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31 January 2015

31 Jan 1945: buns, bakelite & sausage rolls

31 Wed. Less cold than for many weeks – 45 degrees, dull; only drifts and mounds of snow remain. To butchers in morning also got the groceries. Bought buns, a bakelite tumbler and took accumulators, made sausage rolls in evening.

30 January 2015

30th Jan 1945: avalanches of snow

30 Thur. Were greeted this morning by 5 to 6 inches of snow, drifts being very much deeper. However, a thaw soon set in and the thick slush is dangerous. There were avalanches of snow sliding from roofs; dull, humid later. Started writing a letter to Fred Fraine. In morning to the butchers. In afternoon to the greengrocers. Addie Veale called in evening.

29 January 2015

Extra: Fred's weather

Here's a > link to Met Office page giving access to all 1940s' monthly weather reports. (Ignore the links in the panel at the foot - the Met Office tells me they're not bothering to keep those up to date!)

Fred reports on the weather every day, from hazy sun to violent storms. From New Zealand, blog reader Fern draws attention to the UK Met Office monthly reports (each available as a pdf), which are fascinating to compare with the more dramatic of Fred's experiences.

29th Jan 1945: custard freezes to become ice cream

29 Mon. Extremely frigid morning with thick hoar frost and fog; a slight thaw in afternoon. I put some custard on the ground in the garden overnight and this morning it was lovely ice cream. I opened the back door for a few moments to call Dinky and the tap froze, also water in the basins froze and the tea cloths stiffened. In afternoon I cycled to Morden to buy fish and continued along Ravensbury Road to Bishopsford Road, saw Watermeads: have never seen it in winter before. Distant rocket at 7.40 a.m. Loud rocket at 10.5 a.m. The rocket that fell in the Boro. last Monday fell on Mosers the iron merchants. The rocket at 4.5 p.m. on Sat fell at Ingrave St. Battersea.

28 January 2015

28th Jan 1945: polished Addie's clock

28 Sun. Not quite so severe; dull, no fall of snow to-day. Re-polished Mrs. Veale’s striking clock, previously repaired. Mrs Akroyd called to tea. Loud rocket at 2.35 a.m.

27 January 2015

27th Jan 1945: ...don't forget Addie's cat

27 Sat. Not quite so cold but 5 degs. below freezing during the day: a further fall of snow: dull. The rocket at 10.40 a.m. yesterday fell between Clapham Park and Balham. Cooked a nice roast pork dinner. Walked to Merton in afternoon to buy cats meat: took some in next door for Tibby Veale. Very loud rocket in NE at 4.5 p.m.

26 January 2015

26th Jan 1945: bitter cold, ice... yet more flying bombs

26 Fri. Very severe frost, 11 degs. below freezing at midday; dull, rather foggy. Roads and footpaths are like a skating rink. To butchers, grocers, cold meat shop, bakers and paper and sweets shop in morning. On foot to Merton in afternoon to buy fish. Loud rocket at 10.40 a.m. The rocket at 8.40 yesterday fell at Kensington. To Aunt Liza’s in afternoon.

Note: 11 degrees below freezing = 21 degrees Fahrenheit = minus 6.111 Centigrade, so yes, VERY cold.

25 January 2015

25th Jan 1945: bombed bank

25 Thur. Severe frost, 5 degs. midday; colder at each end of the day, calm, rather foggy. The rocket at 7.15 p.m. on Wed fell on a bank at Greenwich. Rocket in NE at 8.20 a.m. To Morden to buy fish and tap washers in afternoon. Also to buy a paper, a finger-stall at chemists and to get an accumulator.

24 January 2015

24th Jan 1945: Fred loves the young widow next door... he tells diary

24 Wed. Severe frost, the highest temperature during the day was 28 degs. Fahr. Very dull, but no more snow to-day: the roads & footpaths are dangerously slippery. Wrote long letter to Rev Chas. Staden. Got the groceries in morning also got buns at bakers. Mrs. Veale (Addie/Adelaide - Ed) did our washing to-day. Fitted two pieces of moulding to the case of her clock; it was damaged in the bombing. I love Adelaide with all my heart; it is a privilege to do anything to help her.

