22nd May 1944

Up early, nice clear morning, but cold.  Called at home.  Father very fair, cheered up when I gave him some eggs and milk.  Apparently there was an alarm about 4 am which I never heard.  He heard only the ‘all-clear’.

Excavation being cut across the site of Cheshire’s china-shop, at St Botolph’s Corner, to lay a water pipe to the foundry behind the station.  No pottery found, but a few fragmentary footings,  running N-S, about 30 feet from the old street front.

Out at 5 and went to tea at Hilda Smith’s.  Most enjoyable evening.  Had to phone Capt Folkard at 9.30, and had a lot of trouble to get through from the box at Drury Rd corner.  Great congestion on the lines. 

Heavy clouds came up in the evening, but there was no rain, so badly needed.  Had tea in the garden.  Hilda told me that there had been an epidemic of ‘phone calls in the middle of the night around the west end of the town, mostly to houses where a lady lives alone.  When the ‘phone is answered the caller immediately hangs up without speaking.  It is believed that these calls are made by burglars as a way of discovering whether or not the houses are occupied.  Hilda’s house was burgled a few weeks ago, by a solder and an ATS girl.

Heard that several main-line trains from London were cancelled without warning today.  People got to Colchester station to find a notice hung up to say that various trains would not run.  Doubtful about going to London on Wednesday.

Boxted at 11, dark and cold.  A great owl flying around near the Asylum fence.


Anonymous said...


I assume the train cancellations were connected to D-Day.

A documentary on Channel 5 TV this week looked at underwater investigations of the D-Day beaches, amongst the vehicles transported using the Mulberry harbours were bulldozers - which explains ER's sighting of them in an earlier entry.

Mike Dennis

E J Rudsdale said...

Hi Mike,

Yes - I think the train cancellations were due to D-Day preparations and also the congestion on the telephone lines - there is certainly a sense of the build-up to events in these diary extracts.
Thank you so much for explaining that the bulldozers were assigned for D-Day, what a coincidence that you saw them on this programme - I must catch up with that. Best wishes, CP