26th March 1943

Woke at 6, and waited for light to come, but the clouds were thick and low.  I felt very apprehensive and depressed, particularly as the fact that bombers going out last night made a retaliation raid all the more likely.  Started late, and went in as slowly as I could, by Ardleigh, then down Hart’s Lane to Ipswich Road.  Near Langham Lodge Lane about 100 young Americans were laying cable-pipes in a trench, which was being dug by a mechanical excavator, working like a dredger.  The men then laid the pipes and filled in the earth, while two or three behind were consolidating the ground with mechanical rammers worked by accumulators.  As the pipes were put in, the cables were laid out through them.  The whole operation was being done with remarkable speed.

Called at Hall’s the coach builder in Greenstead Road, to see if he would build a new trolley for us, but he declined, as he has all the repair work he can manage.  He seemed quite surprised that anybody should want a new horse-drawn vehicle.  He and his mate, both quite elderly men, thought that horses would be used for years after the war ended, as the army would have all the motors and would have to be kept up to full strength “in case any one else should get up that we might have to knock down.”  

Called at Dedham to report about Poulter.  Sisson told me something of his trip to Exeter.  The damage done there last year was very considerable, and was greatly increased by the indiscriminate demolition carried out afterwards.  In one case the local panel of architects had, with permission of the Regional Commissioner, begun emergency repairs on a badly damaged block of Georgian houses.  During the week-end the Borough Surveyor’s men pulled down the entire block!

This afternoon I went into the lavatory at the Horkesley “Half-Butt” and saw some remarkable writings on the walls, some in chalk, some in black pencil.  They were as follows:

                        STOP FINANCIERS WAR.
                        THE BRITISH GOING TO THE YANKS.

I have never seen such sentiments written up in public since the war began.

The young soldier who murdered the old woman in Audley Road was hanged on Wednesday morning.  The jury had recommended mercy, but as he was only a poor soldier no notice was taken of their recommendation.  I see in the “East Anglian” that there has been a murder in Ipswich recently, also done by a soldier.

Had a curious dream in the early hours of this morning.  Dreamt that I was reading in the papers that Russia had made peace with Germany and that England had at once declared war on Russia.

Cloudy again tonight, only a few planes about.

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