. Visited Mrs. Child. Winsley’s pigs went away in a lorry to-day and darling little Nita asked me to lift her up to see the piggies in the van: she is a sunshine girl.

8 October 2014

8th October 1944: old photographs

8 Sun. Very cool, dismal, misty, calm. A gentle cycle ride round the new roads of Morden. Saw where 8 houses were destroyed in Shaldon Drive. Lily, Mrs Jones and Arthur paid a short visit in afternoon. They brought some more boxes of old photographs for us to look at: very interesting too. Mrs Akroyd called in evening.

7 October 2014

7th Oct 1944: a young widow

7 Sat. Very cool, dismal, misty. To N. Cheam meat shop; was served – well. Mr. Hockney called on his way to Maidstone: he told me Mrs. Veale had had a communication from the Admiralty telling her positively that her husband was lost: poor girl she is a young widow. To greengrocers in morning also shopping locally in afternoon. Edie Hopkins came to tea; pleasant to see her again. Warning from 8.6 t0 8.53 p.m. one very distant SE. Alb and Lily called in afternoon, they said a flying bomb had fallen on Derby Road, Tolworth, not very far from them.

6 October 2014

Dear Reader...

This blog now has over 1,500
daily entries from Fred's
diaries. The total page-views
per country are shown below.
Currently, about 100 readers
look at this blog each day.

United States

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6th Oct 1944: One shilling and threepence grater - and bombs

6 Fri. Very cool, very raw E. wind, but the sun had some warmth in sheltered places. To the butchers, bakers, newsagents, cold meat shop in morning. Bought fish in Wimbledon, thence to Morden where I bought a grater for bread, nutmeg etc: it cost 1/3: this in afternoon. Warning at 8.5 p.m. two flying bombs in S and one in SE, all clear 8.15 p.m. Also from 8.30 to 8.50 p.m. one flew from NE right overhead making a dreadful noise and continued to SW: it kept going on out of hearing.

5 October 2014

5th Oct 1944: gliding, whistling bomb

5 Thur. Rather cold, quite a lot of hazy sunshine but its power was very slight. To Morden in morning to buy fish. To Wimbledon along railpath in afternoon; saw Pacific loco “Blue Star”. Warning at 7.57 p.m. one very distant; one came gliding very near making a swishing whistling noise but it glided miles in a SW direction: it was almost out of hearing when it went off. Another flew with engine running in the same direction but further S to explode very distantly: one of them dropped two red parachute flares: all clear at 8.20 p.m.

4 October 2014

4th Oct 1944: greengroceries etc

4 Wed. Rather cold; fitful skies, rain with thunder midday, including one very sharp flash: a little sunshine in between whiles. Did a lot of shopping locally, getting the groceries, the greengroceries among other things. To Wimbledon to buy a paper in afternoon.

3 October 2014

3rd Oct 1944: repairs

3 Tues. Very chilly, but fine bright sunny day. Cycled to N. Cheam to buy some very nice cats’ meat. Exerted a lot of energy digging a deep hole to re-step the clothes post at end of garden. It has been very sagging for a long time but it is firm now and any reasonable weight can be carried on the line without uprooting the post. Workmen re-tiled the damaged portico over the front door.

2 October 2014

2nd Oct 1944: a shilling for a present

2 Mon. Morning frost: fine bright sunny day but distinctly chilly. Uncle Tom called in morning to see how we are faring: brought a pair of phones for repair. Bought a 5 year-old birthday card and took it to Jennifer Child along with a shilling for a present. Bought fish in Wimbledon in afternoon. Paid Slate Club in evening.

1 October 2014

1st Oct 1944: old photos

1 Oct. Sun. Mild, cloudy; light showers. For a walk in morning, just round the houses and to see Mrs. Child – and Jennifer of course. Short ride in afternoon. Ciss went to Tolworth and Alb sent some interesting old photographs for us to see.

30 September 2014

30th Sept 1944: nice roast pork

30 Sat. Mild, fine sunny day. Cycled to N. Cheam to buy cats’ meat in morning. Cooked a very nice roast pork dinner. To Haydon’s Rd. in afternoon. I saw a cycle saddle in a shop there but only to find it was a small ladies saddle: I am needing a new one. Came home via Morden, buying a paper there. Warning from 4.40 to 5.7 a.m. one very distant bomb: not located.

