Joan’s Diary

After Joan received news that her husband Wally was safe as a P.O.W. she decided to keep a diary the text of which is reproduced below.

Tuesday November 9th 1943

My dear husband – Today I received your postcard stating that you are a prisoner of war. I can’t tell you just how I do feel – after the agony of the last forty-six days I can really begin to live again. God has answered my prayers and He knows how grateful I am.

The news that you were missing came as a dreadful shock. I got the wire at 1.15 at the shop, Friday September 24th. I had listened to the 1.0 PM news, heard that our ‘planes had raided Mannheim and that thirty-two were missing, but not for a second did I think that yours could be one of them, Never for a moment even at my blackest hours did I believe that you were gone from me – there were times when I had to fight hard – but thank God my faith remained unbroken.

You would be surprised at the sympathy I was shown, it helped such a lot. I have kept all the letters for you, they will explain themselves.

On Thursday October 21st, the news came via Frank, through the press, that you had been awarded the DFC. I was, and of course am, terribly proud. I am wondering if I have to go to receive the “gong”, or if it will be left until you can fetch it yourself.

I shall keep a diary day by day for you, darling – there will be so much that I shall be unable to tell you in the letters I can send.

I haven’t been to the pictures since August, so tomorrow, by way of celebration for my grand news I am going to see your favourite – Betty Grable in “Springtime in the Rockies”. I have written fifteen letters today – does my arm ache? I know I shan’t sleep tonight but who cares. I think I must be one of the happiest beings in the world.

Wrote my first POW letter.

Wednesday November 10th 1943

I feel awfully sick today, dear, I think its re-action. I haven’t done much work – I’ve had a series of phone calls and visitors all day. I didn’t realise we had so many friends. It’s just grand.

No particular war news today

Thursday, November 11th 1943

Heard from Lois – wrote her and Chalky White, still feeling delirious. Had a hair set, and saw Betty Grable in “Springtime in the Rockies”. Have been stopped countless times by people who have heard the good news. Bought a wizard maternity dress.

Friday, November 12th 1943

Awfully cold today.  Heard from numerous folk.  Wrote to the McGregors. RAF Depository wrote regarding your personal effects. Hope to get them before long.

Saturday, November 18th 1943

Received a letter and cheque to the value of £6-2-6 from the club of the Earl of Derby. Cannot tell you how touched I was by this truly grand gesture. One of my customers brought in a cyclamen plant – feel as if I’m married to public hero No 1. Have been feted and congratulated until I feel in a whirl.

Sunday, November 14th 1943

A really dreadful day with snow, wind and rain.   Had a celebration at the report centre in thanksgiving for your safety.  Mary took a bottle of port. I took jelly, blancmange and cake. Comforted in a sense by people’s good wishes, etc, but, my own boy, my heart is so full when I think of you. I miss you terribly, miss your letters, phone calls, everything. May God help us both to endure the separation until you return. Wrote to you.

Monday November 15th 1943

Heard from Betty Caygill.  Stan Packard has been repatriated. I am writing this at Stoneleigh, and know that I shall never be happy here again. I think I should have finished altogether – it was a mistake to come back. It’s almost more than I can bear when I think of the joy we have known here together. I must think hard thoughts, definitely short stay.

Tuesday, November 16th 1943

Received a very much less frightening priority telegram confirming that you are a POW.  Horribly cold.  Feel a little less miserable than yesterday. Packed up a large amount of glass and linen, and tidied drawers in anticipation of leaving here before long. Americans are at Bottesford, St Vincents, and numerous other camps. See more going around than our own boys. No mail today.

Wednesday, November 17th 1943

Hear from Air Ministry Casualty Branch confirming telegram of yesterday, also from Bib Brocklesby  and Mrs. McKinna – she is still without news of her husband and I feel reluctant to tell her of my good news. Very little to tell you, dear.  Shall be so glad when I hear from you again.  I do think of you. Came across Tom Pullen’s home address and wrote telling him of your whereabouts.

Thursday, November 18th 1943

News came from the squadron that you were commissioned to the rank of Pilot Officer with effect from September 13th 1943. Feel terribly proud, you have done so well. Heard from Chalky and Mrs Nelson. Wrote to you, also Air Ministry Accounts regarding pay. Our bombers raided Ludwigshafen – lost one. There have been very few large scale raids of late. Finished reading of all books “Night Life of the Gods”  don’t know whether liked it or not.

Friday, November 19th 1943

Heard from the McGregors and Lois.  Our planes bombed Berlin and Ludwigshafen – we lost thirty-two. According to radio the biggest force ever sent. I am really awfully glad about you having a commission. Have read the letter over and over again.

Saturday, November 20th 1943

Very busy day in the shop, I get tired easily now. Our bombers raided Leverkusen north of Cologne – lost five. Went to the report centre, slept at Harlaxton Road.  Romany died

Sunday, November 21st 1943

Spent the day at Harlaxton Road. Did not turn out, horrible fog and rain. Wrote to you, also Mrs McKinna. Am reading “Pilot’s Wife’s Tale” by Esther Terry Wright. No particular war news.

Monday, November 22nd 1943

Have an awful crop of chilblains. No mail today, in fact an altogether uneventful day. Nothing happened worth recording. Might mention that Mr Apps called to see me and make the usual remarks about my good news.

Tuesday November 23rd 1943

Berlin received its heaviest raid of the war last night; we lost twenty-six aircraft. No mail. Wrote to Lois, Bib Brocklesby, Miss Elliott and Cecil Franklin. Stuffed the teddy bear nightdress case you gave me for Junior. Reading “Late and Soon” by E.M. Delafield.

Wednesday November 24th 1943

Berlin raided again. Twenty aircraft lost. Dreadful windy day turned to rain. Mrs Forth gone to London to buy. Had a letter from Bill Bridgewater. Shall be glad to leave Stoneleigh.  Wrote to you.

Thursday November 25th

Received a letter from Mrs McKinna to tell me that she and Mrs Foster have received a wire stating that from information received their husbands are believed to have lost their lives.  Feel very very sorry. Wrote her and Chalky. Mosquitoes attacked Berlin, one lost.

Friday November 26th

Our bombers attacked Frankfurt – thirteen lost.   Went to the report centre, slept at Harlaxton Road.

Saturday November 27th

All Lancaster force bombed Berlin – Halifax’s bombed Stuttgart. Thirty-two aircraft lost. Dorothy and I went to see Tyrone Power in “The Black Swan”.

Sunday November 28th

Spent a very lazy day.  Great fuss going on owing to the release of Mosley. Wrote to you.

Monday November 29th 1943

Feeling off colour. Nothing of particular importance to relate. Spent the evening at Thorneydene. Very cold and windy.

Tuesday November 30th 1943

Heard from RAF at Slough who are releasing a parcel of your clothing. Spent the evening and night with Aileen and George Challand, who have been surprisingly kind to me during the past weeks.

Wednesday December 1st 1943

Told them at Stoneleigh that I am leaving – they were very kind and quite understood my position. Shirley paid me a visit. Still feeling rotten.

Thursday December 2nd 1943

Simply awful news today. Vic was killed in an aircraft accident, on 1st December. Went to see poor little Shirley – she is heart-broken. Feel absolutely terrible about it.


Vic and Shirley Wilson

Friday December 3rd 1943

Vic would have been twenty-three today. Went along to see Shirley again, I’m afraid she will be many years getting over the shock. Our planes raided Berlin – forty-one lost – more sorrow for someone.

Saturday December 4th 1943

Packed up a lot of my things at Stoneleigh. I received a parcel of your clothing from the central depository yesterday. Our bombers raided Leipzig – twenty-three lost.

