18th January 1943

I became so engrossed in the County Sessions Rolls that I lost all count of time, and had quite a shock when I went in the Plaster Room to get a drink and was just in time to hear 4 o’clock striking.  I thought well, thank goodness there’s only another four hours to daylight, and decided to go through one more volume before going to the Castle to get a little sleep.  Just as I was finishing the sirens sounded.  They sounded very faint and far away through the thick walls.  I packed up the book I was using, locked the Muniment Room, and went out.  It was quite light, with the moon sinking away among clouds behind the Castle.  The sky was speckled with bursting shells, and there was a concentration of searchlights towards Ardleigh. 

A solitary man in the Castle Vaults was taking a great deal of interest in a curious form of mould which covers a lot of the woodwork in the Vaults.  I asked him the time, and he said it was twenty-five to six.  The noise of the firing died away, and no more planes came.  Everybody seemed to agree that they were returning from London.

I felt the most extraordinary relief when the long wail [of the all-clear] broke out.  The fire-guards, being thoroughly roused from their accustomed sleep, decided to get ready to go home, and walked about overhead very loudly.  I dozed off, but woke to hear them leave at 7, then dozed again until almost 8.  Over to Holly Trees, in a thick fog with blue sky above it, and washed and shaved.  Then breakfast.  Lovely fine morning, the sun creeping up gradually through the mist.  
This evening showed the Hoopers some of my old photographs, in which they were most interested.  We could hear another alarm at Brantham about 8, but all-clear followed shortly.  Clouds heavy and low tonight.  Bed at 10, dead tired.

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