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24 February 2013

24th & 25th Feb 1943: a comet and blooms

24 Wed. Sharp morning frost but giving midday, the sun being quite pleasant later. Did shopping locally in morning; met Mrs Bickerstaff and Mrs. Collis. Aunt Liza and Gwen called in evening. Received letter from Rev. Chas Staden wrote letter in reply. As the moon now rises late, the sky was clear and dark enough to see Whipple's comet in the Plough. It has changed its position considerably and is brighter than when I saw it last. It is now a faint misty patch of light about half the diameter of the moon.

25 Thur. Thick white morning frost giving place to a pleasant afternoon with some nice sunshine; fitful sky and rain later. Walked to Merton to buy sprats. Returned via Merton Park, so was able to see dear Mother's grave: the bulbs are showing above ground. Crocuses of all colours make a fine show in the Churchyard, also the plum hedges are a mass of bloom; saw the lesser celandine also. Almond trees are nearly out. Posted some letters. Saw Whipple's Comet again to-night;its position has changed since last night.

22 February 2013

22nd & 23rd Feb 1943: letters and locos

22 Mon. Cold, dismal but calm. Walked to Morden to buy cats' meat. Took a letter to Mrs Child. Wrote a letter to Dad.

23 Tues. Cold, dismal, dead calm, very depressing. Only out to post a letter to Dad, returned along little rail path; saw locomotive "Remembrance".

21 February 2013

20th & 21st Feb 1943: 45-minute cat-meat queue

20 Sat. Rather cold, dismal, rather thick fog all day. Cycled to Hartfield Road in morning and got some cats' meat after waiting in a queue for 3/4 of an hour. Came home and cooked dinner. Got groceries, repaired shoes, accumulator etc in afternoon. Re-cemented loose mosaic tiles on front path of house. Madge and Margaret called in evening.

21 Sun. Rather cold, very dull, misty. Gwennie and Monica called; gave them a sweet each. Ciss went to Tolworth. Wrote letter to Cousin Frank who is in the R.A.F. in the Middle East.

19 February 2013

18th & 19th Feb 1943: shops close, buds open

18 Thur. ...Cycled to Morden but the meat shop was shut so continued to Merton shop where I bought some. Uncle Ben called in evening.

19 Fri. Thick white morning frost, thick fog which vanished when the sun came through midday; a pleasant sunny afternoon but less mild than recently. Got the meat etc. locally in morning, thence to Merton meat shop which was closed. In afternoon cycled to Morden; meat shop also closed. Continued to Hartfield Road - no good, then to every fish shop in Raynes Park and Maldon and came back empty handed. Orange crocuses have been in bloom for weeks, now the purple and white are also out. Snowdrops and other small bulbs are flowering also prunus trees and forsythias are nearly out.

17 February 2013

17th Feb 1943: long queue for fish

17 Wed. Rather cold, cloudy but the wind has dropped. Dear Connie Bradley's birthday. Did shopping locally and stood in a long queue for fish at Morden. Cemented a seam on the Anderson shelter as the rain was getting through.

Anderson shelter, normally half sunk in the ground and covered with earth. Click here to see film, facts and school restoration of shelter at Elburton Primary School, Plymouth. 

16 February 2013

16th Feb 1943: 5 mile walk to closed shops

Very cool, rough chilly N. wind... In morning to the grocers. In afternoon walked to Morden to buy cats' meat but the shop was closed so walked to Merton High Street but the animal meat shop there was also closed as were the two fish shops. Thence to Hartfield Road, Wimbledon, the meat shop there was open but had no cats' meat, but bought some fish pieces at Slaters returning home along the rail path where I met Alan Spooner. So ended a five mile walk to find food for Dinky.

15 February 2013

15th Feb 1943: child's reading

15 Mon. Very cool, some bright sunshine but very high wind and a heavy hail shower in afternoon. Did shopping in morning also to Morden in afternoon to buy fish. Aunt Liza and Gwen called. To pay slate club in evening. Finished reading 'The Madman and The Pirate'; quite a good simple book for boys.

Left: LibriVox CD cover of R M Ballantyne's
'The Madman and the Pirate'.

14 February 2013

12th to 14th Feb 1943: flooded shelter

12 Fri. Rather mild, nice morning, rain later. To butchers & other shops locally in morning. Then to Morden to buy cats' meat and sprats: met Mr. Honor in Martin Way. While in Morden the sirens sounded at 11.50 a.m. all clear at 12.10. p.m. Also some more shopping locally in afternoon.

13 Sat. Rather cool, bright, fine, sunny day but stiff fresh breeze. Got the groceries as usual also to Wimbledon to buy a few things. Saw a Wainwright 4-4-0 loco at Wimbledon. Had to bail out six pailfuls of water from the shelter; this is the first time it has had water in it since it was cemented in; expect the water came through the roof.

14 Sun. Rather mild, fine, sunny day... Only Gwennie called to-day. Short walk along Bushey Road in afternoon. Started reading R. M. Ballantyne's book " The Madman and the Pirate" a Sunday School Prize of 1900, which I read then but have since forgotten.

9th to 11th Feb 1943: rescued doll

9 Tues. Rather cold, dismal, cloudy... Glad enough to stay at home. I should imagine last month was the wettest January for many years - possibly a record. Was nominally on fire duty through the night but no warning occurred from dusk till dawn so did not have to patrol, but shortly after daybreak a short alert was sounded from 8.27 to 8.47 a.m. but just escaped having to go out.

10 Wed. Less cold; fine morning... Did shopping locally in morning. Tried to phone Shaddforth's in afternoon for Ciss but number was unobtainable. Letter from Dad, wrote a reply. Warning in dirty cloudy weather from 4.30 to 5.10 p.m.: gunfire to northward.

11 Thur. Rather mild, dull, calm. Posted two letters. Met Uncle Alf. Retrieved little Janet Absolom's doll from the jaws of Winsley's dog.

9 February 2013

7th & 8th Feb 1943: crashed bomber update

7 Sun. Cold, clear, some pale sunshine in afternoon. All the children called; they seem to like to come.

Not the well-know 'man from the Pru' -
the ubiquitous insurance agent collecting
 weekly payments - but a postcard advert
 for The Prudential in the USA
 depicting Abraham Lincoln
8 Mon. Thick white hoar frost... Jack Bradley called in morning. Told the Prudential agent we wished to take out a policy for Anthony; he will put the business through. Mr Payne the landlord said the plane brought down early Monday morning Jan 18 crashed on Upper Green Caterham: this corrects my earlier report that it fell on All-farthing Down Purley. Four of the crew were burned to death the fifth baled out by parachute but he was soon captured. Walked to Morden to buy Dinky's meat.

6th Feb 1943: searchlights and a comet

Fred Whipple
Fred Whipple in 1927
6 Sat. Rather mild...not unpleasant... to Morden but the cats' meat shop was shut, so bought some herring roes - hope Dinky will eat them. Searchlight practice at night in a clear sky; three planes were held in the beams. For three nights I have been trying to identify Whipple's comet which is now in Ursa Major. It is only of the 6th magnitude and on the limit of visibility. I saw a faint object in the spot it should occupy three nights ago. To-night I saw it and its position had changed, so it seems fairly certain that I have seen it. It is merely the faintest point of light but there is no tail that can be seen without optical aid.

6 February 2013

5th Feb 1943: terrific explosion shakes house

5 Fri. Cold, becoming less so; cloudy and drizzle later. A terrific explosion which shook the house and made it rattle at 9.30 a.m.: expect it was an experimental bomb in Richmond Park they let them off there occasionally. Did all shopping locally in morning, also for a walk around the roads of Cottenham Park.

4 February 2013

4th Feb 1943: sprats & railways

4 Thur. Cold, white morning frost, cloudy, freshening N. wind. To Wimbledon along line; bought some sprats. Saw a platelayer fitting a new type of insulated rail-joint with thick ply-wood insulation: spoke to the man. Saw an early Wainwright S.E.C.R. loco No 1734.

Note: SECR = South Eastern & Chatham Railway. Fred's loco was built in 1901, withdrawn Oct 1955. See Wainwright D class engines for similar engine built in the same year. That photo is from the 'Mike Morant collection'. 

And, shown here on the left is the same type of locomotive in wartime black livery with Bulleiud's so-called 'sunshine character' style. The picture was taken at Ashford in Kent immediately after the war and prior to Aug 1949 when engine No 1057 became 31057. - This information and the photo is shown with thanks to the 'Mike Morant collection'.

3 February 2013

3rd Feb 1943: biplane at boys' school

3 Wed. Rather cold, fine, brilliant sunny day; fresh breeze. To grocers and butchers in morning. Cycled as far as Morden roundabout in afternoon. Noticed an old trainer biplane in the playing field at the County Boys' School in Bushey Road.

2 February 2013

2nd Feb 1943: after the storm

2 Tues. Rather cold; dramatically fitful clouds through which the sun shone occasionally; wind moderating but still rough. To Morden to buy Dinky's meat. Albert called with something he had bought for Ciss.

Bernard Law Montgomery
This month. Winston Churchill speaking in the House of Commons about Viscount Montgomery: This vehement and formidable General - a Cromwellian figure - austere, severe, accomplished, tireless - his life given to the study of war, who has attracted to himself in an extraordinary degree the confidence and devotion of the Army.

1 February 2013

1st Feb 1943: devastating weather

1 Feb Mon. Cool, fearful clouds, devastating winds, torrential rainstorms and a flash of lightning and a peal of thunder at night. Heavy hail made a fearful din and lumps of hail came down the chimney and hissed upon the fire. Managed to get to Wimbledon and back to buy fish without getting caught in the rain. Doped 22 ins model aero fuselage.