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Saturday, 12 June 2010

1942 April

April. Beer and tobacco tax. Miss Hunter on war outlook. Submarine engine factory raid. Listening to Hitler. Hate training.

Good Friday, April 3rd
              ”I’m going to play Victory Day”, said Hilary this morning; ”that’s a lovely game!”

Easter Sunday, April 5th
              A high wind and dull and cloudy. Hilary brought in a bunch of primroses last night.
              In 1940 attack on Norway began April 9th, in 1941 attack on Yugoslavia and Greece April 6th. Will this week repeat 1940 and 1941 ? Hitler in as much of a hurry as production is rising fast here and in America. What’s to come is still unsure. Said to Nora that always think early in the year that the year be worse than the last. ”Well, it has been so far,” she replied!
              Reading John Buchan’s life and his stories…. About last war curious to read how they drove over roads in Asia Minor quite close to fighting with all their headlights on and no mention of aircraft!
              Very dull lying in bed as now term over no staff to come and visit me. Days very long.

Tuesday, April 7th
           The budget yesterday. Income tax to remain the same, but indirect taxation on entertainment, beer, tobacco, cosmetics to increase. Miss Hunter in yesterday, feels doubtful about the ability to hold in the East, but says if we did not lose heart in 1940 we must not do so now. If the Germans fail now, that is to say in the next six months, they are finished, and they know it.

Sunday, April 19th
              On Friday we made a most daring daylight raid by 12 four-engined bombers on Augsburg in Bavaria. They flew in a tight formation at tree level across France, beating off fighter attacks between the coast and Paris, though with the loss of four of their number. The eight survivors finally left the short-range fighters behind and reached their objective, a factory making diesel engines for submarines, as daylight was fading. At roof height they dropped delayed-action bombs. Of the remaining eight, three were shot down. The five that were left climbed into the gathering dusk and set course for home.
              Yesterday I heard the cuckoo in the orchard and saw the first house martins. On Thursday and Friday night there were sirens and on Friday night there were bombs. Last night more bombs but no sirens!

Saturday, April 25th
              Very severe raids on the Baltic ports of Lubeck and Rostock – at latter a Heinkel aeroplane works. …. They are now getting back what they have done to Coventry, Birmingham and London. 400 tons dropped on Rostock in successive night raids and photographs published of burnt out Lubeck. Necessary, but can hardly feel much elation at this fearful destruction by our Air Force of these ancient Baltic cities.

Sunday, April 26th
              Heard Hitler address Reichstag this p.m. on German wireless followed by a translator in sections – the latter speaking very fast and caught up with the Fuhrer, who was then allowed to come over neat for a bit. Listened for some time to a long histrionic diatribe, then got fed up, but heard on news that Hitler assumed further powers and denounced German judges and civil service, a good sign I thought.
              The Germans starting reprisal raids for Rostock and Lubeck. Last night they raided Bath, damage and casualties severe. I am glad I was not there taking a cure for sciatica!
              Phyllis came in. She has been offered a job in the Foreign Office. I tell her she will not be able to attend the peace conference in….where! Has stories of German raids on coasts, sorties in lonely places, found with their throats cut, etc, and says she has heard these stories from different sources.

Tuesday, April 28th
              Heard a pilot who bombed Rostock last night on wireless say how much he admired German AA gunners who kept firing though surrounded by flames. This in the good tradition and not like the gloating over the damage in which the BBC sometimes indulges in the news.
              Wavell said that the modern soldier should be a cross between a criminal and a cat burglar. Judging from accounts of Army Battle Schools in news, where buckets of sheep’s blood are thrown over soldiers and there are “hate rooms” with photographs of murder, rape and torture, he might have added homicidal maniacs!

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