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Alwyne Diary
©2011 Heather Johnson
August 1944
20th Dull wet day. Rained very heavy at dinner time. Germans report a crossing of the Seine. Americans closing in on Paris.
19th Warm day 80 degrees. Nice until tea-time but rainy evening. Went to Dr. this morning and got signed off. Waited from 9 until 11. Pursuit of enemy in France continuing. Alert 2.45 - 2.55 p.m. Heard a doodle go along quite loud and went down outside shelter. Tried to see it but couldn't. 1000 R.A.F. raid on Bremen, only 4 lost.
18th The battle in France is won. Enemy no longer able to offer effective resistance. Retreating columns being smashed by the air force. Thousands of vehicles destroyed. Alert 7.30 - 7.40 a.m.
17th Great victory in N. France. Orleans and Chartres captured. Germans in full retreat. Only 30 miles to Paris. Nice day but rather windy. Sat out all day. Alert 8.45 - 8.55 p.m. Vera and I stood out in garden and heard d.G. go along, stop and big bang over at Bures. (d.G.=?Doodlbug) 1200 R.A.F. raided Stettin and Keil last night. 16 lost. (Stettin = Polish port on the Baltic, now called Szczecin. Once in Germany).
16th Glorious hot sunny day 84 degrees. Sat out in garden all day. Alerts 9 - 9.10 a.m., 6.30 - 6.40 p.m. In mornings raid, I could hear guns in bed just before siren went. Sirens went wrong and we could hear 3 go. In evening we could hear bug coming and rushed indoors, heard it go over quite loud and then stop and bang. Went right over Colchester and fell at Boxted. Not much war news.
15th Sunny day but cool E. wind. Got up today. Tried to go out in garden but was too cool for me. Landings are being made today on S. coast of France. In Normandy, gap is down to 12 miles. Had warnings 2.20 - 2.30 p.m. and 6 - 6.10. 1100 R.A.F. and 1000 U.S. Heavies have attacked German airfields today. 7000 tons dropped.
14th Still ill in bed. Had Dr. Says I can get up tomorrow but must not eat any solids. Don't look like having much of a holiday. Glorious sunny day. Exciting situation in Normandy. Eisenhower has issued Order of Day telling troops they have chance of major victory. Great efforts being made to close Falaise gap now 18 miles wide. Big attack by Canadians. More big air attacks on coast of S. France. Looks as though we are going to invade there.
13th Still very ill, nearly had Dr. Lovely sunny day. In bed all day and could only take a few sips of milk. Had a bad night. Siren went 5 - 5.20 a.m. but I was too ill to come down. We heard 4 bugs go along in distance and hard them blow up Germans in Normandy are in danger of being encircled. They have been pulling out of Falaise gap all day under big air attacks. (Falaise Gap - a big open gap between Argentan and Falaise. The Germans needed control of the area for their escape.The Battle of the Falaise Pocket or Gap was the decisive engagement in The Battle of Normandy. Opened the way to Paris and the German border).
12th Was bad all day. Woke up at 1.30 all aching and shivering and did not get to sleep any more. Sick all day. Could not go to office. What a start for my holiday. Hot sunny day. Raids in night 1.30 - 1.40 a.m. and 6.20 - 6.30 a.m. In first one we saw a doodle bug coming and rushed down. Heard it shut off engine but it was several minutes before it crashed. Went right over to Sudbury and blew up in air. In second one, we could hear a bug coming and rushed down. Heard it go down and blow up in brickyard at Marks Tey.
11th Hot day, got very hot coming home in bus but blew up rather draughty in evening. Saw pretty colours in sky, think it will be nice weather for my holiday. Things have slowed down in France. Canadian offensive North of Falaise has been brought to a halt. Churchill in Italy.
10th Dull but warm, broke out hot evening, nearly 80 all evening. Mother sat out until to 10 and we until 10. Canadians have been held up north of Falaise. Americans have reached Nantes.
9th Hot day, lovely evening. Mother sat out until nearly 10. Canadians have advanced to within 6 miles of Falaise. (Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France). Americans have taken Le Mans.
8th Another lovely day. Big Canadian attack launched south of Caen, supported by 1000 R.A.F. and 600 U.S. heavies. 4 mile advance. Howard Marshall reports feeling of expectancy in Normandy. (?James Howard Marshall - wealthy magnate; American oil business executive; and U.S. Solicitor of the Petroleum Administration for War). German counter attack has been smashed. Over 100 tanks destroyed by rocket firing typhoons. Looks less settled to-night. Glass has gone down.
7th Aug. Bank Holiday. Glorious day. Sat out until 9. 78 degrees. Americans driving on Paris. Laval captured. (Pierre Laval - Premier of Vichy France. The Vichy Government was the regime set up in France by Marshal Henri Petain in July 1940. It was never recognised by the Allies - it became a German tool in the hands of Pierre Laval and Jean Francois Darlan). Germans have launched big counter-attack. 59 tanks have been destroyed by Typhoons. (Hawker Typhoon - British single-seater Fighter Plane). Warning last night 11.30 - 11.40 p.m.
The wartime diary of
Alwyne Garling
93 London Road
Lexden
Colchester


brought to us by
Heather Johnson
www.WW2inColchester.com


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