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31 August 2010

Saturday 31st August 1940: Cheam & Sutton hospital bombed

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31 Sat. (Continued.) Rather warm, fine sunny day, grand. Air raid warning from 8.30 to 9.5 a.m. From 10.45 to 11.25 a.m.. Enemy plane overhead, heard machine gun, this at 1. p.m. the warning coming at 1.7. and lasting till 2 p.m. Further warning from 5.50 to 7.20.p.m. Many enemy squadrons and some air battles: heard distant bombs. The bomb I heard at 9.p.m. last night hit the Cheam & Sutton Hospital. Polished the floors, bought liver for Dinkey: & a short walk in evening. Noticed concentration of searchlights over London soon after 9 p.m., the warning being given at 9-15 and lasting till 10-15. Another warning at 11-25 p.m. till midnight. A few bombs dropped in a westerly direction.

On this day: Biggin Hill, Manston, West Malling, Lympne and Hawkinge airfields virtually unoperational following attacks. Biggin,  Debden and Hornchurch airfields attacked today. A low-point for the RAF - Britain's fighter-defence south of the Thames is almost non-existent.
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30 August 2010

Friday 30th August 1940: '...a great number of bombs'

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Very mild, fine sunny day, but not much warmth in the sun now. To buy battery and get tin of floor polish. While out the sirens sounded at 4-35 to 5-50 heard some bombs. Other warnings at 12-10 to 1-25 + 3-15 to 3-35 p.m. While listening to nine o'clock news on wireless heard loud explosion, went out to hear an enemy bomber with searchlights trying to pick it out without success. Then the sirens sounded and warning lasted till 3-55 a.m. on 31st Sat. Heard great number of bombs and some gunfire. German bombers droning continually. Some bombs on London I am sure.
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On this day:  German loses, 36 planes, British 26. Attacks on Luton aircraft factory and Kent airfields.Vera Brittain records that she went down into tube at Euston to shelter and was kept there for an hour. Meanwhile Hitler says he will announced, on 10 Sept, decision regarding an invasion of Britain. Under the 'Vienna Award', Hungary is given half of Rumanian Transylvannia and Bulgaria is given southern Dobrujia- this at instigation of Germany and Italy - this avoids Balkan war and ensures German grain and oil supplies.
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Friday 29th August 1940:roses and bombs

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Very mild, some weak sunshine, boisterous cool N.wind. Walk to buy something for Dink. Sat on a seat in Cottenham Park Rec. Hoed over a rose bed and watered it. Harold called. At 11.0 p.m. enemy aircraft came from S. & dropped two salvos of bombs not many miles in N. direction.
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On this day: 17 German and 9 British aircraft lost. No daytime bombing.
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29 August 2010

Wednesday 28th August 1940: Germans met no resistance, says Fred

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Warning at 12-45 a.m. for 1/2 an hour. Heard heavy detonations after all-clear had been sounded. Very mild, some pleasant sun of the moderate sort. Having deepened the floor of the shelter have now had to lower the seats. Walk along rail path in evening. No sooner got back than the sirens sounded at 8-50 p.m. and was in operation till 4.-5 a.m. on 29 Thur. during which time a continuous procession of German bombers droned their way past here.  Bombs fell in N. and N.W. direction also some fairly near in S.W. (This was at Ewell). Glow of a fire in the sky in the North. The Germans met with no opposition except searchlights which failed to find any of them. Oh, yesterday I cut two marrows in the garden, each weighing 8 1/2 lbs. - The fire referred to above was a row of houses at Cricklewood.
(Note: the brackets etc above all all Fred's original.)
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On this day: despite Fred's perception, the Germans lost 30 aircraft and the RAF 20. Liverpool suffered 4 German raids. Vera Brittain records a bomb whistling past her bathroom. And Italy saw first flight of Captoni-Campani turbine-powered piston-engined  aircraft.
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Tuesday 27th August 1940: digging garden dug-out

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Between very mild and rather warm, dull. Spent afternoon digging the dug-out deeper and putting the earth on top. Bought fish for Dinkey. Alan Spooner called; he said it was rumoured that the German plane came down on Burgh Heath. Walk in evening past the anti-aircraft station. Talk with soldier who said he was a gun layer. He said the No.1 gun hit the German with the first shot. No 2 also fired, also the Richmond guns. Warning from 9-15 till 11.55 p.m. Enemy planes overhead, searchlights could not locate & there was no firing. Heard a few bombs but none near at hand. Oh, the Nazi brought down was a Heinkel.
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On this day: RAF Coastal Command establishes Icelandic base to protect shipping. 
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28 August 2010

