16th August 1940: The Battle of Britain over Essex

Most alarming experience today. We all went to tea at Mrs. Belfield’s, at Dedham, near the railway by the Lawford Road. Through the conversation I heard the obvious thuds of bombs, and an ever increasing roar of aircraft. Suddenly I heard a horrible whining shriek, and said “Isn’t that falling bombs?” We [were] expecting to hear a tremendous explosion at once, but only a dull reverberation came. ...

Later we got news from elsewhere, and it appears that a large body of German planes was being chased away from London, and in their headlong flight scattered bombs all over the district. Almost 100 fell in fields round Langham and Boxted, some perilously close to houses. The Langham butcher was over this evening and said that two fell in his yard, doing little damage, though blowing fine dust everywhere. Not a single person was injured, though tiles were knocked off and many windows broken. This is nothing short of a miracle, that such a mass of high explosive could be dropped without injury or death.

Mrs. Parrington is very anxious that I should stop all next week in order to finish the barley, by the middle of the week, so I shall go into Colchester tomorrow and see Hull about it. I don't see how he can refuse, especially as harvesting ranks as being of “national importance”.

Dull and rather cold.

For more detail on events in the Battle of Britain for 16th August 1940 see the Imperial War Museum's Battle of Britain website or the RAF's Battle of Britain Campaign Diary. CP

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