17th August 1943

Rather a bad night.  Went to bed early, to try to get some sleep, but was awakened by ‘planes going out.  Also had two very nasty dreams – (a) that I was in a house with a family of children, one of which was dead, and was really only a ghost, but nobody was aware of this except me.  It was for some reason very horrible.  The child was about 10, and had light, straight hair and spectacles. 

The second, (b) had to do with the Sissons at Dedham.  It was vague, and I can remember nothing of it except a sensation of horror.

At some time during the night heard faint sirens, and dull distant explosions.  Hear there were alarms at Colchester and Mersea, but nothing happened.  Some firing heard in the direction of the Thames Estuary.

About 4am had to get out of bed.  The moon was brilliant yellow, and there was not a sound to be heard, but at 6am there were thick clouds.  In by 9 o’clock, ‘planes going out very high.  Clouds blew away, and it was a fine hot morning.  Very busy on plans for a bombing target near the Strood, which involves moving cattle on our marshes.

Called at home, parents well.  To Boxted by 7.15.  Lovely supper.  Had to hold baby when being bathed.  Bed.  An alarm about 10.30pm, coming clearly on the wind beneath the shining moon – Colchester, Lexden, etc.  Nothing came, and ‘all-clear’ within 20 minutes.

Grave doubts growing as to whether the Allies will respect the decision that Rome is to be an open city.  Cannot believe that the Allied High Command dare order raids, in face of world condemnation, but the low-church-non-conformist-circles are very keen that raids of the heaviest sort should be made at once, and it depends how much influence these circles have in high places.

Everybody believes that an invasion of France is to begin very soon – there have been heavy raids on French aerodromes, and some raids on S. Coast ports in return.  A large area of coast around Bournemouth is now shut off.

(In bed): Strange how sounds carry it the country.  Can hear trains running into Colchester station, motor lorries on Ipswich Road, and voices far away.

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