7th August 1942: Bomb damage at Hoffman's Factory, Chelmsford

Had to go to Writtle [Essex War Agricultural Executive office] today.  Noticed sentries, in pairs, patrolling the railway near Chelmsford Station.  Little damage to see at Hoffman's, only holes through the roofs where bombs were dropped early last Sunday morning.  They say 7 men were killed and the works quite put out of action by damage to the power units.

Chelmsford Market a wonderful sight, so full of horses and traps.  There must have been 150 horses there, and I counted 35 traps and carts in the sale yard.  Saw Frank Warren there.  “My gosh,” he said “there’s every rogue in Essex here.  It’s just like it was when I was a boy.”

Spent the afternoon at Writtle, and then caught a train right through to Manningtree.  On the train I met Michael Somebody-or-other, Joy’s cousin, on his way to stay at Lawford for the harvest.  He and four other boys from Haileybury are going to do 6 weeks with Frank Girling at Holly Lodge.  At Manningtree great efforts to unload five cycles and heaps of kit, all of which had to be carried through the subway.  Joy came rattling into the station yard with Roger in the luggage cart.  They were waiting to meet another boy who had cycled all the way from Haileybury to Felixstowe with two cycles, and was now cycling to Lawford.

Lovely day, sunny, but not too hot.  Fed all the animals before Joy got back from Holly Lodge.

Hoffman's was a ball-bearing factory in Chelmsford and the town's largest employer.  Owing to its strategic importance it was a target for German bombers as was the nearby Marconi factory.  Hoffman's closed in 1989 and the factory site is now home to Anglia Ruskin University.  This photograph shows the site today with the remaining Hoffman's building, Globe House, on the right, now converted to flats, and the University buildings on the left.  CP

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