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Alwyne Diary
©2011 Heather Johnson
June 1944
25th Another lovely day. Less sun and rather windy but warm 76 degrees. No sirens today. Americans are in outskirts of Cherbourg, heavy fighting going on. Think George has got another abcess coming up. He is swearing and crying. Edgar came back to Chapel. (?Grandfather Edgar Garling).
24th Lovely day. Sunny all day 74 degrees. Sat out all afternoon and evening. Had tea out. Had letter to say Gales were bombed out by a Jerrybug last Mon. morning. Warning 12.25 - 12.35 a.m. Got up. Fall of Cherbourg expected soon. Took up 1st potatoes. Picked 7lb peas.
23rd Dull and cool again but broke out sunny in evening. Managed to have tea out. Throat bad again. Warnings 12.25 - 1 a.m., 3 - 3.20 a.m., 4.50 - 5 p.m. Got up first time but not second. Attack on Cherbourg making progress against stiff opposition.
22nd Sunny day. Still a cold strong N.E. wind but gradually dropped and is quite still and nice this evening. Been wearing thick mac for a fortnight. Had tea out. All out attack on Cherbourg started by Americans at 2 o'clock this afternoon. Doodle bugs still coming over day and night. Warning this evening 6.45 - 7 p.m. We all went down outside shelter and had just got in when the all clear went.
21st Very cold dull day with strong N.E. Wind. Sun broke out after tea and we put up old shelter under fir tree but it was very cold. Rough weather holding up landings. Final attack on Cherbourg begun. Capture expected very soon. Germans sent over rather more Doodle bugs last night. We had two warnings 12.25 - 1 a.m. and 5.50 - 6 a.m. Came rushing down at 6 as we thought we could hear one coming for us. Had another warning at Chelmsford during the morning. The one last evening came down at Southminster. 1000 U.S. bomber raid on Berlin today. Had first peas out of garden.
20th Brilliantly sunny day but cold strong N.E. wind. Had tea in shelter and sat out until past 8. Good news from France today. Americans only 4 miles from Cherbourg. Germans in full retreat. More P-planes over last night. Have just had a warning 8.50 - 9 p.m. Stood out in the front garden watching for the robot. Listened into eye witness accounts of them coming over. Dad managed to get 1lb of potatoes and ONE tomatoe in the town.
19th Very strong N.E. wind, turned sunny and warmer in evening and we sat out on top lawn in old shelter. Wet over battlefield. Americans driving towards Cherbourg. P-Plane crashed on Chelmsford yesterday morning. Fell on swimming baths and I went to have a look this morning. Nearly all shop windows in High St and Duke St broken. Three windows at office broken and some tiles off. The planes have a max. range of 150 miles and are jet propelled. Many being brought down. Bombing has reduced effort to 25% of what Germans intended. Churchill says victory may come this summer. Warning 6.50 - 7 a.m. My cold still bad.
18th Much better day. Sunny 68 degrees. Still cool but sat out all afternoon and had tea on lawn. Did not go to Chapel as my cold is still rather bad. P-Planes still coming over, but all quiet here. (Lexden). Americans have cut off Cherbourg Peninsular. George has licked his big wound open again. We bathed it and put some ointment on but he has only licked it off and made it worse.
17th Cold day with strong North wind. Wore scarf and thick mac. Had fire. Stayed in all afternoon and evening. Cold getting better. Germans still sending over P-Planes. (Pilotless Planes/V1 Flying Bombs/Doodlebugs). We had a quiet night but they had 4 warnings at Chelmsford. We have had 2 today 2.10 - 2.20 p.m. and 5.40 - 6.10 p.m. There has been damage and casualties. George bad again, we have tried to bathe him.
16th Had a rare old time last night. Siren went as soon as I had got to bed 8.30 - 8.45 p.m. but did not get up. Then between 10 and 11. A big lot of our planes went out. Siren went again 12 - 1.50 a.m. and we all got up. There was a big force of our planes going home. After the All Clear there was a lot more of our planes over. Then just before five I was woke up by a terrible old plane going over. Could not think whatever it was. Thought it was one of our planes in trouble and going to crash. Then just as it got away there was a terrible explosion and siren went 4.50 - 5 a.m. It was one of Jerry's new pilotless planes. At just after six we heard another bang and siren went again 6.5 - 6.20 a.m. When I got to Chelmsford I found that they had siren all night and all clear had only just gone. Siren went again there for some time during morning and there was another one here and there 4.15 - 4.30 p.m. The Germans have started using their secret weapon. Pilotless planes that come over and blow up. When you hear the engine stop and see the light go out you know its going to blow up. Damage and casualties have been caused. The schools closed down at Chelmsford today and all the children were sent home. My cold has been better today.
15th Nice day, sunny and warmer. Mother had shelter out. I felt very ill all day. Got a bad cold coming, went to bed at 8.15. Not much change in Normandy. George got a fresh place coming on his leg.
14th bright periods, cool. Went back to office. Situation in Normandy has become very fluid. We have made some deep thrusts but Germans are reacting strongly and stiff resistance is being encountered all along the front. Places are changing hands rapidly. Record number of 1500 Forts and Libs out early this morning. Woke us up going out. Fanny came home from Braintree and going back tomorrow.
13th Wet morning, sunny evening. Had day at home. Went to see Dr. in morning and was gone 3 hours. Could make no headway with the old blockhead. Has given me some gargle and gum paint. (Gum Paint = take a drop or two in your hand and with your finger massage the gums). Very heavy fighting continues in Normandy without much change in position. Warning in night 3.25 - 3.50 a.m. I did not get up. German plane shot down on line near Bethnal Green.
12th Much better day, sunny and warmer. I did not feel at all well. Chest bad and bleeding. (bleeding = slang/swear word, 'intensive adjective'). Came home on early bus. Going to have a bath and going to see Dr. in morning. Sylvia called after tea. Carentan captured. (Port city in Normandy, France). Mr. Churchill visited the beachhead.

The wartime diary of
Alwyne Garling
93 London Road

brought to us by
Heather Johnson

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