31 December 2012

31st Dec 1942: snow, fire & Thanks be to God!

31 Thur. Very cold, 3/4ins of snow but the afternoon sun melted it in places: freezing later. Walked to cats' meat shop at Merton but the place is shut having been damaged by fire. Chas was on the job of putting this fire out as he is a fireman and told me about it, but he said it was not badly damaged and expected it would be open the next day, but it seems boarded up for good. So I walked to the Morden shop and got some lights for Dinky there. Jean Child called in evening. The last day of the year. A far better and quieter year than we had any right to expect, and the recent victories in North Africa and Russia seem to indicate that the tide of war is turning against the Nazis and the New Year dawns with a hope that victory may be achieved before the end of 1943, at least a victory over Germany and Italy; it may take a little longer to defeat Japan, but the year closes with a feeling of relief and of thankfulness to Almighty God for having saved us when things seemed hopeless and of the promise of peace and better times ahead. So Thanks be to God.

The end of 1942.

Note: Click image to enlarge it. Fred very neatly finishes the final entry for 1942 with only one spare side left in the 4 1/2 x 7-inch notebook. His highest pin board score, recorded inside the front cover, was 5,875, and the highest scored by Ciss was 5,425. His cyclometer at the beginning of 1942 read 2,284.8 miles.

30 December 2012

30th Dec 1942: a quiet day

30 Wed. Hard frost, giving midday, clear fine air. Did shopping in morning but did not go out of the immediate neighbourhood. Maud called in evening for a little chat.

29 December 2012

29th Dec 1942: fire duties skipped

Bitterly cold, driving N. wind; clear, some weak sunshine. Shopping locally in afternoon along rail path a little way to see the Pacific loco: they appear to be very energetic engines. Learned by looking at Firewatching Rota I was on duty from Sunday evening to Monday morning but did not know it as I was told my duties would not begin until the new year.However, there are no warnings now so no-one goes on duty, so no-one will know I did not stay up so as to be ready. I was paired with Mr. Conley* opposite.

*...whose house appears at the top right of this blog - Ed.

28 December 2012

Fred's friend

One of Fred's correspondent friends was Rev C T Staden who lived in the house on the left of this photo, in Henrietta Street, Spalding. (Google, Street View)

27th & 28th Dec 1942: yellow weather

27 Sun. Very cold, half-dark, dirty yellow mist; calm. A number of children called prior to going to Sunday School - all very charming. All very full of Christmas and their presents. Jean and Audrey Child called. Did not go out.

28 Mon. Very cold, very dull, drizzle later. Cycled to Morden to buy a few things. Polished the lenses and reflectors of two electric torches: I like to keep them bright and properely focussed. Chopped firewood. Did not do much else except cook the dinner which I always do on weekdays.

26 December 2012

Boxing Day, 1942: konked-out said knocker

26 Sat. Boxing Day. Very cold, dismal, misty, yellow light. Cycled to Morden to buy cats' meat; very good of the lady assistants to serve on Boxing Day. Saw Mr. Waldon again. In afternoon cycled to Tolworth; succeeded in amusing Anthony (Uncle Fred, you're still amusing me - Editor), he has a lot of toys: stayed to tea and rode home in the dusk. Mrs Veale next door knocked just after I got back, she said their accumulator had konked-out, could I lend her one, yes, of course; she is a dear girl. Have cycled 512 miles this year! Good for me.

"Have cycled 512 miles this year! Good for me."

24 December 2012

Christmas Day, 1942: family meals & presents

25 Fri. Christmas day. White morning frost, cold cloudy day. Dad, Alb, Lily & little Anthony to dinner and tea. When Ciss got up she found the new torch in her room and was pleased with it. Anthony gave me a bar of chocolate & 2/6. Anthony was pleased with the toy elephant & cart given him by little Jenefer Child. Audrey Child called also Chas Thompson and Gwennie and Laurance.

23 December 2012

21st to 24th Dec 1942: Christmas shopping

21 Mon. ...dull, drizzle all day. Cycled to Morden to buy fish. Also to post office to buy postal orders and stamps. Then to Ethel's in Amity Grove to fit new H.T. battery but could not get it going; shall have to try again. Only need to cycle another 8 miles to complete 500 miles this year.

22 Tues. Mild, 55 degrees, calm, sunny afternoon: remarkable. To the grocers to take order, also other shopping locally. Then to Wimbledon along rail-path; bought a few things at Woolworth's. Saw a large new-type goods engine - a weird looking thing.

"blue sky all day...70 degrees...bought holly wreath & cats meat."

23 Wed. Sharp white morning frost then fog, which was quickly dispelled by the sun which shone from a blue sky all day with such power that I put out the thermometer in early afternoon and was surprised to see it reading 70 degrees - amazing.Cycled to Morden in morning, bought holly wreath & cats meat. To Wimbledon in afternoon along rail-path, bought violin strings, socks for myself, sweets and a large size torch for a present for Ciss. A few purchases locally as well. A busy day finished off by going to Ethel's in Amity Grove and got her wireless going first rate. Also fitted a large condenser lens in place of the frosted glass disc in Ciss's new torch - a great improvement.

"bought violin strings, socks for myself, sweets and a large size torch for a present for Ciss."

24 Thurs. Christmas Eve. Lovely calm day; 48 in the shade, 78 in the sun, almost unbelievable but true; blue sky all day. Cycled to Morden Churchyard to put wreath on dear Mother's grave. Met Alan Sopooner & Mr. Waldon; with dog. Bought Dad a jig saw puzzle.

22 December 2012

16th to 20th Dec 1942: blackout & ginger wine

16 Wed. Very cool, rough and rainy. A very rough journey on  my bike to Morden where I bought a few things including a Vidoi(?) electric cycle lamp I had set my heart on. It has a large parabolic brightly plated reflector and I succeeded focussing it into an intensely powerful beam: am very pleased with it. Put up the rest of the blackout to the front windows. Tested it at night by putting the lights on and found it satisfactory. Heard the great Eroica symphony on the wireless: more impressed than ever by the greatness of the master musician Beethoven Warning from 2.0 to 2.35 p.m. distant heavy rumble.

17 Thurs. ...took note to Mrs. Child using my cycle. The Christmas cards are beginning to arrive. Started repairs to marble top wash-stand. Posted long letter and card to Rev Chas Staden. Started writing letter to Uncle Tom & Aunt Nellie.

18 Fri. Merton to buy some chocolate in afternoon. Repaired the marble top of wash-stand which has been broken since the bombing. Paid visit the Aunt Liza. (sic) Finished letter to Uncle Tom & Aunt Nellie.

19 Sat. Very cool, dull, cloudy, rain all day. Got the groceries locally as usual, then a walk in the rain to Morden to buy a few things. Thence more shopping locally including buying ginger wine essence for Christmas. Mrs Henry French called at night to ask me to fit a high-tension battery for her.

20 Sun. Very cool, dull, cloudy. Short walk and to get Uncle Dick's new address from Cousin Alf. Addressed some Xmas cards. Ciss* went to Tolworth.

*Fred's sister (Theresa, known as Ciss) went to tea with her brother Albert and his family at Tolworth - 98 Largewood Avenue - on a Sunday, for many years.

15 December 2012

15th Dec 1942: Woolworths black out blind

15 Tues. Rather mild, clear, pure air. Put rear wheel back in cycle. Along line to Wimbledon; saw Pacific loco. Bought black out blinds at Woolworth's, also gum. Put up one black out blind in parlour, repaired another. Mrs. Child called; she aske me to fit a new H.T. battery to her wireless which I did.

14 December 2012

11th to 14th Dec 1942: Slate cash & a helmet

11 Fri. Very mild for season but powerful wind; intervals of sunshine and showers to complete the illusion of a fitful spring day; the air was pure and clear. Did the usual shopping including getting the meat. Also to Morden to get cats' meat. Gave the windows a final polish; they are now crystal bright.

12 Sat. Rather mild, blue sky, brilliant sunshine. Wallked to Morden to buy cats' meat, then back to Raynes park to do shopping, also to Church to get the annual Slate Club share out which amounts to 18/6. Received my card of authority and am now a member of the street fire fighting party: Mr Cox brought me a steel helmet: I shall look well wearing this and my gas mask.

13 Sun. Rather cool, very cloudy, fresh wind. Short walk in afternoon. Met Archie Adams with his little boy and girl: did not know he had a family. Mrs Akroyd called; her sister is in hospital.

14 Mon. Rather cool, dull. Cycled to Morden to buy fish. Saw some splendid electric cycle lamps in a shop there: shall I buy one? Thence to Whitbourn's to see if he has got an outer cover that will fit my bike. Mine are beaded edge tyres and they are not made now. A wired edge cover would not stay on the rim: he will see what can be done. Bought 1/2 doz. nice Xmas cards at Woolworth's at Morden . Uncle Ben called in evening.

8th to 10th Dec 1942: water divining

8 Tues. Very mild for season, 54 degrees Fah; very dull and cloudy. To Merton Churchyard to plant bulbs of Emperor daffodils & Cheerfulness narcissus on dear Mother's grave. Did some more wood-chopping. Cut out old wood of the Pauls scarlet rambler & tied up new shoots in their place, Ciss baked a Christmas cake.

