29th July 1944

Up again at 8, and office 9.15.  Usual Saturday rush and hurry.  Not out till nearly 2, and so no lunch but a cup of coffee.

Horseshow at Chelmsford today, but could not go.  Fine this morning, but rain in afternoon.

Went home to tea, then left for the Post, being on from 9 to 1am.  One of the Horkesley policemen came in for a chat, and was talking about the affair at “Woodside” Gt. Horkesley, some months ago.  This place had been fitted out as a brothel for Americans, when one night some 8th Army men, who had learnt to hate the Americans in Italy, raided the place and smashed it to pieces.  There was not a piece of glass or furniture left.  This was all hushed up at the time, but the general opinion is that it was a good thing.  The English police can't touch these American brothels for fear of upsetting the “allies”.

Quite a dull watch, and nothing to report.  Went off at 1.00, intending to go home, but turned back at the corner and hurried down to the stack by the marshes.  Then wished I hadn’t – felt quite cold with terror, lying on the stack in the silence of the night, and overcome with a feeling of horrid premonition, in fact felt I was expecting the sirens which sounded almost immediately.  Tried hard to lie still under the yellow moon, but could not, in case something crept up on me from behind the stack, so had to get out of the warm straw and stand shivering, listening to the distant guns, and the wailing of sirens over in Suffolk.  Yet the sky was clear but for the moon and the stars. 

But it was soon over, and slept peacefully for 4 hours, lulled by the cries of herons and owls, and the rustling of rats in the stack.  Woke to find a light rain faling, and heard the Nayland church clock strike 5.  A pale yellow glow in the NE, and thin watering clouds drifting over. 

Had a message for Dunsley at White Park Farm, so walked up the driveway and pushed it under the door.  Not a sound anywhere but the rustling of something in a stable. 

Cycled back to “Woodside”.  Near Water Lane a young red setter bitch came trotting along, a piece of cord round her neck.  She refused to be shaken off so I had to shut her in the wash-house with some water.

Then to bed.

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