Sunday, YOUR BIRTHDAY 1943

Wore a new dress in your honour. Mother and I went to see Shirley. Started packing up at Stoneleigh.

Monday, December 6th 1943

An uneventful day. Did a great deal of packing. Mick visited us.

Tuesday 7th December 1943

Had my first letter from you – did me a lot of good too. Wrote to you, also Robbie, whose mother sent me a letter. Went along to see Shirley.  Your letter dated 25th October.

Wednesday, 8th December 1943

Sent you 200 cigarettes. Preparing a Red Cross parcel. Received a POW magazine. Spent my last night at Stoneleigh. Horrible foggy weather. Vic was buried today.

Thursday 9th December 1943

Moved from Stoneleigh. Feel awfully weary – a very tiring business.

Friday 10th December 1943

Despatched your Red Cross parcel. Fared very well at the Red Cross centre. Not feeling too good.

Saturday 11th December 1943

Have to return my allotment book until you make necessary arrangements regarding my allowance. Horribly cold. Still feeling rotten. Purchased a few Christmas gifts.

Sunday 12th December 1943

Stayed in all day – wrote to you, and various RAF departments, also Charlie, the McGregors and Percy.

Monday 13th December 1943

Had a letter and postcard from you dated 14th October. Awful cold weather. Went to report centre.

Tuesday 14th December 1943

Fog all day. Went to bed at 7.45 p.m. No mail. Nothing to report.

Wednesday 15th December 1943

No mail. Wrote to numerous people – also yourself.

Thursday 16th December 1943

Heard from Mrs Pugh, Mrs McGregor and Helen, also Lloyds regarding your RAF pay.

Friday 17th December 1943

An uneventful day. Nothing worth recording. Very serous flu epidemic sweeping the country. Our planes raided Berlin. Thirty missing.

Saturday 18th December 1943

A very busy day at the shop. Mr Churchill is in Africa suffering from pneumonia, but is recovering.

Sunday 19th December 1943

Awfully cold. Wrote to you – also Mrs McGregor, Helen and Lois. Made Derek some dungarees.

Monday 20th December 1943

This is becoming a boring narrative. ‘Fraid I lead a very uneventful life.

Tuesday 21st December 1943

Our bombers raided Frankfurt and Mannheim, we lost forty-two. Awful Christmas for some poor things.

Wednesday 22nd December 1943

Very busy at the shop. Mrs F not well. Sent you 200 cigarettes.

Tuesday December 23rd 1943

Had a hair set. Open all day at the shop. Not feeling too good. Raided Berlin. Seventeen planes lost.

Friday December 24th 1943

Queer day – I can’t work up any interest in Christmas. Mrs. Howard left after an argument regarding time off with her husband. Phil and Fred came at night. Toasted your health and consequently almost finished myself off.  Listened to Scrooge on the wireless. Missing you terribly. Dorothy and I attended midnight communion.

Saturday Christmas Day 1943

The quietest Christmas day I have ever experienced. Didn’t get dress at all. Lazed around in my housecoat. Still feeling not so good. Dorothy and I went to bed at 9.30 pm. Thought of you all day and wondered what you were doing. Very mild weather.

Sunday 26th December 1943

Wrote to you. Had a most unexpected visit from Chalky White and his girlfriend. Thought it grand of them to come. Had a bit of a party. The folks from Newark came, also Mr and Mrs Christopher and Shirley.

Monday 27th December 1943

Spent the afternoon and evening at Thorneydene, enjoyed it very much. Mr. F suggests chartering a plane to fetch you home after the war. Is also saving some cigars for you.

Tuesday 28th December 1943

Had a letter from Mrs Silver.  Mooched around during the morning. Dorothy and I had a walk during the afternoon. Went to bed early. Very glad that Christmas is over.  Must report that the home fleet sunk the Scharnhorst on Saturday night, sorry Sunday the 26th. Wrote to you.

Wednesday 29th December 1943

Went back to work. Wrote to Mrs. Pugh and Bib Brocklesby. Coastal command and naval forces sank three axis destroyers and a blockade runner in the Bay of Biscay. Considerably colder.

Thursday 30th December 1943

Our bombers raided Berlin, we lost twenty aircraft. The staff were guests of Mr and Mrs Forth at a tea given at the Picture House, and afterwards to the cinema show, which was Leslie Howard in “Stand In” and a supporting film “The Fugitive Lady” which I liked best. Altogether very enjoyable.

Friday 31st December 1943

Very cold. Started stock taking. The last day of a very sad year on the whole, Dorothy’s trouble, Shirley’s loss, and my anxiety. As I write this, I wonder dear one if I shall see you in 1944 – pray God that I do.

Saturday January 1st 1944

Sent your letters and cards to Frank. A mild uneventful day. Reading “Polonaise” by Doris Leslie. Received “Captain Moonlight” by Ethel Mannin from the book club.

Sunday January 2nd 1944

Didn’t turn out all day. Our planes raided Berlin and Hamburg, twenty eight lost. Wrote to you, also Chalky.

Monday January 3rd 1944

Not feeling so good. Our planes raided Berlin again, twenty-seven lost. Got your personal belongings back from Air Ministry.

Tuesday January 4th 1944

Came back from work in the middle of the morning. Have a rotten cold. Dorothy too. Heard from Mrs McGregor yesterday.

Wednesday 5th January 1944

Still off work. Heard from Tom Pullen – he is now a P/O [Pilot Officer] just about to start a second tour.

Thursday January 6th 1944

Went to the doctor for an examination. Still feeling rather seedy but went to the shop. Our bombers raided Stettin, fifteen lost. Mr and Mrs Forth gone to Brigg. Mr Hyslop left money for 200 cigarettes for you. Wrote to you.

Friday January 7th 1944

Wrote to Mr. Hyslop, Tom Pullen and Betty Caygill. Received my second P. of W. magazine.

Sent you 200 cigarettes. Russians fighting ten miles inside Poland. Eva Johnson tells me that young Prouten is missing.

Saturday January 8th 1944

Paid income tax totalling £10-6-0. Heard from Ruth.

Sunday January 9th 1944

A horrible wet day. Went to tea at Shirley’s.

Monday January 10th 1944

Still feeling not so good. Went to bed early. Busy taking stock.

Tuesday January 11th 1944

Germans shot Ciano. Ben Twilley called in the shop to see me. Is now F/O [Flying Officer]. Wrote to Ruth. Feel rotten. Heard from Mrs. Bowley.


Bernard Twilley

Wednesday January 12th 1944

A very uneventful day. Feel I shall go mad if I don’t soon have news of you. I am missing you terribly.  Wrote to you.

Thursday January 13th 1944

Feeling simply awful. Went to bed after dinner. Missing you horribly.

Friday January 14th 1944

Feel a bit better. Our bombers went out for the first time for ages. Americans doing a lot of day raiding.

Saturday January 15th 1944

We raided Brunswick – lost thirty-eight Bombers. Heard from Chalky, Bill came to spend leave. Shirley brought two of Vic’s friends down. I went to bed at 7 p.m.

Sunday January 16th 1944

Got up at 9.15 a.m. A lovely rest – feel much better. Spent a pleasant day. Took D.J. for a walk in the afternoon. Played cards, read, and wrote to you at night. A lovely frosty sunny day.

Monday January 17th 1944

Feeling much more cheerful – received letters from you dated Nov 7th and 20th. Wrote to Lois. Damp, dirty weather.

Tuesday January 18th 1944

Shirley’s birthday – Mum, Dorothy and Bill went along at night. Feeling not so good again. Wrote to Mrs McGregor.