Monday 26th August 1940: insane, demoralised, irrational - wish I had not gone

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Rather warm, dull, but not unpleasant. Cycled in evening to Tolworth to see Alb & Lily (see photos two days ago) & found them insane over the war. Had to leave them as I found them completely demoralised and irrational: wish I had not gone. Air raid warning at 9-15 p.m. lasting till 3-45 a.m. on 27 Tuesday. There was a continuous stream of German planes from South to North and back all this time on mischief bent. Some bombs were dropped fairly near but most were out of hearing.Three Nazi bombers were caught in our searchlight and the guns on the field opened fire. The lady staying at Frayne's said she saw one fall out of the searchlight beam: hope so.
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On this day: more major raids against RAF airfields, and Portsmouth. Germans lose 19 bombers and 26 fighters; RAF loses 31 fighters. Meanwhile RAF bombers attacked Berlin industry, not with great success, but prompted Hitler to switch German attacks from RAF airfields to London - a major error in strategy.
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Sunday 25th August 1940: lost romance & bombs

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Sun 25 continued, (wrote Uncle Fred, having recorded the bombing of the early hours under yesterday's entry) between mild and rather warm, dull, calm; not unpleasant. Walk in evening to Holland Gardens, very interested in the display of named dahlias. Just came out of the gardens to meet Harold Holmwood. Also saw Dear Annie Chapman; have not seen her for a long time. She smiled at me and said, "Good evening": the nearest I have been to her for probably 20 years. Air raid warning at 10.45 till 11.30. Heard some bombs Londonwards. Sundry evening aircraft prowling round after all clear had been given.
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On this day/last night: Warmwell, Dorset, fighter airfield attacked (  http://www.controltowers.co.uk/W-Z/Warmwell.htm ), also Birmingham, amonst other targets. And Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania became part of the Soviet Union.
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27 August 2010

Saturday 24th August: Dad's shelter door

Fred's Dad is on the left; this photo taken at 98 Largewood Avenue, Tolworth, (probably in 1943) where he'd moved to join Fred's sister-in-law Lily (standing) and Fred's brother, Albert (standing) for the rest of the war. The criss-cross on the French windows is thought to be tape to prevent shattering in bomb-blasts.
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Very mild, some nice modest sun. Air raid warning lasting an hour from 8.20 a.m.. polished the floors. Dad made and fitted a door to the air raid shelter. Another warning from 4 to 5 p.m., much air activity, and hear 30 or 40 bombs several miles away in W. or N.W, direction. Cycled round the houses in evening - did 6 miles anyway. Air raid warning before 11 p.m. and lasting till 1.20 p.m. on Sun 25th. German plane hovering overhead for what seemed an eternity. Heard two fighters go over but without seeming to make contact. Heard several bombs.
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On this day: Fred's record coincides with Vera Brittain's Diary of  air raid warnings she noted at 8.30am, 3.55pm and 11.45pm. Manston airfield in Kent was badly damaged and put out of action; Portsmouth suffered badly. German bombers missed Thameshaven oil storage depot east of the City of London and instead bombed the heart of the City, destroying many notable old buildings. The RAF lost 22 fighters and the Germans 38. Only two German bombers were lost.
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Friday 23rd August 1940: searchlight lit Nazi

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Mild, very rough, cold N.wind, dull, some rain. From  midnight through the early hours a German plane or planes were hovering round trying to find objectives with the searchlights vainly trying to find them. By three o'clock bombs began to fall, so we got up and took cover in the shelter in the garden. Bombs fell all round but none near at hand. Anti-0aircraft guns fired and the red sparks of shells could be seen in the sky. Presently we saw a Nazi plane brilliantly illuminated in the searchlights but it was not fired at. I hope it did not get away. By 4 o'clock the all clear sounded as so back to bed again. Walk on Common in evening saw Tomes and Booker with their planes also Wyatt turned up; he told me Edgecombe is in the Fleet Air Arm.
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Thursday 22nd August 1940: what bombs?

