EJ Rudsdale on Twitter from 3 September 2019

E J Rudsdale's Journals

A few of the extracts from Eric’s wartime journals were published in his lifetime in a book entitled, Essex at War, which was edited by his friend Hervey Benham in 1945. Benham was keen to publish the diaries in full but Eric declined the offer stating that publication should not take place until 50 years after his death.

Consequently, Eric’s journals, covering the period from 1920-1951, were bequeathed to Essex Record Office in 1951 on condition that that they were not to be opened for 25 years. In 1998, whilst undertaking research on the history of Britain’s museums during the Second World War, Catherine Pearson was introduced to Eric’s diaries by a retired archivist from Essex Record Office. Since then she has edited his wartime journals and has undertaken further research on Eric’s life, resulting in the publication of this blog and a book: E.J. Rudsdale's Journals of Wartime Colchester.

The aim of this blog is to show, through Eric’s observations, how the town and the people he knew were directly affected by war. The diary extracts, therefore, have been edited to reflect this aim. Eric did not always write an entry in his diary every day and there are days when no entry appears in this account. Where necessary, short commentaries are provided to give the historical context for the events Eric describes in his journal. Each extract is published exactly 70 years after it was first written. The blog began on 3rd September 2009 with the publication of Eric's first wartime diary entry on 3rd September 1939 to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the start of the Second World War.

The diary extracts demonstrate Eric's ability to bring a scene vividly to life and each account highlights the daily pressures that people endured as they valiantly tried to carry on with normal life in spite of the war.

Please feel free to let me know if you are interested in following the blog. It gives us the opportunity to step back in time and witness wartime events on the home front as they occurred. CP


I am most grateful to the heirs of Eric Rudsdale’s estate and to Essex Record Office for granting their permission to reproduce these extracts for this blog. The extracts, and the photographs of Eric Rudsdale, appear courtesy of Essex Record Office (Ref: ERO A2308 (D/DU888)). All other photographs within this blog are my own. I am further grateful to Bill Lamin for his very helpful advice and support in the creation of this blog. Bill's blog: WW1: Experiences of an English Solider, based on the First World War letters sent by Private Harry Lamin, provided the inspiration for the publication of Eric Rudsdale's diaries via this blog.

Essex Record Office in Chelmsford is an excellent starting point for local history research on the county of Essex. The range of archive holdings is searchable via the Record Office’s online catalogue, SEAX. The archives can be used to help trace your Essex ancestors and to uncover the history of buildings, villages and towns in the county. There is also a vast range of resources available to show how national events, such as the Second World War, were experienced in Essex.


Anonymous said...

Thankyou very much Catherine for putting the effort in and publishing these diaries, I follow George Orwells diaries at http://orwelldiaries.wordpress.com/ and find the daily feeds very interesting.

E J Rudsdale said...

Many thanks for your kind comments and I'm delighted to hear you are enjoying Eric's diaries. Thank you for the link to George Orwell's diaries - they offer another fascinating insight into wartime Britain and I shall now be following these with interest. Best wishes, CP

Unknown said...

I am also anonymous and am really enjoying the diaries - they are of interest to me as I lived in those times and must thank you for the time and professionalism you have spent on them. Well done !!

E J Rudsdale said...

Thank you so much for your kind words - I really appreciate them. I am so pleased to hear you are enjoying the diaries. It is such a pleasure to be able to share them with other people. CP

Anonymous said...

I have just discovered your blog, and am delighted! I was born in Hornchurch in 1937 and lived over the war years (1939 - 1946) in Colchester. Last Christmas my wife and I spent a week in Colchester trotting to and fro over the haunts of my boyhood. You can be sure that I will be following your blog from now on.

E J Rudsdale said...

So pleased to hear you have found the blog and are enjoying reading it. I am sure Eric's observations on wartime Colchester will bring back many memories for you. Delighted to know you will be following the blog. Thanks for your support, CP