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.

15 September 2014

15th Sept 1944: terrific explosion... secret factory?

15 Fri. Very mild, hazy; some sunshine in afternoon. A terrific explosion shook the place at 4.15 a.m. I thought it was a rocket but it is said to be an accident at a very secret munition works: I have not heard where; no one seems to know. Did the usual Fri. morning shopping locally, also to N. Cheam to buy fish. Wired the temporary crystal receiver and got fair results.

14 September 2014

14th Sept 1944: collars, tie & fish... & ballistic missiles

14 Thur. Very mild, calm, a little hazy sunshine: not unpleasant. To Wimbledon along rail path in morning; bought a shirt, two collars and a tie at Rego’s. Saw a Pacific loco. with the improved front end. Bought fish at Morden in afternoon and continued my journey along Abbotsbury Rd. to St. Helier. Saw where some shops and a garage were destroyed near the Angelbridge Sutton. Returned along Sutton Common Rd. where I saw severe damage to a great number of modern villas. Two more rockets* are reported to-day, one at Walthamstow and one at Seven Kings. They travel at such a great height and speed, no warning can be given, as at present instruments for their detection have not been devised.


*Wikipedia excerpt on the V-2:  Vergeltungswaffe or "Vengeance Weapon 2",  the world's first long-range ballistic missile. The V-2 rocket was also the first man-made object to enter the fringes of space.
Beginning in September 1944, over 3,000 V-2s were launched against Allied targets, mostly London and later Antwerpand Liège. The attacks resulted in the deaths of an estimated 9,000 civilians and military personnel, while 12,000 forced laborers and concentration camp prisoners were killed producing the weapons.
As Germany collapsed, teams from all of the Allied forces raced to collect rockets, designs and the German engineers and scientists involved.  The knowledge gained led to rapid progress, especially in the United States and the Soviet Union, and by the mid-1950s, nuclear-armed descendants of V-2 missiles were common battlefield weapons. By the end of the decade these had reached intercontinental range. Link to Wikipedia V-2 entry.

13 September 2014

13th Sept 1944: we can shut the front door again!

13 Wed. Very mild, some hazy sunshine in afternoon; pleasant. Got the groceries and other things locally in morning. Cycle ride to Lower Morden, saw very severe damage in Kingsbridge Rd, about 12 houses completely destroyed, also where several houses were down in Sycamore Av. The workmen have put new doors throughout the house or other doors salvaged from other condemned houses and we can now shut the front door. Also the brickwork at back of house is repaired and half the roof is slated, so we are getting on. Aunt Liza called, she is just back from Preston. It seems fairly certain that the explosions occurring in the London area are the expected rockets fired probably from Germany: there are reports that they have fallen at Chiswick, Kew, Carshalton and Kennington.

On this day: a US destroyer Warrington and two Coast Guard cutters sunk in hurricane off east coast of USA.

12 September 2014

12 Sept 1944: mystery explosions... secret weapons... public in dark

12 Tues. Very chilly morning with raging E wind, but the sun shone with some power all the afternoon. To greengrocers in morning also to buy sausage meat. To N. Cheam catsmeat shop in morning to buy meat and liver of excellent quality. Saw where “doodle-bugs” had fallen in Hamilton Drive, Sutton Bye-Pass and Boscombe Av. To Tolworth in afternoon to take Anthony a jar of orange jelly. Saw where “doodle-bugs” had fallen in Tolworth Prk. Rd. – very bad, Alexandra Drive, and at the Lagoon. Alb and Lily called in evening also Harold and Aunt Hannah to collect firewood from the heaps in the road. At 6.20 a.m. a very loud explosion occurred followed by the sound of falling buildings which lasted for almost a minute. There was a mystery explosion at Westcroft Gardens Kew where 9 houses went down and 8 persons killed, this may have been what we heard but it sounded as if it came from another direction, if so there may have been another. There have already been several of these mystery explosions and the public have not been told what they are but it seems fairly certain they are some secret weapon of the enemy.

On this day: Frankfurt bombed with 400,000 incendiaries by British aircraft. Start of 2nd Quebec conference, with Roosevelt, Churchill and their military planners - invasion of Japan agreed. In Europe, British Second Army enters Netherlands, and US troops enter Germany near Trier. Bridgeheads are established across the Moselle. US 3rd Division reaches 1,000yd short of the Siegfried line. 

Britain, US and Russia sign armistice with Rumania, who will join war against Germany and Hungary. Russia promises to return Transylvania to Rumania.

11 September 2014

11th Sept 1944: workmen these days... hah!

11 Mon. Chilly day; the sun made a faint effort in afternoon but it did not amount to much: windy. Did shopping locally, also to Wimbledon in afternoon. Took custard powder to Mrs. Child’s in evening. Workmen repairing bay window but don’t think much of their work. Aunt Hannah called.