Note: download PDF of Met Office report on (cold!) weather in Jan 1945

23 January 2015

23rd Jan 1945: snow... rocket... and young Addie's clock

23 Tues. Still very cold, severe frost later: snowing all day. Started writing letter to Chas. Staden. Trudged through the snow to the Merton meat shop in afternoon, also did shopping locally. Rocket at 7.15 .m. distant in NE. The loud rocket at 2.35 p.m. yesterday fell at Park Road, Kingston Hill. Addie called in evening, and I went in there to see about repairing the moulding on their clock case.

Note: this is a (pdf) link to a 1945 Met 0ffice 1945 monthly report brought to our attention in a comment on this post.

22 January 2015

22nd Jan 1945: VERY loud explosion - & a damaged train

The path alongside railway
undergoing repairs in C21st
22 Mon. Freezing except midday. More snow out of a leaden sky. To local bakers and chemists in morning. Rocket at 12.20 p.m. in NNE, that is, over London way. Walked along rail-path in afternoon to buy fish. When half way along the path I heard a colossal explosion to northwards, followed by a rumble out of the sky. A rocket had fallen making one of the loudest noises I have heard. There is no news yet as to where it fell. Time about 2.35 p.m. Just before this an empty down train passed, the carriages had obviously been blasted and the windows splintered; it might have been caused by the earlier rocket to-day.

21 January 2015

21st Jan 1945: mince and sultana... a winter landscape

21 Sun. Freezing except where the brilliant sun shone in the afternoon. Snow fell during the night to a depth on 1½ ins, and the landscape is white again. Cooked the dinner including making a mince-tart and sultana scone. Rocket at 12.13 p.m.

20 January 2015

20th Jan 1945: flying-bombs still... Ciss's right hand

20 Sat. Hard frost, snow showers during day, heavy fall at night: fierce, bitter wind. Cycled to Morden to buy a few things at Woolworths, thence to Merton where I bought fish. Addie Veale called; gave her some nuts and sweets. She has helped Ciss who cannot use her right hand. Got accumulators; met Nellie Lidbury. Rocket in NE at 11.20 a.m. Another in NE at 7.25 p.m. Also one at 7.52 p.m. – heavy, and at 10.50 p.m.

19 January 2015

19th Jan 1945: knocked down by a tram

19 Fri. Bitterly cold, black frost , fierce wind, slight falls of snow but some bright sunshine in morning. Did the usual round of local shops in morning, also to Merton in afternoon to buy cats meat. Bought a road map of 50 miles round London. To see Mrs. Akroyd. She was knocked down by a tram earlier in the week but she is almost well again now. The wind broke a branch from my Climbing Mme. E. Herriot rose so I planted it in Mrs. Veale’s garden to see if it would strike.

18 January 2015

18th Jan 1945: violent winds

18 Thur. Cold, very dull, extremely rough. From 3.10 to 3.15 p.m. the wind blew with continuous violence the like I have not experienced before. The wind blew heavy pieces of wood about like match sticks: some rain. To local fish shop in afternoon. Did a repair to Ciss’ gold brooch.

Note: the UK's Met Office report exceptionally severe gales and a loss of life on 18th Jan 1945. This is a (pdf) link to a monthly report from their archives for 1945. Their HQ and archives are now located in the outskirts of Exeter, Devon, UK.

17 January 2015

17th Jan 1945: child's "unorthodox" gift!

17 Wed. Cold; some sun in afternoon: less unpleasant than for some time. Got the groceries in morning also a birthday card each for Jean and John Child. Took same with a shilling for John. Lily and her mother called in afternoon to inquire how Ciss was. Lily saw Dennis Veale who smilingly brought me a sardine tin full of earth; his method of presentation was to empty it on the scullery floor: I greatly appreciated his kindness, even though the gesture was unorthodox.

16 January 2015

16th Jan 1945: neighbours

16 Tues. Cold, dull; rain at night. Little Dennis came in morning; gave him a piece of cake. Addie took some clothes to iron as Ciss cannot do it. To butchers in morning. To Merton meat shop in afternoon. Rocket in NE at 7.15 p.m. Rocket at 9.55 p.m.

15 January 2015

15th Jan 1945: Ciss to hospital for whitlow

15 Mon. Bitterly cold, dismal; not much wind. Ciss went to Wimbledon Hospital to have a whitlow on her thumb attended to: she had to have gas. and is going on all right. Phoned up her office and phoned Alb to tell him the news. To Morden to buy fish. Also bought torch batteries locally. Rocket at 6.55 p.m. loud; the direction was ENE. Repaired a coat hanger for Mrs. Veale; it was damaged in the bombing.