9 Wed. Cool, dull chilly wind but clear air. Did shopping locally in morning also to take the order to grocers. Mended puncture in cycle tyre. To Winsleys to remove pilot lamp from their wireless set in order to economise in accumulator current.

 10 Thurs. Rather mild for season, dull, cloudy, windy. Did shopping in afternoon. Met Mr. Akhurst & had a talk to him about water divining; he is an exponent of the art. Cleaned all the windows.

On this day: "The Almighty in his infinite wisdom did not see fit to create Frenchmen in the image of Englishmen." - Winston Churchill, in the House of Commons, 10 Dec 1942.

11 December 2012

4th to 7th Dec 1942: wartime lobster paste

4 Fri. Rather cold but clear and bright, the sun shining with some warmth; remarkable for the season. Did shopping in morning also to Morden where I caught a glimpse of Agnes Williams. More shopping in afternoon. Dinky is walking on all fours, but is still a little lame.

5 Sat. Rather cold, windy, but some wintry sunshine midday. To get groceries at the shop round the corner. Later along rail path to Wimbledon; saw Pacific loco. Bought narcissus bulbs also fish.

"Exceptionally good for wartime..."
6 Sun. ...Flew 34 ins model on Common with fair results in spite of a broken longeron and adverse conditions. Jones and others were there.

7 Mon. Very mild for season, 53 degs... Walked to Morden to buy cats' meat. Walked along rail path to buy Empire daffodil bulbs at Luffs, for Mother's grave. Uncle Tom & Aunt Nellie came in afternoon and gave them money to buy a pot of Crosse & Blackwell's lobster paste which is exceptionally good for a wartime product; they gave me a book.

2 December 2012

29th Nov to 3rd Dec 1942: cat bitten

29 Sun. Less cold, cloudy, fresh wind. To Wimbledon Common; saw Jones & others I knew with their aeros. A Kings College boy whom I have seen before had a splendid, large glider which eventually got treed. Alan Spooner brought back my moving-coil speaker.

30 Mon. Rather cold, dull, but a feeble attempt by the sun midday. To the Morden cats meat shop in afternoon. Bought gas mantle at Smaldon's.

1 Dec. Tues. Rather mild for season, small amount of weak sunshine. Took Dinky to animal's dispensary at Wimbledon. The vet said his leg was badly bitten by another cat & it had festered. Gave me some powders & to bathe his wounds with salt water; he is a bit better. Alan Spooner brought back Mrs. Winsley's set.

2 Wed. Rather cold, dull. Shopping locally also to Morden on cycle. Brought in Winsley's set as battery wires needed lengthening. It is going well. It is a Beethoven set - should be good. A man waiting by the public telephone kiosk asked me to get a number for him which I did. Warning from 9.0 to 9.25 p.m.

3 Thurs. Morning frost, cold, dismal day, fog & rain later. To Wimbledon along line in afternoon to do some shopping. Finished Winsley's wireless set & took it back.

27 November 2012

26th to 28th Nov 1942: bomb cracked lavatory

"Buster" Lloyd-Jones was a famous vet
and author who worked at the animal
 dispensary in Wimbledon during WWII.
Illustration by Stella Mackies Cox.
See details of Buster's life and work 
26 Thur. Cold, very dull, windy, damp. Small shopping excursion in afternoon, returning along little rail path. Dinky (the cat) has hurt a front leg but he will not let me have a look at it.

27 Fri. Cold, dismal, dirty brown light, misty, drizzle. Did the usual Friday morning shopping. Saw Lily Bickerstaff; nice girl. Alan Spooner called. He took Wimsley's wireless set away for repair, also he took my re-built M.C.* speaker for test. (*moving-coil)

28 Sat. Cold but a little brighter. Mr Ward put in a new lavatory pan and trap. as the old had been cracked since the bombing. Got the groceries and then to Morden to the cats' meat shop. Cycled to Wimbledon to get the times of opening of the cats' dispensary as I shall have to take Dinky.

24 November 2012

22nd to 25th Nov 1942: medically exempt?

22 Sun. Severe white frost all day. Dull & misty. Did not go out. Mrs.Akroyd came to tea.

23 Mon. Thick white frost... walked to Morden to buy something for Dinky. Mrs Mrs. Child & Jenefer.* To Dorset Hall to see if I can get exemption on medical grounds from fire-watching, at least during the winter.

*Note: I am being faithful to Fred's diary. He does spell her name 'Jenefer'.

24 Tues. Very cold, very dull and foggy, damp air. To Merton Road Labour Exchange to get form for exemption from fire-watching. Also bought lights at the Merton cats' meat shop.

25 Wed. Cold, dull, damp. To take groceries order in morning. Alan Spooner* called in afternoon.

*Note: many entries about Alan Spooner. Just try searching in the box, top left!

20 November 2012

19th to 21st Nov 1942: too ill for fire-watching

19 Thurs. Cold, very dismal, dead calm. Very depressing. Cut up some more ash branches for firewood. Bought sash cord and replaced broken end of airer in scullery.

20 Fri. Rather mild for season. Calm, some gentle sunshine... Met Ethel then Mrs Child and Jenefer. Bough new H.T. battery, inner tube for cycle also grid-bias battery at Whitbourn's in afternoon. Also bought scouring powder at Smaldon's.

21 Sat. Very cold, very dull, chilly N. wind. To buy a few things locally in morning. Got groceries etc in afternoon. Met Mr. Woodley with his little girl. He did fire-watching with me at Duff's. Got a notice from Fire Watching HQ telling me I was posted for duty at Merton Park Garage. I don't think I can do it in winter time; am not well enough. Fitted new inner tube to front wheel of cycle. Need new covers now.

17 November 2012

17th & 18th Nov 1942: mosaic vandalism

17 Tues. Very cold, cloudy but clear air. Re-laid the mosaic tiles of front path dug up by children on Saturday. While I was doing this cousin Gladys came by on her way to Aunt Liza's: she had her little boy Geoffrey with her. Walked to the Morden cats' meat shop.

18 Wed. Very cold, some feeble sunshine. To take order to grocers also bought sausages. To see Mrs. Hippel in afternoon; she seemed very depressed but left her a little brighter. Her wireless was in order. A few days ago I cut four rose buds and put them in water in the warm room. They have opened and are quite lovely; the last till next June. Oh, what a long time to wait. 

13th to 16th Nov 1942: funeral & surprise gift

13 Fri. Rather cold, dull. Did all the Friday morning shopping including getting the meat. Along rail path to buy fish in Wimbledon. Saw a ballast train with men shovelling ballast onto the track; the engine was an ex S.E. 4.4.0 No 1734: interesting. Uncle Joe called: he is staying the night in Dupont Rd with Uncle Alf as he is going to the funeral tomorrow. Cleaned most of the windows.

14 Sat. Very cold, white frost., thick fog but thinning a little by the afternoon. Uncle Henry was laid to rest in Morden Cemetery. Rev. Dr. Panton(?) Milum read the services first at the church & then at the graveside. I went by cycle to the cemetery in the fog, visibility being lkess than 10 yards in places. Ethel bore up well but was deeply affected. And so comes to an end another life - one who I have always known and who has never lived very far away.

15 Sun. Cold, dismal, misty. Had to repair end fence of garden as someone had pulled it down. Stayed in and an advantage to do so.

"Mrs Akroyd really is a gem"

16 Mon. Cold, windy but a little brighter. Walked to Morden to buy fish also cement at Smaldon's.  Mrs. Akroyd called in evening and brought us a new accumulator as a present. We were surprised at so generous a gift we were in need of one and this is one more proof of her unselfish nature; she really is a gem.

11 November 2012

9th to 12th Nov 1942: victory bells

9 Mon. White morning frost & mist, but cold, bright, sunny afternoon.  Cycled to Morden to buy fish also other shopping in Raynes Park, also to West Barnes for a ride. Alf's Lily & Ethel called to tell us about the funeral arrangements. Mrs.Child called.

10 Tues. Rather cold but fine with some sunshine that could be felt in the afternoon. Cycled to Morden cat' meat shop. To florists in Coombe Lane to order a wreath for Uncle Henry's funeral. Returned along the little rail path where I saw a Pacific loco. Madge & Margaret called in evening.

"I have not become the King's First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire" - Winston Churchill, at Mansion House, London, 10 November 1942.

11 Wed. Very cold, thick fog all day. Armistice Day: bought a poppy. To buy something for dnner also to grocers and the post office: took accumulator. Hitler orders his troops to occupy the whole of France in contravention of his terms with France. Mr.Churchill orders church bells to be rung on Sunday to celebrate our victory in North Afrtica.

12 Thur. Very cold, dull, misty. To take letter to Mrs.Child; Mrs Snudden was there. Took a book for Gladys but no one at home - put it through letter-box. To Morden cats' meat shop.  

10 November 2012

5th to 8th Nov 1942: a death in the family

5 Thur. Less cold, but dismal & torrents of rain all day. Out to buy something for dinner at the nearest shops, needless to say. News of a surprise advance in Nth.Africa: first good news for a long time. Hear some anti-aircraft fire in afternoon; learned later that a German bomber had been shot down: good, our guns are getting better.

