30 April 2015

30th April 1945: snow!

30 Mon. A fall of snow in the early hours and the landscape was white when we rose this morning. The snow melted by 10.0 a.m. Further snow showers during the day and a bitter N wind. To Merton to buy fish; to Wimbledon to buy something at the chemists. Addie called in evening. Started repairs to bomb-damaged R&A loudspeaker. It is confirmed that Mussolini is executed.

'It is confirmed that Mussolini is executed.'

29 April 2015

29th April 1945: snow!

29 Sun. Cold; a light fall of snow in the early hours, but it had melted by 6.30 a.m. – almost. Cloudy day with N wind but a few fitful gleams of sunshine. Ciss went to Tolworth.*

*Note: as she always did, for many years, for Sunday tea with her brother Albert and his family at 98 Largewood Avenue, Tolworth, Surbition, Surrey - having caught a No 152 or 72 bus along the Kingston by-pass.

28 April 2015

28th April 1945: 'exciting reading'

28 Sat. Rather cold, bitter N wind, snow showers, one a heavy one, also sleet, rain and some sunshine which made the roads steam. To Cheam but no meat; bought fish at Stonecot Hill. Did shopping locally. Newspapers make exciting reading, including reports that Hitler and Goebbels were shot three days ago. Himmler has assumed power in Germany and will surrender to Britain and USA but not to Russia: the Allies have, of course, refused. Made a new spring and fitted it to lock of back door.

Clara Petacci
On this day: his news isn't quite accurate. Mussolini and mistress Clara Petacci and other Fascists have been caught near Lake Como as they tried to escape to Switzerland. Italian partisans shot them, mutilated the bodies, and hung them upside down from a girder above a service station in Milan's main square. Meanwhile Berlin is still under siege, with Soviet troops within a mile of Hitler's bunker.
Benito Mussolini (second from left) and Clara Petacci (centre) hung by their heels 

27 April 2015

27th April 1945: Mussolini captured

27 Fri. Chilly, dull day, slight rain later. Did the usual Fri. morning shopping, also bought a paper in Morden in afternoon. Put top and music desk on organ* until such time as it can be repaired. Bought dishcloths in Wimbledon. Did some work on piano and started tuning it in an effort to make it playable. War news is good. Mussolini has been captured by patriots in N Italy. Russian and USA forces has linked up at Torgau on the Elbe SW of Berlin. Bremen is captured

*Note: imagine a normal, low, piano-like structure (with pull-out organ stops above the keys, and two big foot-pedals for pumping bellows down below), and then imagine this structure twice the height with mirrors and carved chair-like posts on top, supporting small round plate-like wooded surfaces (for candles?) - well, that's a toddler's memories! The wood was very dark brown, the stop a dirty ivory colour with black surrounds, the foot-pedals carpeted as if borrowed from a sitting-room floor. It was all very big in a small room... and beautifully noisy if you pumped hard and held the keys down.

26 April 2015

26th April 1945: 'Mr. Churchill announces end of the V2 rockets'

26 Thur. Slight, white, morning frost; very cool, dull day, rain starting at noon and continuing rest of day. Bought sausage meat locally. Wrote and posted letter to Uncle Tom. Bought paper in Morden. Berlin is quite surrounded. Mr. Churchill announces end of the V2 rockets. Started clearing rubbish from my bedroom: will take a long time. Laurie called.

25 April 2015

25th April 1945: the quiet life

25 Wed. White morning frost, cold, dull morning, becoming milder; some nice sun in late afternoon. Got the groceries locally. Took accumulators and bought a cycle lamp battery. Dug over a border and sowed seeds of double poppies. Gwennie and Laurie came in afternoon.

24 April 2015

24th April 1945: one-third of Berlin occupied

24 Tues. Very cool, chilly N wind but the bright sunshine in late afternoon warmed things up temporarily. Bought fish at Merton in morning. Sowed runner beans. Bought paper in Morden: one third of Berlin captured. Erected bed in front bedroom. Aunt Hannah called.

23 April 2015

23rd April: Berlin surrounded....blackout ends

23 Mon. Slight ground frost, rather chilly day: N wind, some sunny periods however. Took two coats belonging to Ciss to Eastmans the dyers and cleaners. Bought helichrysum seeds. Made wooden box, filled it with earth and sowed cress seed. Erected double row of bean rods. To Slate Club to pay subscriptions. Berlin is three parts surrounded and Hitler has decided to stay there. The blackout ends officially tonight, so for a short while we did not pull the blind down after lighting the gas at night.