Wednesday January 19th 1944

Had the doctor to see me – advised me to give up my work. Had a letter, and a pink matinee coat from Bib Brocklesby. Wrote to you.

Thursday January 20th 1944

A day in bed – feeling weak, fed up, and missing you terribly.

Friday January 21st 1944

Our bombers raided Berlin – thirty-five missing. Still talking things quietly. Joan McKelvey had a son.

Saturday January 22nd 1944

Our bombers raided Magdeburg and Berlin – 55 missing. Had a walk to the shop in the afternoon. Mum and I went to see Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour in ‘They got me covered’. A grand film. 9.00 p.m. news revealed that 52 planes were lost.

Sunday January 23rd January 1944

Wrote to you dear. Four months ago today you went missing. Shirley came at night.

Monday January 24th 1944

Finished altogether at the shop. Glad of the rest. Miserable day, rain etc. No particular news.

Tuesday January 25th 1944

Had a good rest. Took Derek out. Bill went back. Beginning to feel very tired.

Wednesday January 26th 1944

Wrote to you. Heard from Effie. Leading an uneventful life.

Thursday January 27th 1944

Took D.J. out this morning and afternoon, tired myself out. A rotten night’s rest despite that.

Friday January 28th 1944

Went to Thorneydene to clear out your chest of drawers. Lancaster force raided Berlin – 34 lost.  Phil and Fred came.

Saturday January 29th 1944

Berlin again raided – 47 bombers lost. Strong American daylight force raided Frankfurt. Called at the shop.

Sunday January 30th 1944

A glorious day. Took D.J. out in the morning. Resting during the afternoon. Wrote to you.

Monday January 31st 1944

Received a P.C. from you dated Nov 15th. Betty Scothern had a baby boy. Wrote to Robbie. Called at the report centre at night to collect local gossip. Our planes raided Berlin again – 33 lost.

Tuesday February 1st 1944

Took D.J. out during the morning and afternoon – otherwise a very uneventful day. No mail – no particular war news.

Wednesday February 2nd 1944

Wrote to you. Took D.J. out.

Thursday 3rd February 1944

A horrible day, rain and wind. Had a hair set.

Friday February 4th 1944

Mrs. F. ill. Did some shopping. Very rough weather.

Saturday February 5th 1944

Had a P.C. from Dal  dated 7th Nov. Spent a few hours at the shop during the afternoon. Bill arrived unexpectedly – his 21st today.

Sunday February 6th 1944

Wrote to you, also Dal. Feeling not so good. Had tea at Shirley’s.

Monday February 7th 1944

Heard from Lois – feeling awful, have a bad chill on the stomach – most painful.

Tuesday February 8th 1944

Still feeling awful. Little to relate. Wrote to Frank – made out a list for your second red cross parcel.

Wednesday February 9th 1944

Mrs. F. went to hospital. The Mitchells, Shirley & Reg came at night. Wrote to you. Saw the doctor for final examination.

Thursday February 10th 1944

A horrible cold day. Did not go out. Very uneventful day.

Friday February 11th 1944.

Went to the hospital to see Mrs. F.

Saturday February 12th 1944

Went out during the afternoon. Heard from Pop she had a baby boy on Feb 6th.

Sunday February 13th 1944

Wrote to you, also Lois. Didn’t go out all day. No particular news.

Monday February 14th 1944

Alice and I went to see Mrs F. She looks much improved. Sent you 200 cigarettes. Wrote to Frank and Pop.

Dick Campling’s pa paid us a short visit.

Tuesday February 15th 1944

Our day darling – my thoughts have been all of you. Mrs Silver sent me a cot cover, toy rabbit and 10/- for cigarettes. Heard from Bib Brocklesby. Took D.J. out. A lovely sunny day with a fullness of treasured memories.

Wednesday February 16th 1944

Went to see Mrs. F. again with Alice. Large raid on Berlin. 43 planes lost.

Thursday February 17th 1944

A horrible wet day, did not turn out at all. Heard from Chalky.

Friday February 18th 1944

Went to see Mrs. F. again. Bib sent me a copy of ‘The Briggensian’. Wrote to Chalky.

Saturday February 19th 1944

No particular news. Went to see the doctor. Horribly cold. Reading “Bombers Fly East” by Bruce Sanders.

Sunday February 20th 1944

Our planes raided Leipzig in great strength. 79 missing. A very cold day, did not go out. Wrote to you, also Bib.

Monday February 21st 1944

Received a letter from you dated 5th December. Mr. Campling wrote. Dick went missing on last Berlin raid. Our planes raided Stuttgart, lost 10. Went to see Mrs. F. Wrote to you.

Tuesday February 22nd 1944

Frank sent £2 towards your next parcel. Hopkins moved your chest of drawers.

Wednesday February 23rd 1944

Cleaned and rearranged my bedroom. Wrote to you.

Thursday February 24th 1944

No particular news. Took D.J. out in the morning. Reading ‘Rain on her face’ by John Paddy Carstairs.

Friday February 25th 1944

Mum and Dorothy went to Nottingham to see Derrick. Prepared your red cross parcel sending vests, trunks, pullover, glasses, sox, tie, shaving tackle, etc. Our planes raided Schweinfurt  – 35 lost.

Saturday February 26th 1944

Recorded 29th February. Taken to hospital at 8.0 pm.

Sunday February 27th 1944

A terrible day – full of pain.

Monday February 28th 1944

Simply awful until baby was born at approx 5.45pm.

Tuesday February 29th 1944

Haven’t been allowed to see our baby yet. Dorothy brought a card from you dated 26th October. Auntie Issie sent David Ian £4.

Wednesday 1st March 1944

Saw David Ian for the first time at 6.15pm. In a sense it was a bitter-sweet meeting – he is so ridiculously like you darling. I am missing you more than I dare admit.

Thursday March 2nd 1944

Saw our son five times today – am trying to feed him. He is cute, looks just like Grand Pa Layne.

Miss Johnson gave him a token for 15/-. Mum, Alice and Shirley came to see me.  Wrote to you.

Friday March 3rd 1944

Return of kidney disorder. They are giving me M&B 693 and some medicine.

Saturday March 4th 1944

Not feeling very good. Mrs. F. came in to see me.

Sunday March 5th 1944

Mum and Dorothy came to see me.

Monday March 6th 1944

Another not so good day.

Tuesday March 7th 1944

Not much change.

Wednesday March 8th 1944

Feeling a little better.

Thursday March 9th 1944

Heard from Caterpillar Club you are awarded certificate and badge. Red Cross are sending a cable advising you of David Ian’s birth.

Friday March 10th 1944

Uneventful day. Feeling rather better. Missing you terribly. David Ian doing well, and getting very pretty.

2014-12-28 151208

Saturday March 11th 1944

Usual routine. My leg giving me trouble – very maddening.

Sunday March 12th 1944

Allowed out of bed. Enjoyed a good hot bath. Mother and Dorothy came to see me. Wrote to you.

Monday March 13th 1944

Another ‘off’ day, and a dreadful longing for you.

Tuesday March 14th 1944

Feeling much better.

Wednesday March 15th 1944

Left hospital at 3.30pm Feel decidedly weak, and wished so much that I was going home to you. Mrs. F. left too.

Thursday March 16th 1944

Not very good. David Ian not feeding very well. Our planes raided Stuttgart – 40 lost.

Friday March 17th 1944

Things better today. Dr Gray came to see me. Had a good talk with her and feel less worried.

Saturday March 18th 1944

Went to St. Johns for churching. Sent red cross parcel.

Sunday March 19th 1944

Took David out. Went as far as Mrs. Christopher’s. Felt awfully tired. Bill turned up. Planes raided Frankfurt – 22 lost. The sirens went, but nothing doing.