6 Fri. Cold, north wind, but fine sunshine all day. Did all the usual Friday morning shopping locally then along line until lunch. Saw Drummond Greyhound 704* now fitted with a six-wheeled tender**  in place of the eight-wheeled*** one; wonder what this engine was doing hereabouts it is such a stranger. Walked to Morden in afternoon to buy cats' meat.

Notes: *built in 1899, withdrawn Oct 1951; ** fitted in 1928 i.e. switching back to six; *** fitted in 1903, switched to eight.

7 Sat. Very mild for time of year, 54 degs. Rain all morning, pleasant sunny afternoon. Got the groceries as usual, then to Morden to buy a few things. Met Aunt Ethel in the road on my return, she told me Uncle Henry's condition is serious. Mr Akhurst called late at night to say Uncle Henry was dying, so I went to tell Cousin Alf also Aunt Liza.

8 Sun. Rather cold, cloudy and dull. Cousin Alf called to say that his father passed away at twenty minutes past ten this morning. Ciss and Mrs Akroyd went to Tolworth to tell the sad news to Dad & the others. Uncle Henry was the first to initiate me into the secrets of photographic developing and this is one of my earliest recollections of him: may he rest in peace. He married Aunt Ethel on 30th May this year. I am sorry for her: she is only 39.

3 November 2012

1st to 4th Nov 1942: fish scarce

1 Nov. Sun. Cold, half-dark, rain all day. Stayed in and glad to do so. Jack Bradley paid a surprise visit at night. Drew him a wireless circuit which he asked for. He has been at work on  aircraft building. Warning from 12.40 to 1.30 a.m. two machines destroyed over S.E. coast.

2 Mon. Cold; wintry sunshine all day. Walked to Morden to buy something for Dinky. Mrs Akroyd called in evening.

3 Tues. Rather cold, rather dull. To Merton churchyard to take geraniums off Mother's grave with a view to planting it with daffoldils and forget-me-nots. Mr Ward cleared the gutter of a blockage which caused the rain to come through the roof.

4 Wed. Rather cold, very dull & misty. Did shopping locally but had to cycle to Morden to buy fish which is very scarce. Dr Milum called to see Ciss but she was not yet home from work. Potted up four geraniums taken off Dear Mother's grave. 

30 October 2012

29th to 31st Oct 1942: Higgs had herrings

29 Thurs. Rather cold, half dark, rain or drizzle all day. To Wimbledon along rail path to buy fish; saw Collins. Dinky caught a mouse.

30 Fri. Cold morning, very thick white mist. Then the sun came out and shone with surprising power & drove the mist away & made fences and everything outdoors steam in a way I have never seen before... Shopping locally, then to every fish shop in Raynes Park & Morden to see if I could buy herrings. Bought lights for Dinky in Morden. In afternoon Higgs had got some herrings; also to Merton to get something at the chemists.

31 Sat. Rather cold & dull. Got the groceries. Along rail path to Wimbledon but could not buy what I wanted. Warning from 8.30 to 8.53 p.m., no incident. A daylight raid on Canterbury to-day.  

28 October 2012

22 to 28 Oct 1942: announced over wireless, two enemy bombers destroyed

22 Thur. ...Cycled to Morden to buy fish and something at Boot's. Trimmed the evergreen hedges in the front garden.

23 Fri.  ...Did shopping in morning, also to Wimbledon in afternoon. There was a distant warning & all clear while I was out.

"There is no situation to which it cannot address itself with vigour and ingenuity. It is the citadel of British liberty. It is the foundation of our laws." - Winston Churchil speaking in and referring to the House of Commons, 23 October 1942.

24 Sat. Very cool, boisterous chilly wind; some bright sunny periods, also shower & hail. Cycled to Morden to buy cats' meat. Got the groceries in afternoon and a few other things.

25 Sun. Very cool, dismal, showers. Dad, Alb, Lily & Anthony to dinner & tea, also Madge. Margaret & Edie Hopkins to tea. A piece of chocolate for my birthday from Anthony and presents of money from Dad. Alb & Lily wrote letter to Uncle Tom.

26 Mon. ...Heard all clear at 11.0 a.m, did not hear the warning. Also warning from 11.25 a.m, to noon; sounds of gunfire & aero-engines. Thence from  12.55 to 1.12 p.m., & 3.45 to 4.10 p.m. It was announced over the wireless that two enemy bombers were destroyed. Went out in the rain to buy a few things locally also later to pay the Slate Club. Started to make a new output transformer for the rebuilt moving coil unit. Posted letter to Uncle Tom.

27 Tues. ...Took umbrella to Mrs Child. Took two missionary collecting boxes to houses in Elm Close. More work on bobbin of new transformer. Warning from 1.30 to 1.37 p.m.

28 Wed. ...Warning fom 4.10 to 4.20 p.m. Did shopping in morning: met Alf's Lily with Alan's bike; told me she tried to buy a lamp bracket for it but could not get one: took one along in afternoon. More work making the sectionalised bobbin for new outrput transformer.

21 October 2012

15th to 21 Oct 1942: heart paroxysms aged 54

15 Thur. Mild, hail shower in morning with a gale of wind... Short cycle ride only. Fitted transformer of moving coil unit & connected speech coil to same & tested - very promising; it seems very sensitive.

16 Fri. ...Got the week-end meat & other shopping locally, Cycled to Morden to buy cats' meat in afternoon. Talk to Mr Akhurst who was painting his house - meaning Hick's house; it is his property.

17 Sat. ...cycled to Wimbledon to buy fish also plumbs locally. Got groceries in afternoon. Repaired end fence of garden and alleyway of overhanging trees.

18 Sun. Very mild, very gloomy... I am 54 to-day, and feel 100, However, I am truly thankful; I have been spared so long, which considering the number of heart paroxysms I get a day is surprising. Short walk in afternoon. Drew a comic cartoon for Uncle Tom & Aunt Nellie.

19 Mon. ...sunny afternoon. Warnings from 10.15 to 10.30, from 10.45 to 11.00, from 12.15 to 12.22 the latter P.M. the two previous A.M. Cut old wood out of the yellow acacia (pop tree). Cycled to Morden to buy fish. Edie Bennet called also MrsJordan and baby Nigel to tea. To see Alf Holland's model aero. Some more new A.A. guns at the camp. Made centreing 'spider' for moving coil unit.

20 Tues. ...dismal to haf-dark; deluge from noon onwards. Stayed in to-day. Fitted mounting pads to rebuilt moving-coil unit. Fitted it in the set and tested - quite promising.

21 Wed. ...Ciss, Alb, Dad, Lily & Anthony went to Basingstoke to see Hilary, Lily's niece married to Mr.Pavey. Did shopping in morning. Mr.Spooner called.

*The editor of this blog traced and  contacted Hilary on 21 Oct 2012. Hilary's home was at 12 Soper Grove, Basingstoke - seen here, to the left of the white house, some 70 years later (Google, Street View).

13 October 2012

12th to 14th Oct 1942: hot nights

12 Mon. Very cool, very dull. Cycled to Morden to buy cats' meat. Finished the trailing-edge extensions to 34ins wing, also fitted streamline stringers in nose of fuselage of this machine. Mr.Ward called about house repairs.

13 Tues. ...along line to Wimbledon, saw the Pacific loco No 21C6. also my Weymouth engine 423.

14 Wed. Cool, but a sensational rise to 60 degs at night! Dull, cloudy & boisterous. Took the modified 34ins lightweight to Wimbledon Common but dare not put it in the air owing to the high wind that suddenly arose; brought it back safe & sound but untried.

10 October 2012

10th to 11th Oct 1942: "also ran"

10 Sat. ...chilly boisterous wind. Hunted all over raynes park, Wimbledon & Merton to buy fish & a dish cloth among other things. Bought 1/32in sheet balsa at Colins. Added trailing-edge extension to wing of 34ins model aero.

11 Sun. ..The crowd of children called as usual. To Wimbledon Common in afternoon. Saw a few modellists including Double. A Kings College boy with a green & yellow lightweight did very well: the others "also ran".

On these days: 11-12th. US and Japanese ships fight confused Battle of Cape Esperance when both are taking troops and equipment to Guadalcanal. Transports from both sides get through. Both sides suffer 'friendly fire'. Final two Japanese destroyers sunk on 12th by bombers from Henderson Field.

8 October 2012

6th to 9th Oct 1942: Uranus in Taurus

6 Tues.    ...chilly east wind Wimbledon along rail path; saw the Pacific loco. Bought a few household goods also model aero materials - the latter at Collins. Mrs.Collins told me that Mr./Jones who I have missed has been in the R.A.F. He has been discharged after having an accident. Cemented speech coil permanently into cone assembly of re-built speaker.

7 Wed. Very mild, dismal, misty, humid. Did shopping in morning. Cycled to Putney in afternoon; rode along the towing path. Exceeded 400 miles on  my bike so far this year. Alan Spooner called.

