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Alwyne Diary
©2011 Heather Johnson
September 1943
25th Rained in night. Sunny day but cold, only 55 degrees. Sat out bravely in afternoon for about 2 hours. Great news from Russia. Smolensk captured. 5th Army has taken all heights south of Naples.
24th Lovely warm sunny day. We all had tea out. I had mine out when I got home. Mother sat out until 6.45. Two raids again last night 12.20 - 1.45, 1.30 - 1.45. Did not get up. Heavy raid on Mannheim last night. 32 lost. Offensive launched by Fifth Army in Italy. Russians approaching Dnieper.
23rd Frost last night but it does not seem to have done any harm. Lovely day, sunny and much milder 61 degrees. Mother sat out from 3 - 5.30. I had a cup of tea in the shelter when I got home. Lovely evening. Huge force of bombers going out. Could see them going for an hour. Very heavy raid on Hanover last night, 26 lost. Two raids here 11.45 - 12.30 a.m. and 1 - 1.20 a.m. Did not get up second time. Saw Ivan to-day and went and had a cup of coffee with him.
22nd Bright and sunny but cold. Been a frost in night. Covered the tomatoes over. Was only 50 degrees when I got home, 40 degrees on ground. More big Russian advances. Germans sacking Naples.
21st Cold day. Shivering about in office all day. Mr. Churchill has reviewed the war in Parliament and has told the story of Italy's surrender. Sir Kingsley Wood, Chancellor of the Exchequer has died suddenly. Warning 11 - 11.50 p.m., had just got to bed and got up. Did not hear anything.
20th Rain at first then sunny but windy and cool. Mother managed to sit out for 1 hrs. in p.m. Had oil stove alight in evening. Russians have taken another 1200 places.
19th Glorious day. Sunny and warm 63 degrees. Had dinner and tea out. Sat out all afternoon in shirt sleeves. Hope it won't be last time. Italians have driven Germans out of Sardinia. Churchill has arrived home from America. Russians have had a better day still. 1200 places taken. Three special Orders of the Day from Stalin.
18th Lovely day. Sunny and warm. 64 degrees. Came home on early bus and put shelter up. Sat out all afternoon. Had tea out. Made garden look very nice. Eighth Army has now joined the 5th at Salerno and the threat to the bridgehead is over. Germans are withdrawing towards Naples. Russians have had their best day so far. 700 places captured.
17th Lovely early but came over cloudy and rained in evening. Mother sat out in afternoon. News from Italy is good again. 5th Army is driving on and are now 10-12 miles inland. Patrols of 8th Army are reported to have linked up with 5th Army patrols. Russians capture Briansk. (Bryansk, Russia). George has wandered off this evening and won't come home.
16th Fine day, had tea out. Sat out until 7. News from great battle in Italy has been exciting to-day. This morning it was said that the situation was slightly better and things did not look quite so desperate. Then the Official Communique at mid-day said that our bridgehead had been strengthened. 8th Army was reported to be only 51 miles away. At tea time it was announced that the 5th Army had gone over to the offensive and had advanced 2 or 3 miles. On the late news it is stated that all ground previously lost had been retaken and that the bridgehead is now 10 miles wide. The 8th Army is nearing the battle and a dramatic change has come over the situation. George has had an attack of the wanderlust. Did not go to bed at all last night but is lovely this evening and lying on our laps. About 15 - 20 planes came over in last nights raid and 3 were shot down.
15th Cooler but sunny. Just managed to have tea out. Position in Italy serious. Allied forces have lost more ground at Salerino. Battle has reached a critical stage. Germans are throwing in all their forces to reach a decision. Situation very tense. 2000 aircraft sorties flown in last 24 hours. 8th Army is rushing up from South to relieve the situation. There is a report to-night that they are only 67 miles away. Next 72 hours may be decisive. Saw a lot of Flying Fortresses going home after dark to-night with lights on. Siren has just gone 9.50 - 10.45 p.m.
14th Another warm day but some rain. Had tea out, sat out until 7.15. Bad news from Italy today. We have lost ground at Salerino. The Germans say we are evacuating our forces.
13th Hot day 75 degrees after heavy thunderstorm in night. Hot sunshine in afternoon. Had tea out and sat out until 7.30. Lettuce seed up. Very fierce battle going on near Salerino. Big Russian advances. Hitler claims to have rescued Mussolini. (Rescued from prison by German troops).
12th Hot day but dull and misty most of day. Sun broke out once or twice. Had dinner and tea out on big lawn. Harvest. Sang Bro. James' Air in morning. (Brother James' Air was composed by James Leith MacBeth Bain, tune associated with 'The Lord's my Shepherd'/23rd Psalm). We have captured the port of Selerno near Naples. German resistance very heavy. Brindisi also captured. Italy, Central-Eastern coast). More Italian warships arriving at Malta. Thanksgiving Day for Italian surrender.



The wartime diary of
Alwyne Garling
93 London Road
Lexden
Colchester


brought to us by
Heather Johnson



www.WW2inColchester.com


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