5th January 1943

Up late this morning.  Very cold, dark and cloudy, but the wind had gone.  The sky gradually cleared, and was bright and sunny by lunch. 

In the papers this morning, stated that a plane was brought down near “S.E. coast” last night.  Perhaps this was the cause of the alarm.

Story quite true about the murder – the victim is an old lady of 84, named Mrs. Wade.  She lived in Audley Road, a most unlikely place for a murder – a quiet respectable suburban avenue, with decent class modern houses along it.  Among other people living there is Sergt. Clarke of the Borough Police, who must be rather shocked to find a murder committed on his very door-step.  The man arrested is a soldier named Turner, who is only 19.  As a matter of fact, he was arrested on another charge entirely, something to do with a robbery, and when taken to the Police Station he was found to have Mrs. Wade’s identity card.  He was then asked how he had come by this, and replied that he had murdered the old lady.  The police went up to the house, and found the woman’s body under a bed in a downstairs room.  No doubt the poor old lady had been sleeping downstairs in fear that she would be killed by the Germans, only to be killed by an Englishman instead.

Sky fairly clear tonight, and weather very cold.


Anonymous said...

Hello Catherine

When we bought a house in Athelstan Road in the 1980s, my Mum (who went to Hamilton Road School in the 1930s and may well have been taught by Eric’s father) said that she seemed to remember that someone was murdered during the war in a house in Audley Road - just around the corner from our new property. My attempts to find out more were unsuccessful, although an elderly neighbour confirmed that there had indeed been a murder, but that “there were a lot of funny things happened in Colchester during the war”. And, in fact, later in 1943, Eric talks about the murder of a taxi-driver called Hailstone who also lived just around the corner, in Maldon Road.
So, after all this time, I was amazed to read today’s entry in Eric’s diary. And his information has enabled me (using a genealogical website) to uncover some additional details about poor Mrs Wade. She was called Ann Elizabeth, was born in Hackney, was a widow and did indeed live at the Athelstan Road end of Audley Road. (I know the number but wouldn’t wish to upset the current occupants!) Amazingly, in the 1911 census, she was living with her husband and children in Harsnett Road, in the same street as baby Eric and his parents! Eric must have been unaware of this.

Best wishes


E J Rudsdale said...

Dear Chris,
Many thanks for these interesting additional details about the murder of poor Mrs Wade. It is amazing that after all this time you have been able to piece these details together after reading this entry in Eric's journals. How interesting too that the family were living so close to the Rudsdales in Harsnett Road in 1911.
I am also fascinated to learn that your mother may have been taught by John Rudsdale. He seems to have been a very popular teacher and old pupils often recalled him with great fondness to Eric.
Thanks again and best wishes, Catherine