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Alwyne Diary
©2011 Heather Johnson
March 1945
5th Rather cold but fairly sunny. Vera went to Braintree. 2 warnings so far today 11 - 11.10a.m.,12.25 - 12.45a.m. 2 doodles came over Chelmsford. Saw one of them go right over very fast. First I have seen in daylight. Believed to be new type coming from bases in Holland. Cologne has been entered. Warning 11 - 11.5 p.m. 70 planes over night. (The pilot-less rocket campaign against Britain began with V1's on 13 June 1944. The first V2 rockets hit London on 08 September 1944 from mobile bases in Holland. The "last two V2's exploded on 27 March 1945". Casualties in Britain were announced as 2,754 killed and 6,523 seriously injured. However, Alwyne writes about them coming over for the last time on 29th).
4th Dull and cold with a little rain. 3 sirens today. 12.30 - 1.55 a.m., 11.45 a.m. - 12, 7.55 - 9 p.m. Piloted planes over early morning and this evening for 1st time since last June. 6 shot down during night. Siren went in Chapel while Trudgett was preaching and we could hear a doodle go along in distance. Heard heavy gun barrage this evening. Started even. serv. (Started evening services at Primitive Methodist Chapel on Straight Road).
3rd Bright and cold again 44 degrees. Tried to set some lettuce seed but it was too cold. Had a real beano with 5 air raids today. 3 - 3.20, 3.40 - 4.10, 4.45 - 5, 5.45 - 5.55 a.m. and 2.30 - 2.45 p.m. Got up 4 times and heard 2 doodlebugs along. First daylight raid for months. A doodle roared along and I rushed out to try and see it but couldn't. Battle for West of Rhine nearing end. 4 miles to Cologne. Germans pulling back across River. George home for the 1st time since Thurs., all sooty. Had a 6th raid just as going to bed 9.50 - 10.10 p.m.
2nd Bright and cold. Security blackout on news lifted. U.S. 9th Army reaches Rhine at Dusseldorf and captures Krefeld. Big German withdrawal across Rhine begun. Huge air attacks. Set peas. George has not been home all day.
1st Turned colder. Heard big rocket in night. Munchen Gladbach captured (Munchengladbach, North Rhine, Germany). D.S.T. to begin on Easter Monday. (Daylight Savings Time. During WW2, Britain adopted British Double Summertime (2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time). The aim was to save energy. Clocks reverted back to British Standard Time at the end of the war, in 1945). Got 18 eggs today. Dad started digging yesterday. 600 R.A.F. heavies and 1200 U.S. heavies attacked Germany today.
February 1945
28th Rather dull but mild 50 degrees. Went for walk after tea and found street lamps were alight at top of by-pass. Monty has put security blackout on progress of U.S. 9th Army. Only 8 miles now to Cologne which is now under gunfire. Goebells threatens increased V weapon attacks over wider area. (Paul Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda). Have managed to get through Jan and Feb without suspicion of a cold. No sirens in Feb.
27th Glorious day, sunny and nearly 60 degrees. Offensive in West going well. Only 10 miles to Cologne, up to 9 mile advance today. German defences cracking. Churchill makes Commons statement on Crimea conference.
26th Nice day and lovely evening. Offensive going well. Has now gained 11 miles. 12 miles to Cologne. 1200 U.S. heavies made biggest daylight raid on Berlin. 1100 tons of H.E.'s and million incendiaries dropped. (H.E. = High Explosive - fragmentation effect upon detonation).
25th Dull and rather cold and windy. U.S. West offensive now gained 5 miles, 18 miles to Cologne. No rockets today. Great air offensive continuing. George a very good boy.
24th Nice fine day. Went for walk down Bergholt Rd. The great attack in the west has started. U.S. 9th and 1st Armies have crossed Roer River and advanced up to 4 miles. (Described as a harrowing attack across the swollen River Roer, after months of preparation). Eisenhower says aim is to destroy all Germans west of the Rhine. Big air attacks. 12 lost out of 1100 last night. Turkey and Egypt declare war on Germany and Japan. Egyptian premier shot at and killed. (Egyptian Premier Ahmad Mahir Pasha was shot and killed in Parliament after reading a decree - he had been appointed Prime Minister after King Farouk removed Mustafa an-Nahhas Pasha. The new premier called for new elections but opposed members of the Muslim Brotherhood standing as candidates. Immediately after this announcement in parliament, he was assassinated).
23rd Wet afternoon. Had a rocket drop at Chelmsford this afternoon at 5 o'clock. Fell at Rainsford Road. Made no end of a bang. Cannons window broken. Germans say big offensive has started. Between 8,000 and 9,000 planes took part in yesterdays railway attacks.
22nd Fine 50 degrees. Biggest air attack of war on German railways today by 6000 planes. 14,000 500lb bombs dropped. 39 of 100 R.A.F. bombers lost last night.
21st Fine day. 1200 R.A.F. attacked Germany last night, 20 lost. 1200 U.S. heavies out today. Not much happening. Felt sick in night and got up and got myself some soda.
20th Lovely day, sunny. Dr. came this evening for last time. Had loud rocket this afternoon at Ingatestone. 2 this evening. Went for walk this evening.
The wartime diary of
Alwyne Garling
93 London Road

brought to us by
Heather Johnson

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