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28 February 2015

28th Feb 1945: fence is dog-proof

28 Wed. Rather mild, cloudy all day; calm, not unpleasant. Got the groceries; also to butchers. Thence to Wimbledon to buy haricot beans, dried peas, and a paper. Did some more work on the fence, it is now reasonably dog-proof but a lot more remains to be done. Addie called with a larger rug she is making. Made some sausage rolls.

27th Feb 1945: neighbour still doing the washing

27 Tues. Exceptionally mild for season; lovely sunny afternoon. Cycled to Cheam meat shop in morning and waited in a very long queue. Went to Robbins to fetch a roll of oil-cloth. Also bought some wood for fence palings and put some up. Gave Addie a root of pink paeony; she called in evening for the washing which she has been doing since Ciss hand has been bad.

26th Feb 1945: bought oilcloth... caught thief

26 Mon. rather cold, dull, windy morning, but some nice sunshine in afternoon. To Robbin’s furniture shop to buy 20 yds of oil-cloth; first time I have bought such a thing: shall collect it tomorrow. To local chemists; also a fruitless journey to Morden. Dug up and divided rhubarb. Little Dennis stole in while my back was turned and helped himself to a cake and ran away down the alleyway between the gardens and I had to chase him, bearing him back in my arms, triumphantly eating his stolen cake: you have to laugh! Saw an elegant twin-engined flying-boat* pass over low from N to S.

*Probably a PBY Catalina (Photo via Wikipedia)


25 February 2015

25th Feb 1945: happy kids... happy Fred with neighbour

25 Sun. Rather cold, clouded over all day. Gwennie and Laurie called and thoroughly enjoyed themselves, just like they use to: the fly sprayer particularly pleased them. Mrs. Veale gave them an orange each. Went into Mrs. Veale’s to glue the back of a wool rug she has made: had a happy time in there. Mrs Akroyd came to tea.

24 February 2015

24th Feb 1945: real EGGS & bacon for dinner - evacuees return

24 Sat. Sharp, white, morning frost, but some soft sunshine in afternoon. We had eggs and bacon for dinner – real eggs! I cooked them. Ciss went to Tolworth. To Merton in afternoon to buy fish. Fixed more palings to the fence. Getting short of palings and had to cut some out of damaged boards. Have no more salvaged wood suitable. Washed 23 dirty handkerchiefs. Saw Gwennie and Laurie back from Preston where they went while the doodle-bugs were coming.

23 February 2015

23rd Feb 1945: Oh! Addie!

23 Fri. Rather cold, very dull, rain setting in later. Got the meat and all the usual household commodities. To Morden in afternoon; thence to Raynes Park Sta. to buy a paper. Bought two more lengths of Arris rail and nailed them to the fence posts. Addie called in evening bringing a green rug she is making and did some work on it here. Oh, she is nice!

22 February 2015

22nd Feb 1945: one loud rocket

22 Thur. Rather cold, dull, misty morning, but some soft sunshine later. Did some more work to the fence. Needs some more Arris rail. To the Merton meat shop, returning via Morden, buying a paper there. To see Uncle Joe in evening to ask how Aunt Liza is. She is in Wimbledon Hospital and is comfortable. Extremely loud rocket at 5.55 p.m

21 February 2015

21st Feb 1945: What was this 'handsome four-engined bi-plane'?

21 Wed. Sharp white morning frost, rather cool to-day but some soft sunshine. Got the groceries as is usual on Wed. also to the butchers. Rocket at 11.22 a.m. To Smaldons to buy two eleven foot lengths of Arris or Harris rail to repair the fence: price 7/4. Put them up and nailed a dozen palings to them – a lot more is wanted yet. Little Dennis was very interested in the job and is unusually intelligent for a two-year-old. Painters did some work on interior woodwork. Saw a handsome four-engined bi-plane. Enormous air activity by our heavy bombers at night.

20 February 2015

20th Feb 1945:

20 Tues. Rather mild, dull morning, pleasant sunny afternoon: in places where there was no wind the sun was quite warm. To post-office in morning also to buy fish. Took the climbing rose to Tolworth in afternoon and planted it in Alb’s garden* . Tied it up to the trellis** and feel quite confident about it. Rocket at 11.45 a.m.

* **Seventy years ago - and we do have a photo of that trellis in his brother Albert's garden

19 February 2015

19th February 1945: coming up roses

19 Mon. Mild, very dull; calm. To Hampton’s Nurseries at Coombe Hill to buy two loganberry plants – one for Mrs. Veale, also a Duchess of Atholl rose and a Crimson Glory for her which I planted in afternoon. The other logan was for me, I also got two roses Mrs G. A. Van Rossem* and The Doctor which I also planted. I bought a climbing Mme. E. Herriot rose for Alb. Rocket at 11.45 a.m. Aunt Liza went into hospital with one of her bad attacks of asthma to-day.



