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24 March 2014

24th March 1944: 100 aircraft ...guns in the streets

24 Fri. Very cool, but with some sunshine with a little warmth in it midday. Just before midnight 23rd I heard a loud aeroplane's engines; it came from the S.E. where it dropped 5 red flares. The machine circled overhead and cruised about. At 12.2 a.m. 24th the sirens went. It circled around for another 5 minutes and made off south. At long range the Raynes Park guns opened up on it but it was soon beyond reach. Two other machines were under slight fire to east and south-east. All clear at 12.33 a.m. Got the meat, some cakes and other provisions. Cycled to Morden to buy fish. Started laying the new oilcloth. It proved to be difficult and unmanageable but got part of it laid. Warning at 10.55 p.m. Nothing happened for three-quarters of an hour then a single machine came and took a few shots and went away. Then came a long wait and we thought that was all there was to it. Then came machine after machine from all quarters and the guns blazed away including light mobile guns in the streets. The noise was terrible and quite continuous. The planes were in no hurry to clear off and the battle seemed an eternity. A shell whistled down and exploded not far away, also rounds of bombs swishing down could be heard. One of the noisiest and largest raids I can remember, one hundred enemy planes taking part. There was no glare in the sky from incendiaries or fires, although there were some small outbreaks in London. All clear at 1.0 a.m. on 25 Sat.

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