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Alwyne Diary
©2011 Heather Johnson
October 1944
2nd Sunny but rather cold. Americans have started big attack on Seigfried Line north of Aachen and have advanced 2 miles.
1st Sunny but cold. Missionary Sunday. Started afternoon services. German counter attacks against our Holland salient continuing. Alert this evening 8.35 - 8.50 p.m. Did not hear anything. Dad and Mum had fire in drawing room. Calais has been captured. S.E. Coast towns have been liberated from shelling.
September 1944
30th Nice day 61 degrees. Cut lawns. Vera and I put shelter out on lawn and sat there for some time. Had another raid last night 4.5 - 4.50. Had two doodles go over. Heard first one blow up. Other came over with a fighter firing at it. 25 Raids this month. Total now 942.
29th Milder today 63 degrees. Nice evening. Dad got bad cold. Mother still in bed. Raid this morning 5.5 - 6.10 a.m. Heard one or two doodles. Have just had 2 more 8.30 - 9 p.m., 9.20 - 9.55 p.m. Heard three big bangs. Germans have made a successful attack against our positions in Holland.
28th Sunny but rather cold. Mother still in bed. Sad put new cord in kitchen window. Churchill reviews the war. Says it may last several months into 1945, between 2 and 3 million men now in France. 90,000 British casualties and 145,000 American.
27th Bright intervals rather cold. Feeling better. Mother still in bed. Our Airborne troops have been withdrawn from Arnhem. 2000 have got back out of 8000. Heroic fight against hopeless odds. All efforts to relieve them failed. Alert 4.25 - 5 a.m., got up but did not hear much, one bang. Just before then mother and dad scrambled up and dressed because they thought the siren had gone. Another at 10.20 - 10.40 p.m. Nothing happened.
26th Sunny after wet night. Mother in bed with bad cold. I have got cough and stuffy nose. Security silence about Arnhem. Dad picked Coxes.
25th Brighter day but cool. Seems to be blowing up rain again. Another alert in night 5 - 5.35 a.m. Heard a doodle go along in distance. Total alerts for month now 18. Earlier news today was better. Supplies had been got across the Rhine to the airbornes and our armour had reached South bank. Late news however is bad. The airbornes have had to give ground and our supply corridor has been cut. Had an alert after we got to bed 10.50 - 11.20 p.m. Nothing much happened. Mother got a cold. Fan went to B'tree.
24th Dreadful day, very heavy rain and cold strong N.W. wind. Patrols of the 2nd Army have made contact across the Rhine with the Airborne troops at Arnhem. 3,500 tons dropped on Germany last night by R.A.F. 22 lost. Had another alert during night 4 - 4.30 a.m. but did not hear anything. Another this evening 9.30 - 10.5 p.m. Heard a doodle go along quite near. Heard one blow up.
23rd Bright periods but rather cool. We have had no end of a day. As I was coming home I saw scores of gliders going out and they kept going over for a long time. We had a big batch of troop transports go over aswell. Also no end of fighters and bombers. Saw the tugs go back in the evening. Thousands of airborne troops have been landed to help relieve the hard pressed airborne force at Arnhem. Situation still critical but a column has got to the south bank of the river. Have just had 2 alerts 9.30 - 10.5 p.m. and 10.15 - 10.40 p.m. Heard a lot of doodles blow up in first raid but nothing in second. Second all clear had just gone when a plane came over and made a most terrible dive. We couldn't think whatever had happened and rushed back into shelter, could hear loud poppings going off. Then I went and looked out and could see a big fire. It was one of our fighters crashed at Stanway Hall, setting fire to some stacks and the ammunition was going off. We went up as far as the Rec and could see it well there. At the same time there was a great force of our bombers going home overhead. Spent afternoon in garden and cut the lawns. Dad set out 100 lettuce plants.
22nd Foggy morning, better afternoon, rain in evening. Mother sat out a little while in afternoon. Had a quiet night last night but have just had a raid 8.30 - 9 p.m. Had a doodle come along before we could hardly get to shelter. Heard 3 go over close and several in distance. Heard 3 blow up, one fairly loud. Severe fighting in Holland. We have only got 2 miles north of Nijmegen and are still 8 miles from the airbornes at Arnhem whose position seems to be getting critical.
21st Dull and misty but mild. Had another alert 4.10 - 4.50 a.m. Heard one doodle in distance and heard it blow up. There is good news to-day, the bridge over the Rhine at Nijmegen and tanks have got across to the North bank. British airborne troops at Arnhem are being hard pressed.
20th Mild with sunny intervals. Mother sat out. Went back to office. Alert 1.30 - 2.35 a.m. Heard doodles in distance. One at Maldon and one at lt. Baddow. Had just had another raid 8.35 - 9.40 p.m. Heard several doodles, one roared over and rattled windows, only hear one go off. Heavy fighting going on in Holland for the bridge over the Rhine.
19th Very dull and misty but warm and still. Vera and I went to Dedham fishing to finish up the holiday. Only caught one each. Great news tonight. British 2nd Army tanks have driven right across Holland today to within 5 miles of Germany, advancing 37 miles in 5 hours. Alerts 12.5 - 12.10 and 4.10 - 4.30 a.m. Heard one or two doodles, one blew up with big bang.
The wartime diary of
Alwyne Garling
93 London Road
Lexden
Colchester


brought to us by
Heather Johnson
www.WW2inColchester.com


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