25th December 1943

Saturday, Christmas Day
Foggy and rather warmer, lay very late, and had to hurry to get down to Sissons’ by 1 o’clock for lunch.  Put on best suit, hurried across the valley, meeting people coming back from church.

At Sissons’, found Major Inde also invited.  The Major was very outspoken, as usual.  Suggested that any white woman who went out with a black man should be shot.  Also spoke about the Royal family thought George VI rather insipid.  Said it was rumoured that American papers had published the statement that Princess Elizabeth is to marry the Duke of Rutland.  Sisson said it was lucky she had not been betrothed to young King Peta of Jugo Slavia, as he is now to be dropped by the Government in favour of the Jugo Slav rebels.  The Major gave his opinion that Elizabeth would be the last sovereign, after which the monarchy would sink into a Regency and then die away.  Said he would be sorry for it, but feared it inevitable as the Russians would not countenance a Monarchy.  Has an intense hatred of the Russians.

Went on to talk about old Colchester families, and mentioned that Dr. Marie Stopes, the notorious advocate of birth control, was related to Stopes of Colchester Brewery, the first man in Colchester to have a car.  Mrs Sisson mentioned that it was not generally known that Dr Stopes was a doctor of literature, not medicine.  The public all believe she is a medical doctor of course.

The Pentons came just before tea.  Jack spoke of Soad, [his brother?] whom he despises for dropping pacifism at the outbreak of the war.  Sisson said that being above military age made a great deal of difference to one’s belief in pacifism.  Mrs Penton said she had received a Christmas card showing a British soldier guarding Bethlehem.  Sisson said he could design a better one than that – the Holy Babe in an air raid shelter, the Virgin in an ATS uniform, and Joseph as an Air Raid Warden, the sky above showing the Star of Bethlehem among searchlights.

A World War II Christmas Card showing a soldier guarding Bethlehem, 
probably the same image that Mrs Penton received as a Christmas card in 1943

Two planes came over Langham, wheeling round in the fog, and Mrs Penton said about 40 machines landed at Raydon yesterday, so I suppose we shall have more noise.

Jack said he had listened to carols from King’s on the radio yesterday, and the singing was at times almost drowned by the noise of bombers flying over the chapel.  Apparently this had happened before, and some person had written to the “Radio Times” to say how fine and appropriate it sounded to hear carols and above them the bombers going out on “their mission of liberation”.

I left shortly after, and went back to Higham, very thick, dark night.  Not a plane, not a sound but distant dogs barking, and people laughing down the road.  No beacon at Higham.  Conrans out at a party at Ida’s.  Bed at 10 o’clock.

No comments: