17th August 1942

This morning Mr Brown, formerly of the Technical College, came in.  He is on leave from the Welsh Fusilier Depôt at Brecon, where he appears to be permanently established.  Why an old officer of the Essex Territorials should be drafted to the Welsh Fusiliers, only God and the War Office can have any idea.

He has a great many interesting tales, but unfortunately I was in a great hurry to go to a Committee meeting at Birch and was unable to hear many of them.  One thing he said was that they had at Brecon a Welsh Nationalist from North Wales, who refused to speak English and refused to acknowledge any military discipline.  He had been removed from the list of Conscientious Objectors, as his objections were on political grounds only, and had already served three months in Swansea Gaol.  He was now back at the barracks, but refused to wear army uniform.  The case naturally interests me a good deal.

Another story was that a month or so ago a German plane crashed in the hills near Brecon and was found to have an Italian crew.  One of them was hurt, and was brought to hospital by some of Brown’s men.

Brown also told me that there were quite a few men [at the barracks] from North Wales who spoke no English at all.  These had to attend special classes where a certain amount of English was taught them so that they could at least understand army commands.  I wonder what we should say if we heard that the Germans were conscripting Poles into the German army, and then compelling them to learn German?
Had a better opportunity to examine the picture brought in by Griffith’s of Dedham.  It is inscribed on the back “By an Officer in the Barracks,” in a 19th century hand, and is undoubtedly by Col. Cockburn.  It is a charming view, right across the valley from the back of Dilbridge.  The church towers and spires are easily identified.  In the foreground is a girl milking cows in the field.

This picture belonged to old Mrs. Pine of Dedham, the widow of Pine the artist.  It is cheap at £3.  What a pleasure it is to find a thing like this which is new to me.

A most unpleasant scare just at midnight last night.  I was in the Oven, reading, when suddenly I heard a plane going into a dive, followed instantly by the crash of bombs.  I went up on the roof, but there was nothing to be seen, no smoke or fire, only a searchlight or two towards Brightlingsea, where the sound of the plane receded into the distance.  I hear today that four bombs fell in or near Bullock Wood, doing no damage.  Of course, no alarm was sounded.


Robin King said...

Interesting how far away the bombs (reportedly) fell, despite sounding so threatening: Bullock Wood is nearly 2 miles (nearly 3 km) from the Castle where EJR was on night-watch duty.
Perhaps (see tomorrow's entry) German reconnaissance had noted work in progress on Langham aerodrome (later officially called Boxted - see "Essex Airfields in the Second World War" by Grahan Smith).

E J Rudsdale said...

Thanks for your comments Robin, and I think you are right - EJR's account shows that German air activity over Essex seems to have incresed in August 1942 and the work beginning on the aerodromes must have been part of the reason for the increase in air raids. CP