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Very mild, dull, less wind. Cut two big marrows. To buy fish for Dink, also to take accumulator**. Short walk in evening, home along little rail-path. Did not hear any bombs to-day but was told there was one.
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**Note: 66 Chestnut Road had no mains electricity, so Fred took the accumulator to be charged for use with the radio. He also owned a wind-up gramophone.
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Wednesday 21st August 1940: repairs to railway

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Very mild, very dull, boisterous cool N.wind. Watered Dear Mother's grave in afternoon: we need some rain. Saw that the rails at Merton Park Level Crossing all now repaired and expect trains will be running to-morrow. No untoward incidents today. Cycled to Botsford Road to show Alf my re-juvenated bicycle; he had re-enamelled and repaired his own for Dennis to ride.
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On this day: assassination of Leon Trotsky in Mexico City. Soviet authorities denied any involvement - but this was suspected due to his and Stalin's enmity.
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25 August 2010

Tuesday 20th August 1940: delayed-action bombs

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Rather warm, dull, boisterous, rain at night. Ten more delayed bombs to-day. They are being exploded, and we knew a 1,000lb one was to be fired at Merton at 6 p.m., we heard it at 6.20. They are dug down to and raised and an explosive charge put underneath; the people are cleared from round about and then they are fired. I admire the pluck of the men who do the job as they are likely to go off at any moment. Apparently there is a slow chemical process in the bomb which delays the action. These bombs were dropped last Friday. Have heard of bombs dropped elsewhere which have taken a fortnight to go off. Mr.Marriot's two sons are killed. Harold and Eddy called at night. Took down the other pedal of cycle, cleaned bearings also the crank case bearings: getting the old bike up to concert pitch now.
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On this day: Uncle Fred admired the 'pluck' of bomb disposal teams (above), meanwhile it was on this day that Churchill, speaking in the House of Commons, said of RAF pilots:
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"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."


Churchill also said to the House:
The British Empire and the United States will have to be somewhat mixed up together in some of their affairs... I do not view the process with any misgiving . I could not stop it if I wished; no one can stop it. Like the Mississippi, it just keeps rolling along. Let it roll. Let it roll in full flood, inexorable, irrestistible, benignant, to broader lands and better days."
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24 August 2010

Monday 19th August 1940

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"I cannot see how smashing people's houses and shops will win the war for Germany."
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Rather warm, mostly dull but not unpleasant. The bomb that went off at ten to midnight last night was the one at Merton level crossing; a row of old property was destroyed and the railway damaged. Went to see the damage at Merton some of which was considerable. I cannot see how smashing people's houses and shops will win the war for Germany. In evening to see Uncle Alf and Aunt Hannah & thence to see damage in Linkway and West Barnes. One bomb in the concrete in Linkway heaved the road up in great blocks, yet not a window was broken  or a house scratched. Two more delayed bombs went off this evening. --- Oh, Alan Spooner called to say he had seen a damaged German aeroplane go along the road on a lorry.
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On this day: first flight of prototype of North American B-25 Mitchell medium bomber.
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Sunday 18th August 1940

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"Another bomb has gone off as I write..."
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Very warm, grand sunny day but heavy evening. Air raid warning while we were at dinner just after midday. A lot or air activity and some bombs dropped south of here. Those with good sight saw a machine dive to earth after an air battle overhead, during which cannon shells from German planes dropped nearby. Wardens went round asking people if any had fallen on their property. Heard some come down but none here. These shells explode if touched even lightly on their front end. Mrs.Akroyd to tea. While at table another warning but no bombs. Nine light grey aircraft came over which looked like German dive-bombers, you could see the black bombs underneath. Walk to Morden to see the wrecked plane but it was hidden among some trees - a British Spitfire.I was told two German Dorniers were down on other side of London Road, Morden. 3 more delayed bombs went off to-day. Another bomb has gone off as I write, that's 4. Yet another delayed bomb went off at ten to midnight - heavy. I believe there are still more lying about ready to explode. You have to laugh!
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"You have to laugh!"
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23 August 2010

Saturday 17th August 1940: flowerstall man killed...