29 September 2014

29th Sept 1944: 'condemned' house being repaired

29 Fri. Mild, cloudy. Got the week-end meat and other provisions in morning. Received letter from Mrs. Veale to which I replied with pleasure because I could tell her, her house was not condemned after all, and that repairs are progressing rapidly. Cycled to Kingston in afternoon; Saw the river for first time this year. Went to see Aunt Liza who has had a bad attack of asthma and went into hospital to-day. Heard a flying bomb come down at 5.25 a.m. and another 5.45 a.m. both very distant E; we got no warning here. Warning at 8.40 p.m: one very distant in E, all clear 9.4 p.m. From 9.32 to 9.55 p.m. no incident.

28 September 2014

28th Sept 1944: 4 killed, many houses detroyed

28 Thur. Very chilly but calm; the sun never really broke through. Mrs. Calver’s house at No. 70 has been condemned – unjustly, I think, as others in worse condition are going to be repaired: I advised her to make a fuss about it. Bought fish in Morden in morning. Bought cats meat in Merton in afternoon. Saw very severe damage in Havelock Rd, near Haydon’s Rd. where two flying bombs fell only 100 yards apart. Four people were killed which is remarkable considering the number of houses destroyed and damaged. Damage was also done in Kingsley Rd, Kohat Rd, Plough Lane and to Wimbledon football stands. Also saw where a bomb fell on the railway beside the flyover destroying houses in Strathearn Rd.

"The United States is a land of free speech. Nowhere is speech freer - not even here where we sedulously cultivate it even in its most repulsive form."
 Winston Churchill in the House of Commons, 28 Sept 1944.

27 September 2014

27th Sept 1944: a hard day's work

27 Wed. Very rough, chilly morning, but bright sunny afternoon; heavy showers later. Warning from 3.50 to 4.5 a.m: one bomb a few miles away but not located. Got the groceries in morning, also to the butchers and other shops locally. Got a labourer to clear shavings, scraps of wood, plaster, and odd pieces of plaster-board from the upstairs rooms also the front room downstairs. I then swept up and the place looks much tidier. I then carried all Mrs. Knight’s salvage – up till now stored in our front room, upstairs in readiness for the men to board in the ceilings and walls in front downstairs room and the hall. A busy day of hard work.

26th Sept 1944: pickled shallots and a cup of tea

26 Tues. Very chilly, rough morning, but fine sunny afternoon, but the sun has little warmth in it now. To N. Cheam to buy some good cats’ meat. To Morden in afternoon to buy a paper. Mr. Sears brought some gifts from the Harvest Festival including a large loaf and some fruit and vegetables, also a 1/2lb. tin of cocoa and a jar of pickled shallots. The minister said the gifts should be distributed to people who were bombed out. Mr Honor called, so I gave him a cup of tea and some cake.

25th Sept 1944: shocked woman

25 Mon. Very cool, rough, chilly wind. Fairly bright afternoon. Mr. Evans the landlord called; he was dissatisfied with the repair to the front of the house. Mrs. Hockney and her son called in afternoon; made a cup of tea for them. To Wimbledon to buy fish. Went through Graham and Herbert Road to see the damage and met a Civil Defence woman who was in a Morrison shelter in the house that got the direct hit. She was previously bombed out of Cliveden Rd. The lady was uninjured but had to go to Somerset for a few weeks on account of shock. Warning from 5.15 to 5.35 a.m. A flying bomb from NE to SW: it flew over Epsom and beyond: I heard it explode but distantly.

26 September 2014

24 Sept 1944: just one bomb heard

24 Sun. Very cool, very rough, very dull; rain most of the day. Went to Aunt Hannah’s for tea; it made a change. Warning at 9.50 p.m: one flying bomb from NE to SW where it exploded a few miles away: all clear at 10.13 p.m.

23rd Sept 1944:played the porter

23 Sat. Mild, fine sunny day, but getting autumnal now. To N. Cheam and succeeded in buying some nice meat. Also shopping locally; helped Mrs. Akroyd to take her luggage to the station, wheeling her heavy case on my bicycle: she is going to Lancing for a holiday. Alf and Lily called to see how our house is progressing. Cleared away some more debris from the back garden and salvaged some coal.

