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Wednesday, 30 June 2010

1944 March

March. Anzio beach head. Long tailed tits on Downs. German rockets. "When will it start? Margaret Sheehan depressed.

Thursday, March 2nd
              Anzio beachhead battle goes on. Germans have launched another big attack on it. How long can we go on in this confined space piled up with stores and guns? News of Greek guerrilla success in wrecking German train in a snowstorm on Feb 22nd led by British officer directed from Cairo. Ten passenger coaches toppled down a ravine. 400 were killed including a general and many senior officers travelling from Athens to a conference in Germany.

Thursday, March 9th
              Weather has been good for flying recently, clear days and fine frosty nights without fog, but the drought is becoming very serious. The land very dry and the earth like powder, but good for digging. Went on downs yesterday with M and saw a flock of about a dozen long-tailed tits very close indeed and quite tame. Got 3 lbs of oranges to-day and Molly sent us 3 lemons from Southampton where they are more plentiful.

Friday, March 10th
              The Germans made 16 raids on London and S.E. between Jan 1st and March 1st. They dropped roughly 1,700 tons of bombs of all types, and their heaviest drop 250 tons in one night. In the same period we dropped 36,000 tons on Germans and 10,000 on occupied territory. In a month the U.S. Air Force destroyed 905 enemy planes in the air.
              Talk that the cheese ration will be cut again this summer; now 3oz a week. More marmalade very nice, but not the same as cheese. Am thinking of going in for geese for next Christmas and have ordered 3 goslings. Good digging weather and have dug about third of allotment.

Sunday, March 12th
              Went over to Long Dene to see Hilary. He seemed more cheerful, but not very well and pale and anaemic.
              To-night a number of bombers came back in formation flying with all their navigation lights on. They looked like some kind of moving firework, fascinating to watch.

Sunday, March 19th
              Tremendous Russian victories in Ukraine and great advance from Dnieper to Bug and from Bug to Dniester…. At this rate the Russians soon back to invasion line of 1941.
              Been reading Three Against Rommel by Clifford; pleased to find that my diary gives quite a good idea of Libyan campaign on the whole. Book fascinating.
              Tremendous bombing of Casino but still not in possession of the ruins. Italian campaign being relegated to a side show as second front gets nearer. Many American troop-carrying plans over and the other evening a large formation of gliders on tow.

Monday, March 20th
              Now announced that we have been using a rocket gun in our A.A. barrage and pictures of the rockets have been released. Myself I look forward to the nights when we can fire rockets again in November and have firework parties – something Hilary has never seen.
              No announcements of train cancellations to be made ahead, but only notices at stations in future.
              These days of waiting for the attack to be made are sinister and portentous. Nora is impatient and keeps saying when will it start. I guess the next spring tides about beginning of April, but it may well be the tides after those. The time can hardly be a surprize or the place, but perhaps the weight, strength and speed of the assault will be.
              The first of the Vichy ministers captured by the Committee of Liberation in Algiers has been shot. He himself said at the trial that such a policy would lead straight to civil war.

Thursday, March 24th
              All coasts from Wash to Lands End banned so cannot go down to Exton this Easter. Reading an account of the bombers of the American 8th Air Force and a book on Serbian guerrillas by Dunsany.

Friday, March 25th
              Russians getting very near Rumanian frontier. Margaret Sheehan’s Jack on 48 hours leave as he has volunteered, or been picked, for specially dangerous mission. Margaret at last (see Diary for 1942) pregnant, and very depressed.

Wednesday, March 29th
              The govt defeated in H of C last night on equal pay for teachers in the Education Bill. To-day Churchill says he intends to treat it as a no confidence vote. Seems to me an attempt to bully parliament. What has equal pay for teachers to do with Churchill’s conduct of the war?

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