18 February 2015

Fred, your diary has been viewed over 80,000 times

Dear Readers,

Let's celebrate and share our discovery of my Uncle Fred's diaries. The last 24 hours saw the 80,000th viewing of this blog since we began it in 2010. Thank you to all who have contributed comments and additional rich material, by way of memories, photographs and information.

Top viewing figures by country


Tony French

18th Feb 1945: geat weather.. birds singing.. 8-10 people killed

18 Sun. Very mild, dull morning; lovely sunny afternoon: calm. In afternoon cycled to Park Road, Kingston, to see where the rocket fell. I should say from 20 to 25 houses were destroyed; a boy told me 8 or ten people were killed: the devastation appeared to be about the same as a flying bomb, although the damage by blast seems to stop suddenly, certainly window damage does not extend so far. The hazel is in bloom. I heard the lark, thrush and blackbird singing: the pussy willows are nearly out. Rockets at 2.45 and 7.45 p.m. respectively.

Sun. was warmest Feb. day for 40 years.

17 February 2015

17th February 1945: door built to Addie Veale's

17 Sat. Connie Bradley’s birthday. Less cold, very dull but calm. Cycled to N. Cheam meat shop. Finished the door and screen at the house end of the fence between this garden and Mrs. Veale’s.

16 February 2015

16th February 1945: Spooner's broken nose

16 Fri. Cold, very dull, calm. To the butchers, cold meat shop, bakers and to pay for the papers and to buy sweets: got accumulators. In afternoon to Morden thence to Merton to buy fish. Met Alan Spooner just out of hospital; he broke his nose playing rugby last Sat. It seems the rocket at 5.0 p.m. on Wed. exploded in the air: many people saw it – Mrs Spooner did. Addie came in twice, the second time to ask Ciss how to use the rug making needle she has bought: did some work to the rug here.

15 February 2015

15th February 1945: bangers

15 Thur. Cold, misty morning but improving later. Bought sausages locally. More work putting up the fence again: the one between our garden and Mrs Veale’s. She came in evening. Heavy rocket that rattled the windows at 9.30 am: also one in SE at 11.25 a.m.

14 February 2015

14th February 1945: Fred the gardener-handyman

14 Wed. Cold at each end of day, but fine with some warm sunshine in afternoon: lovely. Got the groceries in morning. Re-made one side-path of garden. Planted 3 doz. shallots. Started repairs to Mrs Veale’s fence: gave her some seed shallots. Rockets, one at 5.0 and another at 5.15 p.m. in NE. heavy rocket at 10.0 p.m. in NW. Rocket at 10.35 p.m. the bang was in NE but the rumble in SE.




On this day: An estimated 25,000 people died in the Allied bombing of Dresden. See the 1945 report. BBC News - On this day - 14 Feb 1945 

13 February 2015

13th February 1945: Fred the phone expert

13 Tues. Rather mild for season: dull boisterous morning, sunny afternoon. To buy flex wire in morning and made it up into ’phone leads for Uncle Tom’s ’phones, fitted same except the tags. To Merton meat shop in afternoon returning via Morden to buy a paper. Dennis Veale came in so we had a lovely game together. Soldered the tags on repaired ’phone leads to finish the job.

12 February 2015

12th February 1945: Addie is perfection!

12 Mon. Rather mild, dull, cloudy; some drizzle. Heavy rocket at 5.15 a.m. The rocket at 1.50 a.m. on Sunday exploded in the air over Weybridge after striking an electric pylon. The one at 5.15 a.m. this morning fell at Ashtead. In afternoon to Morden to buy fish and a paper. Posted some letters. Filled in some cracks with plaster in the living room. Distant rockets at 4.15 and 4.30 p.m. Dear Addie called to see if I could lend her an accumulator – yes, I could: I think she is perfect.

11 February 2015

11th Feb 1945: "a terrific rocket..."

11 Sun. Cold but less wind, dismal; rain all day. A terrific rocket at 1.50 a.m. I thought the windows were coming in: although it was so loud have not heard where it fell. A short walk in afternoon.

10 February 2015

10th Feb 1945: what a day!

10 Sat. Very cold, bitter wind; bright sunny morning, dull later. Then followed hail, snow, sleet, rain, thunder and lightning. Cycled to Cheam to buy cats meat. Stripped off the cameoid dado from living room. Went into Addie’s house in evening; took cats meat, showed them some photos, made them laugh: I was very happy.

9 February 2015

9th Feb 1945: raw parsnip

9 Fri. Rather cold, with boisterous wind, but fine, the sunshine in afternoon being very bright. Did all the usual Friday morning shopping locally. To Merton in afternoon to buy fish and seed shallots. Dug over a small part of garden. Dennis Veale came in and started to eat raw parsnip, he said, “it is nice”.