10 September 2014

10th Sept 1944: re-building of 66, Chestnut Road, Raynes Park

10 Sun. Rather cold but fine and some weak sunshine. To Mrs Childs to dinner and tea; played their piano: Auntie Dorothy called there. The workmen have erected a scaffolding at the front of the house from which to rebuild the bay windows.

9 September 2014

9th Sept 1944: dinner invite

9 Sat. Very cool, some weak sunshine. To Cheam, this time bought some excellent cats’ meat and heart. Cooked the dinner as usual, going out to buy vegetables and bread. To Mrs Child to say we would accept her invitation to dinner to-morrow. Thence to Tolworth and had a lark with Anthony who gets more knowing every day – and more lovely.

8 September 2014

8th Sept 1944: unexplained bombs... & cat's pill

8 Fri. Very cool, fine sunny morning, showers later. Got the usual Fri. morning shopping locally. Bought fish in Morden in afternoon. Took Tibby Veale to P.D.S.A. at Wimbledon again: I could not make him take the capsule but the vet. did, quite easily. At 6.45 p.m. a loud noise like a bomb was heard to E. There was no warning and no sound of aircraft. Shortly after 9.0 p.m. there continued at intervals fourteen detonations like gunfire to N.W.

7 September 2014

7th Sept 1944: wet, wet, wet...

7 Thur. Very cool, dismal, downpour all day. Builders could not do much to-day. Got a great many articles from local shops, also to Morden in the rain in the afternoon to buy fish. Did a bit more work on the crystal-set, but don’t get time to keep at it for long. Lit a fire to-day to dry the living room it is so damp.

6 September 2014

6th Sept 1944: worms... and a coil

6 Wed. Mild, less wind, some sunny periods. The workmen finished rebuilding both chimney stacks and all the chimneys are in place. Got the groceries in the morning: also went for a short cycle ride. Took Tibby Veale to the P.D.S.A. as he has been unwell for a very long time; the vet said he had got a worm and gave me a capsule to give the cat after an 18 hours fast. More work winding a coil for the proposed crystal set.

5 September 2014

5th September 1944: re-stacked

5 Tues. Very mild, very rough: some periods of moderate sunshine.

Another pointless battle against the wind on my cycle to N. Cheam meat shop in morning. To Morden in afternoon also to local butchers. Workmen finishing back chimney stack and fitted the four chimneys. Nellie Sidbury called in evening; first time she has ever been here although an old friend.

4 September 2014

4th September 1944: grim victory

4 Mon. Rather cool, rain commencing in afternoon; very rough south west wind. In morning to N. Cheam meat shop but no meat: returned to Morden and bought some inferior stuff there. Again there were no flying bombs to-day; all the sites are now in Allied hands or are completely cut off and a large part of Belgium is liberated including Antwerp and Brussels. The Germans are in disorderly retreat to the Siegfried Line and at one point Germany has been invaded. The news is grand, I scarcely expected events would be so rapid but I cannot rejoice, this war has been such a grim affair; it is hard to realise we are well on the way to Victory.

3 September 2014

3rd Sept 1944: working on Sunday

3 Sun. Rather cool but finer in morning but very rough and showers later. The workmen are knocking the remains of the upstairs ceilings down with much noise and dust. Walk along line in evening. Mrs. Akroyd called.

2 September 2014

2nd Sept 1944: rain on roofless house... bomb sites captured

2 Sat. Very cool for season; dismal, rain all day: strong wind too. The workmen could not do much to-day on account of the rain which poured through our roofless house. To butchers in morning also bought birthday cards for Ciss. In the rain to Wimbledon to buy fish, also a variable condenser at the junk shop. The war news is good to-day and that part of the French & Belgian coast from which flying bombs were launched has in part been captured or else is outflanked: there have been no warnings to-day and it is now 10.30 p.m. Cousin Len and his wife Doris called they were surprised to see the mess the house was in.

1 September 2014

1st Sept 1944: lilac springs to life after bombing

1 Sept. Fri. Very mild, some nice sunny periods. Cycled to North Cheam but the meat shop was closed. Met Uncle Dick there and had a chat. Got some things locally. To Morden in afternoon to buy fish. Ciss came back from Bedford to-day after having had an enjoyable fortnight's holiday free from flying bombs. But to-day so far has been quite free of enemy activity. Cut some nice roses to-day also a head of lilac blossom: several sprays of which have appeared on Mrs Veale's lilac bushes which were blasted into leafless sticks by the bomb but one now coming into bloom again as if it were springtime.

"I always hate to compare Napoleon with Hitler, as it seems an insult to the great Emporer and warrior to compare him in any way with a squalid caucus boss and butcher."
Winston Churchill, in the House of Commons, Sept 1944.