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"...many killed who were coming down the staircase having just left the train."
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Warm, glorious sunny day. Kitty Kingham married Harry Morris at St Saviour's. Out to buy Dinkey's week-end food. To Uncle Ben's at Malden on my cycle; saw the result of the bombs at West Barnes level crossing, at the Duke of Cambridge Burlington Road etc. Had tea thence with Uncle Ben to see the damage at Malden Station and Alsic (?) Avenue. The station and shops were the most damaged and lives were lost here. Both Uncle Ben's milkmen were killed: one is completely missing as is also the flowerstall man at the station. The booking clerk was killed and many killed who were coming down the staircase having just left the train. All things considered, I am amazed at the small damage done considering the number of bombs dropped. None that I saw actually got a direct hit on anything. During to-day 6 delayed action bombs went off, the one at 8 a.m. was severe and gave the house a nasty jolt but where it exploded I do not know. High Street Merton is closed as is also the By-pass beyond the Odeon Cinema Malden, so have not seen anything there. Jack and Mr.Bradley having heard of the raid on S.W. London came up to see if Doris and Libye also all the old friends were safe which they were: called here and showed them Dinkey which was their cat before they went away. German reconnaissance machine over Malden when I was there apparently to take photos of their handiwork: I doubt if he could see much. All things considered things could have been much worse.
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On this day: Germany announced a total sea blockade of Britain and mining of surrounding waters.
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Friday 16th August 1940: Barnes, Malden, Merton bombed

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Rather warm, dull, calm. Air raid warning mid-day but nothing transpired apart from the sound of many aircraft. Cleaned bearings and re-adjusted cones of on pedal of cycle. Another warning from 5 to 6 p.m. Heard squadron of German bombers approaching from west passing overhead to east. Many bombs were dropped from Malden to Merton Abbey. Five high explosive bombs fell locally, two on the playing fields and two on the concrete road - Bushey Rd, one damaging a lorry and seriously injuring the driver - have not heard if he died, and one beside the Arterial Garage at end of Vernon Avenue. Saw the damage. Bombs fell at West Barnes and Kingston Road; from the Merton Park Level Crossing to the Grove is said to be wrecked.
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On this day: we now know that no fewer than 1,720 German aircraft were involved in the raids across the south of England on this one day. Meanwhile, RAF aircraft bombed Milan and Turin.
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22 August 2010

Thursday 15th August 1940 - Battle of Britain

Croydon Aerodrome
A pilot's loose-leaf chart (click chart to enlarge) from pre-war 3rd edition of  'The Air Pilot', the official publication from the Air Ministry. Croydon was Britain's most important international aerodrome, while Heathrow was still a small grass airfield.  Latitude 51 deg 21' N. Longitude  00 deg 07' W (so close to the Greenwich meridian). Wallington is to the north-west, central Croydon to the north-east  (see below).
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Fred's diary: Rather warm, pleasant sunny day. Out to buy 3/16 ball bearings and some french chalk. Re-fitted lower head race of bicycle with new balls.Treated back cover with the chalk to stop creaking - cycled to buy some fish and order Carter Paterson. Met Miss Jarvis. Uncle Ben came after tea. While he was here heard aero-engines and saw in the distance an air battle over Croydon Aerodrome and heard some bombs. Alan Spooner saw three machines come down. The sirens were sounded but the all clear came quite soon. Met Edie Bennet in evening, she said her mother is dying of dropsy.
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On this day: Adlertag (Eagle Day) saw the German Luftwaffe fly 1,786 sorties, especially against RAF bases, preparing for the planned invasion of Britain. The Germans lost 75 aircraft, the RAF, 32. The British had cracked the Enigma code, in which German operational plans were transmitted, which proved of vital assistance to Britain and the pilots, famously named by Churchill, in the House of Commons on 20th August, as 'The Few'.


Also on this day: Helle, a Greek cruiser, was torpedoed and sunk by an Italian submarine.
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Croydon Aerodrome location  from 1930s 'The Air Pilot'. (Click to enlarge.)


Blog reader Fred Brewer was a teenager living in the same area and has sent these notes... Uncle Fred mentions the attack on Croydon, on 15th August 1940. I remember this well, and stood in the doorway of Meredith's shop (505 Kingston Road, newsagent and general stores). The ensuing air battle was quite visible from that distance, because it took place very high up, and could be followed by the vapour trails, which criss-crossed the sky. According to The Luftwaffe War Diaries, compiled by Cajus Bekker, first printed in German in 1964, and in English in 1966, Group 210, under Captain Walter Rubensdorffer were headed for Kenley and Biggin Hill airfields. The group split into two, with a number of Dornier 17s  bound for Biggin Hill, and 15 Me110s and 9 Me109s  headed for Kenley, the important Group 11 field. The Captain decided to perplex the defence, by taking a wide loop to the north, and then attacking Kenley from the south. Unexpectedly, they found themselves over the southern counties, and moved in for the attack. Captain Rubensdorffer had made a serious navigational error. The Dorniers attacked West Malling, and the Messerschmitts were over Croydon. The RAF gave their loses as 34, and the Germans admittted to 55, and dubbed it Black Thursday. Captain Rubensdorffer also failed to return.

