12th September 1941

Awakened from a bad and confused dream at a quarter to 4 this morning by an alarm. (Funny how, when awakened like this, one always hopes it is the “All clear” of an alarm one has missed, right up to the first wavering warble).

First alarm for about a fortnight. No planes to be heard for a few minutes. Then I heard a plane approaching low and steady, and thought “That’s one of ours”. Plane seemed to go overhead, then three or four loud explosions. There was a faint trembling, and a few pieces of plaster fell from the roof of the cell.

I leapt out of bed, bundled on trousers, boots and tin hat, grabbed my glasses and rushed out to open the doors. I could hear the noise of the plane and bursts of machine gun fire towards the north. Taylor was coming across the Park, in darkness, and I heard him call “Hurry up there!” but who to I don't know. Then the alarm bell rang from the roof, and I rushed up there, my heart almost bursting. Old Simons called out from the north side of the roof “Look at the fires, Sir!” and I saw in the direction of North Station dozens of glowing fires. The plane was going away towards the east, still firing. The night was cloudy, with a fitful moon. There was not the slightest effort to fire on the intruder.

I heard the faint sound of a whistle, but no sound of fire-engines. A goods-train came clanking down the Ipswich line, and stopped by Clay Lane crossing. Gradually the fires flickered out, except one or two, apparently near the By Pass Road, which burned a long time. A few drops of rain fell, and it was very cold. I stood wondering if anybody had been killed down there in the darkness, and was thankful to find in daylight that there was no damage or injuries – three H.E. fell in fields beyond the station, but that was all. Old Simons said “I hope I done right Sir, to ring the bell?” I told him yes, and went down below to get warm. Lay reading “Lemmy Caution” for an hour then heard the All clear at 10 to 5.

Capt. Round had his car smashed in a collision with an army lorry today, but was not hurt. I keep hearing about crops not yet harvested. Sunny most of the day, and a few clouds, getting very thick tonight.

EJR includes a notice in his journal for this date, issued by the War Agricultural Committee on the subject of the 'Immobilisation of farm tractors in the event of an invasion'.

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