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Alwyne Diary
©2011 Heather Johnson
May 1945
7th Tomorrow will be VE day. Heard announcement over wireless at 8 this evening. Churchill to broadcast announcement at 3 tomorrow afternoon. Tomorrow and Wednesday to be holidays. Germans have signed unconditional surrender. Nice sunny day. Set runner beans.
6th Much warmer 68 degrees. Too damp to sit out. The news is that end of war will be announced before next Thursday. Chech patriots have risen and seized control of Prague. (Czech -of Czechoslovakia. Last shots of WW2 in Europe are said to have occurred 30km from Prague on 11th May 1945. The majority of Czechoslovakia was liberated by the Russians. Czechoslovakia was founded in October 1918 - as part of the Treaty of Versailles. It consisted of The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia. It was a melting pot of ethnic groups ).
5th Rained all afternoon and evening. Surrender of over 1,000,000 Germans in N.W. Germany, Denmark and Holland took place to-day. 2 Armies in Austria have surrendered to Americans. Talks on Poland with Russia have been broken off. Polish leaders have been arrested. Mr. Eaden says position is serious. ((Robert) Anthony Eden - British Foreign Secretary).
4th Heavy rain last night, been wearing Harris Tweed all week. All Germans in N.W. Germany, Denmark and Holland have signed unconditional surrender to Monty today, to take effect from 8 a.m. tomorrow.
3rd Still cold, hail showers, wet evening. News pouring in every hour. Hamburg surrendered today to British. British and Russians link up. 500,000 prisoners taken in last 36 hours. Complete surrender of Germans facing Monty expected any moment.Rangoon entered by British in Burma.
2nd Still cold, sharp white frost. All Germans in Italy have surrendered unconditionally. Nearly a million men. Siren not to be sounded any more after noon today. Civil defence stands down today. Late news - Berlin falls - capture completed by Russians to-day. Vera cleaning my room.
1st. Still very cold. Snowed a little this morning. Hail showers. War nearly over. Churchill says he may have announcement of exceptional importance to make this week. Government instructions about VE day celebrations issued this evening. Paper says Haw Haw was drunk when he broadcast last night. Tuned in to listen to him this evening but he did not come on. Instead, views on the war being read when 2 shots rang out and broadcast stopped and they are now telling us to stand by for special announcement. At 10.25 there was muffled drums and then an announcement in German followed by Nat. Anthem. I said "Hitler's dead". Then at 10.40 p.m. home service was broken into to say he is dead. (Lord Haw Haw was William Joyce. Born in New York, to an English mother and Irish father, William Joyce accompanied his family when they returned to Galway a few years after his birth. Joyce claimed to have fled Ireland for England during the 'Black and Tan' and I.R.A. troubles. After a short under-age service in the British Army, Joyce enrolled at the University of London - where he became interested in Fascism. In 1924, at the age of 24, Joyce suffered an unprovoked attack in an alley-way - he received a deep razor slash to his right cheek, which needed 26 stitches. Joyce was convinced that his attackers were 'Jewish- communists' and it had a profound influence on his life. In 1932, he joined Oswald Moseley's British Union of Fascists and he fled to Germany shortly before war was declared in 1939. Late in 1939, Joyce became a prominent propaganda broadcaster although no-one knew who he was at the time. His call sign was "Germany calling, Germany calling". Listening to his broadcasts was officially discouraged but approximately 60% of the population did listen in to his sneering attacks on the British establishment. On the 30th April, on the very day that Adolf Hitler and mistress Eva Braun committed suicide, Joyce gave his last broadcast - drunk. By the end of the war, his identity was known - he was captured by two English soldiers in woods whilst looking for firewood, near the German-Danish border. One soldier recognised his voice and asked him if he was William Joyce. On reaching for a fake passport (to prove otherwise), one of the soldiers shot him in the buttocks - thinking he was getting out a gun. The soldier who shot Joyce was one Geoffrey Perry - he had been born a German Jew but had escaped Hitler's persecutions and become English. "So in the end a German Jew, who had become English had arrested an Irish/American who pretended to be English but had become German". In London, on 19th September 1945, Joyce was convicted of Treason. "A sizeable minority of the population were uncomfortable with the verdict mainly because of the nationality issue but also because he was always seen as a bit of a joke-figure rather than someone trying to bring the country down". Joyce was executed, by hanging, in Wandsworth Prison on 3rd January 1946 and is buried in an unknown grave there. During the hanging, Joyce's deep cheek scar burst open & bled all over the floor.
April 1945
30th Terribly cold day. Heavy snowfall this morning. Laid about 2" deep. Temp 32 degrees. Wore Harris Tweed. Surrender of Germany may come at any moment. Organised resistance over in Italy.
29th Very cold only 42 degrees at mid-day. Sleet showers in evening. Reports circulated in U.S. during night that war was over but later denied. Mussolini shot by Patriots. Milan and Venice captured. Munich entered. Hitler said to be dying.
28th Very cold, sleet shower, said to have been snow early. Managed to cut grass and make garden look nice. Tulips nearly over. Dramatic news this afternoon. Himmler has offered unconditional surrender to Britain and U.S. but not to Russia. Statement from Downing St. say that only surrender to 3 powers can be accepted.
27th Wet cold day. Dramatic events. Russians and U.S. Armies have linked up in Germany. Dittmar has been captured. (German Lieutenant General Kurt Dittmar - surrendered to troops of the U.S. 30th Division after crossing the River Elbe in a small boat, near Magdeburg). Germans are collapsing in Italy. Patriots have risen and captured Genoa, Milan and Turin. Mussolini reported captured. Heavy hailstorm this evening. Came home on Moores bus. Mother very ill with bad pain.
26th Wet afternoon and evening. Good news from Italy. British troops are reported to have reached Verona. Patriots rising. Russians in centre of Berlin. British have captured Bremen. Churchill says we had 1050 rockets mostly on London and Essex. 2750 killed. 6500 injd.
25th Less cold. Mother sat out in shelter a little while. I had cup of tea there. Berlin encircled by Russians. Fanny came home from Braintree.
24th Severe frost. 8 degrees on ground in garden. Lot of strawberries gone. Laurels all brown, peas damaged. River Po reached in Italy.
The wartime diary of
Alwyne Garling
93 London Road
Lexden
Colchester


brought to us by
Heather Johnson
www.WW2inColchester.com


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