Also see BBC material on Battle of Britain at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/battle_of_britain
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21 August 2010

Wednesday 14th August 1940

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Roses, milkman's daughter... and Southampton bombed.
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Rather warm, dull, but not unpleasant. Gave Valerie, Mr.Jones the milkman's little girl a Los Angeles rose, she said, "It is very nice": she is not yet five. Fitted pair of larger brake-blocks to front brake of bicycle. Cycled to Lower Morden in afternoon, have not seen it since it was built on. When I saw it last it was all farm and meadow land. Dear Madge brought some plums and tomatoes in evening - she is very nice. Harold called; told us of the damage done by German bombs to Southampton. 78 Nazi aeroplanes were brought down round our coast yesterday. Took head of cycle down and cleaned the bearings; fixed the lower ball-race tightly it was always loose. --- Oh, Alan and Fred Spooner with the help of some boys got my aeroplane out of the tree on Cannon Hill Common; and glad I was to get it back even though it is slightly damaged.

On this day: Germany applied its laws to occupied Luxembourg, suspending the constitution.  
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Tuesday 13th August 1940

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Rather warm, dull. To buy liver for Dinkey. In evening for a cycle ride through Worcester Park to Old Malden. Found out that my noisy back tyre is due to inner tube chafing on inside of cover; I think an application of powered French chalk will stop the nuisance.
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Monday 12th August 1940

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"...mine is now up a tall tree overlooking the lake on Cannon Hill Common"
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Between very mild and rather warm: plenty of moderate sun, not unpleasant. Flew models on Joseph Hoods with Alan Spooner with grand results but mine is now up a tall tree overlooking the lake on Cannon Hill Common; doubt if I shall get it back. Repair to noseblock of Alan's aeros. repait to 3 speed gear control of my bike. Short ride along Arterial Road and back along Coombe Lane in evening. received packet of Railway Magazines and letter from Rev.Charlie Staden: wrote him a long letter.
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Sunday 11th August 1940

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Rather warm, with some bright sunny intervals; very rough cool wind: getting much cooler. Audrey, Arthur and John Child called. Walking through Joseph Hood's was much struck by a lovely flowering bush. Asked the keeper the name - Hibbiscus: he gave me one for a buttonhole. Also watched cricket on the playing fields. Alb & Lily to tea. In evening, up Downs, Ridgway, Ridgway Place along rail-path home.
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In Fred's footsteps: looking on a modern map - try Googling Ridgway Place, Merton - it's possible to trace Fred's evening walk in 1940, from Chestnut Road, along Lower Downs Road - past today's Playfit Social Sports Club, and Hall School, Wimbledon Senior School - and The Downs, east-north-east along The Ridgway, down a fairly lenthy Ridgway Place to his favourite path alongside the railway. 
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On this day: Italian troops attacked British and South African troops holding Tug Argan Pass in British Somaliland. The Italians took the pass after four days fighting. 
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Saturday 10th August 1940

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Rather warm, rather cloudy, showers in morning but a little moderate sun later: boisterous. Polished the floors. Cooked lights for Dinkey. Bought tin of Kit.E.Cat, cat food, also to Chemists. Walk along Coombe Lane in evening. Saw Aunt Liza who was taking Maud to hospital.Maud is having an operation for appendicitis. Repaired anode terminal of screened-grid valve.
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On this day:  Laval told Germany that WWI fighter pilot Colonel RenĂ© Fonk had organised 200 pilots to support Germany against the UK. (Following France's Armistice with Germany in 1940, Pierre Laval twice served in the Vichy Regime in France as head of government, signing orders permitting the deportation of foreign Jews from French soil to the death camps. After Liberation (1945), he was arrested, found guilty of high treason, and executed by firing squad. - source: Wikipedia.)
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20 August 2010

Friday 9th August 1940

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Warm, nice, fine sunny day. Cleaned the windows inside and out. Bought liver for Dinkey. Got accumulator from Whitbrown's and bought electric torch batteries. Walked along railpath right into Wimbledon and back.
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On the day: UK forces withdrew from northern China and Shanghai to redeploy elsewhere.
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Thursday 8th August 1940

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Warm, cloudy, but some moderate sunshine in afternoon. Uncle Will called in morning - a very disgruntled man. Short walk just before tea. In evening to water Dear Mother's grave. Also watered the garden; getting very dry.