14 January 2015

14th Jan 1945: several loud bombs, but quiet evening with Addie

14 Sun. Bitterly cold; a few gleams of wan sunshine in afternoon. Warning at 1.50 a.m. One down distant in SE: one very loud to NE: so severe that surely we shall hear where it fell, and one very distant in NE: all clear 2.15 a.m. Rocket at 1.50 p.m. Very loud rocket in E at 4.15 p.m. also a distant one half an hour later. Went to Cousin Alf’s to tea; played his organ: first time I have played an organ since ours was bombed last July. Went in to Addie Veale’s to spend a quiet evening.

13 January 2015

13th Jan 1945: slept through warning

13 Sat. A few degrees above freezing and the snow is almost gone. Cutting east wind; very dull. Did some shopping locally in afternoon – took two accumulators and brought two away. Mrs. Child with Audrey, John, Peter and Jennifer called: they had just returned from a Sunday School party. Rocket at 5.45 a.m. Heard an all clear at 7.0 a.m. but did not hear the warning: must have been asleep.

12 January 2015

12th Jan 1945: Jennifer Child's large, furnished dolls' house

12 Fri. Less cold – 34 degrees all day. The thick snow is deep slippery slush. Very dismal, drizzle almost all day. Got the week-end joint – beef. Also to chemists, bakers etc. Adelaide – sweet girl brought me a piece of date pudding with custard sauce for lunch: I am favoured. To Merton meat shop in afternoon. Called in to see Mrs. Child; Mrs. Snudden was there. Saw Jennifer’s Xmas presents including a large furnished doll’s house, two large dolls and a small one. Rocket at 10.15 p.m.

11 January 2015

11th Jan 1945: snow continues

11 Thur. Freezing except slight thaw mid-day: snowing on and off all day: leaden sky. To butchers in morning, also to chemists. Visited Mrs. Collis to see how she was as Ciss has not seen her lately. She has had a bad cold. Gave me a piece of Xmas pudding – very nice. To Merton cats meat shop in afternoon: got some for Mrs. Veale – or her cat I should say.

10 January 2015

10th Jan 1945: “Making a fuss of the front door.”

10 Wed. Freezing except for a little while where the sun shone in afternoon: further slight fall of snow – 4 ins total. Got the groceries in morning. Also to the chemists and fish shop. Painted the number of the house on front door – beginning to be quite respectable again. Addie made the remark, “Making a fuss of the front door.” Rocket at 11.15 a.m. Further inch of snow at night.

9 January 2015

9th Jan 1945: snowballs

9 Tues. One inch of snow; a very cold day. A further 3 ins fell during afternoon: freezing very hard later. The rocket at 6.25 p.m. yesterday fell near Clapham Common tube station. Out during morning to butchers. Took accumulators in afternoon. On way back had a game of snowball with the Conley children.
20th century entrance to Clapham Common 'tube' station
 - at very edge of Clapham Common (right)

8 January 2015

8th Jan 1945: bomb split gas-holder

8 Mon. White frost, bitter cutting wind; dull. Wrote letter to Uncle Tom; to post office in morning. Along line to Wimbledon; bought new rubber tube for my self-filling pen, fish for Dinky and a new 2 volt, super power valve. Tested same in evening but it is not better than my Mullard P.M.202. Paid club in evening. The rocket at 2.15 a.m. yesterday fell in Fairfax Road, Teddington. Only a few slight injuries but it split a gas-holder which took fire. Rocket at 6.25 p.m.

7 January 2015

7th Jan 1945: overnight flying-bomb shows orange in sky

7 Sun. Slight, white morning frost, cloudy day, becoming very cold later – freezing very hard. Rocket at 2.15 a.m. very loud; Ciss saw an orange glow coming through the window as it passed over. Another at 3.45 a.m. Distant rocket at 12.15 p.m. A loud one in NE at 5.15 p.m. Cousin Alf stayed the afternoon: Len and Doris made a brief call. Addie Veale came in evening and we chatted pleasantly round the fire. 

