18th June 1940

Raid alarm tonight. I was just about to put away my cycle, when a dull distant explosion shook the garden gate and rattled windows. It was a glorious night, the moon riding huge and high in the heavens. I went back to the front gate. People were opening their doors, and voices sounded up and down the road. Almost at once the sirens sounded, so I put on my helmet and pedalled away, dodging as best I could the numerous Wardens, Ambulance men and others who were hurrying to their posts. There seemed to be a lot of people about.

As I went up to the Castle, I could hear planes behind me, away to the East, and searchlights had begun flashing over the sky, and there was the dull thump of distant bombs. A few people were coming into the Park, and Taylor had just unlocked the Castle gate. I took over, put on the lights. Soon three or four people came in from nearby houses. The sky was a blaze of searchlights by now, and at least two planes were going across the town, apparently Germans.

Poulter came over to see what was going on, and Harding soon arrived, so I went up onto the roof. With the aid of glasses I could see more searchlights far away into Suffolk. Several planes moved across, going westwards, and at last one was picked up in the lights. He seemed to be very low, and went immediately over the top of the Castle. Just as he was over us, and English plane in the darkness above the searchlight opened fire with machine guns. The German replied, and I could clearly see the tracer bullets streaking off into the blackness. It was all over in a flash, but I was quite scared at the time. After that very little happened, and I was very tired by the time “all clear” went, at nearly 4 o’clock. As I cycled home it was just getting light, coming up in a pinky, blueish wash from the N.E..


Mattias said...

This stuff is better than an action movie. Any reason why he didn't put all this together for a book?

E J Rudsdale said...

Eric Rudsdale stated that he did not want to publish his diaries for at least 50years in order to gain a historical perspective on the war. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to publish in his own lifetime so it is wonderful to be able to fulfil his legacy in this way today. Thanks for your interest, CP