18th December 1942

Dull, but as the sun was rising as a yellow smudge behind the hill, I hoped it would be a fine day.  Unfortunately, the sky became more and more overcast, and rain began at midday.  It was ideal weather for an attack, but I was so busy all day that I had no time to think about it.  Anyway, the papers today say that most of the French airfields nearest to England have been abandoned by the Germans, so perhaps we shall have a little peace for a time.

Poulter called me down this morning to see Councillor Sam Blomfield, who had come in with the news that Mrs. Lyon-Campbell had decided to sell the whole of Doctor Laver’s books, the entire collection to be put up at Hodgson’s auction.  So his library is to finally disappear.  How sad it makes one feel and how futile my efforts seem when I worry how to preserve my miserable collection of oddments.  The results of almost 100 years of research in Colchester have gone, and now his own books, which he guarded so jealously, are to go as well.

Arranged that I should go up to St. Clare Drive next Tuesday with the Councillor and Poulter to see if it is possible to rescue any further MSS.  I am especially keen to get hold of Henry Laver’s “Perlustration of the Banlieau of Colchester”, a priceless work of local research.

Among the rest, the old lady intends to sell Phillip Hills’ interleaved copy of Morant’s “Colchester”, full of notes, with a pencil sketch of Morant in the corner.  This should be acquired by the Essex Archaeological Society, and it will be a scandal if it is not.

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