Later note: a comment on this entry comes from this blogger... you might like to look:

22 April 2015

22nd April 1945: boild beef & carrots... and lentil pud

22 Sun. Rather cool, chilly N wind, but some bright sunny periods. Had a nice boiled beef, carrots and lentil pudding dinner – so unusual nowadays as to merit recording. Many children called. Short walk to take a note to Mrs. Akroyd. The garden is very dry – had to water it: we need rain very much.

21 April 2015

21st April 1945: girl on a bike

21 Sat. Rather cool: cloudy except for a little weak sunshine in afternoon. Cycled to Cheam but meat shop closed, so back to Morden where I bought fish. Gwennie and Laurie called in afternoon, also Aunt Liza. Bought bean rods locally also other shopping including getting batteries from Whitbourn’s and shoes from Essam’s. Gwennie likes so much to come here she could only be induced to go home by letting her sit on my cycle and wheeling her home!

20 April 2015

20th April 1945: blackout to end - no more raids expected

'It is thought there will be no more raids; what a relief.'

20 Fri. Very mild, a fresh breeze, lovely sunshine all day. Got a nice piece of beef to-day also other provisions locally. Erected a frame to accommodate runner beans; planted same – Champion Scarlet. Bought a paper at Morden. It is announced that the blackout restrictions will be completely suspended from Monday onwards. It is thought there will be no more raids; what a relief.

Notes on the Blackout - the following is from Wikipedia:

As early as July 1939, Public Information Leaflet No 2 (part of the Air Raid Precautions (A.R.P.) training literature) warned of the need for popular discipline to ensure that the blackout regulations were fully enforced during the blackout periods.[2]
Blackout regulations were imposed on 1 September 1939, before the declaration of war. These required that all windows and doors should be covered at night with suitable material such as heavy curtains, cardboard or paint, to prevent the escape of any glimmer of light that might aid enemy aircraft. The Government ensured that the necessary materials were available.[2] External lights such as street lights were switched off, or dimmed and shielded to deflect light downward. Essential lights such as traffic lights and vehicle headlights were fitted with slotted covers to deflect their beams downwards to the ground.[3]
Shops and factories had particular problems. Factories with large areas of glass roofing found it impossible to install temporary blackout panels and permanent methods (such as paint) lost natural light during daylight. Shops had to install double "airlock" doors to avoid lights showing as customers arrived and departed.[2]
Blackouts proved one of the more unpleasant aspects of the war, disrupting many civilian activities and causing widespread grumbling and lower morale.[4]
The blackout was enforced by civilian ARP wardens who would ensure that no buildings allowed the slightest chink or glow of light.[5] Offenders were liable to stringent legal penalties.[2]
Blackout restrictions greatly increased the dangers of night driving and fatalities increased as a consequence. As a result, some aspects were relaxed and speed limits were lowered. The anticipated increase in crime rates did not occur.[2]
As German war-making capability declined, a "Dim-out" was introduced in September 1944, which allowed lighting to the equivalent of moonlight. A full Blackout would be imposed if an alert was sounded. Full lighting of streets was allowed in April 1945; on 30 April, the day Hitler committed suicide, Big Ben was lit 5 years and 123 days after the Blackout was first imposed.[2]

19 April 2015

19th April 1945: spring has sprung, the cuckoo's sung

19 Thur. Not quite so warm as yesterday owning to a light breeze but lovely bright sunshine all day. Bought aquilegia, poppy and scarlet runner seeds. Met Aunt Hannah, cousin Ivy and little Barbara. Ivy looked extremely well and the little girl is a picture. To Wimbledon to buy fish; also bought sausage meat and leeks locally. Dug over and applied fertiliser to ground to be used for runner beans. Chestnut, lilac, laburnum, may, wistaria, cydonia, apple blossom etc. are all out lovely, Ciss has heard the cuckoo. Many of my roses have flower buds on them.

18 April 2015

18th April 1945: still queuing

18 Wed. Slight frost to begin the day but the sun soon dispelled it. The day became warm with hot sunshine all day without a cloud; perfect. Got the groceries as usual, then cycled to Morden and Merton to find food for Dinky but failed after standing in queues at a number of shops some local. Bought sultanas etc at Morden. Weeded the onion seedlings – a very delicate job. Had to water the garden – very dry.

