13th September 1944
Cycled slowly along the starlit roads, and heard faintly the Town Hall clock strike midnight. A ‘plane came in from the East and dropped an orange flare, and then a red one. As I neared the post great masses of
and Mosquitoes came in from the sea, heading NW, nearly all carrying
lights. There was a continuous stream of
them for nearly an hour. When I started
duty other posts were trying to plot them, but we let them all go by. After that, all was quiet except for an
occasional Mosquito. Lancasters
Once or twice we heard heavy distant explosions, and sometimes a long low rumble, which we thought might be guns across the water. Several of our men are convinced that these explosions are undoubtedly the new German rocket, [V2] although the Government still only threaten that it is a danger which may happen.
The moon rose at 3, a thin silver sliver.
Carter was on with me, and told one or two more good stories. One was about Boxted Hall. He said a man named
Hobbs used to live there, and that he was the nephew of an
old wizard who lived on an island off the Essex
coast. Could this be the famous “Cunning
Murrell” of Canvey? Have somewhere a
very interesting article on him. Anyway,
this wizard, dying, left his nephew all his books of magic. By the use of these books Hobbs accumulated
132 little pots full of sovereigns, which, in due course, he left, together
with the same magic books to the son of a servant named Fisher – (was he the
“Sorcerer’s Apprentice”?) This young
man, under the name of Hobbs-Fisher, farmed the Boxted Hall land for many
years. On one occasion, by means of the
magic books, his servants are alleged to have “raised the devil” while the old
man was in church, and he had to be sent for “to talk the devil down” again.
Another story – a little Boxted boy was last year sent to the
School at Colchester. He was very delicate and wasting. One day, according to Carter, one of the nuns
said she could see a “halo” round his head.
Within a week he was dead. His
name was Briggs.
Bed 5.30am, very sleepy, but got up very cheerfully after 3 hours sleep. Busy morning fine warm day. Heavy explosions between 11 and 12, shaking the building. At one particularly violent explosion a girl opposite called out to a man painting the next house “Whatever was that?” Culley came in this afternoon to say Bounds, his foreman, had ‘phoned from
London to say
several huge rockets had fallen in London and
area. When I got back to Boxted, Miss B.
told me she had heard from Jameson of the County Council Land Agency Office,
that a rocket fell at 12.30pm at Elmstead making “a hole big enough to bury 5
houses.” (EJR later notes: ‘This was absolutely
Went to the Repertory workshop to see Diana, and advised her on Victorian furnishings. Then had tea with Di and pretty Yvonne Coquelle. Much theatrical chatter. After that took Di for a drink at the “Stockwell Arms”, and sat for a time in
Churchyard, talking. About 8 she said
she was hungry, so we went to have supper.
Papers today give us warning that “V2 is probable and possible” – the absurdity, when half
they are falling already. Some in the
Government say “the Germans may make a last kick” – last kick be damned – this
is a new campaign, and probably an unbeatable one too. England