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Alwyne Diary
©2011 Heather Johnson
September 1944
23rd Bright periods but rather cool. We have had no end of a day. As I was coming home I saw scores of gliders going out and they kept going over for a long time. We had a big batch of troop transports go over aswell. Also no end of fighters and bombers. Saw the tugs go back in the evening. Thousands of airborne troops have been landed to help relieve the hard pressed airborne force at Arnhem. Situation still critical but a column has got to the south bank of the river. Have just had 2 alerts 9.30 - 10.5 p.m. and 10.15 - 10.40 p.m. Heard a lot of doodles blow up in first raid but nothing in second. Second all clear had just gone when a plane came over and made a most terrible dive. We couldn't think whatever had happened and rushed back into shelter, could hear loud poppings going off. Then I went and looked out and could see a big fire. It was one of our fighters crashed at Stanway Hall, setting fire to some stacks and the ammunition was going off. We went up as far as the Rec and could see it well there. At the same time there was a great force of our bombers going home overhead. Spent afternoon in garden and cut the lawns. Dad set out 100 lettuce plants.
22nd Foggy morning, better afternoon, rain in evening. Mother sat out a little while in afternoon. Had a quiet night last night but have just had a raid 8.30 - 9 p.m. Had a doodle come along before we could hardly get to shelter. Heard 3 go over close and several in distance. Heard 3 blow up, one fairly loud. Severe fighting in Holland. We have only got 2 miles north of Nijmegen and are still 8 miles from the airbornes at Arnhem whose position seems to be getting critical.
21st Dull and misty but mild. Had another alert 4.10 - 4.50 a.m. Heard one doodle in distance and heard it blow up. There is good news to-day, the bridge over the Rhine at Nijmegen and tanks have got across to the North bank. British airborne troops at Arnhem are being hard pressed.
20th Mild with sunny intervals. Mother sat out. Went back to office. Alert 1.30 - 2.35 a.m. Heard doodles in distance. One at Maldon and one at lt. Baddow. Had just had another raid 8.35 - 9.40 p.m. Heard several doodles, one roared over and rattled windows, only hear one go off. Heavy fighting going on in Holland for the bridge over the Rhine.
19th Very dull and misty but warm and still. Vera and I went to Dedham fishing to finish up the holiday. Only caught one each. Great news tonight. British 2nd Army tanks have driven right across Holland today to within 5 miles of Germany, advancing 37 miles in 5 hours. Alerts 12.5 - 12.10 and 4.10 - 4.30 a.m. Heard one or two doodles, one blew up with big bang.
18th Not a very nice day. Dull and rather cool 65 degrees but a little sun in afternoon. Managed to sit out for hour sharp. Cold better. Intended to go to Dedham but put if off until tomorrow. Big reinforcements flown to Holland. Saw glider train going along. Alert 4.50 - 4.55 a.m.
17th Nice sunny day but cloudy periods. 63 degrees. Dreadful disappointment - got a cold. Sat out on front lawn in morning and back in afternoon. Hundreds of planes over. First Airborne army landed in force in Holland. British land army has advanced 2 miles into Holland. Alert 8.35 - 8.55 p.m. Heard doodle bug go over with fighter shooting at it and then it crashed at Copford Plain with a loud bang. (Copford Green?). Put clocks back 2nd hour. (During WW2, Britain maintained the hour's advance on GMT at the start of the winter of 1940. The clocks continued to be advanced by an extra hour and, during these summers, Britain was 2 hrs ahead of GMT and Britain operated British Double Summer Time). Dim out started but we have got to keep the blackout. (The blackout was replaced by a partial "dim-out").
16th Sunny day but cool w. wind 62 degrees. Sat out on front lawn in shelter all morning. Went to Pulfords fishing in afternoon and had a lot of bites, I caught 6 and dad one. Americans have broken through Seigfried Line in 4 places. R.A.F. sent 800 to Keil last night, 11 lost. Alert 5.45 - 6.25 a.m. Heard some flying bombs go over. Another alert at 10.50 - 10.55 p.m. Got up but heard nothing.
15th Dull and mild 70 degrees. Few spots of rain, managed to sit out in shelter until 4.30. Americans have surrounded Aachen.
14th Glorious summer day. Mist early and then warm and sunny 70 degrees. Sat out on lawn in shirtsleeves and then went fishing at 3.30 down at Pulfords. Grace and Eunice called while we were gone. (Paternal Garling Aunts to Alwyne). Americans are attacking Seigfried Line. (Siegfried Line = line of defensive forts and tank defences built by Germany along it's western frontier).
13th Beautiful sunny day. 63 degrees. Started holiday. Went to Pulfords fishing in afternoon. (Newbridge Mill Pond, West Bergholt - owned by Pulfords. Burnt down in 1960). Caught several small ones. Dad got a nice roach 5 oz. American troops have made a second crossing of the German Frontier. R.A.F dropped 600,000 incendiaries on Frankfurt and Stuttgart last night, 25 lost. Heard a big rocket bomb explode this morning.
12th Another lovely sunny day 63 degrees. had tea out and all sat out until 7.40 Hope it will keep fine as I start my holiday tomorrow. Germans seem to be sending over their V2 rockets but its all very hush hush and we have not told mother. Nothing official about it. (The first V2 to hit London fell on Chiswick on 08th September 1944). The bang we heard Sunday night seems to have been one at Fambridge. (Fell on North Fambridge, it lies just east of South Woodham Ferrers and on the north bank of the River Crouch). There was a big one tonight as I was coming home. Germany has been invaded. American troops crossed frontier at 6.10 last evening. Harve has surrendered today. Great air raids on Germany. 300,000 incendiaries and 200 - 4000 lbrs. By R.A.F. last night. 16 missing .
11th Lovely sunny day. Cold morning only 43 degrees but a little warmer than yesterday. Mother sat out all afternoon and had tea out. I had tea out when I got home. All sat out till 7.30. Good news from Belgium. British have broken out across Albert Canal and patrols have entered Holland. Luxemburg captured. 5000 tons dropped on Harve yesterday. (German Garrison at Harve/Le Havre, Normandy, France). Canadians have launched an attack. Should have started holiday (extra one) today but went to office, too busy to start tomorrow but shall have a try to finish up. Heard a big bang this morning when I got to office.
10th Lovely sunny day but cool 60 degrees. Sat out in shelter for 3 hours in afternoon. Sang duets at Harvest. Could hear guns from battle in France. Heard a big explosion at 9.30 p.m. Stiff resistance being encountered. British held up on Albert Canal.
The wartime diary of
Alwyne Garling
93 London Road
Lexden
Colchester


brought to us by
Heather Johnson
www.WW2inColchester.com


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