Monday March 20th 1944

Feel horribly miserable – missing you terribly. Wrote to you.

Tuesday March 21st 1944

Another not so good day. Do wish I could hear from you. Registered David Ian’s birth.

Wednesday March 22nd 1944

Got a taxi and took David to Thorneydene, spent a most enjoyable afternoon and evening.

Thursday March 23rd 1944

Our planes raided Frankfurt – 33 lost. Took David to the welfare centre, he weighs 7lb, 12ozs. Wrote to you. Heard from Mrs. McKinna.

Friday March 24th 1944

Just six months since you were reported missing my darling. Took our son out in the afternoon. Feeling much better.

Saturday March 25th 1944

Berlin – 73 planes lost. Tony and Paul came for the day. Bill and Jack also. Went with Shirley to see ‘Dubarry was a lady’. Shall be so glad when I hear from you. Sent red cross 5/- and have received acknowledgement.

Sunday March 26th 1944

Margaret turned up unexpectedly. Went to Thorneydene. Glorious weather.

Monday March 27th 1944

Disappointed no letter from you. Took David out in the afternoon. Wrote to you.  Essen raided – 9 lost.

Tuesday March 28th 1944

Still no letter. Went to Mrs. Christopher’s and stayed tea. Glorious weather.

Wednesday March 29th 1944

Much cooler. Stayed in all day.

Thursday March 30th 1944

David weighs 8lb 7ozs. Took him for a short walk. Awfully cold.

Friday March 31st 1944

Nuremberg – 96 lost. Do wish I could hear from you. Went to the doctor – disappointed at her verdict. Went to see ‘Watch on the Rhine’ with Mum.

Saturday April 1st 1944

Went out with Joan Greetham. Still no word from you darling. Went to bed early. Yesterday’s losses corrected on radio to 94.

Sunday April 2nd 1944

Our baby is adorable. Mum stayed in bed until 6.00pm Rained all day. Dorothy and I busy. Wrote to you.

Monday April 3rd 1944

The Warings came. Went out in the morning and afternoon.

Tuesday April 4th 1944

At last had a P.C. from you dated January 16th. Heard also from RAF accounts who are making over part of your money to me. Miserable showery day.  David just wonderful. Received P.O.W. magazine. Bought from Boots for 3/- each ‘Mad dogs and Englishmen’ by Erick Berry, ‘Escape to fight again’ A P Luscombe Whyte.

Wednesday April 5th 1944

Heard from Betty Caygill. Showery day. Went for a short walk in the afternoon.

Thursday April 6th 1944

Another P.C. dated January 11th. Roger came over. Took David to the Welfare Centre, now weighs 8lb 14ozs. Wrote to you.

Friday April 7th 1944

Worked hard all day – didn’t go out.

Saturday April 8th 1944

A lovely day. Took David out in the afternoon.

Easter Sunday April 9th 1944

Chalky White and Margaret visited us and stayed overnight. Enjoyable day. Had a drink at Macs.

Monday April 10th 1944

Went out in the morning with Chalky, Margaret and David. They went back at 12.39pm. Dorothy and I went out during the afternoon. Took David to see his Auntie at Miss Ellis’s.

Tuesday April 11th 1944

Paid my hospital bill £7-1-0. Shirley came at night. French rail road targets attacked by strong force. 22 missing.

Wednesday April 12th 1944

11 planes missing from attack on targets in France. Dorothy and I had a lovely walk during the afternoon. Wrote to you.

Thursday April 13th 1944

Heard from Frank – he had made you a member of the old boy’s association. Took David to the welfare centre – he now weighs 9lb 7ozs.

Friday April 14th 1944

Heard from Air Ministry they are paying me £3-18-0 a week with effect from March 1st. Took David out. Wrote to Frank.

Saturday April 15th 1944

A really glorious day. Took David out, accompanied by Joan Greetham.

Sunday April 16th 1944

Had tea with Aileen and George Challand. Wrote to you.

Monday April 17th 1944

Much cooler. Mum and I went to see Betty Grable in ‘Coney Island’, it was wizard. Called down the report centre at night.

Tuesday April 18th 1944

Went for a walk with Betty Sprawson. A lovely day again.

Wednesday April 19th 1944

Received cheque for £10-17-0 from A.M. Awfully rough wind. 13 aircraft lost from raid on targets in France.

Thursday April 20th 1944

Received cheque for £6-8-5 from C. & K.’s.  Had tea with Mrs. Christopher. David weighs 9lb 11 ozs.  Mrs. McKinna sent him two bibs.

Friday April 21st 1944

Wrote to Mrs. McKinna and Lois. Took David to the doctor, he has heat rash for which I am giving him medicine and ointment. Miserable weather.

Saturday April 22nd 1944

Went to Hougham to look at a sewing machine – turned it down. Lovely day. Joan Greetham stayed at night until 10.0pm.

Sunday April 23rd 1944

Took David up to Thorneydene – called to see the Lee’s and Mrs. Kenny. Very enjoyable.  42 aircraft lost after raid on Dusseldorf. Wrote to you.

Monday April 24th 1944

Received a P.C. from you dated January 22nd. Bought a blouse.

Tuesday April 25th 1944

29 aircraft lost after raid on Munich and Karlsruhe. Went out during the afternoon with Betty Sprawson. Wrote to Frank.

Wednesday April 26th 1944

Essen – 29 aircraft lost.

Thursday April 27th 1944

Received two postcards from you dated December 11th and 31st. Windy today.  David weighs 10lb 6ozs.

Friday April 28th 1944

Friedrichshafen – 36 planes lost.  A letter I wrote to you returned from censor.

Saturday April 29th 1944

Went for a walk in the afternoon with Joan Greetham. Received parcel from America.

Sunday April 30th 1944

Took David out in the evening. No particular news. 10 planes lost from raid on French rail targets.

Monday May 1st 1944

Had David photographed. Saw Mr. Hyslop.

Tuesday May 2nd 1944

Went for a walk with Betty Sprawson. Another letter returned from censor.

Wednesday May 3rd 1944

Received cheque for £10-10-0. Had tea with Mrs. Christopher.

Thursday May 4th 1944

Military target at Mailly attacked – 49 aircraft lost. Received cheque for £8-15-7. David weighs 10lb 14ozs.

Friday May 5th 1944

Went to a Red Cross next of kin meeting. Purchased some things for your next parcel: Braces, pipe, hair brush, tooth brush, comb, 2 pairs sox, hussif shaving brush.

Saturday May 6th 1944

Start of ‘Salute the Soldier’ week. Bought David a 30/- certificate. Went out with Joan Greetham.  Wrote to you.

Sunday May 7th 1944

Shirley, Dorothy and I took the children down the park. French rail targets attacked, five planes lost.


Derek John and Dorothy Andrewartha

Monday May 8th 1944

Saw Joan Johnson, she tells me young Prouten is believed killed. Was going to Thorneydene but found Mrs. F. at the shop. French rail targets attacked – nine lost.

Tuesday May 9th 1944

Went to Thorneydene – a very enjoyable day.

Wednesday May 10th 1944

Saw a RAF exhibition particularly interested in parachute packing and releasing.

Thursday May 11th 1944

David weighs 11lb 7ozs. Mum and Dorothy went to Belvior. Wrote to Chalky. Lovely weather. French rail targets attacked.

Friday May 12th 1944

French rail targets attacked – 15 lost. David and I photographed at Walter Lee’s. Mum and I went to see ‘Kings Row’ – a very good film.