On this day: above the New Forest, in southern England, an RAF fighter pilot, James Nicholson, took on a squadron of German aircraft, despite the fact that his own aircraft was in flames. He was posthumously awarded the highest military honour, the Victoria Cross.
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A poem from later years...


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As Uncle Fred's diary approaches the days of the Battle of Britain - and Churchill's House of Commons speech on the 20th - your 2010 blogger offers his own tribute to a WWII airman who was related by marriage to Uncle Fred.


         Hodgkins, John (Sgt)

A city waits, the traffic slows,
toddlers are held in arms in London parks;
look child and learn as from the past
a small, insistent form takes shape:
a rounded wing, familiar silhouette,
the Merlin’s steady note, bold lettering,
a hint of weapons in the leading-edge...
a single Spitfire speaks for all that follow,
filling with wonder, memory and tears
the eyes of youth and age in different measure.
              ___________

Far from the pomp and circumstance
but minutes flying from The Mall,
I stand half-hidden by a line of trees
beside the Thames, in Oxfordshire.
I hear a distant drone, a mounting chord,
leaves quiver and a wing's brief shadow
reaches down and touches me,
a message from a new armada
flying to salute the young
who died for Britain.
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I thought I had escaped the flags and cheers,
I thought I had escaped my heritage.
At home, I’ll read again a tear-stained page
– you planned to see a newborn child
who cannot thank you now, it is too late,
but I am grateful for your life,
whether you died for duty or for love
or lack of choice. You wrote of Mozart
and a woman’s scent – you were a gentle
and a loving man who fought and won
a name and number carved into a stone.

                                                                            Tony French

Sergeant John Hodgkins RAFVR, wireless operator and air gunner, died along with five colleagues during a raid over Germany on 3 October 1943. The following February the Red Cross wrote to his parents saying that John was laid to rest in the cemetery of Burguffoln in the district of Hofgeismar Nord, 13 miles north-west of Cassel. His body was later moved to Hanover War Cemetery, at grave Number 11.C.1.
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Wednesday 7th August 1940

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NOTE TO READERS: we're catching up! Several 1940 days just added - we should have caught up with 1940 in a couple of days.
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Warm, dismal, yellow light & slight shower mid-day but brightening up later. Walk along Arterial Road. Uncle Ben and Frank called in evening. With Frank to Joseph Hood's** to demonstrate the 37 ins aero, and it performed well: showed him the anti-aircraft station. Oh, Alan Spooner gave me a Wearite Universal coil.

**recreation ground
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Tuesday 6th August 1940

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Warm, lovely sunny day without the sun being too intense. To Wimbledon Common with Alan Spooner to fly our aeros. I got splendid results and duration up to 80 secs. His large model went well but his 37 ins model landed heavily on a gavel path and damaged the nose. Kitty Kingham showed some of her wedding presents.
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Monday 5th August 1940: August Bank Holiday

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Bank Holiday which was not widely observed owing to war conditions. Fine warm sunny day; grand. Flew 34 ins lightweight on the Common with good results - duration up to 1 min 12 secs. Boy named Peter with a round freckled face was very interested.
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On the day: meeting in Rome between Hitler and Mussolini, leading to Italy anticipating an advance from Libya towards Cairo and the Suez Canal.
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Sunday 4th August 1940

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Warm, fine, calm day of genial sunshine. Audrey and Jean called. Mrs. Akroyd called to say her mother was dead. Walk on Wimbledon Common to the the models. Mr. Morand's machine was the best. The heather is coming into bloom.
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Saturday 3rd August 1940

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Rather warm; a nice sunny day - quite enjoyable. Flew the 37 ins model on Wimbledon Common with consistently perfect results. Saw M. Moland (?) and others. A good day
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On this day: Italy invades British Somaliland in east Africa.

