Before coming off at 1.00am heard rumours that 176 out of 260 ‘divers’ had been destroyed in 24 hours, but we hear that damage in S. London is enormous. ‘Diver’ came on again as the reliefs took over, and the sirens sounded as I came past the “Queen’s”. Felt very queer, and turned away down to Harrow Corner, went along the path, and slept 2 hours in a ditch until a gentle rain began to fall. Made my way over the fields to the back of Sprott’s Marsh, and then along the ditch to Woodside, hauling the cycle with me. At last crawled into bed at 5.30.
However, managed to get to the office early. Odd incident this morning – Herbert Hardy Fisher, the Deputy Mayor, was sent in from the Labour Exchange with a green card, to be interviewed as a possible clerk. The position in which he finds himself is quite fantastic. For better or worse he holds several very important posts in the Corporation, among other things being one of the Special Emergency Committee of Three (The Mayor, Pye and Fisher) who would take over the management of the entire town in event of an invasion or a devastating air-raid. His only employment is that of an insurance agent, which the Ministry of Labour claim as being unnecessary and propose to direct him to other work. Fisher himself seemed quite reasonable about the whole business, but pointed out that he had to spend at least a third of his time at the Town Hall. When he told this to the Ministry of Labour they replied that the Council ought to get “retired people” to sit on Committees!
I ‘phoned the Ministry of Labour, but could get no sense from them, so ran out up to the Town Hall and had a word with Harvey. He told me that the Town Clerk had done all he could, but the Man Power Board were adamant, and when the Town Clerk pointed out how important Fisher’s committee work was he was told that they must get an older man for that sort of thing!
However, the District Officer has no intention of taking Fisher, as the whole business would be too absurd, so I marked his card “not suitable” and sent it back. Felt very sorry for him.
Culley had a curious story today. He says that at about 6.30 this morning there was knocking at the door of his lodgings by the fire station, and on opening it he was surprised to see a stark naked man standing there. They apparently gazed in some astonishment at each other for some moments, and then the man turned and ran towards the Park. The police were sent for, and found him near the Rat Ditch. He had got out of Severalls, and had come 12 miles, quite naked, without being seen. Curious, when one considers the number of police, wardens, and so on that we have about.
I hear that Tom Turner is cataloguing the Saxon coins in the Museum.
Was in the town again this afternoon, and coming back heard the alarms at 3.15, so went into the Park. There was a light shower falling, so went over to the trees in the Holly Trees Field and sat down under them. A lot of people were running into the Castle and the other shelters. Noise of either ‘planes or ‘divers’ among the clouds not far away. There was a bald, middle-aged man sitting under the next tree, with his bicycle leaning against it. He began to call over to me:
“Spoilt my writing,” indicating a letter-pad on his knee.
There was a noise of something diving rapidly, and people walking over the grass looked up.
“Had my bike stolen three years ago.”
“Oh had you? Did you get it back?”
No, he didn't. This was a new one. After explaining how he bought it at great length he then said:
“I don't worry much about these alarms, do you?”
“Oh no, not in the least.” Just then the ‘all-clear’ rang out, and the rain stopped.
“Be nice” he said “when we can come out and not hear that bloody thing. Suppose we shall be able to one day, if we live long enough! Ha! Ha! Ha!”
Went back to the office until 6 o’clock. More heavy showers.
This evening went up to Daven Soar’s. Another alarm at 7.30, while we were in his garden, and a heavy explosion towards the south. Then we went out to the “Beehive” and the “Leather Bottle” for a couple of hours. Daven thinks war is going badly, and no sign of end.
Got to Boxted, 10.30 and to bed at 11.15, feeling much better than lately.