17th April 1943

Awakened just after midnight by the sound of a plane diving, then a short pause, followed by a low rumble and vibration, and a noise like the wind rushing through the trees.  I looked out.  Nothing to be seen, but I could hear the sound of the plane, very high in the moonlit sky.  I thought – “My God, I wonder if that was Colchester.”  Then I heard, faintly on the wind, the sound of the “crash warning” at Brantham, a distant blaring, like a car horn.  Jumped into bed, and lay palpitating.  The plane passed over, northward, and died away.

About 5 minutes later the siren sounded, and several planes came about, apparently night-fighters.  Looked out once or twice, but nothing to see, only the clear brilliant moon. 

Lay awake until all-clear rang out, about 1a.m.  Dull dawn, but cleared up later, and became fine and sunny.  About the middle of the morning, discovered when I was talking to Barton that Hull had thrown out the last two years of the “Abstract of Accounts”.  The late A.G. Wright (the previous Curator at Colchester Castle) and I kept every one of these, so as to form a complete series from 1901.  Now Hull quite arbitrarily begins to destroy that series.  I was furious, I shouted and stormed about with such effect that Harding went hastily out to the dump and rescued both copies.  This is quite disgraceful, and I will not be any party to this sort of thing.

This afternoon an alarm while I was at Bourne Mill.  Fighters rushed about in all directions, but nothing came.  Did not last long.

On duty tonight.  Don't mind quite so much now it is light until 9.30.  Took a pallet bed down into the Vaults and lay there by candle-light from eleven till half past one, but it was so cold I could not sleep.  Then back to the Oven to sleep peacefully until half past 6.  Only one plane went out at about 11.30, thank goodness, and no alarms.  Dozed again after the watchmen left, and home at 9.30.

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