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Monday, 14 June 2010

1942 September

September. Letter to Mr Potter returned to mailer. Coal situation deteriorates. Meat, two veg and pudding at the A.R.P.

Thursday, Sept 17th
              Since last entry went to Stratford on Avon (with M) and saw four plays, then home to preparations for new school year. To-day to the Post Office, returned a letter I wrote to Potter six months ago with a typewritten slip posted over the address to say they much regretted to say the letter could not be delivered as he was missing. To-night the Germans have forced their way into Stalingrad.

Friday, Sept 18th
            Term started. Hope for a better year than last – that not difficult, I fancy.
            The Canadian casualties at Dieppe were 3,350 out of 5,000.
Saturday, Sept 19th
              It looks as if the Dieppe affair was a failure. The guns north and south of the town were to be put out of action and the main assault made on the town itself. The landing to the south succeeded and the guns were put out of action, but the northern landings were disastrous. The barges had to make a detour to avoid an escorted German tanker and arrived at the beaches in broad daylight instead of before dawn. They were bloodily repulsed.....
              A tremendous rumbling of heavy bombers going over about 8.30 p.m....

Sunday, Sept 20th
              Filling in a fuel form for the school. Coal situation very poor. Old men in pits cannot increase output. Consumption believed to be about 208m tons, output 200m tons, yet export trade of 44m tons in 1937 practically disappeared. Govt have brought back miners from civilian occupation, but not from Army and Air Force. They have refused to introduce rationing, but ask the public not to exceed a voluntary "target". It looks as though we can only increase output by getting back miners from the services, otherwise we shall be cutting off nose to spite our face.
              The Russians estimate the Germans killed at 1,300,000 in the southern offensive this year. The campaigning season is drawing to a close with about another month to go. The Russian armies have not been destroyed, or the Russian morale broken.

Monday, Sept 21st
              Street fighting continues in Stalingrad. It may not fall after all before the snows.
              Heard to-night of a man who bought a sweep’s kit and did his own chimneys! Found to-day that the Rest Centre blankets had got wet and some of them rotted away. They were all very damp and stank. Had a jolly time lugging up from cellar heavy bundles of 20 blankets a piece with a gang of small boys.

Sunday, Sept 27th
              Went down to see the Rest Centre at the National School. There was an A.R.P. exercise and this one was open. I discovered however that its real purpose was to provide a meal for the A.R.P. workers, meat and two veg and pudding! The schoolmaster had a large torch, ”cost 3/6” – there was as he put it "money in the firm", i.e., the Public Assistance Committee. The Rest Centre was to be open from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. As Len Hayes put it to-day, perhaps they’ll open the National School before the Grammar School because the headmaster has a torch!
              The Minister of Fuel has prohibited central heating until November 1st.
Wednesday, Sept 30th
              Neutral politicians returned from Germany and report German people determined to fight through to the end and still believe in victory, though no longer pretend to see how or when the victory will come. Officers say the summer of 1943 should see the occupation of Moscow. Great hopes placed in Rommel, who is being reinforced. Among the German people the physical strain and long months of overwork is beginning to make itself felt. The British and American raids recognised to be only a foretaste of their strength.
Hitler spoke at the Berlin Sportpalast to-night and said Germany would never ”capitulate” – however that a new word in his vocabulary.
     Went for a pleasant walk from Pangbourne towards Goring.

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