17 April 2015

17th April 1945: first time undressed for bed since last June

17 Tues. Rather warm; perfect sunny day. Letter from Aunt Nellie to say that Uncle Tom had had a fall and was very queer: replied. Bought stationery and stamps, also two sorts of lettuce seed and dried blood fertiliser. Sowed lettuce seed also Bees calendula seed. Turned over another part of garden and noticed a red currant bush planted earlier this year had started to grow after I had given up hope of it: started weeding onion seedlings. Waited in a queue at Station for an evening paper. Put mattresses on beds and will undress and go to bed properly to-night; first time since the flying bombs started last June.

Fred's 'bedroom' since last June
- a garden shelter such as this Anderson

16 April 2015

16th April 1945: more post-bomb refurnishing

16 Mon. Very mild to rather warm; sun shone with increasing warmth all day: perfect. Bought two more pairs of curtain rod brackets. Put them up and the rod; later some nice green curtains went up at both the back bedroom windows: looks nice. Mended a drawer of dressing table. Gwennie and Laurie called.

15 April 2015

15th April 1945: lovely day

"I am very happy"
15 Sun. Very mild; lovely sunny day, the sunshine was warm in afternoon and could hardly have been more pleasant. Cycled to Tolworth in afternoon and enjoyed the ride: Anthony said he was very happy.

14 April 2015

14th April 1945: 'Great number of Lancaster bombers from N to S'

14 Sat. Very mild, nice sunny morning, but cloudy and showers later. To Cheam in morning but meat shop closed, so bought some fish pieces there for Dinky. Also to Morden to buy a cake. Bought curtain rods and brackets to-day. Fitted some to front bedroom windows and put up curtains. Alb, Lily and Anthony came to tea. Great number of Lancaster bombers from N to S. Alan Spooner called in evening. He had his nose broken at Rugby football and it has affected his sight; he had been to eye hospital today.

13 April 2015

Friday 13th April 1945: 'Germany’s position is now so hopeless'

'I am wondering if the bombing of this country has ceased'

13 Fri. Very mild, perfectly lovely sunny day. Rev. Chas. Staden called: he is going back to Spalding to-day. Did shopping locally in morning also to Morden and Merton to buy a few things. Dear Gwennie called. Planted beetroot seed. Had to do a bit of watering to the garden: it is very dry. I am wondering if the bombing of this country has ceased: the quiet spell has lasted a long time and Germany’s position is now so hopeless, it may be that victory will be ours at almost any day.

12 April 2015

12th April 1945: Roosevelt dies; troops near Berlin; bomb-damaged organ

Franklin D Roosevelt (1882-1945)
12 Thur. Very mild, lovely sunny day. Posted letter for Ciss, also to chemists. Bought fish at Merton. Gave the mattresses another airing in the sunshine. Washed the blast dust off the gate-legged table, the piano and the organ: oil-rubbed the top of the organ. The organ is badly scarred with hundreds of particles of flying glass. The action is damaged but have not yet discovered how it takes to pieces. Gwennie came this afternoon. Allied troops are only 60 miles from Berlin. President Roosevelt died at 10.0 o’clock to-night as the result of a stroke. He died in the hour of his greatest triumph: in the hour of victory over Germany. He declared war on Hitler and did so much to help us in our national hour of need.

11 April 2015

11th April 1945: cleaning, cleaning, cleaning...

11 Wed. Very mild, lovely sunny morning; cloudy, showers later. Took some clothes to Eastman’s for cleaning but they cannot accept till Monday week. Got the groceries also to the butchers and bought fish at Morden. Brushed & aired some of the mattresses in the garden. Cleaned sitting room overmantel and put it up. Cleaned music cabinet & put it in position. Mrs. Knight called to take the last of her salvage away.

10 April 2015

10th April 1945: piano & organ returned - but not retuned, yet

10 Tues. Chilly, dull morning but lovely and sunny later. The Council’s men brought our furniture back this morning having stored it since the bombing last July. The organ is badly damaged, and much else is knocked about; the piano is not playable either. To lunch with Cousin Doris, and the children and Maud. Started to put the place straight but it will take a long time. Addie called in evening.

9 April 2015

9th April 1945: meet the minister

9 Mon. Rather cold dismal morning but some pleasant sunshine in afternoon. Bought fish at Morden in morning. Gwennie called in afternoon. Rev. Chas. Staden came in afternoon, he saw Gwennie. Was pleased to see him; he was surprised to see what damage had been done to this road. He is in London to attend the Free Church Congress.

