12th August 1943

A quiet night, except for the Sissons’ “tapping ghost”, which tapped in a gentle persistent manner for a long time.  Woke to find a golden sunrise through a blanket of fog, as cold as autumn.  The German radio reports raids on Plymouth and Bournemouth last night, but apparently by small forces only.

Went with the District Officer this afternoon to see possible offices in Creffield Road, now occupied by the ATS.

At supper tonight Mrs. Sisson said: “Well, there’s sure to be a raid tonight”, and sure enough as I lay reading on my bed the sirens sounded at a quarter to 12.  Looked out and saw marker searchlights come on, one at Raydon and one towards Colchester.

Put my boots on and went down.  Sissons were awake, so I called “I’m going to have a look round outside.  I’ll report anything that happens.”

Went into the garden, heard ‘planes to the E, towards Harwich.  There was a cone of searchlights there, and steady gunfire, shells bursting very high.  Then a yellow flare was dropped, and hung motionless.  Next came the rumble of bombs, and the searchlights showed that the ‘plane turned and made off out to sea.

The Raydon searchlight winked on and off, throwing a horrid greenish light across the gardens and houses.  The church clock struck 12, and in the silence that followed one could hear the whirr of the striking mechanism.

Next a fighter came along from the W, carrying red navigation lights, and proceeded to circle around the Raydon light, each circuit bringing him over Dedham.  At 12.15 the ‘all-clears’ rang out – Colchester, Hadleigh, Manningtree.  How brave I felt!  Then a fearful alarm – a violent rustling in the corner of the garden!  For a moment thought that the boarhound from next door must have got in, but it was only the cat.

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