8 Thur. ...Along rail path; saw Pacific loco. Bought fish and a few other things in Wimbledon. Fire duty at Duffs. When I got to Duffs I found fire-watching duty was cancelled there until further notice, so I came home again, and was pleased at the unexpected turn of events. Expect I shall hear further soon. Was able to see Uranus with the unaided eye to-night as it is in Taurus.

9 Fri. ...To Merton in afternoon also to buy sheet balsa and spruce sections in 4ft lengths for building a Wakefield sized wing. Dear Gladys called in evening.

4 October 2012

1st to 5th Oct 1942: Slate Club & herrings

1 Thur. Very mild, dull morning, fine sunny afternoon. To Wimbledon along rail path; bought fish. Aunt Liza and Gwen called, then Gladys brought some toys for the Sunday School. Then a messenger to tell me to fire duty tonight instead of tomorrow: went.

2 Fri. in morning as usual. Walk along rail path in afternoon. Tied up new shoots of loganberry. Monica called with a message.**

**Note: the household didn't have a telephone.

3 Sat. ...Cooked the midday dinner as usual on Sat. Got the groceries in afternoon, also got apples and a big marrow locally. Cycled to Morden but no fish or cats' meat there. Cycled to Wimbledon & got some herrings. Flew 34 ins model on Common in calm conditions with superb results.

4 Sun. ...The children called; it is their Harvest Festival to-day. Short walk in evening; watched gun practice at the camp.

5 Mon. ...cycled to Morden to buy lights for Dinky. Took recipe from Holloway's to Gladys in Grand Drive. Cycled to pay Slate Club* in evening in the rain.

*Note: a group of people who save money in a common fund for a specific purpose - usually distributed at Christmas   

29 September 2012

29th & 30th Sept 1942: life goes on

29 Tues. ...Cycled to Morden to buy cats' meat. Also to Mrs.Childs' to take a parcel: they have a very young persian kitten. Mr Milum called in evening to see Ciss about the Sunday School. Warning from 11.45 to 12-0 noon.

30 Wed. ...Did shopping in morning. Cycled to Tolworth Sta. in afternoon via West Barnes, Worcester Park & Old Malden, returning along the Arterial Road. Alan Spooner clled in evening. 

27 September 2012

24 to 28 Sept 1942: blotting paper & bombs

24 Thur. Mild, very heavy clouds, thunder midday; treacherous showers. Cycled to Morden to buy cats' meat. To Mrs Hippel to ask how her wireless was going. Firewatching duty at Duffs.

25 Fri. ...Did the usual Friday morning shopping. Miss Dickson does the house cleaning as usual. Made new blotting paper cone for loud-speaker. Letter from Chas.Staden; his allotment has been bombed at Spalding.

26 Sat. ...Got the groceries as usual, then to Wimbledon along rail path to buy a few thin gs. Saw some interesting engines.

27 Sun. Cool, dull, but calm Alb, lily, Dad & Antony to dinner but did not stay to tea as they were to go to Uncle Alf & Aunt Hannah's. Walk to (Wimbledon) Common in evening and stood at an open air Gospel meeting where I heard a fine address by a Greek.

28 Mon. Cool, dismal, rain all day. Out only in afternoon to shop locally and came back very wet.

"There is no situation it (the House of Commons) cannot address itself with vigour and ingenuity. It is the citadel of British liberty. It is the foundation of our laws."
- Winston Churchill speaking in the House of Commons, 23 Oct 1942.

22 September 2012

17th to 23rd Sept 1942: flying high

17 Thur. ...Shopping locally also cycled to Morden where I discovered a new cats' meat shop and bought some lights for Dinkey. Dorothy Moody called in evening to say good-bye, she is joining the A.T.T.** as has Dorothy Longhurst.

**Note: I assume Fred meant ATS, the Auxiliary Territorial Service Photo: British ATS members unload rifles from the USA 

18 Fri. ...All the usual shopping - getting the meat etc. Also to Wimbledon along rail path. To Mrs Child's in afternoon and found the the terminal of accumulator of wireless set were corroded and needed cleaning.

19 Sat. ...Got the groceries and took accumulator then cycled to Wimbledon to buy fish. In evening flew 34 ins model on Wimbledon Common with more powerful motor & obtained the most marvellous climb I have ever seen and was delighted.

20 Sun. Very mild, cloudy, showers, boisterous. Walked along Westway in evening.

21 Mon. ...rain nearly all day. Cycled to Morden cat' meat shop between the showers.

22 Tues. Mild, dull, overcast, many showers. Cycled to Wimbledon to buy fish.

23 Wed.  ...shopped locally in morning. Cycled to Mitcham Common then along Bishopsford Road to St.Helier & Sutton returning along Sutton Common Road & Tudor Way**: have not been to Sutton for a great many years. Mr. Mocksford a fire-watcher at Duffs brought gram pick-up for me to repair which I did & tested on my own machine & found OK.

**Note: on modern map, in 2012, this is Tudor Drive.

19 September 2012

13th to 16th Sept 1942: played her harmonium

13 Sun. ...The children called. Gave roses to dear Monica & her friend Jean. Walk round the camp in evening; saw them land the balloon. Met Mr. & Edie Bennett and had a chat.

1930s' harmonium,
14 Mon. ...Finished Mrs Hippel's set & took it to her: played her harmonium.

15 Tues. Shopping locally, thence to Wimbledon along rail path to buy fish, pills, (aha) and a high tension battery. Saw Pacific loco - very disappointing from an aesthetic point of view. Fitted H.T. battery to Mrs Hippel's set but louspeaker no good.

16 Wed. ...Took my Celstion loudspeaker to Mrs Hippels & and got the set going well after borrowing an accumulator from next door her own was down. Did firewatching duty at Duff's. Oh, Uncle Ben and Cousin Ivy from Bolton called. 

12 September 2012

12 Sept 1942: that *** wireless

12 Sat. Very mild, cloudy. Got the groceries as usual. Along rail path to Wimbledon: bought fish. Saw four Brighton engines at the same time. Tested Mrs.Hippel's wireless but must try again.

On this day: a German submarine (U-boat) sunk the British transport Laconia. 1,800 Italian POW were on board. Of the total 2,732 on aboard, 1,111 survived, after a catalogue of errors - including an American plane attacking a German ship displaying a large Red Cross flag. 

11 September 2012

8 to 11 Sept 1942: 9 bob earned firewatching

8 Tues. ...lovely sunny day of the gentle sort. Cycled to Morden but could not get fish there but got some round the corner. Trimmed privet bush in front garden. Did firewatching duty at Duff's, have now earned 9/-.

On this day. Winston Churchill in House of Commons: "We are sea animals, and the United States are to a large extent ocean animals. The Russian are land animals. Happily, we are all three air animals."

9 Wed. ...bought a lot of lights for Dinky, first for a very long time. To Mrs Hippel's to look at wireless set but without putting the trouble right. Warning from 4.25 to 4.35p.m. One shot. Mrs Akroyd called.

10 Thur. ...lovely sunny day of the late summer type. To see Mrs Hippel's wireless - one valve broken also loudspeaker windings broken down: not so good. Can arrange for her to have a temporary set. The tomatoes growing in the garden are ripening splendidly now.

11 Fri. ...usual Friday morning shopping including cycling to Morden. Cycled to North Cheam in afternoon. Alan SDpooner called. Re-wound reaction coil for Mrs Hippel's wireless.

5 to 7 September 1942:salvoes of bombs

5 Sat. ...Warning from 12.5 to 12.20 p.m.: distant gunfire. Shopping locally then to Wimbledon along rail path to buy fish.

6 Sun. ...Cycled to Pontifex's at Worcester Park to see to their wireless set which is now first rate. While there the sirens sounded at 4.55 all clear at 5.17 p.m. no incident. Mrs.Akroyd called.

7 Mon. ...Uncle Tom & Aunt Nellie came in morning, gave them some rhubarb, tomatoes and cakes. Cycled to Morden top buy fish. Margaret called with some typescripts. In evening to Mrs.Akroyd's to fit new high tension and grid bias batteries to her wireless - going very well. Warning at 10.45 p.m. About two machines dropped parachute flares, incendiaries and two salvoes of bombs some miles to N.E. All clear at 11.35 p.m. The raid was on Enfield.

4 September 2012

4 September 1942: fighters - and a mouse

Boulton Paul Mk 1 Defiant night fighter . Photo via Wikipedia 
full details here
4 Fri. ...a few spells of weak sunshine; not unpleasant. Did shopping locally then to Merton to buy fish. In afternoon cycled to Croydon Aerodrome. Saw some Defiant fighters: returned via Carshalton & Hackbridge. Have now cycled a total of 304 miles this year. Dinky caught a mouse.

2 September 2012

1 to 3 September 1942; perfect repair

1 Sept. Tues. ...walked along rail path in afternoon where met Mr.Conrade. Finished repairs to Mrs.Akroyd's wireless and tested and found it perfect.

2 Wed. ...Did shopping in morning. To Wimbledon Common with Ciss in afternoon to fly the 37 ins. model in half a gale with results as good as could be expected.