2015-05-18 091625

Saturday May 13th 1944

14 planes missing from attacks on French rail targets.  Received a letter from you dated 15th February. Am glad to know mail is reaching you okay. Wrote to you.

Sunday May 14th 1944

Took David out during the afternoon. Wrote to Mrs. McGregor and Lois.

Monday May 15th 1944

Had a very nice letter from Mrs. Kempshall. Awfully dull weather.

Tuesday May 16th 1944

Heard from Lois. Another dull day. Feeling rather fed up with myself.

Wednesday May 17th 1944

Very dull and wet. Did not go out at all.

Thursday May 18th 1944

David weighs 11lb 12ozs.

Friday May 19th 1944

Went to Carlton Scroop to stay with Joan Franklin.

Saturday May 20th 1944

Very enjoyable day. Went out in the village. A pleasant change.

Sunday May 21st 1944

Rather cold. Spent another pleasant day. Reports that 47 RAF officers were shot during March at Luft 3 announced.

Monday May 22nd 1944

Returned home to find 2 letters from you dated February 22nd, March 9th and a P.C. dated Feb 1st. Very thrilled. Heard also from Bib Brocklesby and Margaret King. Wrote to you and sent a photograph of David. Dick’s father called still no news, Dick awarded D.S.O.  Raid on Duisburg – 30 planes lost.

Tuesday May 23rd 1944

Raid on Dortmund – 35 planes lost. Wrote several letters.

Wednesday May 24th 1944

Lovely weather. Took David out during the afternoon. Called in at the report centre at night. Heard from Mrs. McGregor.

Thursday May 25th 1944

Received a P.C. from you dated 10th Feb. 25 planes missing from raid on Aachen. Wrote to you and sent photographs of David and myself. He weighs 12lb 3ozs.

Friday May 26th 1944

Went to Babette Land’s home to fetch David’s smock which is exquisite. Phil and Fred came.

Saturday May 27th 1944

A lovely day. Took David out in the afternoon. Knitting him vests.

Sunday May 28th 1944

Antwerp & French rail targets. 27 planes missing from 1000 face. Had an enjoyable afternoon & evening at Thorneydene. David is wizard & getting very tanned.

Monday May 29th 1944

Very hot. A fair in Wyndham fields. Went out in the morning and evening.

Tuesday May 30th 1944

Another hot day. David beautifully tanned. Wrote to you.

Wednesday May 31st 1944

Much cooler. Strong force raided rail targets in France. 8 lost.

Thursday June 1st 1944

David weighs 12lb 10ozs. Auntie Emmie & Roger came. Had my future told.

Friday June 2nd 1944

Received cheques for £10-17-0 and £8-0-11 from A.M. Discover you are a F/O.

Saturday June 3rd 1944

Heard from Lois and Red Cross. Have to send your football things in a next of kin parcel. Went out in the afternoon with Joan G.

Sunday June 4th 1944

Miserable weather – did not turn out. Wrote to you. Raid on Leverkusen. 17 planes lost. Sent you enlargement of David.

Monday June 5th 1944

The allies entered Rome. Osnabrook raided without loss. Wrote and sent photographs to your Pa, Frank, Aunt Ida and Mrs. McGregor.

Tuesday June 6th 1944

We invaded Northern France.  News bulletins all day, and everyone on edge. Thinking of you so much. Mum and I went to see ‘The man in Grey’ a very excellent film.

Wednesday June 7th 1944

Progressing satisfactorily in France. Preparing your Red Cross parcel.

Thursday June 8th 1944

Had 3 postcards dated March 17th, 23rd, 30th and a letter April 7th. David weighs 13 lbs. Had tea with Pop Close.

Friday June 9th 1944

Had my hair permed. Wrote to you. Miserable weather.

Saturday June 10th 1944

Doing okay in Normandy. 289 planes lost in air battles and numerous sorties.  Had my photograph taken.

Sunday June 11th 1944

20 bombers lost over French rail targets. Called down the report centre at night.

Monday June 12th 1944

Uneventful day. Took David out.

Tuesday June 13th 1944

Miserable weather, did not go out.  Lancasters were busy attacking targets in France.

Wednesday June 14th 1944

Weather still very cool. No particular news. Aunt Ida sent David 10/-. Wrote you.

Thursday June 15th 1944

Your father came. Went to Thorneydene and had a very enjoyable time.

Friday June 16th 1944

Took David to the car park to see your father off. Cold wet weather.

Saturday June 17th 1944

Went out in the afternoon with Joan Greetham. Wrote to you.

Sunday  June 18th 1944

Reading a wonderful book by Axel Munthe called ‘The Story of San Michele’. Went out in the afternoon

Monday June 19th 1944

The papers full of accounts of pilotless planes used on the south coast and London Area.

Tuesday June 20th 1944

Went out with Betty Scothern.

Wednesday June 21st 1944

Wrote to you and sent a photograph of myself.

Thursday June 22nd 1944

Went out with Pop Close.

Friday June 23rd 1944

Phil & Fred came in the evening. Thinking so much of you. 9 months since you went.

Saturday June 24th 1944

Went to Thorneydene and had a pleasant time. A lovely day. Eva & Joan Johnson – two Americans & Phil & Fred came at night.

Sunday June 25th 1944

Dull and chilly. Did not go out. Wrote to you.

Monday June 26th 1944

Went to see Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour in ‘Dixie’. Your father sent David a cheque for £10.

Tuesday June 27th 1944

Received postcards dated April 14th, 29th and am glad to know you know of David’s arrival.

Wednesday June 28th 1944

Wrote to you – also to Bib, Lois, and your father.

Thursday June 29th 1944

Had tea with Mrs. Christopher. David weighs 14lb 2ozs.

Friday June 20th 1944

Spent the afternoon and evening at Thorneydene. Phil & Fred came at night.

Saturday July 1st 1944

A dull day. Wrote to you at night.

Sunday July 2nd 1944

Went to see Aileen Cornish whose brother was posted missing June 23. Poured with rain at night. Went to bed early. Dorothy has taken up voluntary help at the American Red Cross.

Monday July 3rd 1944

Rained without ceasing. Went to the pictures to see ‘Candlelight in Algeria’. Very enjoyable.

Tuesday July 4th 1944

Heard from Bib and Ruth. Received word from Lloyds Bank stating that £17-3-7 had been paid to your account. Have written A.M. as there does not appear to be any payment of family allowance. Have been issued with cheque book from Lloyds. Saw Betty Sprawson in the afternoon. Your pay is 18/2 per day, from which P.O.W. deductions, income tax etc is taken. Cashed cheque for £3, paid Mum £5.

Wednesday July 5th 1944

Nothing unusual to relate. Am watching the Russian news – they are 100 miles from East Prussia.

Thursday July 6th 1944

Went to tea at Stoneleigh and thoroughly enjoyed it. Called at Thorneydene.

Friday July 7th 1944

Miserable weather. Phil & Fred came.

Saturday July 8th 1944

Miserable weather again. Wrote to you.

Sunday July 9th 1944

Derrick visited us – did not go out. Wet weather.

Monday July 10th 1944

I am getting very interested in the Russian news, they are only 60 miles from East Prussia. Did some shopping during the afternoon.

Tuesday July 11th 1944

An uneventful day. Knitted at night. Horrible cold showery weather.

Wednesday July 12th 1944

Bought a set of book shelves for 35/- from Escritt and Barrell’s sale. Took David and Derek out.

Thursday July 13th 1944

David weighs 14lb 5 ozs. Horrible weather. Claude Hart missing from raid over France 12 planes lost.

Friday July 14th 1944

Took David out in the afternoon. Air mail service to P.O.W. resumed. Called to see Mr. & Mrs. Hart – they are taking it badly.

