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Alwyne Diary
©2011 Heather Johnson
May 1944
23rd Still cold. Not quite 60 degrees. Mother went out for hour. Colds getting better. Heating ban coming on again tomorrow. (In cold weather fires heated most homes. Coal was strictly rationed for homes). Fighting in Italy has today entered a new phase. An offensive has been launched from the Anzio Beachhead and by Eighth Army against Hitler Line. Very heavy fighting going on. R.A.F. sent out 1000 bombers last night against Dortmund and Brunswick and lost 35.
22nd Better day but still cold. Heavy fighting for Hitler line still going on. 2000 ton R.A.F. raid on Duisburg last night. 30 missing. 200 trains shot up in Germany yesterday. Warning 3.40 - 4.5 a.m. I did not get up. Colds a little better. George has been away all day and has only just come round for first time.
21st Windy and rather cold 58 degrees. My cold bad, went out and played in morning but had to stay in for rest of day. (Played piano at Primitive Methodist Chapel in Straight Road). Vera in all day. Dad went over to Eight Ash Anniversary in afternoon. Mother kept in bed all day to keep away from colds. Record number of 4,000 sortees flown from Britain yesterday.
20th Better day with bright periods 62 degrees. My cold rather bad so I stayed in afternoon and evening. Vera kept in bed until after tea. More good news from Italy. We have broken into Hitler line in South, Germans are falling back on to their next line.
19th Little better day but still rather cold. My cold rather mucky. Vera's bad. She has gone to bed early all shivering. We are advancing on Adolf Hitler line. (A German fall-back line, north of Gustav line). Germans retreating in disorder. 500 U.S. bombers attacked Berlin and Brunswick today. 24 bombers and 19 fighters lost. 125 Nazis down.
18th Still rather cold, thundered at tea time. Got a cold. Vera has got one too. Great news from Italy, Cassino captured. Gustav line has ceased to exist. Monastry hill also captured. (Monte Cassino. Germans had to retreat into northern Italy). Nice rain this evening.
17th Cold and dull again. Heavy rain at Chelmsford but none here. (Lexden). Vera took Childrens Home money to Clifford. (?Cliff Garling, cousin). We have taken whole of Southern part of Gustav line, and are pouring through. Got a scratchy throat, afraid I have got a cold coming.
16th Very cold day. Rain, Hail, sleet and snow shower at Chelmsford. Lovely rain in evening. Attacks on Gustav line continuing. 3000 prisoners now taken.
15th Very cold and dull, only 44 degrees this evening. Heating ban removed. Great news from Italy. Gustav line breached. 2000 prisoners. (A line of German defence that crossed the Italian peninsula from Garigliano in the west, through Cassino and then on to Sangro in the east). George's abcess burst. Bathed him this evening. Finished counting Childrens Home collections - 14 -13 - 0. (473.74 in 2010). Germans made spy raid over South Coast last night. 14 shot down. A noise in the house woke us all in night.
14th Cold day 57 degrees. Sunny periods. Could not sit out. Had to go back to fires. George got another abcess, great swelling on his side, seems very ill. Progress being made in Italy against stiff resistance.
13th Hottest day of year 76 degrees. Came home on early bus. Sat out on lawn all afternoon and had tea out. Then great north wind got up and it thundered and turned cold. Temperature went down to 53 degrees. Vera finished collecting up Collingwood Rd. Got 11/6. (11 shillings and 6 pence = 19.25 in 2010). We have pushed in the Germans outer defences in Italy in heavy fighting but there is not much news yet. 800 U.S. bombers and 1000 fighters have been to Germany again today. Only 12 bombers lost. 63 shot down.
12th Beautiful sunny summer day 73 degrees. Went up to office without taking a coat for first time. Had a lot of planes over in night and heard a lot of bangs. Thought second front was starting. We have launched a big offensive in Italy. Satisfactory progress reported against stiff opposition. Big U.S. raids today on Germany. 43 bombers lost. 150 Germans down.
11th Glorious day 68 degrees, calm and sunny. Great pre invasion air attacks on. Went to Cantata. (Vocal composition with instrumental accompaniment).
10th Lovely day. Warm and sunny, nearly 70 degrees. Mother had dreadful head and could not get up until after tea. Stebastapol captured and Crimea cleared. (Sebastopol, city in southern Crimea on the Black Sea - now called Sevastopol).



The wartime diary of
Alwyne Garling
93 London Road
Lexden
Colchester


brought to us by
Heather Johnson



www.WW2inColchester.com


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