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Alwyne Diary
©2011 Heather Johnson
January 1943
23rd Still mild 48 degrees. Rainy morning but sunny afternoon. Stayed in during afternoon as my cold rather bad. We have taken Tripoli. Russians have just announced the capture of Armavir. (Russia, located on the Kuban River, at an important railroad junction). Siren has just gone 8.50 - 9.5 p.m. but nothing over.
22nd Very mild, over 50 degrees. Broke out lovely and sunny and spring-like in afternoon. My cold now coming out. Fall of Tripoli expected hourly. Russians have captured Salsk. (Russia, located on River Sredny, in the Don Basin). Warning 5.35 - 6 p.m.
21st Lovely mild sunny day. My cold getting worse, throat very sore. Siren 1-1.15 p.m. 2 Germans shot down last night. Eighth Army closing in on Tripoli. Had lettuces for tea out of garden.
20th Very mild day and wet evening. 25 German fighter- bombers made raid on S.E. England and 50-100 fighters came as far as coast. 6 got as far as London. 30 killed in a school. Biggest dog-fights since Battle of Britain. 11 shot down. Warning 12.45 - 1.15 p.m. Heard one big bang. Monday's whistles were only practice. We are now only 40 miles from Tripoli. More big Russian victories. At 10 p.m. just as we got upstairs to bed the siren went and we had to come down. At eleven a plane came over low and the local guns fired at it. All Clear went at 11.15. My cold seems worse, throat is scratchy.
19th Dull and misty but very mild. Rommel has retreated 50 miles since yesterday. Russians advancing on all fronts. Mother not at all well. My cold only slight so far.
18th A lot of news to-day. 4 Air Raids. Siren woke us up at 4.45 a.m. and after a few minutes planes came along and we all had to get up. We came down and got in the Morrison and the guns went two or three times but not very near. Could hear the barrage in the distance. Other warnings 1.45 - 2.15 p.m., 4.30 - 4.45 and 8 - 8.15 p.m. Then at 9 o'clock the wardens came along blowing their whistles and we thought it was another raid and that the sirens had gone wrong. Think however it was fire bombs but can't get to hear yet. Sat up until 11 waiting for all clear which did not go. Mother had bad attack in evening when raids were on. There were two raids on London during night, first for over a year. 10 shot down out of 50-60. We made another heavy raid on Berlin and lost 22. Russians have just announced lifting of siege of Leningrad after 16 months. Eighth Army advancing fast towards Tripoli. Have got a cold coming. Nice mild day after foggy morning.
17th Nice day but bit cooler, 40 degrees. Went round Miles Lane before tea. Big raid on Berlin last night. First for over a year. Only one missing. The Barrage has been going this evening but no warning. London went off the air just as we were listening to the Service. Russians have launched new offensive on Upper Don and advanced 50 miles. Eighth Army has started new offensive and have advanced 40 miles.
16th Dull with a little rain early then lovely and sunny. Quite spring-like down garden 46 degrees. Went to town in afternoon and had hair-cut. Went round Essex Street and had another look at bomb damage. Germans say 8th Army has attacked in Tripolitania. (Libya).
15th Mild day and sunny. Fire engines pumping flood water out of Chelmsford Recreation ground.
14th Very rough night with very heavy rain. Floods everywhere. Water was over road at Boreham this morning. 100 tons of bombs dropped on Ruhr last night in 12 minutes. 4 missing. Had some excitement this evening, looking at approval books of stamps which arrived to-day. (Books of stamps you could 'view on approval' - i.e. select ones you wished to buy and return the rest). Had 15 rise. (518.70 in 2010).
13th Beautiful day. Sunny and mild without a cloud in the sky. About 60 Flying Fortresses went over here to bomb France.
12th Dull and damp, mild. Rivers in flood.
11th Very wet at first but broke out nice and sunny at 1 o'clock. Went for walk through Park. (?Castle Park, Colchester town centre). Much milder 46 degrees. Dad went to town and waited from 2 - 4 to get a kettle but then they were only tin ones. Russians have just announced big advance in Caucasus. Had warning this morning 9.45 - 10.45. Bombs dropped at Heybridge, and Maldon machine-gunned. Used Morrison Shelter for first time.
10th Blew a great gale all night and snowed and sleeted and rained. Windows covered with ice on outside. Inch of half frozen snow. Temp. got up to 37 degrees. Dull and foggy all day.

The wartime diary of
Alwyne Garling
93 London Road

brought to us by
Heather Johnson

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