13th December 1943

Up at 7.  Complete change in the weather – clear, cold sky and brilliant moon.  Left at 8, went by Dedham to take Sissons' a loaf.  The sky was pale, the morning star glittering.  Labourers beginning to work, threshing tackle near Brook Farm and another at Fox Street.  Children playing as always at the end of the Long Road, apparently quite undisturbed by the destruction half a mile away.

Called to see Father, who seemed very well, had tea and bread and jam there.  At office, all confusion. Capt Folkard not very affable, owing to worry and annoyance.  

War Agricultural Committee this afternoon.  Great excitement about the bombing, and the murder.  A good many bombs fell at Layer Marney, and old Lofthouse lost 7 cows.  They were not all dead, and he had to finish some off by cutting their throats with a clasp-knife.

The murder caused a great sensation.  Everybody believes it was done by Americans, but the Chairman said that several taxi drivers had been asking for trouble, as they have charged anything up to £4 to drive Americans from Colchester to Birch.

Nothing much at the Committee although it was very long.  Sadler came from Writtle, his first time as Executive Officer.  [Ralph Sadler had replaced J.C. Leslie as Executive Officer of the Essex War Agricultural Executive Committee at Writtle] He made a long rather wandering speech.  I got a lift back to Colchester with him.  Talked about labour problems, but he could not see where the real root trouble lay.  Sat until candles were lighted.  Heavy gunfire all afternoon.

Very cold cycling out.  Lot of traffic on the Ipswich Road.  Near Birchwood saw an old woman, wrapped in a white shawl, tottering along carrying a candle lantern.  The moon rising rather misty, but looks like suitable weather for a raid.  Saw a shooting star, and a few pale searchlights at practice.

At Valley Farm Cottage, found a detective interviewing Mrs Roe regarding a bag she has lost.  Crept quietly upstairs.  Heard their voices, Mrs. Roe’s especially, rising and falling for a very long time.

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