Preparations for War

Eric did not write an entry in his journal over the next couple of days and so to fill this gap the next few posts look back to the diary entries he wrote just before the war started.

28th August 1939

The number of visitors to the Museum is now very seriously affected by the rumours and scares which are daily getting worse - the takings for Castle tickets today were only 7 shillings, instead of about £2. We hear that most of the visitors to Clacton and Walton have left now - terrible hardship for the boarding house and hotel people. Anti-aircraft guns are being moved into position. Hull [the Curator] very "jittery", and shows great anxiety, running in and out all day long.

29 August 1939

Hull ordered all hands today to fill sandbags and pack [the best of the Museum] collections. The whole job was done in a terrible rush, and as we were much understaffed I fear that some things are bound to have been broken. However, there seems to be a decided impression that none of us here will ever see the stuff unpacked again, so perhaps we shall escape blame.

I see from the papers that the British Museum and all the other museums are also packing, the British Museum packing everything that is not too big to move.

We all stayed until 8 o'clock, then I cycled home with Tovell, as the roads are so dark by 8 now, and full of troops and lorries.

31st August 1939

More pottery packing today, and sandbagging. All the papers today talk of conferences, phone calls, planes flying between London and Berlin. Very deep depression everywhere, except Poulter, who is still bouncing with optimism - War Loan has gone up, so he's made a bit! Went to the Hippodrome tonight, on the idea that this may well be the last time I shall ever go to the flicks. George Formby on. Full house. There are thousands of troops in the town already.

At home I fixed up thick curtains in the dining room and one in my bedroom. I am sure that tonight is the last night of peace. Hundreds of searchlights across the sky, visible from my bedroom window.


Anonymous said...

This diary makes for very interesting reading especially for persons like myself who live in Colchester. I enjoy reading the blog very much.

E J Rudsdale said...

Thank you for your kind comment - I'm so glad to hear you are enjoying the blog - CP