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Alwyne Diary
©2011 Heather Johnson
September 1944
15th Dull and mild 70 degrees. Few spots of rain, managed to sit out in shelter until 4.30. Americans have surrounded Aachen.
14th Glorious summer day. Mist early and then warm and sunny 70 degrees. Sat out on lawn in shirtsleeves and then went fishing at 3.30 down at Pulfords. Grace and Eunice called while we were gone. (Paternal Garling Aunts to Alwyne). Americans are attacking Seigfried Line. (Siegfried Line = line of defensive forts and tank defences built by Germany along it's western frontier).
13th Beautiful sunny day. 63 degrees. Started holiday. Went to Pulfords fishing in afternoon. (Newbridge Mill Pond, West Bergholt - owned by Pulfords. Burnt down in 1960). Caught several small ones. Dad got a nice roach 5 oz. American troops have made a second crossing of the German Frontier. R.A.F dropped 600,000 incendiaries on Frankfurt and Stuttgart last night, 25 lost. Heard a big rocket bomb explode this morning.
12th Another lovely sunny day 63 degrees. had tea out and all sat out until 7.40 Hope it will keep fine as I start my holiday tomorrow. Germans seem to be sending over their V2 rockets but its all very hush hush and we have not told mother. Nothing official about it. (The first V2 to hit London fell on Chiswick on 08th September 1944). The bang we heard Sunday night seems to have been one at Fambridge. (Fell on North Fambridge, it lies just east of South Woodham Ferrers and on the north bank of the River Crouch). There was a big one tonight as I was coming home. Germany has been invaded. American troops crossed frontier at 6.10 last evening. Harve has surrendered today. Great air raids on Germany. 300,000 incendiaries and 200 - 4000 lbrs. By R.A.F. last night. 16 missing .
11th Lovely sunny day. Cold morning only 43 degrees but a little warmer than yesterday. Mother sat out all afternoon and had tea out. I had tea out when I got home. All sat out till 7.30. Good news from Belgium. British have broken out across Albert Canal and patrols have entered Holland. Luxemburg captured. 5000 tons dropped on Harve yesterday. (German Garrison at Harve/Le Havre, Normandy, France). Canadians have launched an attack. Should have started holiday (extra one) today but went to office, too busy to start tomorrow but shall have a try to finish up. Heard a big bang this morning when I got to office.
10th Lovely sunny day but cool 60 degrees. Sat out in shelter for 3 hours in afternoon. Sang duets at Harvest. Could hear guns from battle in France. Heard a big explosion at 9.30 p.m. Stiff resistance being encountered. British held up on Albert Canal.
9th Sunny but very cold. Max. 58 degrees. Was only 44 degrees when I started to office. Did not feel well. Not much war news.
8th Still cold fairly sunny but heavy storm after tea with hail. Brit. Forces have crossed Albert Canal and are 25 miles from Germany. Bulgaria declares war on Germany and Russians march in. Decided to put extra holiday off for a few days. Bulgaria has declared war on Germany.
7th Very cold and very wet all day. Black-out to end on 17th Sept. Details given of flying bombs. Average of 100 sent over for 80 days. 2300 reached London. Mother very ill all day with sick head. Had a fire. Went to see if Fanny had heard from Gales.
6th Fairly sunny but cool. Mother managed to sit out a little while. (Cousin) Clarice came into office to see me. Alert 4 - 4.15 a.m. but did not hear anything. No activity reported. Compulsory Home Guard duty to cease from next Monday. Mins. for War says the end of Germany is near. American patrols have entered Germany and withdrawn again. We are closing in on Channel Ports. George was sick today.
5th Sunny intervals but very windy. Mother sat out for an hour. Had a rare time early this morning. Alert 5.5 - 6 a.m. Got up and after a bit of doodle bugs began to come along. Heard about 8 go over. One of them dreadful loud and near, right over house and rattled everything. Blew up with big bang. Aldham somewhere I think. Worst time we have had with the bugs. British troops have entered Antwerp and Holland. 50,000 Germans cut off along Channel Coast. Russia declares war on Bulgaria.
4th Very wet windy day. Had a fire. Mother not very well. Great news, Brussels captured by British troops who are driving for Antwerp. No flying bombs over since Friday. Reckon they are finished now. Finns out of war. Ceased fire at 8 a.m. (During the WW2 years of 1939 and 1945, Finland's history was in three parts:- 'The Winter War' alone against the Soviet Union/Russia; 'The Continuation War' with Nazi Germany against Russia; and 'The Lapland War' against Nazi Germany, fighting over the possession of nickel mines in the north of Finland. As part of the Paris Peace Treaty, Finland was classed as a "belligerent and fascist power" - it managed to maintain it's independence but had to hand over 10% of the country to the U.S.S.R.).
3rd Sunny morning but came over dull at dinner time and rained a little. Very disappointed unable to sit out. American and British troops have today entered Belgium.
2nd Wet windy day. Could not do anything. Germans falling back to Germany in disorder. Advance going so fast that reports cannot keep pace. British are only 14 miles from Belgium. Germans launched 2 peek-a-back planes against England last night. (peek-a-back = ? pickaback/ pig-a-back/piggyback - carry on the back, shoulder or astraddle the hip. In the case of WW2, it refers to the German Luftwaffe's 'Dornier Do-335. There were many configurations of the 'Do-335' as Germany struggled to provide aircraft for the failing war effort. It was originally built as a single-seater but, in 1944, it emerged with a "pig-a-back seating arrangement" - i.e. one behind the other - for reconnaissance and training use).
The wartime diary of
Alwyne Garling
93 London Road

brought to us by
Heather Johnson

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