August: First 4-engined bomber sighted. Dieppe raid. Newspapers in short supply.
Friday, August 14th
Diary rather neglected owing to visit to Droitwich to sweat in brine baths. Had to stand in corridor all the way until Oxford and could hardly turn round. People determined to travel at Bank Holiday despite appeals. In Midlands coincided with Birmingham holiday week so everything in buses impossible.
News from Russia grows worse. Germans have reached the oil fields this side of the Caucasus.... Nothing has happened in Egypt. ... In India it was revealed that Ghandi had proposed to negotiate with Japan and the Congress leaders have been arrested.
I went to Worcester last Sunday and while there saw my first 4-engined bombers with the American star on them. They circled the city very slowly. In Droitwich all the big hotels have been taken for training the A.T.S.
Tuesday, Aug 18th
P.M. been in Cairo and Moscow – saw Joe Stalin. Some plain speaking in Moscow!
Wednesday, Aug 19th
A landing on the French coast at Dieppe announced at 8 o’clock this morning. French told it is a commando raid and ordered not to join in. I wonder!
Thursday, Aug 20th
No need to wonder. All off again in 9 hours. Casualties heavy on both sides and 90 aircraft lost on our part. An account of how Winston suddenly appeared in the desert. Before his arrival the important visitor was known as Mr Bullfinch. One of the Australian troops asked for a cigar as a souvenir. There has been another shuffle round of generals and the man from Burma, Alexander, has gone to Egypt.
Had a postcard from Hilary to-day: ”Daddy, I have had a swim. Hilary” (on holiday with his mother at Trevone, near Padstow).
Thursday, Aug 27th
Stalingrad and Volga in great danger.... Don’t know details as have not had a paper for some days... Here at Kingham [Cotswolds] many aeroplanes and quite a number of gliders on tow. Walked to Bledington Church but gave me a shock to find name in visitors’ register under June 3rd, 1921, a holiday before taking schools twenty one years ago. As I was looking at 15th century tower saw the trail of a fighter so high that the aeroplane was itself invisible – the medieval and the modern world!
Friday, Aug 28th
A lovely day. Took train to Bourton on the Water and walked to Upper and Lower Slaughter. Had an American major in the carriage coming back and chatted to him about English farming.
Saturday, Aug 29th
To Bourton again intending to walk to Clapton, but extremely sultry and thundery so hung around Bourton and then came home. Trains on local lines very hot and crowded and very late. Food at hotel good as far as it goes, but helpings very small and service poor and inefficient.
Sunday, Aug 30th
Frightfully oppressive with several bad storms, heavy rain and indigo sky. Leg not good and morale rather low. American police appear to be at Kingham. Very difficult to get any papers now except a few of the cheap penny ones
September. Letter to Mr Potter returned to mailer. Coal situation deteriorates. Meat, two veg and pudding at the A.R.P.