Saturday July 15th 1944

Hear that P.O.W. in East Prussia have been moved. Went to see Carmen Miranda and Alice Faye in ‘The girls he left behind’. Wrote to you. Weaning David.

Sunday July 16th 1944

A really lovely day. Joan Greetham and I took the boys out.

Monday July 17th 1944

Received two letter dated May   and a P.C. dated May   . Very happy.

Tuesday July 18th 1944

Went to see Noel Coward’s ‘This Happy Breed’, and excellent film. Fully weaning David.

Wednesday July 19th 1944

Nothing outstanding to report. War news very good from all fronts. Wrote to you.

Thursday July 20th 1944

Hear that Frank Catlin has died in Normandy. Feeling rotten – did not go out.

Friday July 21st 1944

Took David out in the afternoon. Phil & Fred came at night. News of revolt in Germany and an attempt on Hitler’s life reported. So long to see you darling.

Saturday July 22nd 1944

Shopped in the morning. Stayed home the rest of the day. Played our records and made myself thoroughly miserable. Wrote to you.

Sunday July 23rd 1944

Ten months darling. Went for a walk with Shirley.

Monday July 24th 1944

Dorothy friendly with Michael Burn have chummed up with W.O. Workman and his wife Marie. Went to Thorneydene. Practically an impossibility to give you reports of air activities as bomber command carries out both day and night offensives. Chief targets at present are the flying bomb sites.

Tuesday July 25th 1944

Went for a walk with Betty Scothen and to the pictures at night to see Cary Grant, Irene Dunns in ‘My favourite wife’ with Marie. A rotten film. Heard from Bib.

Wednesday July 26th 1944

Went to RAF Regiment sports at Belton Park. Heard from Mrs. Kemshall. Am hoping to visit her next week.

Thursday July 27th 1944

Did not go out. Wrote to you. Read that East Prussian P.O.W. Camps have been moved.

Friday July 28th 1944

Called to see Pop. Paddy, Marie, Larry & Mac called at night. Larry a wonderful pianist. Phil & Fred came.

Saturday July 29th 1944

Went out with Joan Greetham.

Sunday July 30th 1944

Wrote to you. Took David and Derek out. Went to see ‘Bombs over Burma’ and ‘Uncensored’ with Marie & Paddy.

Monday July 31st 1944

Had tea with Mrs. Kenny and visited Thorneydene. Had a most interesting letter from Ken Twilley.

Tuesday August 1st 1944

David weighs 15lb 3ozs.

Wednesday August 2nd 1944

Spent a very enjoyable day at Lincoln with the Kemshalls. Saw the Cargills too.

Thursday August 3rd 1944

Went out in the morning, also afternoon. Little of interest to tell you.

Friday August 4th 1944

Nothing worth recording except David’s vaccination. Very hot.

Saturday August 5th 1944

Went for a walk with Shirley in the afternoon. Marie, Paddy, Laurie & Mac came for tea.

Monday August 7th 1944

Received a letter from you dated April 21st. Had tea at Joan Greethams. A glorious day – altogether very pleasant. Wrote to you.

Tuesday August 8th 1944

Nothing of interest to report.

Wednesday August 9th 1944

Went to see ‘Chinese Bungalow’. Marie went back.

Thursday August 10th 1944

David not well due to vaccination. Weighs 15lb 6ozs.

Friday August 11th 1944

Nothing to say.

Saturday August 12th 1944

Really miserable day. David quite sick.

Sunday August 13th 1944

David’s arm terribly swollen. Took him out in the evening and had a better night. Mum spent the weekend at Newark.

Monday August 14th 1944

David much better. Went to see ‘Now Voyager’ a wizard film, Bette Davis, Paul Herreid. Very hot (weather).

Tuesday August 15th 1944

Wrote to you. Went for a walk in the afternoon. Allied landing at south of France between Nice and Marseille.

Wednesday August 16th 1944

Air sorties are so numerous I cannot possibly keep an account of losses, etc. Lancasters bombing day and night. Pat (Laurie’s wife) came to get a rest from flying bombs.

Thursday August 17th 1944

Shopped in the morning with Pat, washed in the afternoon. Wrote to Molly and Frank. Heard from Molly this morning and am going there to stay on Tuesday next. Received a P.C. from you dated June 11th 44.

Friday August 18th 1944

Went to Thorneydene.

Saturday August 19th 1944

Rained all day. Went shopping in the afternoon. Margaret came.

Sunday August 20th 1944

More rain. Didn’t go out all day. Wrote to you.

Monday August 21st 1944

Heard from Mr. Campling. Dick is buried at Hoppenrath Cemetery 27 miles N.W. of Berlin. Busy packing.

Tuesday August 22nd 1944

Took the 8.0am train to St. Neots arrived 9.33. Received a terrific welcome.

Wednesday August 23rd 1944

A thoroughly enjoyable day. Paris liberated. Wrote to you. Thinking of you darling.

Thursday August 24th 1944

Went to Sandon with Molly and Helen. Rained but very enjoyable day.

Friday August 25th 1944

Lazed around. Went to St. Neots to send off your gun and collect box. Bus didn’t pick us up so hitch hiked back.

Saturday August 26th 1944

Another enjoyable day. Help collect eggs and pick tomatoes. 27 planes missing from 1400 engaged on various sorties.

Sunday August 27th 1944

Konigsberg raided. 29 missing. Mrs. Bowman and her daughter came. Wrote to you.

Monday August 28th 1944

Received a letter from you dated 21st July giving new camp address. Collected box from St. Neots.

Tuesday August 29th 1944

Went to Cambridge for a few hours. Made myself known to Mrs Pugh – she was awfully pleased to see me. Dorothy wired, Claude Hart alive and well. Mrs. Human died about January time.

Wednesday August 30th 1944

41 planes missing from raids on Stettin and Konigsberg. Thoroughly enjoyed my stay here.

Thursday August 31st 1944

A year since I lost my watch and it hurts like anything to think of it. Went into Cambridge to see the Pughs. Met various customers who made a terrific fuss of David.

Saturday September 2nd 1944

Five years ago I came to Cambridge. Mrs Pugh sold me tan pad for £1 yesterday. Allies doing very well in France. Rained all day, did not go out.

Sunday September 3rd 1944

Allies in Belgium. Awful weather did not turn out all day. Mrs. Bowman and Joan came over. Wrote to you.

Monday September 4th 1944

Brussels liberated. Received letters from Mr. F. (gun arrived safely) and Shirley. Dull weather. Helen and I had a walk after tea.

Tuesday September 5th 1944

Antwerp reached. Sirens went during the night. Heard a ‘doodle bug’ explode. Still very dull. Didn’t move far.

Wednesday September 6th 1944

Helen and I [cleaned] in the afternoon. Collected eggs and tomatoes at night. Wrote to you.

Thursday September 7th 1944

Rained practically all day. Went for a short walk at night with Helen. Read true accounts of murders. Blackout to be relaxed.

Friday September 8th 1944

Another dull day. Picked pears. Heard from Dorothy. A.B. in trouble.

Saturday September 9th 1944

Went into Cambridge in the morning with Helen. A lovely day. Heard from Shirley.

Sunday September 10th 1944

Mr. And Mrs. Bowman came. Glorious weather. Wrote to you.

Monday September 11th 1944

Cleaned in the afternoon.  Matron came and has invited me to tea tomorrow.

Tuesday September 12th 1944

A year today you came on what was to be your last leave for a while. Had tea at Girton College with the matron. Thoroughly enjoyed the visit.

Wednesday September 13th 1944

Went for a walk in the afternoon. Wrote to you.

