3rd January 1945

‘Planes going out before light, very slowly, low over the town, due east.  War news is bad.  Up early, fine and warmer, wind moved to N.W.  No hot water in the hotel, as the boiler has gone wrong.

Spent busy morning in the Library, trying to find out what is really there, looked through several recent volumes of the “Cohoisem”, and noticed portrait of Collingwood Roddam, an officer of the East India Company, wondered if he is any relation to the Roddam of Colchester?

Old Edwards came in again, and we discussed the possibility of having a special map show in the Spring.

Rain began about 5, and I decided to do a cinema tonight.  The suddenly, just before 7, - sirens.  Felt too dulled with misery to be really surprised. Waited until the wailing died away, and then got up slowly and deliberately and went out, just in time to hear the familiar roar and banging to the south, and then saw the wretched flickering light of the thing, dashing through the rain, heading S.W. it seemed.  In about 5 minutes there was a distant heavy explosion, and then the sound of another diver, or maybe more, much further off and quite invisible.  After a time there was yet another explosion.  Turned to walk slowly back, and the ‘all-clear’ came in about 20 minutes.

Last year at the height of the diver attacks, somebody wrote quite an amusing article on them called “So They Follow You Around, Too?” and that is how I feel now.  To think that in the summer I used to long to get to Sudbury, to get clear of the diver zone, and then, after that night in September, turned my thoughts to Bury, only to learn they sometimes went over there as well.  That left Cambridge, which I thought must be clear, and as for Wisbech, had I given it a thought then, I should have regarded it almost as safe as Scotland.  Now, no more peaceful nights, but everything as at Boxted, or Dedham, or Lawford, or Colchester.  Always listening, always waiting for that first upward wail.  Am convinced that this will be the worst year as we have had so far, and that the population will suffer as never before, even in 1940.  These attempts on Manchester are only experimental, and I am sure that by February there will be regular attacks on all the big Midland centres, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, perhaps Liverpool even, and that divers will harass the whole of the country between those cities and the East Coast.  One can only hope that Edinburgh will be spared, but there will be little chance of this if Glasgow is attacked.

Children’s Party at the Town Hall tonight, and as I got back saw cars and taxis drawing up to the lighted doorway.  No effort was made to “black-out” while the alarm was on.  Wondered what the Wisbech people will think of this development.

Suddenly decided to go to the cinema after all, as it would be unlikely that there would be another attack before the moon rose.  Went, and saw Charles Laughton in “The Canterville Ghost”, as silly a show as I have ever seen.  He should be ashamed to appear in such a thing.

Bed at 11, bombers going out again, stars shining and the moon rising.

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