3 Thur.  ...dull, rain, very rough. Cycled to Morden to buy fish. Alan Spooner called.

28 to 31 Aug 1942: women anti-aircraft gunners

28 Fri. Very warm; the sun shone with grand power all day long: perfect! Did all the usual Friday morning shopping locally also cycled to Morden to buy fish in afternoon after mending a puncture.  Cycled along Arterial Road in evening. Eight splendid new anti-aircraft guns on the camp all "manned" by women.

29 Sat. ...heavy rain and thunder at night. Got the groceries etc. in afternoon. Flew 37 ins.model on Common in evening, finishing with a grand flight, the machine coming down in the woods, finding it only after much wandering about. Walked home as the storm was beginning.

30 Sun. ...Cycled to Tolworth in morning to attend the christening of baby Antony at Surbiton Hill by Rev.Harold Morris. Auntie Ruth** & Ena Stokes were there. Dad, Ciss, Alb & Lily of course & Frank & Nellie from Basingstoke, also Miss Brewer & Miss Paterson a friend of Ruth. Stayed to dinner & tea.

Note: **Ruth Stokes was actually the mother. We're not quite so coy these days! Miss Brewer was a Tolworth neighbour, Frank & Nellie were Lily's brother-in-law and sister - he was a railway guard.  

31 Mon. ...Cycled to Morden to buy fish. Ciss had a holiday at home this week. Did my wire-watching turn at Duff's Depositories.**

** Note: does anyone know where or what Duff's Depositories were?

30 August 2012

24 to 27 August 1942: life-long love

24 Mon. ...Uncle Tom called and gave me a photo of dear Mother when she was 17: I shall prize this as long as I live. To Dorset Hall about my fire-watch duties. Took roses to Mrs.Hippel. Paid slate club.

(Editor's note: surely this photo would be among those I inherited, via Fred's brother Albert. I will search.)

25 Tues. Walked to Merton for cat's food but got nothing.; then cycled to Morden and got some fish. Warning from 4.55 50 5.25 p.m. Enemy plane from N. to S. A few shots fired but the shells burst literally miles away from it. Started work on repair of Mrs.Akroyd's wireless set.

26 Wed. ...Cycled nearly to Mitcham but rain made me turn back, having to shelter at Morden.

27 Thur. Warm, grand sunshine all day, perfect! Took note from Ciss to Gladys at her new home in Grand Drive. All the A.A. guns are back on the Raynes Park camp also a barage balloon. Work on Mrs.Akroyd's set. Weeding in the garden in evening.

22 August 2012

20 to 23 Aug 1942: night spent fire-watching

20 Thur. ...Shopped locally also cycled to Morden to buy fish. Callers were Alan Spooner & Mrs.Akroyd. Planted mustard & cress.

21 Fri. ...Did all the Friday morning shopping locally then along rail path to Wimbledon to get Ciss' umbrella from Trotts where it has been repaired. Went to Mrs.Akroyd's to see her wireless set; brought it away for repair.

"Saw loco. 423 which took me to Weymouth when I was a youth..."
(That was for one week, in 1906, his only seaside holiday. See both sides of two postcards
he sent back home at this blog's entry for 30 Jan 1942 ) 

22 Sat. ...Got the groceries etc locally then to Wimbledon along rail path to buy several things. Saw loco. 423 which took me to Weymouth when I was a youth, also Lord Anson: have been on the footplate of the latter.

23 Sun. ...Ron Cooper to tea and to stay the night. Mrs. Jordan Beryl & her baby to tea. Did fire watching at Duff's Depositaries from 8.30 p.m. till 6.30 a.m.

The locomotive Lord Anson. "I have been on the footplate of the latter." The engine's designer, Richard Edward Lloyd Maunsell, is in the bowler hat. Photo copyright of the Charles Brown Collection at the Royal Air Force Museum. 

19 August 2012

17 to 19 Aug 1942: short -wave experiments

17 Mon. Warm, lovely fine sunny day. Tried somer short-wave experiments with the radio-gram. Took accumulator to Whitbourn's.* Also did some gardening.

* Blog-follower Fred Bewer's comments refer to his memory of Whitbourn's cycle shop on the corner of a road near the station. This exacty fits the location of the 21st century's Bright Cycles Ltd on the corner of Gore Rd at 57 Approach Rd, Raynes Park. The diarist Fred French wrote last year (1941) that Mr Whitbourn who he'd known for many years had just died. Photos of other Whitbourn cycle shops can be found on Flickr.

18 Tues. Warm, perfectly lovely sunny day; ideal, not too hot. Shopping locally, also cycled to Wimbledon to see if I could get some aero. rubber** but shop had none. Ron Cooper called midday to see if we could put him up for the night. He came for a late tea and stayed.

*aero rubber would be strong, thick elastic to make a multi-strand motor to power his model aircraft.

19 Wed. ...Did shopping in morning & a short cycle ride in afternoon. Ron came in evening and stayed the night. Mr. Honor brought me some poppy seeds; showed him the garden.

15 August 2012

13 to 16 August 1942: Dad's eightieth

13 Thur. Very mild, dismal, calm. Out only to butchers. Altered radio-gram but altered it back again. Observed distant raid by seeing the the flashes & light in the sky & warning from 2.45 a.m. to 3.15 a.m.

14 Fri. ...Did all the shopping in morning. Met Miss Pearce who told me Annie Brayshey was dead, aged 85. Saw two Southern Pacific loco:  they seem very fast. Ron Cooper called in evening en route for Farnborough.

15 Sat. ...Got the groceries, then cycled to Morden to buy fish. Out again to get accumulator. Ciss went to Tolworth to Dad's 80th birthday party.

16 Sun. Warm. Torrent of rain in early hours until after daw, then a lovely warm sunny day: best for a long time. Met Judge the aero.modellist who introduced me to his wife. To Wimbledon Common: saw many modellists. Dad & all the Tolworth people to tea. Mrs.Akroyd called.

On these days: 13th: anti-British riots continue in India. 16th: US Army Air Corps attack German's Egyptian positions - their first action in North Africa. 17th: US Marine Raiders - 'Carlson's Raiders' - kill all Japanese garrison (about 90 men) on Makin Island in the Gilbert Islands, and destroy all installations. Also on 17th, American Eighth Air Force launch first independent raid in Europe, on rail centre at Rouen - Brit Spitfires provide fighter cover.  Click here to see some WWII Rouen photos.

12 August 2012

6 to 12 August 1942: Armada of bombers

Note: 6th to 12th are excerpts. Every entry starts with a weather report, and most days mention local shopping. The daily fountain pen entries start with the date and day of the week, as shown (but in bold here). Spellings and punctuation are as in the diary. And yes, Fred does say he finished writing a letter to 'Chas' on both Mon and Tues. And we now know that...

On these days: 5-13 Aug 1942. German submarines, U-boats, attacked convoy SC-94 which lost 11 ships. Two U-boats were sunk and four damaged. On Aug 7, Prime Minister Winston  Churchill visited Egypt. On Aug 8, six German agents who had landed by submarine in the USA were executed by electrocution. On the same day, Gandhi and others were arrested in India for resisting the war effort. On the 10th, the RAF raided Osnabruck and military targets in Belgium and Holland. On the 11th, the carrier Eagle was sunk while excorting a convoy to Malta. The RAF bombed Mainz.US planes attacked Canton, Hankow and Yoochow in China. On the 12th, Churchill arrived in Moscow for four-day visit. 

6 Thur. ...Shopping locally, also bought fish in Merton. Cycle ride in evening, also to see the dancing on Joseph Hood's ground. Mr Honor showed me his allotment there & gave me a fine large cabbage. In early hours an air Armada of British bombers past over taking 3/4 of an hour.

7 Fri. ...on cycle to buy paint brush. Enamalled back mud-guard of cycle. Gunfire at 2.0 a.m. to northward: no warning.

8 Sat. ...Did shopping locally also to Merton to buy fish. Warning from 6.5 to 6.35 p.m. no incident. Cycled to Uncle Alf's also to Harold's in Monkey* Road; first time I have been there. Small amount of work re-building moving-coil loud-speaker.
*I think this is Fred's joke way of writing Monkleigh Road, Morden

9 Sun.  ...Short walk in evening. Saw a special train with Drummond 4.4.0 loco. and four Pullman coaches.

10 Mon. ...Mrs Hodges called in evening as she is spending a few days with her sister locally... Finished writing letter to Chas. Staden. Card from Alan Spooner.

11 Tues. ...a cloud-burst in afternoon; boisterous. Met Dear Gladys on my way to Merton to buy fish. Finished writing long letter to Chas. Staden. Warning from 1.5 to 1.35 a.m. O.K.

12 Wed. ...Did shopping in morning locally. Cycled to Croydon Aerodrome. Saw American fighter planes making practice take-offs & landings. Saw four quick wickets fall at Mitcham cricket greern. Did weeding in the garden in evening. Birthday card & letter to Dad. He is 80 on Saturday. Warning from 2.15 to 2.35 a.m.

Note: official 1930s pilots' charts of Croydon Aerodrome from editor's collection

11 August 2012

1 to 5 Aug 1942: played pin board...

1 Aug. Sat. ...Flew 34 ins model on Common in evening. Met some interesting people. One, a musician knew Matthews of the London Symphony Orchestra. I met Matthews on the Common last Autumn; he was interested in my model.

