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Alwyne Diary
©2011 Heather Johnson
November 1942
20th Quite a nice day. Lovely mild moonlight evening, went for walk. Been a big force of bombers go out to-night. Germans have evacuated Benghazi. Russians have won big victory in the Caucuses.
19th Very dull all day but milder. Went for walk in evening. Attack on Tunisia has started. British troops now south of Benghazi. Raid on Turin last night, all returned.
18th White frost and cold day. British troops now 75 miles from Benghazi. Paratroops have captured an important aerodrome in Tunisia. (Soul el Arba on 16th November). Dad set bulbs.
17th Cold day. Derna captured. (Eastern Libya). Big naval victory by Americans off Solomons. Japs lose 1 battleship, 5 cruisers, 5 destroyers and 12 transporters. Axis losses in Libya 75,000.
16th Turned colder. Went fire-watching. Dad finished putting up Morrison shelter. Germans pouring forces into Tunisia. Another raid on Genoa. None lost.
15th Dull all day. Church bells rung for African victory this morning. Big air force going out tonight.
14th Lovely sunny day. Hoed lettuces. Top put on Morrison shelter this afternoon. No enemy aircraft been over for a week. Eighth Army has reached Gazala (North Africa) and Allied forces have entered Tunisia. Heavy raid last night on Genoa by Stirlings and Lancasters, none missing. Had a warning since writing this 9.55 - 10.30 p.m. Guns going on coast. One big bang on windows.
13th Dull and cold but no fog. Tobruk recaptured. Proceeding with putting up of Morrison shelter.
12th Foggy nearly all day and cold. Nothing special in way of war news. Dad took down the old tin tabernacle (signifying previous portable/make-shift shelter) and we started to put up the Morrison. (Morrison Air Raid Shelter - introduced in 1941 and named after the Minister for Home Security Mr. Herbert Morrison. Approx 6' 6" long, 4' wide and 2' 6" high, it was a cage made of heavy steel. It was used in the home, the solid top could be used as at table).
11th Not so foggy but white frost. Nice sunny day. More sensational news. German troops have marched into unoccupied France. Corsica occupied and German forces flown to Tunis. Germans say they have forestalled an Allied landing in South France and Corsica expected within 24 hours. Hostilities in Algeria and Morocco have ceased to-day after only 78 hours fighting. Allied forces are rushing to attack Tunis. Churchill has given war review in Parliament. Says Church bells to be rung on Sunday to celebrate victory over Rommel. Our losses in Egypt have been 13,600 and the Axis 59,000. Churchill says there will be big developments within next few days. Vera went to Braintree for day.
10th Very thick fog again in morning. Americans making good progress in N. Africa. Oran captured. Heard recording of Churchill. Says it is the "end of the beginning". ("Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning"). Hamburg raided last night, 15 missing. Dad set out more lettuces.
9th Cold foggy morning but broke out nice and sunny. Bus over hour late. Algiers surrenders. Vichy reports Naval battle off Morocco. Enemy has been chased out of Egypt.
8th Great sensation. Big American forces land in French North Africa. Successful landings at many points. Rommel's forces being chased out of Egypt. Heavy raid on Genoa. Lovely sunny day, went for nice walks. Mother walked out in front garden. Cut a nice lettuce.
7th Wet morning but broke out lovely mild sunny afternoon. Feeling better and went back to office. Had a lift up in a car. 25 barrage balloons up at Chelmsford. Went for lovely walk in afternoon up long Straight Rd. Watched football match. Our forces in Egypt are now South of Matruh. Prisoners now 20,000 with 350 tanks, 400 guns and thousands of vehicles captured or destroyed. Genoa bombed last night, 2 missing.

The wartime diary of
Alwyne Garling
93 London Road

brought to us by
Heather Johnson

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