18 August 2010

Friday 2nd August 1940

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Temperature up to 68 degs. in the shade and 90 in the sun - a little more summerlike but a dreadful boisterous cool wind made it a hot-cold door-slamming day. Flew 37 ins model on Rec in evening with the Spooner boys. Got great results in half a gale. Also played cricket with them; have not entirely forgotten the art of spin bowling.
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On the day: this month (not necessarily today) saw first flights of Focke-Achgelos Fa 223 Drache transport helicopter, also, at Peenemunde, DFS 194 research aircraft under full rocket power.
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Thursday 1st August 1940

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Rather warm, a lot of sun with some warmth in it but very rough cool wind. Got American Station WNBI, New York in afternoon to show Alan Spooner. To buy something for Dinkey. In evening along Coombe Lane, By-pass and back by Bushey Road. Saw the mighty new searchlight on the fields.Card from Alb saying two bombs were dropped near Tolworth on Tuesday night. German aeroplane hovering about in early hours then went off and dropped bombs which I heard in Thames Estuary.
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On this day: over the next few days, all Baltic States were incorporated into the Soviet Union, having been  invaded by the 'Red Army', meanwhile Italy geared-up its anti-Greece propaganda.
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17 August 2010

Wednesday 31st July 1940

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(Note: Fred got this date wrong, he called it the 30th)
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Rather warm, some genial sunshine - better. Slight repair to tensioner trip, both to mine and Alan Spooner's models. With him to fly on Wimbledon Common with fine results; I did 67 seconds. Spoke to Mr.Morand - don't know how to spell his name. Maud brought little Gwen in evening.
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On this day: Hitler said, "...the decision to dispose of Russia is definite." But he was aware of the impossibility of campaigning during a Russian winter.
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Tuesday 30th July 1940

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"machine-gun fire from above clouds..."

Rather warm, some drizzle, dismal. Sent letter to Shadforth's (?) also posted letter for Dad. Bought liver for Dinkey. Saw Dear Mother's grave. Drew out 3-valve circuit for Alan Spooner. Jean & Audrey called. To chemists for Ciss. Listenened to U.S.A. stations on short-waves. Heard German aero. at night; searchlights could not locate it, heard burst of machine-gun fire from above clouds then sound of a bomb; also a second bomb more distant later.
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16 August 2010

Monday 29th July 1940

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Between very mild and rather warm, some gentle sun. Flew 37 ins model on Wimbledon Common in evening getting flights up to 70 seconds duration. Fitted 4 micro-farad condenser to wireless set in place of one that leaked, also another rheostat.
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On this day:

  • German planes bombed Dover, especially the harbour area
  • Hitler informed his military chiefs that he intended, at some date as yet to be decided, to attack the Soviet Union



Sunday 28th July 1940

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Between very mild and rather warm, some periods of moderate sunshine. Jean and Audrey called. Alb & Lily to tea. Walk on Common in evening; saw man with fine large silver aero which performed very well. Saw several meteorites at night.
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5 August 2010

Saturday 27th July 1940

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Very mild, become quite chilly later. Rain, sometimes heavy at intervals throughout the day; short thunderstorm midday. Out to buy Dinky's weekend food and to get the accumulator. Alan and Fred Spooner called about wireless. Harold called in evening.
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On this day: in Japan, foreign nationals were being arrested, being accused of links with spying. The British ambassador in Tokyo was told that Japan was determined to create a new order in its region, which Britain was resisting, and that it was difficult to see how a fundamental clash could be avoided.
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Friday 26th July 1940

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Between very mild and rather war. Rain in morning, clearing up to a pleasant day with a fair amount of moderate sun. Cycled against a stiff head-wind to Tolworth, where I sat in the recreation ground and watched a man and a boy fly a 6d Woolworths aeroplane with surprisingly good results. Had tea with Lily and Alb**, played the piano and saw the garden and stayed till 8.55 when I rode home in 25 minutes. Quite a nice time.

**at 98 Largewood Avenue, Tolworth - Fred's brother and sister-in-law.

On this day: the USA embargoed the shipping of aviation fuel and certain iron and steel to Japan.
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Thursday 25th July 1940

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Between very mild & rather warm. Small amount of moderate sun in morning, very cloudy later and rain at night. Walk along rail path ion afternoon to buy dozen yards of aero-rubber at Wells-wests. Also bought liver for Dinky. Saw loco Sir Walter Raleigh.Made up an eight-strand motor for my model aeroplane.
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