8 April 2015

8 April 1945: farewell flags

8 Sun. Cold, dull morning but some soft sunshine later in the day made things more pleasant. Monica called. Walk on Cannon Hill Common in evening: the yellow flags I planted last evening have been pulled up and thrown into the water. Met Jean Child: she preaches a trial sermon at our Church next Sunday. Maud called; so did Gwennie in afternoon.

7 April 2015

7 April 1945: returning evacuees speak local dialect

7 Sat. Rather cold, very dull. Cycled to Cheam meat shop and saw an enormous queue. Waited in it for ¾ of an hour but the shop was not even open so gave it up and bought sprats. Bought a paper as it contained photos. of a captured German train loaded with V2. rockets 9 of them, so our experts will soon know all about them. Small amount of gardening. Dear Monica called; she has been at Heanor Notts. for nine months, since the beginning of the flying-bombs: like all the children who go away she came back speaking the local dialect. She recognised the door we now have at the back of the house as coming from her demolished house, it was previously the door of her auntie Winnifred’s bedroom. Gave Nita Hart a sweet - sunshine girl. To Cannon Hill Common** to plant three roots of yellow river flags**** at the water’s edge by the lake. They should like well as I chose a spot where they will fit naturally into the scene: must keep my eye on them.

**A local resident's video documentary history of Cannon Hill Common - with old photos - well researched. Thank you William Hobbs.

**** flags = irises = flowers, typically purple or yellow
"Iris unguicularis 170208" by Vassil - Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

    6 April 2015

    6th April 1945: Walklings Bakery

    6 Fri. Very mild, dull, calm; rain at night: better now the wind has dropped. Got beef at the butchers, also bought a cake at Walklings** thence to newsagents to pay for the weeks papers. Small amount of shopping locally in afternoon. Cleared bellbine and weeds from round the gooseberry bushes and applied muriate of potash; gooseberries seem to need it. Mrs. Knight, Jean, Micky and another boy took a lot of her salvage away: we have been minding it since the bomb fell last July.

    **In April 1941, all 54 people sheltering in the cellars of a Walklings Bakery in Southwark were killed when the premises suffered a direct hit. This webpage has more information and comments.

    5 April 2015

    5th April 1945: roses

    5 Thur. Rather chilly; the raging wind still rages: a few sunny periods but very trying weather. Letters from Uncle Tom and Chas. Staden: Chas is coming to London on Monday and will call here. Sent card to him saying I will be here to receive him. Did some shopping locally also a fruitless ride to Morden, but got some fish at Merton in afternoon. Finished pruning the roses: also did Addie’s roses – not many of them. Had to trim edges of new oil-cloth as it is stretching.

    4 April 2015

    4 April 1945: " little lamb!" Embarrassing moment!

    Canadian WWII radio
     from General Electric
    (Photo: via Wikipedia)
    4 Wed. Rather chilly, dull: not a nice day. Got the groceries as usual, also to the butchers and greengrocers in the morning. Pruned the roses in afternoon. In the morning I thought Ciss was letting Dinky in the back door and called out “Oh, come in, my little lamb”, but it wasn’t the cat it was Addie Veale! Cycled to Pelham Rd. in evening to find Mrs. Knight’s number – 116. Called in at Mrs. Child’s on way back and saw her new all mains wireless set.

    3 April 2015

    3 April 1945: "takie"

    3. Tues. Rather mild, some nice sunshine but the wind is still fierce; showers later. To Merton to buy fish and meat. Mrs. Veale and her mother came back to-day and I hand over their cat and dog after minding them since last Fri. Did some shopping locally including buying a birthday card for Mrs. Child. Took a bunch of pink currant blossom to Mrs. Veale. As soon as little Dennis saw me he asked for “takie” – cake: he got a piece.

    2 April 2015

    2 April 1945: in the pink

    2 Mon. Mild; a nice sunny morning after a very rough night; dull later. Finished the remaining section of the fence between this house and No. 64. Swept up and cleared the rest of the brick rubble: the garden begins to look nice and tidy. Cycle ride to Old Malden in afternoon; the country already looks lovely. The pear, cherry, including the lovely double pink variety, are at their best. The hedges at Old Malden in places are billowing masses of blackthorn blossom. The very deep pink single prunus, my favourite is in bloom.

    1 April 2015

    1 April 1945: auntie is ten... no fooling

    1 April. Easter Sunday. Very cool and cloudy, raging wind continues. Laid the new oil cloth in sitting-room. It looks very nice with the pattern carefully matched at the join. Connie Freeman who is between six and seven called with her aunt Doris who is only ten! Mrs. Akroyd and Shirley Bridges called.