2 Sun. ...To Holland Gardens in evening; saw the fine mixed doubles tennis players I have seen before: met Charlotte Cook there. Hald an hour's gunfire and probably the sound of distant bombs in early hours.

Wood pin board (this by Vectis) as owned by
Fred. The silver ball is pushed up the right-hand alley
with a wooden stick, with the aim of getting it to arc
around and come to rest in a high-scoring area

3 Mon. August Bank Holiday. ...Mrs Matson came to dinner & tea. Played pin board with her. Short cycle ride in evening when I reached 200.9 miles for the year so far. Warning from 3.35 to 3.50 a.m.

4 Tues. ...Shopping locally also to Merton.

5 Wed. Very mild, dismal, cloudy: fresh wind. Along rail path to see Pacific loco. pass at 3.5 p.m. but saw little of it as two other trains passed & hid the view. Cycled to Lower Morden. Did gardening in evening. Aunt Liza & Gwen called. Letter from Harold Marshall.  

7 August 2012

25 to 31 July 1942: air raids, Wimbledon guns

Note: 25th to 31st excerpts

25 Sat. ...usual shopping including a money order to Mr.Payne for £2-13-0. In evening cycled round the old haunts at Malden: saw Winifred Bishop's house. A car tyre burst just as the car was overtaking me - bang! It soon pulled into the side. Have heard a lot worse!!

26 Sun. ...The usual children called. To Wimbledon Common in evening, saw a few beginner modellists including a Rutlish boy I know - but not his name.

27 Mon. ...Raid warnings from 6.35 to 6.50 a.m. & 7.20 to 7.30 a.m. To Uncle Henry's to see wireless which I brought away. To Mrs.Hippel to enquire about Mr.Hippel who has been ill; she told me he had passed away. Fitted new H.T. battery to Mrs Child's set. Put comic poem in Audrey's autograph book.

28 Tues. ...Heard gunfire at 2.45 a.m. German planes over London; warning at 3.5 a.m. more enemy activity than for some time.

29 Wed. ...Gunfire to northwards at 2.30 a.m.: no warning. Overhauled Uncle Henry's wireless. In evening cycled along Coombe Lane, Robin Hood Way & back over Wimbledon Common.

30 Thur. ......Raid warning from 1.55 to 4.20 a.m. A few raiders miles to eastwards. They were fired at by the Wimbledon Common guns at great range. These gunds are very heavy for such a purpose as they are naval guns. Took Uncle Henry's set back, but he needs a new H.T. battery.

31 Fri. Warm, lovely sunny day: perfect... Cycled along Sutton Common Road as far as the Angel Bridge, now demolished by a bomb. In early hours raid warning from 2.0 to 2.35 a.m. no trouble. Also from 3.5 to 3.35 when an enemy plane passed over from N. to S. under fire. The Wimbledon guns fired: pointing this way they sound terrific.

Below, the Angel Bridge, "now demolished by a bomb". This photo from the collection of Mr Mark Donohue at on the website 'Old UK photos'.

31 July 2012

17 to 24 July 1942 tomb robbery

Note: 17th to 24th excerpts.

17 Fri. ...rain all day. To take a message to Mrs Child, also took liver for the kitten... Met Archie Adams the Merton cricketer; had a little chat.

18 Sat. ...bought fish in Coombe Lane. Oh, bought birthday card for Alb.

19 Sun. From 48 degs. to 67 in afternoon... Little Connie Freeman came in to amuse herself at the piano like Doreen used to do.

20 Mon. ...Shopping locally: while out herd the double-toned whistle of a Pacific loco, but could not get a view of it. Along the line in evening; saw a good many interesting loco types.

21 Tues. ...Hoed and weeded part of the garden. The new rose Mrs Edward Laxton has a very lovely deep pink bloom on it - shaded with orange - vermilion: a full rose with stiff petals.

22 Wed. Gave Arthur Child my Leopard Moth aeroplane. To Mrs Child as her wireless has stopped - needs a new H.T. battery Took child's necklace to Mrs Wheals who can restore it to its owner. Saw her garden and the rabbits.

23 Thur.  ...cloudy and dull; windy... bought a geranium at Merton. Planted the latter on the Field's grave in place of one which was stolen. Mr Honor called me in; introduced me to his daughter.

24 Fri. ...a fruitless walk to Merton. Cycled to Morden to buy fish in afternoon.

16 July 2012

13 to 16 July 1942: air raid warning

Note: 13th to 16th excerpts.

13 Mon. ...To shops in morning also to cats' meat shop in afternoon. Uncle Ben called in evening: he is soon going back to Bolton. Met Edie Bennett: she is nice.

14 Tues. ...Caught first glimpse of Southern Railways new Pacific loco - one of them, but was not well placed for observation. Sowed lettuce seed.

15 Wed. ...To Mitcham to see cricket, but Woods was not playing. Flew 34 ins model on Common in evening; good results in half a gale of wind.

16 Thurs. Warning from 5.15 to 5.35 p.m....Dad, Alb, Lily & little Antony to tea. Antony is a merry little chap who really enjoys life.

12 July 1942: wheat at Coombe Warren

12 Sun. Between very mild and rather warm; cloudy but a few gleams of sunshine. A crowd of children called before going to the Sunday School Anniversary. To Church in evening and thence for a walk to Coombe Warren - a great amount of wheat is growing there.

8 to 11 July 1842: rain: good!

Note: excerpts of 8th-11th
8 Wed. ...Re-set the clothes post which had rotted at the bottom: repairs to end fence.

9 Thur. ...Cycled to and walked across Mitcham Common: the willow herb and the fragrant yellow bedstraw made wonderful sweeps of colour...

10 Fri. Cool for season. Very dull, downpour all day, still raining when I went to bed: good! Did shopping in morning: met Madge who had to regsiter for National Service to-day.

11. Sat. ...The usual shopping. Saw Merton beat their opponents easily. Met Uncle Dick at the match; said that Fred Bevis had been ill. Also saw Ted Williams there: watched beside him while Merton scored freely. Short cycle ride in evening.

15 July 2012

7 July 1942: splashes of colour

Beddington Lane Halt in 1961, Opened 1855, closed 1997.
Photo: Ben Brooksbank, via Wikpedia & geographia
7 Tues. Rather warm, some nice sunshine between the cloiuds; slight showers: very boisterous. Cycled over Mitcham Common to Beddington Lane Station. First time for many years. The Common looked very nice and the rose-bay willow herb made splashes of colour everywhere. To water the grave in evening.

Our reader 'Greyfox' writes: Beddington Lane station is now a stop on the Wimbledon to Croydon tramline, opened in 2000.  

2 - 6 July 1942 : hymns, cricket & aspidistra

Note: excerpts of 2nd to 5th.
2 Thur. To graves in evening to stake the lichnis chalcedonica... Children came to practise anniversary hymns.

On this day. Winston Churchill in the House of Commons: "Men may make mistakes, and learn from their mistakes... Men may have bad luck, and their luck may change."

3 Fri. ...a hard day's work weeding and hoeing... to Alf's in evening; gave him plant of lichnis chalcedonica. He lent me a book on roses.
4 Sat. Looked in at John Innes Ground and saw some fine batting by Radcliffe playing for Merton. He is a Cambridge Varsity man and scored 103 not out, of a total of 208 for 5. Saw poppies in Mr.Hound's(?) garden.
5 Sun. Little Gwen called: she comes by herself now. Walk on Common in evening: the scent of the lime trees is delightful.
6 Mon. Rather warm, the sun shone between occasional breaks in the clouds; light showers. Did a lot of shopping using my cycle including going to Morden. Aunt Nellie called in morning to take an aspidistra. Trying the experiment of raising roses from sliced off dormant buds, striking them in the gentle heat of the compost heap. Picked the goosberry crop amounting to six pounds.

1 July 1942: cricket since 1685

1 July Wed. Rather warm, dull morning but fine sunny afternoon. Did shopping in morning. Saw cricket on Mitcham Green. Woods the fine left-handed batsman had to stand up to bowling that kicked dangerously on a drying pitch, but it only proved how great a player he is. Madge & Mr.White called to arrange for the Sunday School Anniverersary. Fitted 12 1/2in hard wood propeller to 34 ins aero. A prop Fred Fraine gave me.

The clubhouse is on the opposite side of a road to the Green,
where cricket has been played since 1685. Photo: Peter Trimming
Note from Wikipedia: Mitcham Cricket Club is reported by The Independent to be the oldest cricket club in existence, with the club having been playing cricket on Mitcham Cricket Green since 1685. Mitcham club were also reportedly watched by Lord Nelson during his time in the area. The club has provided three players for the England cricket team, fast bowler Tom Richardson; batsman Andy Sandham; and wicketkeeper Herbert Strudwick. The ladies team was the local club for Molly Hide, who captained England for 17 years and later became president of the Women's Cricket Association. 

13 July 2012

30 June 1942: dangerous lightning

30 Tues. War, fine & sunny till evening when a thunder storm of great severity developed. At one period the lightning was dangerously low and incessant. One terrific flash swept over the houses and almost demolished the chimney stack at 42 Chestnut Road. Three fire engines and a tender and an escape and an ambulance car were soon at the scene; it gave them a bit of practice anyhow. Letter from Mrs Hodges. Did small amount of shopping on bike. Planted seedling tomatoes. 

