16th July 1943

Disturbed, noisy night.  German ‘planes over almost continuously, time after time for nearly 4 hours, beginning just after midnight.  There were few searchlights, but most a long way off.  Heard no bombs, but could not sleep until 5am.  Spent most of the night reading.

Many heavy freight trains came through towards London, puffing slowly up the bank, whistling and clanking.  Several times I half expected ‘planes to attack them, but nothing happened.  Must be nerve wracking for the drivers and firemen, who can hear nothing but their own engines.

Woke at 8, and managed to get to the office at 9.30.  Capt. Folkard not there, but Walling looked furious. 

Busy most of the day getting ready for this press conference tomorrow.  Home to tea.  The old folks both very well, and never heard a sound last night.

This afternoon Col. Mayhew MP for Dunmow came in, and Poulter called me down to introduce me.  He is very deaf, and full of long rather tedious details about his family.  Told me inter alia that working in dusty libraries or museums often causes cancer, (referring to Poulter).  Warned me never to eat food before washing after touching all MSS.

After tea went down to Bourne Mill and chased some boys away, giving myself terrible heart pains.  Went to one boy’s home in Winchester Road, and told his mother I would take him to the police station if I caught him again.  She said “Damn good job, then I’ll be rid o’ the little bugger!”

Back to Holly Trees for an hour, checking photos, then out by way of Dedham.  A good many oat fields traved now, and a binder clacking in the distance.  Swarms of ‘planes going up from Langham aerodrome, and swarms of jeeps, lorries and taxis taking Americans into town for the evening.  Noticed they have put up their own “Slow” traffic notices, but have put them on the wrong sides of the road.

Called at Sissons’ and returned a book, then very slowly to Lawford.  Glorious cool evening.  Fed the calves, and then to bed.  The moon rose, huge and yellow behind the hill.  Looked at it through the glasses, such a strange remote landscape, no war, no bombs.  Read “Yr Herald” which “Len Carn” sent me.  Seems like reading about a land as remote as the moon itself.  What will tonight bring?  Only one person killed last night, apparently.

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