22nd Sept 1944: Ciss made lovely jam

22 Fri. Mild, some hazy sunshine in afternoon; rain later. Gave Mrs. Conly some roses; she gave us some damsons and apples yesterday, from which Ciss made some lovely jam. To N. Cheam but no meat but bought fish at Merton. Got the weekend joint and other provisions locally. Also to Morden in afternoon to buy a few things. The workmen have started on Mrs. Veale’s house next door so it will be repaired after all: it was previously condemned. Workmen practically finished boarding the ceilings and walls upstairs. Warning from 8.35 to 8.55 p.m. no incident.

24 September 2014

21st Sept 1944: meat shop shut... off to buy shirt & collars

21 Thur. Mild, hazy, some autumnal sunshine in afternoon. To N. Cheam but the meat-shop was shut, so proceeded to Merton where I bought some liver for the cats. To Wimbledon to buy a shirt and collars. Warning from 4.35 to 4.50 a.m: no incident.

20th Sept 1944: our house repair men go on strike

20 Wed. Mild, some pleasant sun in afternoon; calm. Warning from 1.55 to 2.45 a.m: one very distant in SE, one in S; Got the groceries in morning locally, of course, also bought fish in Martin Way, and sausage meat at local butchers. Bought newspaper in Wimbledon in afternoon. Men finished slating the roof except the ridges and I am very glad. They finished putting plaster-board ceiling in front bedroom and started boarding the walls after removing more broken lath and plaster. The men then went on strike because their billet is such a long way from their job; there is no amusements within a mile or two and the food is bad. They have been billeted at Wallington in a converted mansion in a wood which seems too secluded for them. Warning at 8.50 p.m: one fairly near in E which shook the place quite severely; one very distant in SE, one fairly near in SE and one very distant in S: all clear 9.40 p.m.

19th Sept 1944: may get a roof again

19 Tues. Mild, very dull, long showers: rainbow in evening. To N. Cheam to stand in the cats meat queue for an hour but got served eventually. In afternoon to Morden Food Office to get an emergency ration card for Mrs Akroyd as she is going on holiday. Warning from 4.15 a.m: it was a flying bomb raid. I heard one distant in SE: all clear at 4.40 a.m. The explosion heard at 7.5 p.m. yesterday was a rocket at Norwood. The men have started putting a plaster board ceiling to front bedroom and a man out the slate battens on the back roof: expect it will be slated to-morrow. It will be a great relief to get a roof overhead again.

18 September 2014

18th Sept 1944: first day at school

18 Mon. Cool, very dull; calm some slight showers. To Morden to buy fish and cats meat; bought bread locally. Gave Jennifer Child a ride on my bike: she went to school for the first time to-day. Heard a rocket go off at 7.5 p.m: saw the column of smoke in the Penge or Norwood direction. Saw Chas; he is going into hospital as he has fainting bouts. Aunt Liza and Mrs Akroyd came.

17 September 2014

17th Sept 1944: bikes and bugs

17 Sun. Very mild, lovely sunny day for time of year. Heard three distant rockets to-day. For an enjoyable cycle ride through Cheam, Barnstead, Belmont to Burgh Heath, returning via Ewell & Old Malden. There are some very fine views from the high ground at Belmont, and a long and rapid descent from the latter to Ewell; freewheeling almost all the way. Mrs. Knight and Jean called gave Jean some roses. Warning from 8.45 to 8.53 p.m: no incident – doodlebugs, I expect. Yes, they were. Of the three rockets, one fell at Ladywell, Lewisham and another at Sanderstead.

16 September 2014

16th Sept 1944: roast pork, sage & onions, potatoes, runner beans, marrow - boiled date pudding.

16 Sat. Very mild, small amount of weak sunshine. To Cheam meat shop but they were sold out; bought fish at shop there. Warning from 5.50 to 6.25 a.m. no incident. The raid was made by flying bombs, the first for some time but none came this way. Also loud explosions, probably due to the new rockets at 8.20, 8.35 and 10.30 a.m. These rockets appear to be twice as powerful as flying bombs, no warning can be given of their approach and their detonation is the first thing that can be heard of them: their blast area is said to be a square mile. Cooked the dinner as usual, it was roast pork, sage and onions, potatoes, runner beans and marrow; second course was boiled date pudding. The workmen finished repairing the damaged staircase and cupboard beneath. The temporary crystal set works very well.