6 January 2015

6th Jan 1945: masses of glass, all now fitted

6 Sat. Very cold; freezing hard at night, very dismal day. The workmen fitted obscured glass window to lavatory. Also put in clear glass in fanlight above back door. Clear glass fanlight over front door and the five lights in front door and its side panel were fitted with obscured glass, of the pattern known as “Arctic”. All the glass in the house has now been replaced. Mrs Veale got the glazier to cut a piece of glass to fit a photo. frame for her. Distant rockets at 4.32 p.m. 4.45 p.m. and 5.5 p.m. Another as I write* at 7.46 p.m.

Note: the first indication that I can recall, in the several years of this diary, of the time of day when Fred writes his diary. Some earlier entries have 'continued' to the next day when air-raid warnings have kept him awake past midnight. 

5 January 2015

5th Jan 1945: many letters... earthquake in Preston!

5 Fri. Black frost, cold day but fairer in afternoon. To the butchers, cold meat shop, bakers, newsagents, and to get accumulators in morning. Bought cats meat at Merton in afternoon. Had a large post delivery to-day including a parcel of cake, biscuits, sweets, etc. from Elsie in Canada, a Xmas card from Jack Bradley on active service, a letter from Roy Cooper on active service, also letters from Cousin Maud, & Rev. Chas. Staden: Chas. says they had a doodle-bug at Spalding, and Maud said they had an earthquake at Preston* when her bed collapsed under her. Warning at 10.20 p.m. Flying bombs: one distant SE, one SE, one in E not many miles away after a long silent glide. All clear 11.0 p.m.

Link to map of more recent earthquakes in Preston. They are not so uncommon in the area! Quakes are noted in 1835, 1843, 1869, 1871 in a list of Preston events.

4 January 2015

4th Jan 1945: Addie's hop-up... LOUD flying-bombs

4 Thur. Bitterly cold; hard black frost: some slight sun in afternoon. To butchers and chemists in morning. Put in clothes post for Mrs Veale; it has a step to it so she can hop up and put the line on. Rocket at 12.15 p.m. Very loud rocket at 12.40 p.m. Loud rocket in NW at 4.15 p.m. Rocket in W at 7.35 p.m. Rocket loud in NW at 8.30 p.m. Rocket loud in W at 9.5 p.m. Very loud rocket at 10.55 p.m. in SW, I think.

3 January 2015

3rd Jan 1945: front door taken for repair... more bombs

3 Wed. Rather cold but no frost; very windy, dull. The Irish joiner took away front door and repaired it. Also fitted a new trap-door into the roof. Also fitted new door-post and step to lavatory and fitted new hinges to door and re-hung it. Got groceries in morning and something at the butchers. Very loud rocket at 8.50 a.m: it fell in Russell Square W. Loud report at 7.5 p.m. Warning at 7.10 p.m. ending at 7.20 p.m. Warning at 8.10 p.m. Two flying bombs very distant NE: all clear 8.45 p.m.

2 January 2015

A special entry...

First, welcome to all the new readers coming here from my Poems Please Me pages on Facebook.  One reader, Stefan, recognised that he lived next door, for a while in the 1980s, to the house pictured (right) - that's immediately opposite Uncle Fred. That has prompted me to scan the reverse of the 'photo postcard' of the house. The card was sent through the post, despite going just across the road, as a Christmas greeting in 1908 or 1910. The Mr & Mrs French referred to are Fred's mum and dad.  - Tony French.  
P.S. I love the copperplate handwriting!


2nd Jan 1945: Paddy's work on house continues

2 Tues. The thaw is complete but it is raw cold, dismal and damp. Very loud rocket at 2.40 a.m: have been told it fell at Richmond. The Irish joiner Paddy fitted the new glazed window sashes in the back upstairs rooms. He also levelled the floor boards in living room. To Morden to buy fish. Alf’s Lily called. Addie brought back cake decorations Ciss lent her. A man called from the Council* and took details of what repairs had been done to the house and what is still outstanding. Posted letter to Harold Marshall.

*The house is privately owned by a landlord.

1 January 2015

New Year's Day, 1945: stew, dumpling & a cuppa... 1 bomb

1 Jan. Mon. Severe frost all day, but a slight thaw at night: dull. Cleaned and oiled the vacuum sweeper and lent it to Addie Veale: she brought me in a cup of tea right in the middle of having some stew and dumpling, but I was kind and drank it. Cycled to Wimbledon in afternoon to buy something at the chemist’s. Rocket at 12.10 p.m. NW.