Thursday September 14th 1944

Went to Sandon. Lovely weather.

Friday September 15th 1944

Did some shopping in Cambridge with Helen. Allies nearing Aachen.

Saturday September 16th 1944

Spent most of the day out of doors.

Sunday September 17th 1944

Mrs. Bowman and her daughter came. Packing to leave and feeling very depressed about it. Holland invaded by the allies.

Monday September 18th 1944

Left at 5.49pm after a grand holiday.

Tuesday September 19th 1944

Thoroughly miserable. Missing you badly. Rang Thorneydene.

Wednesday September 20th 1944

A year today since you went back from leave. Went to the pictures to see Rita Hayworth in ‘Cover Girl’.

Thursday September 21st 1944

David weighs 17lbs 14ozs. Shopped in the morning.

Friday September 22nd 1944

Spent an enjoyable afternoon at Thorneydene.

Saturday September 23rd 1944

Shirley took photographs of David and I in the park. A year darling. Shirley had P.C. from Robbie.

Sunday September 25th 1944

Thinking of you so much. Tony cycled over. Did not go out. David has a bad cold.

Monday September 25th 1944

David quite sick. Feel miserable and unsettled.

Tuesday September 26th 1944

David a little better. Received a letter from you dated 4th June. Feel in the way here – do wish I could get a house. Peter K. came over. Did not go out.

Wednesday September 27th 1944

Went out in the afternoon. Heard from W/O E. L. Morris who was with you at Luft 6.

Thursday September 28th 1944

David weighs 18lb 3ozs.

Friday September 29th 1944

Took David out.

Saturday September 30th 1944

Derek two. Went out with Shirley. Helen came, returning tomorrow.

Sunday October 1st 1944

Shirley came for tea. She, Helen and I went for a walk. Wrote to you.

Monday 2nd October 1944

Stayed in miserable weather.

Tuesday 3rd October 1944

Had a tooth out.

Wednesday 4th October 1944

Wrote to you. Had my hair set.

Thursday 5th October 1944

Went to see Jennifer Jones in ‘Song of Bernadette’ – a beautiful film.

Friday 6th October 1944

Poured my troubles out at Thorneydene.

Saturday 7th October 1944

Miserable weather. Heard from Chalky.

Sunday 8th October 1944

Dull weather, did not go out. Reading Angela Thirkells ‘Growing Up. Have now had of hers ‘Northbridge Rectory’, ‘Cheerfulness breaks in’, ‘Marling Hall’

Monday 9th October 1944

Went to see ‘For whom the bell tolls’ thought it disappointing. Rotten weather. Wrote Molly re cottage.

Tuesday 10th October 1944

Went out in the afternoon.

Wednesday 11th October 1944

Wrote to you.

Thursday 12th October 1944

Horrible weather. David weighs 18lbs 10ozs.

Friday 13th October 1944

Went to the shop and had a talk with Mrs. F. Flying bomb at North Witham.

Saturday 14th October 1944

Went out with Joan G.

Sunday 15th October 1944

Had tea with Shirley. Phil & Fred came at night. Wrote to you.

Monday October 16th 1944

Went for a walk with Betty Sprawson.

Tuesday October 17th 1944

Went to see ‘The Lodger’. Knitting David a beret. ‘Cop’s’ boyfriend missing.

Wednesday October 18th 1944

Received an invitation to Betty Broughton’s wedding. Shopped in the morning. Rainy day. Wrote to Pop, W/O Morris & Chalky.

Thursday October 19th 1944

David weighs 19lbs. Wrote to you.

Friday October 20th 1944

Wet, horrible day.

Saturday October 21st 1944

Betty Broughton married Jack Phillips USAAF. A pretty wedding. I enjoyed it.

Sunday October 22nd 1944

Took David out in the afternoon.

Monday October 23rd 1944

Wrote to you. Am miserable waiting for a letter from you. Heard from Ken Twilley.

Tuesday October 24th 1944

Heard from Molly. Went to Belton with Betty S. to get chestnuts.

Wednesday October 25th 1944

Bought David a new blue cloth coat. Met Percy Kemshall unexpectedly in High Street. Still no news from you.

Thursday October 26th 1944

Bill came. Went out in the afternoon with Madge Hales and her baby daughter.

Friday October 27th 1944

David had his first haircut.

Saturday October 28th 1944

Went to see ‘Four Jills in a Jeep’ with Shirley. Mrs Pacey told me her P.O.W. son has passed his final auctioneer’s exam with honours. Still no news.

Sunday October 29th 1944

Stayed in all day. Wrote to you.

Monday October 30th 1944

David cut a tooth. Went out with Betty S.

Tuesday October 31st 1944

Heard from Mrs. McKinna. Took David out in the afternoon.

Wednesday November 1st 1944

Had David photographed at Boaz.


Thursday November 2nd 1944

Had tea with Miss Kitchen and enjoyed myself. Bill went back.

Friday November 3rd 1944

Took David out. Went to B.M.A.R. Co. fun fair at night with Dorothy.

Saturday November 4th 1944

Went shopping in the afternoon.

Sunday November 5th 1944

Stayed in all day. Wrote to you.

Monday November 6th 1944

Took David out in the afternoon.

Tuesday November 7th 1944

Margaret and Derrick came. Stayed up gossiping until the small hours.

Wednesday November 8th 1944

Dorothy heard from A.M. Andy commissioned.


Donald Andrewartha (Andy)

Thursday November 9th 1944

A year since I received your first P.O.W. card. Wish I could hear again. M. & D. went back. Dorothy went to Whichford.

Friday 10th November 1944

Spent an enjoyable afternoon at Thorneydene.

Saturday November 11th 1944

Went to see ‘Fanny by Gaslight’ and enjoyed it thoroughly. Shirley took David out.

Sunday November 12th 1944

Dorothy and I took the ‘boys’ out in the morning. Wrote to you, also Mrs. Kemshall and your Pa. Ben Twilley called, has done 11 trips.

Monday November 13th 1944

Still no news of you. Went for a walk with Betty Sprawson.

Tuesday November 14th 1944

Took David out. He is teething and consequently rather fretful.

Wednesday November 15th 1944

Feeling I shall go mad if I don’t hear from you. Missing you terribly.  Bought David a high chair. Heard from Mrs. Layne and Molly.

Thursday November 16th 1944

At last, a letter dated August 6th. Wrote to you.

Friday November 17th 1944

Horrible weather. Did some shopping. Marie came for tea.

Saturday November 18th 1944

Very dull – went out in the afternoon.

Sunday November 19th 1944

Finished a suit for David. Wrote to you. Marie came for tea.

Monday November 20th 1944

Horrible wet day – did not go out. David said ‘Teddy’.

Tuesday November 21st 1944

Received a P.C. in your writing signed R. Colbeck dated September 26th.  Took David out. Started second suit.

Wednesday November 22nd 1944

Wrote to you.

Thursday November 23rd 1944

Received a letter dated 28th July.

Friday November 24th 1944

Went to Thorneydene.

Saturday November 25th 1944

Saw Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman in ‘Murder in Thornton Square’.

Sunday November 26th 1944

Did not turn out. Miserable day – wrote to you.

Monday November 27th 1944

Did some Christmas shopping with Dorothy.

Tuesday November 28th 1944

More Christmas shopping.

Wednesday November 29th 1944

Busy all day – didn’t get out.  Wrote to you.

Thursday November 30th 1944

Received a letter dated 20th August 44. David weighs 20lb 9ozs.

Friday 1st December 1944

Did some shopping. Terribly cold.

Saturday December 2nd 1944

Went out in the afternoon.

