9th February 1943

Howling gale and heavy rain all night.  Went in by bus, thinking all the way that this was just the day for a raid.  Went into the office, everybody rushing about, settled down to letters, when Harding came in and said that a Warden was downstairs, and insisted that we put out our lights “while the warning was on.”  I said “what warning?” And he said “The siren went at a quarter to 9, didn’t you hear it?” 
Fortunately I had to see Lu Marden this morning, so I went out as soon as I had finished the post, and walked down through the Park in drizzling rain.  There was not a sound about anywhere.  Faintly, I heard the sound of the Town Hall clock striking ten, drifting through the fine rain.  A train came rushing down from Ipswich, and a stock train moved up the grade, puffing out great clouds of white smoke.  I thought of the spring days, so many years ago, when I used to come here to see the engines.  Crossed the bottom of the Hanging Field, and reached the By-Pass.  Called at Mason’s to see Gall.

The place was so busy and full of life it was difficult to believe that it may have only just escaped destruction.  How these young girls of 15 and 16 years old can work there under raid conditions I cannot think.

Gall asked after Poulter.  I don’t know how he knew the old man was ill.

Then called at the “Albert.”  Councillor Lu Marden, J.P. was not yet up, so I had to wait 10 minutes.  “Come in old chap,” he said, “I have to be at the Court at 11 o’clock.”  We had a long talk, and I fear it will be quite impossible to do any business over Payne’s house.  He seems to be quite uncertain as to when Payne will really be able to get out, and I dare not take over while both the doctor and the housekeeper are still sleeping there.  In any case, I am sure Writtle would not agree. 
Walked back through the Park.  Capt Folkard not very pleased at my having gone out on this business.  Like many chief officers, he wants results but the actual work involved in achieving them irritates him.

Weather improved a little.  Then another alarm at a quarter to 12 but it only lasted 10 minutes and nothing happened.  

Had to walk all the way down to Bourne Mill, and went through the Alleys.  The bomb holes are still not filled in behind Portugal Terrace, but all the houses are repaired, and it is impossible to see where any damage has been done. 

Had lunch at home.  Old people not in the least alarmed.  Mother said “I wonder where they were this morning?” (meaning the Germans).  She had a letter from Uncle Frank, in which he mentioned walking along Port Lane to fetch milk from Winsley’s Farm, nearly 60 years ago.  There were then no houses between Cannock Mill and New Town Villas, except Winsley’s.  How lovely it must have been. 

Got a little work done this afternoon, but felt all the time that another alarm might be given.  Caught the 5.15 bus.  The evening papers spoke of attacks all over Kent and Sussex, and right up to the southern edge of London.  About 20 people killed, and a lot of damage done.

Joy had been to Ipswich today, and said that in alarms there all shops closed and everybody goes under cover, as they used to at the beginning of the war. 

Sky cleared by 9, and the crescent moon came out.  If only it had been fine and clear this morning, about 20 people now dead would be alive and well.

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