8 February 2015

8th Feb 1945: cameoid (?) wallpaper

8 Thur. Rather cold; very dull, light rain all day. Bought sausage meat in morning, also took some small birthday cake candles to McAinsh’s in Vernon Avenue; they will be put on Jeanette’s birthday cake; she will be five. Finished cleaning out kitchen cupboard and started removing the cameoid** relief paper in dining room; it was damaged in the bombing, the walls being cracked.

**Can anyone help with this word? Small pictures? Cameos?

See the comments below. And Peter Crocker offers this photo:

7 February 2015

7th Feb 1945: ten V-2 flying-bombs

7 Wed. Rather chilly, rain all the morning, but a fine sunny afternoon. Got the groceries in morning also bought a nice birthday card for dear Connie Bradley. Started cleaning interior of cupboard in living room also did the room door. Saw Mr. Conley who has been seriously ill but who is now sitting up for a short while now. Dear Addie called. Heavy rocket at 10.55 a.m. followed by others less loud at 11.15, 11.30, 11.40, 11.55, all a.m. At 1.12, 1.25, 1.43, 1.52, and 3.0 all pm!

Note: diary reader Peter Crocker alerts us to a 1992 paperback by Bob Ogley, 'Doodlebugs and Rockets', which contains a list of where all V-2 rockets landed, with dates and times. Peter says that Uncle Fred is 'uncannily accurate in his reporting... being within 10 minutes of official times and 5 mins of a great many.' He adds, 'So many V-1 came over - 9251 plotted - that possibly no accurate list was kept. 33 are recorded as falling in Wimbledon borough.'  Today, 7th Feb, Uncle Fred records far more than those in the list; Peter Crocker speculates that these may have been V-1s, which were launched intermittently throughout this period, mainly on the Essex area.



An excerpt from Bob Ogley's book, 'Doodlebugs and Rockets'. 


6 February 2015

6th Feb 1945: meat queue for an hour

6 Tues. Rather chilly, very dull, rain almost all day. In morning to the Cheam meat shop and stood in a queue in the rain for best part of an hour: but I got some good meat. Did a bit more cleaning including the window to the living room. Addie Veale called in evening. A nice long letter from Fred Fraine.

5 February 2015

5th Feb 1945: lovely... signs of spring

5 Mon. Very mild for season. 54 degs. some lovely sunshine in afternoon; could not have been better. Did shopping locally in morning. In afternoon to Wimbledon on cycle to chemists, thence to the Common. Lilac and elder trees are budding: there are plenty of the signs of Spring. To pay Slate Club in evening. Chas called to ask where I bought the paper wall-border I put up in sitting room.

4 February 2015

4th Feb 1945: nice day - saw a ladybird - just 5 bombs

4 Sun. Rather mild; some soft sunshine; nicest day this year. Saw a ladybird to-day. Started repairing the fence between our garden and Mrs. Veale’s. She brought me out a cup of tea and some jam sandwich straight out of the oven: sweet girl. Had a game with little Dennis. In evening hung up a wall mirror for her in her living room. Two rockets at 3.10 p.m. also three more later in afternoon.

3 February 2015

3rd Feb 1945: busy domestic day (& one bomb)

3 Sat. Cold, some hazy sunshine. Cooked a lovely roast lamb dinner with baked potatoes. To greengrocers in morning. To Wimbledon in afternoon to buy fish, also some cocoa and sauce at Woolworth’s; there I saw some currant bushes for sale: bought one black and one red for myself and a blackcurrant of another sort for Addie Veale. Planted them as soon as I got back. Jean Child called to take Addie to see a play “The Bronte’s” performed by young people at the Church Hall. Aunt Liza called. Rocket during morning.

2 February 2015

2nd Feb 1945: extremely boisterous

2 Fri. A little colder, dull; extremely boisterous**. To butchers, bakers, etc, etc as usual on Fridays. Called on Mrs. Child. Cleared grass and weeds from a side path of garden.

1 February 2015

1st Feb 1945: floorcloth permit

1 Feb. Thur. Mild for time of year – 46 degrees, some sunshine with a little warmth in it but very windy. To Dear Mother’s grave in morning also to Morden Fuel Office to get a form to apply for a floorcloth permit. In afternoon to Merton meat shop. Little Dennis came in in afternoon and had a game with him. Did a bit more house-cleaning.

Note: just one of those 'significant' chances - I had this clip of the (link >) Elgar Cello Concerto open on my computer while viewing this blog complete with the youthful Fred's photo with a violin - oh, how he would have loved to hear this music and watch the performance...