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Alwyne Diary
©2011 Heather Johnson
March 1943
24th Nice day 57 degrees. Started to prune the roses. Warning 5.45 - 6 p.m. News is bad today. This morning it was stated that 8th Army had breached Mareth Line and was pouring through the gap. Then Mr. Churchill announced in Parliament that the bridgehead had been lost and that the Germans had re-captured the greater part of the Mareth Defences. Cat has not been since Monday.
23rd Lovely sunny day. Attack on Mareth Line going "according to plan". (The Mareth Line in Eastern Tunisia - a bunker line). Nearly 300 four-engined bombers attacked St. Nazaire last night. Only one missing. Had a lovely tin of Salmon for tea.
22nd Cold foggy morning but broke out lovely day. Saw George trotting off down to here this morning.
21st Dull and cold. Feeling better. George was calling outside the door this morning before we got up. (George - 'adopted' cat). Churchill broadcast on post war problems. Says we may beat Hitler in 1944 or 1945. 8th Army is on the move. Hitler has made a funny little speech. (Hitler broke a 4 month silence with this 'Heroes' Day' speech. This had been originally called 'The Day of Remembrance for the victims of National Socialism in Germany' - instituted in 1922 to commemorate the soldiers who had lost their lives in WW1. It was renamed 'Fallen Heroes Day' in 1934 by the Nazis).
20th Dull and still and rather cold. 44 - 48 degrees. Sun broke out for a short time in afternoon. Had day off and went to see Dr. Got there at past 9 and came out at 5 to 11. Was 2nd. Has given me a tonic. Hoed the rose bed and set first row of carrots. Went for walk up Union Lane and picked bunch of broom. Warning 7.10 - 7.25 p.m. Mother very bad all day, Had dreadful sick head ache.
19th Dull and cold. Went back to office. Not much news today. Firman says I can have tomorrow off. (Work boss).
18th Nice sunny day but cool East wind. Felt sick and did not go to office. Had 4 warnings to-day. 6.15 - 6.40 a.m. Bombs dropped just before dawn in East Anglia. 6 girls killed in hostel. (Perhaps Land Girls?). 2.15 - 2.30 and 4.5 - 4.20 p.m. Went again after we got to bed 10.30 - 11.35 p.m. Heard a plane keep patrolling round. Vera ran down once but I kept in bed and kept dropping off to sleep. Bombs were dropped at several places in East Anglia. 4 shot down. Dad set second lot of lettuce seed.
17th Foggy cold morning. Broke out at 12 into a lovely warm still sunny day. Got 8 eggs today at Chases. We used over 400 bombers in each of the two recent raids on Essen by R.A.F.
16th Lovely mild sunny day. Nearly came home early so I could go to Dr.'s but didn't. Sirens 7.25 - 7.45 a.m. and 9 - 9.10 a.m. Cat was waiting to come in when we got up. Stayed till 5. Germans have re-taken Kharkov.
15th Cold foggy morning with sharp frost but lovely mild sunny day. Did not feel very well. Not much news. .
14th Lovely sunny day. Rather cold East wind but warmer than yesterday. Feel sniffy and think I may have got a cold yesterday. Stayed at home in afternoon. Siren 2.5 - 2.20 p.m. Heard bombs or guns on window. 6 F.W.'s attack Essex coast town. (Focke Wulf manufactured fighter planes i.e. the FW190 was the best German fighter plane).
13th Rather cold East wind. Some sunny intervals. Cut back lawns, 1st time and did the beds. Looks nice. Very heavy raid on Essen last night, over 1000 tons dropped. 23 missing. (Essen, Germany - iron and steel works i.e. Krupp factory. After WW1 Essen has become centre of re- armament manufacture. Became a primary target for bombing). 4 out of 6 shot down over here today. Siren 9 - 9.20 p.m. All quiet.
12th Lovely sunny day. Big raid last night on Stuttgart. 11 lost. Heard them going and coming home. 3 raids here today 7.30 - 8.5 a.m., 8.15 - 8.25 a.m., 7.30 - 7.40 p.m. Raid on London by 24 fighter-bombers. 5 shot down. Bombs dropped at Romford. Germans claim to be fighting in streets of Kharkov.
11th Had a bad sick head all day. Came home feeling ill. Vera had got me a fish tea and I managed to eat a little of it. 10,000 tons of bombs dropped by R.A.F. in Feb. and 4,000 so far this month. Germans making successful counter-attacks in South Russia, trying to re-take Kharkov. Raid 5.45 - 6.10 p.m.

The wartime diary of
Alwyne Garling
93 London Road

brought to us by
Heather Johnson

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