29 June 1942: paid slate club

29 Mon. Very warm; grand sunny day. Cycled to many shops to buy cress seed but failod then found that Meredith's round the corner had got a good stock. Paid slate club: went on bike. Alan Spooner called. Plantage cabbage lettuce seed. 

9 July 2012

28 June 1942: choir festival, Bach cantata

28 Sun. Rather warm; some nice sun later in the day. The children called. To Church in evening. It was the choir festival and many good choral works including a Bach Cantata were performed. A very fine organist and violinist took part. Short walk afterwards.

Note: Fred had his own violin, and an elaborate organ in the sitting room at the front of No 66. 

8 July 2012

27 June 1942: rain is needed very much

27 Sat. Rather warm, plenty of sunshine but overhead haze. Did the usual shopping also to buy fish, returning by Merton Cricket was too late to see Merton batsman make 135: total score was 256 for 3 declared. To Merton to water dear Mother's greave. Rain is needed very much.

26 June 1942: family visit

26 Fri. Rather warm. Some sunny periods, pleasant. Did shopping in morning. Took a bunch of roses to Mrs.Hippel but found that this morning Mr.Hippel had gone into hospital. Cycled to Tolworth in evening. Ciss went so we were all there. This journey makes my aggregate mileage so far this year 103.6.

Note: so Fred and his sister (Ciss - who would have caught the bus - 72 or 152 in those days I think) visited their brother (Albert) and his wife (Lily) and their Dad at 98 Largewood Avenue, Tolworth, Surbiton, Surrey.

 Oct 1940. Balham. A bomb penetrated the road above Balham Underground station, killing 68 people. A bus fell into the crater.  Click for Daily Mail website/Time & Life/Getty image.

25 June 1942: purse, police & enemy aircraft

25 Thur. Between very mild and rather warm; cloudy but small amount of sun, wind freshening. Enemy aircraft from N to SE at 1.25 a.m.. Many shots at it but no sirens. Mislaid purse, thought it was lost, enquired at police station but came home and found it in the gramo - could not recall putting it there. Cycled to police again to report finding it. To Merton to buy fish. Hoed over and weeded half garden. Alan & Fred Spooner called.

24 June 1942: Welsh Guards' cricket

24 Wed. Rather warm, dull, but sun shining later in day. Cycled to Mitcham saw local cricket team play Welsh Guards. Woods for Mitcham hit out with great power. Also rode as far as Sutton Common Rd in evening. Aunt Liza and Gwen called in evening.

Note: examples of wartime cricket matches played by regiments can be found on the web. For instance: 1941 June 25.  WELSH GUARDS versus COLDSTREAM GUARDS Cricket at LORDS - an easy victory for the Regiment assisted by a century by 2/Lieutenant E.T. PELHAM.

23 June 1942: he 'has filled out'

23 Tues.  Warm, grand sunshine all day. Fred Fraine called, he is on holiday. Brought two propellers for me: he looked well and has filled out. Did shopping on cycle to save time. Bought a scrubbing board with a corrugated glass panel. 

22 June 1942: air raid warning, gunfire

22 Mon. Warm, grand sunny day. Uncle Tom & Aunt Nellie called in morning: pleased to see them. Cycled to Morden to buy fish. Alan Spooner brought some records for me to play. Watered Mother's grave in evening. Raid warning from 1.12 to 2.7 a.m. distant gunfire.

3 July 2012

21 June 1942: roses everywhere

21 Sun. Warm, close, some hazy sunshine. The children called before going to Sunday School. Cousin Dorius brought little Lawrance. Walk along Coombe Lane, Copse Hill,  Ernie Road, Mackay Road & Dunstall Road in evening. The roses everywhere are glorious. Wrote letter to Mrs Hodges.

Note: the roads mentioned make it look as if Fred walked right around the outside of Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club grounds.

20 June 1942: tricky old cricketer

20 Sat. Warm, close, some hazy sunshine. Saw Merton score 158 for 8 dec. The only players I knew were Adams and Roberts. There was a white-haired old man who bowled very trickily. Saw roses at John Innes. The usual shopping. Flew 37ins model on Common in evening. Good results under queer atmospheric conditions.

19 June 1942: churchyard again

19 Fri. Very mild, cloudy. To do shopping in morning; called on Mrs Child to return her scissors: walk along rail path. In afternoon to Merton Churchyard to plant calendulas on the Field's grave. To pay a visit to the Pontifexes(?) at Worcester Park. They made me welcome and had a happy time: their roses are magnificent.

29 June 2012

18 June 1942: calendulas

18 Thur. Very mild, pleasant sunny morning but dull and cloudy later. To butchers also bought fish at Merton. Also bought some very choice calendulas in pots. Ellen Feihn called also Alan Spooner.

Photo: field marigold or calendula - from Latin kalendae or first of the month - presumably because they are in bloom at the start of most months.

17 June 1942: watched cricket

17 Wed. Very mild, some periods of pleasant sunshine. Shopping in morning. Cycled to Mitcham Green an saw half an hours fine cricket. First time I have been there for a great many years. To water dear Mother's grave.

27 June 2012

16 June 1942: a rose for the butcher

16 Tues. Mild, heavy clouds, a few gleams of weak sunshine. To butchers, had a talk about roses with the manager and took him a Duches of Argyle rose for him to see. Aunt Liza called.

15 June 1942: dark day

15 Mon. Very cool for season, very dull half-dark mid-day. To Merton to cats meat shop. Work in garden. Letter from Uncle Tom: replied.

26 June 2012

14 June 1942: 7 unexpected guests to tea

14 Sun. Mild, very heavy clouds and a slight shower, small amount of weak sunshine. Some exquisite roses out to-day. Unexpected arrival of visitors to tea including Dad, Alb, Lily and the baby, Mrs.Jones and Nellie from Basingstoke and Ron Cooper.

24 June 2012

13 June 1942: bought fish, twine & ink

13 Sat. Mild, mostly dull and cloudy. To Merton; bought fish, twine & ink. Did quite a lot of work in the garden. Duchess of Argyle rose out; a most outrageous colour for a rose - brownish terr-cotta edged with orange. George Howarth - vermillion - fine!

12 June 1942: unwell

12 Fri. Cool for time of year. Very dull, rain all day. Did not go out - unwell.

11 June 1942: book... garden...

11 Thur. Mild, some sun but little power in it. Did some shopping locally, also took a book back to Edie Bennett. Had a talk to her and saw her garden; very nice.

23 June 2012

10 June 1942: keep the aspidistra flying

10 Wed. Mild, very heavy clouds, chilly wind. To shops in morning also to Merton to buy cats' meat. Divided up the big aspidistra and potted up to make two fine plants and gave some to people next door. Aunt Liza called. Wrote letter to Harold Marshall.

1. Fred wouldn't have known this but, to quote Wikipedia: 'Aspidistra was a British medium wave radio transmitter used for black propaganda and military deception purposes against Nazi Germany during World War II. At one time, it was the most powerful broadcast transmitter in the world. Its name - after the popular foliage houseplant - was inspired by the comic song The Biggest Aspidistra in the World, best known as sung by Gracie Fields. The transmitter was built in 1942 near Crowborough in South-East England.' 
2. My own title for this entry, 'Keep the Aspidistra Flying', was the title of a book by George Orwell, published in 1936, a socially critical novel  set in 1930s London. The main theme is Gordon Comstock's romantic ambition to defy worship of the money-god and status, and the dismal life that results.

9 June 1942: a quiet day gardening

9 Tues. Very mild, heavy clouds. To do shopping locally. Did an afternoon's work in the garden. Sowed flower seeds.

8 June 1942: friend, fish and grave

8 Mon. Rather warm, cloudy but some periods of moderate sunshine, fresh breeze. To Merton to buy fish, walked home with Alan Spooner. To water dear Mother's grave in evening.

7 June 1942: visitors and roses

7 Sun. Rather warm, bright sunshine, fresh breeze. Chas brought little Gwen, gave her some roses. Audrey Chiled called. To Holland Gardens in evening but not many roses out. Met Len & Emily Garrod. Madge called.

6 June 1942: 118 degrees F in the sun

6 Sat. 82 in the shade 118 in the sun, glorious. Did all the usual shopping, saved time by doing some of it by cycle. To Tolworth in evening. Dad is still there, so is Mrs.Jones: saw little Anthony.

22 June 2012

5 June 1942: sun, roses & polyantheus

Polyantheus - a common name
 for the genus Primula (primrose)
5 Fri. Very warm, glorious summer day. The rose at the front door is splendid. Also more roses out in back garden to-day. Divided out and planted up a long line of polyantheus. Had a talk with Mr.Honor; saw his garden and he gave me some seeds.  Did all the usual shopping in the morning. The garden looks nice.

19 June 2012

4 June 1942: clocks two hours fast

4 Thur. Very warm; the sun shone in a blaze of glory all day long. To Merton to buy fish, haricot beans and ageratum plants. Planted latter on dear Mother's grave in evening. Mr Winsley gave me some chives plants, also planted. The clocks being two hours fast it is still twilight at a quarter to midnight.

