E.J. Rudsdale Talk

I will be giving a talk as part of the Chelmsford Ideas Festival on E.J. Rudsdale's Journals, entitled 'Creating History: A Civilian's Experience of the Second World War in Essex' on Thursday 30th October from 7.30-9.00pm at Anglia Ruskin University. Tickets are free. Book your ticket here. Many thanks, Catherine Pearson

16th January 1941

Last night was one of the most brilliant moon-light nights I have ever seen. It snowed yesterday and froze very sharp at night, so that when the moon came up every building was like a black and white lino-block. About 11 o’clock a German plane came over, going east. It turned over Bromley towards the north, and from the Castle tower I could see its exhaust trail in the sky. The Bromley guns spoke, but the shells were nowhere near, I should judge thousands of feet out. The plane turned S. again and made a wide sweep over Bromley and Frating, guns firing hard. I don't think any bombs were dropped, but the guns were firing wildly. Of course, the famous night-fighters which the public have been assured have done such fine work in the recent bad weather, did not put in an appearance, though planes could easily be seen with glasses and their exhaust trails with the naked eye. At 3am after several planes had flown over in both directions, the siren sounded, and an alarm lasted until 6am, although I don't think any planes were over after 5. I got up and unlocked the Park, cursing loudly as I did not feel at all well.

Called at home, and found poor Mother very low, having just had a telegram to say Aunt Julia died yesterday evening. Poor old Julia. Those were gay days in the ‘20s – Reg and his cars, Christmas parties, trips to Felixstowe, Uncle Bob, of whom I was always secretly afraid, all gone, all gone. Waited to post various letters to Aunt Het and the others, I wonder whether any of them will be able to come for the funeral. Uncle Frank might. I have not other news of Uncle Willie, but I suppose he will be next. The old family are gathering together again now, after so many years of drifting away. I wonder if there is a sort of heavenly “Wimpole Lodge”, surrounded by flowers and growing corn, in everlasting summer time, where they will all be young again and laugh and talk as they did through those long summers of 50 and 60 years ago.

To Rose for a late tea and supper. Bitterly cold. No planes over during the evening, although the moon came up at 10.

EJR's mother was one of 13 children born to William and Eliza Webb who had lived at Wimpole Lodge in the Newtown District of Colchester.

2 comments:

Steve Verhey said...

The paragraph about Aunt Julia is especially lovely.

E J Rudsdale said...

Yes I agree - EJR paints such a vivid picture that I can almost imagine the carefree days of her youth. CP