6th September 1939 - An early air raid

I woke early today and lay reading Pickwick Papers, when at about 6.50am the sirens sounded. Oddly enough I did not feel frightened as I did on Sunday, but I thought “O God, are they going to do this every morning?” I could hear a lot of talking outside, but no planes came across the blue, sunny sky. I heard women’s voices in the cottages in Winsley Road, and then a man’s voice say “Well, I’m off to work.” There was no sound of traffic, but I could hear trains in the distance. ...

At half past 8 the “All Clear” sounded, and one could hear a distant murmur as traffic got started again.

Interesting find came into the Museum today when digging an air raid shelter in Mercer’s Way – some pieces of coarse Roman wares, apparently the remains of a burial, and about a third of a late Celtic polished bowl, with pierced base.

Although the general feeling of alarm still maintains, people are not quite so anxious, now that the promised giant air raids have not materialised. If the Germans really did have 70,000 planes, as we were told, it is odd that they have not sent them over. They are winning easily in Poland however.

However, in spite of the lack of raids, all picture-houses are closed by order of the Government, so the wretched soldiers have nowhere to go at night except the pubs. All the same, there is no drunkenness in the streets at night, but everywhere soldiers going back to billets and barracks singing “Roll out the barrel”.

Colchester’s rich archaeological remains often came to light as a result of excavations for air raid shelters and these artefacts were then presented to the Museum.

Cinemas and theatres were closed on the outbreak of war as a precaution against air attacks but the lack of air raids in the first few months of the war, and the demand for some form of entertainment, led to the restrictions being lifted in full by November 1939.


Jane09 said...

This is a fascinating account, especially since I can visualise the places Eric talks about. I shall be checking it daily!

E J Rudsdale said...

Thank you for your kind comments. I'm delighted to hear that you are enjoying following the blog - CP

7374615 RAMC said...

It seems odd with the benefit of hindsight to see that people genuinely feared imminent invasion from day 1.