3 June 1942: perfect weather, bombs

3 Wed. Warm, grand sunny day, perfect. To do shopping in morning. Some gardening in afternoon. First rose out in back garden is "Night" a dark red one. Flew 34 ins. model on Common in evening. Good results. Saw Donble(??) with his wife and little girl who launched my machine successfully. Raid warning from 2.40 to 3.0 a.m. Distant bombs and gunfire. 

15 June 2012

2 June 1942: bike, graves, gardening

2 Tues. Very mild to rather warm, much warm sunshine; a lovely day. To Merton to buy cats' meat', also a length of speed gear cable for my bike which I fitted later. Watered the graves. Did some gardening. 

14 June 2012

1 June 1942: a long walk for herrings

Climbing Mme Edouard Herriot
1 June Mon. Very mild to rather warm, some pleasant sunshine. Unsuccessful walk to Merton thence to Morden & bought some herrings. The climbing Mme Edouard Herriot rose is superb to-day. Alan Spooner called in evening.

Note: photo from

31 May 1942: biplane model

Sun 31. Very mild, showers but some genial sun between whiles. Little Gwen called before going to Sunday School. To Wimbledon Common in evening. Walked up the Downs with Mr. & Mrs.Edie Bennett. Saw some modellists; one with a very good biplane.

5 June 2012

30 May 1942: Henry(78) weds Ethel(38)

Sat 30. Heard cuckoo. Very mild, cloudy, windy but some periods of genial sunshine. Dad, Alb, Lily, Mrs.Jones, not fogetting young Anthony came to lunch and then with Ciss to Uncle Henry's* wedding. He is 78 and married Ethel Killick 38 at our church. To do shopping locally and at Merton in afternoon. In evening for a nice cycle ride to Old Morden.

*Note: Henry died later this same year, on 8th Nov.

29 May 1942: Cannon Hill Common

29 Fri. Mild, heavy clouds, showers, some weak sunshine. Sharp flash of lightning and crack of thunder midday. Did all the usual shopping locally and in afternoon to Merton to buy cats meat. Walk on Cannon Hill Common midday. The country looks green. 

28 May 1942

28 Thur. Mild, mostly heavy clouds and showers; extremely boisterous. Did shopping at Merton and Morden on my bicycle. Planted seeds in garden in evening. Alf called later.

27 May 1942: Fireguards' lecture

27 Wed. Mild, dull and cloudy, rain setting in at early evening. In morning to butchers also to Merton to buy fish.  In evening to hear lecture to "Fireguards" at Merton Fire Station on how to deal with fire bombs. Repair to clothes post at end of garden, re-set & stayed it.

Note: link to BBC - WW2 People's War - Fireguard stories

1 June 2012

26 May 1942: Uncle Tom ageing

26 Tues. Mild, heavy clouds, rain later, less wind. Uncle Tom called in morning, he is 81 and is beginning to look his age. Gave him a few things. Out afternoon to do a bit of shopping. Aunt Liza called.

25 May, Whit Monday 1942: sprawling

25 Whit Monday. Mild, heavy clouds, very boisterous chilly wind; deluge commencing in early afternoon. On sudden gust of wind sent me sprawling across the garden. Stayed in and played pin board and dominoes with Ciss.

26 May 2012

24 May 1942: Sunday visitors

24 Sun. Mild, chilly wind, heavy showers but a little weak sunshine. Dad came in the morning and returned to Tolworth in evening. Clifford Garen(?) & Gwen called prior to going to Sunday School. Mrs.Akroyd to tea. Walk in evening. Met Mrs.Child's sister with Audrey, John, Peter & Jenifer. Later met Chas, Ruby & Alma Cook, also Len & Emily Garrod. Watched grand tennis doubles at Holland Gardens. Really inspiring play and I thanked the players after the match and was honoured at being able to raise my hat at them. I saw them last year.

23 May 1942: search for cat food

23 Sat. Mild, cloudy, fresh wind, rain commencing in afternoon & continuing till midnight & beyond. Did shopping locally and then a hunt for cats' food all over Merton & Wimbledon returning along rail path in the rain.

25 May 2012

22 May 1942: tanks & roses

22 Fri. Mild, cloudy, heavy showers but a few nice sunny intervals. Did all the usual Friday morning shopping. Also along rail path to Wimledon to buy a few things at Woolworth's. Sent Uncle Tom a letter, birthday card & postal order. Saw two large lorries in Coombe Lane each one carrying an army tank with soldiers in the turrets. First roses out on climbing Mme. Edouard Herriot at the front door.

21 May 2012

21 May 1942: liver & meat day

21 Thur. Mild, dull, heavy clouds till mid-afternoon. To Merton to buy cats' meat; got some liver and meat. Some work in the garden. Put up short curtains in the back windows, also put up pictures after cleaning. Short cycle ride along Westway.

On this day: Hitler delays invasion of Malta, awaiting fall of Egypt.

20 May 2012

20 May 1942: ration books

20 Wed. Very mild, mostly cloudy but quite pleasant. To the butchers and fish shop in morning also to get the new clothing and personal ration books at the local public library. Quite a lot of gardening in afternoon including potting up tomato plants & sowing seeds of my own multiflora calandula. Alan Spooner called with his bike with the new three-speed wheel. We went for a ride, he riding my bike and I riding his: quite good but his 3 speed control needs a little attention.

19 May 1942: no dog thanks

19 Tues. Very mild, cloudy but some nice periods of genial sunshine. To Merton to buy fish. Met Fred Spooner. To Mrs. Ashenden to say I cannot mind her dog. Met Uncle Alf. Planted another white geranium on dear Mother's grave. Ron Cooper had breakfast and then returned to Farnborough, Hants.

Note: you may be interested in: BBC: WWII People's War. Love & Farnborough.

18 May 1942: Air Ministry expert

18 Mon. Very mild, mostly cloudy, showers. To Morden to buy fish. It isd a pleasant walk to Morden along Merton Way. Alan Spooner called to show me his new 3-speed back cycle wheel. Ron Cooper called in his car and stayed the night. We went to Wimbledon Common to see the new beam aerials that have been erected there. He came home and worked out the wavelength and angle of the beam from the estimated size. He is an Air Ministry expert.

17 May 1942: Wimbledon's war

17 Sun. Very mild, a lovely sunny morning, but nice altogether and slight rain at night. A lot of children came in to see my aereoplanes. Mrs. Jordan came to tea. Walk on the Common in evening, saw Mr. Double with his aero. Had a look at two big aerial systems on the Common, also saw an armoured machine-gun turret. Len & Emily Garrod called; he borrowed my micrometer.

16 May 1942: cemetery routine

16 Sat. Between very mild and rather warm. Cloudy but some genial sunshine later. Helped to cook the midday dinner as usual. Got the groceries and then to get cats' meat at Merton. Planted two pink geraniums on the Field's grave and one white one on Mother's grave. I should have taken a second one but will have to do that later on.

15 May 1942: bought plants at door

15 Fri. Mild, some pleasant sunshine. Did all the usual shopping in the morning including going to Merton to buy sprats. Alb sent two marrow plants which I put in straight away. Bought cheap tomato plants at the door. Aunt Liza called. A lot of buds coming on the roses. 

17 May 2012

14 May 1942: inspiring preacher

14 Thur. Mild, cloudy and dull but not unpleasant because of the calm air. To Merton to buy cod cutlets. Also bought two lovely white geraniums and two double pink ones - 1/3* each in pots. In evening to the Church to hear the week-night meeting of the Church Anniversary. The chief speaker was Dr.Luke Wiseman who gave a most inspiring address lasting an hour. Although 84 he is still a most powerful and dramatic orator. I owe a great deal to his influence.

*one shilling and threepence (about 6.25p each in modern money)
**Rev Frederick Luke Wiseman. Born in York, 1858 - died 16 Jan 1944. Evangelist, orator, elder statesman of Methodist church, gifted musician. Click for biography. 

13 May 1942: paper for munitions

13 Wed. Mild, dull after rain. I did shopping in morning as it is early closing. Alan called in afternoon. Sorted out some old, unwanted music, the paper is wanted for salvage for munitions.

12 May 1942: dying 78 weds 38; I disapprove!

12 Tues. Mild, becoming cool; dull, chilly wind, rain at night. To Merton to buy fish also bought sausage meat locally. Uncle Henry called to collect a werdding presnt from Mrs.Jones. He looks deathly; I am sure he is suffering from advanced arterio-sclerosis. He is 78 and proposes marrying Miss Killick a hospital nurse aged 38. I told him I disapproved which surprised him very much! 

12 May 2012

11 May 1942: rhubarb & geraniums

11 Mon. Very mild, cloudy after the rain but some delightful sunshine in afternoon. To Merton thence to Morden where I bought some fish and home along Merton Way. I enjoyed the latter part of the walk. Audrey Child called in evening for some rhubarb. To Merton churchyard in evening to plant geraniums on Dear Mother's grave also the same on the Field's which I have undertaken to keep in order. To pay the Slate Club contributions.