Sunday December 3rd 1944

Didn’t get out. Miserable day. Fed up. Wrote to you.

Monday December 4th 1944

A letter dated August 30th. Feel very miserable and fed up. Do wish I could get a house.

Tuesday December 5th 1944

Thinking of you. Had my hair permed.

Wednesday December 6th 1944

Received a letter dated 21st September. Visited the Kemshalls at Lincoln an enjoyable day.

Thursday December 7th 1944

Bought a folding pram for David. Wrote to you.

Friday December 8th 1944

Horrible day, foggy.

Saturday December 9th 1944

Another letter dated 23rd September. Saw Joan G in the afternoon.

Sunday December 10th 1944

Did not go out. Wrote to you.

Monday December 11th 1944

Went to see Bing Crosby in ‘Sing you Sinners’.

Tuesday December 12th 1944

Did some shopping.

Wednesday December 13th 1944

Not much to report. Wrote to you.

Thursday December 14th 1944

Very cold – should have visited Hilda Waring but did not go.

Friday December 15th 1944

Went to Thorneydene. David developed a cold.

Saturday December 16th 1944

Horrible day. No news.

Sunday December 17th 1944

Had tea with Aileen Challand. Wrote to you.

Monday December 18th 1944

An unexpected visit from Bib Brocklesby. Went out in the afternoon.

Tuesday December 19th 1944

Bernard Twilley reported missing yesterday. Called to see his mother. David’s cold very bad – war news pretty serious.

Wednesday December 20th 1944

Went out in the morning. David quite a lot better. Wrote to you. Missing you.

Thursday December 21st 1944

David not very well. Did not go out.

Friday December 22nd 1944

David only fair.

Saturday December 23rd 1944

Marie came for Christmas. I went to bed at 6.45 Fed up and miserable.

Sunday December 24th 1944

Derrick came. We stayed in. M & D went to RAF Req. Party. Wrote to you. Missing you.

Monday December 25th 1944

Little David had quite a number of gifts. I am missing you badly. Very glad of Derrick’s company. Awful fog.

Tuesday December 26th 1944

Went to Thorneydene for tea. Auntie Emmie, Uncle Harry, Roger came over. Marie went back.

Wednesday December 27th 1944

David developed sickness, etc. Did not go out. Cold.

Thursday December 28th 1944

David still ill, feel worried and miserable. Wrote to you.

Friday December 29th 1944

Took David out but his condition is much the same.

Saturday 30th December 1944

Took David to the doctor. He has a chill, gave him medicine.

Sunday December 31st 1944

David quite a lot better. A harassing day. Please let next year bring you home, and find us a house.

Monday January 1st 1945

A letter from you dated October 15th & a parcel from America containing sleeping suits, bath sachets & soap.

Tuesday January 2nd 1945

Awful damp day. David quite better. Did some shopping. Reading ‘Calamity House’ Ellery Zucer. Dispatched parcel containing pyjamas, 4 prs sox, plimsolls, blades, soap, choc, toothbrush, etc, also H/chiefs.

Wednesday January 3rd 1945

Had a hair set. Knitting David a suit. Dirty weather. Had a letter from Margaret Kemshall.

Thursday January 4th 1944

Nothing of much interest,

Friday January 5th 1944

Phil & Fred came at night.

Saturday January 6th 1945

I bought a suit at the shop. Bill came.

Sunday January 7th 1945

I wrote to you – busy knitting for David.

Monday January 8th 1945

Quite a fall of snow.

Tuesday January 9th 1945

Took David out – awfully cold.

Wednesday January 10th 1945

Did not go out. Finished a pullover for David.

Thursday January 11th 1945

David attended his first party. Jennifer Deane aged one.

Friday January 12th 1945

Saw ‘Adam had four sons’, awfully good. Phil & Fred came, Bill here.

Saturday January 13th 1945

Derrick came – glad to see him.

Sunday January 14th 1945

Feeling not so good. Derrick went back.

Monday January 15th 1945

Wrote to you, have a rotten cold, and missing you horribly.

Tuesday January 16th 1945

Feel ghastly. Stayed in all day, miserable with self and everyone else.

Wednesday January 17th 1945

Feel only fair.

Thursday January 18th 1945

Had my hair set. Sent you tobacco. Wrote to you.

Friday January 19th 1945

Phil & Fred came. Rotten day in every way.

Saturday  January 20th 1945

News came Bernard Twilley killed 18 December 44. Saw ‘Love Story’ Margaret Lockwood – Stewart Granger. Snowed heavily.


Bernard Twilley

Sunday January 21st 1945.

Feel awful. Wrote to you. Took David out in afternoon.

Monday January 22nd 1945

Rotten cold. Awful weather. Rang Mrs. F. Bought a wardrobe & chair.

Tuesday January 23rd 1945

Horribly cold – short of coal too. Letter from you dated 9th October 44.

Wednesday January 24th 1945

Wrote to you. Went to Thorneydene but did not take David who has a cold.

Thursday January 25th 1945

Weather simply arctic. Saw Bing Crosby in ‘Going my Way’.

Friday January 26th 1945

Terribly cold. Worst for years & years. Did some shopping in the morning.

Saturday January 27th 1945

Still icy. Tony & his girlfriend called at night. Did not go out.

Sunday January 28th 1945

Watched skating on the canal. Wrote to you, also Ken Twilley. Not quite so cold.

Monday January 29th 1945

Went to look at a house in Dudley Road – turned it down.

Tuesday January 30th 1945

Did not go out. Awfully cold.

Wednesday January 31st 1945

Had my hair set. Wrote to you.

Thursday February 1st 1945

Weather improving. Did some shopping.

Friday February 2nd 1945

Phil & Fred came, quite an enjoyable evening. Russian news marvelous.

Saturday February 3rd 1945

A lovely day. Took David out, met Betty Scothern, her husband in India.

Sunday February 4th 1945

Took Derek and David out. Wrote to you.

Monday February 5th 1945

Received letter dated 30 October. P.C’s October 18, Nov 24th. Went out in the afternoon with Betty S. Lovely day.

Tuesday February 6th 1945

Took David out, weather lovely

Wednesday February 7th 1945

P.C. dated 20 Dec. Wrote to you, Saw ‘Hotel Reserve’ James Mason – very good.

Thursday February 8th 1945

David weighs 22lbs 9ozs.

Friday February 9th 1945

Took David to Thorneydene where he crawled across the room and pulled himself up by the settee. A lovely day. Phil & Fred came.

Saturday February 10th 1945

Took David out. Rather cold. Wrote to you.

Sunday February 11th 1945

Stayed in all day, Knitted, read, etc. David lovely.

Monday February 12th 1945

Heard today Barbara Parr drowned on Friday last. Heard from Ken Twilley. Horrible weather.

Tuesday February 13th 1945

Wireless announcement numerous camps including Luft 3 overrun by the Russians or moved. Feel rather worried and depressed. Hate this suspense.

Wednesday February 14th 1945

Stayed in all day – wrote to you. Spent an hour with Pop [Musson] at night.

Thursday February 15th 1945

Our day again. Took David out. News still very good.

Friday February 16th 1945

Phil & Fred came down. Busy knitting David a beret.

Saturday February 17th 1945

Did some shopping during the morning. Phil & Fred came again.

Sunday February 18th 1945

Took David & Derek out. Andy turned up unexpectedly. He is at Ossington. Wrote to you.

Monday February 19th 1945

Saw Betty Scothern and had a lovely walk. Parcels are off again.

Tuesday February 20th 1945

Took David out. He has a cold.

Wednesday February 21st 1945

Took David and Derek up the road. Lovely day. Wrote to you. Feel awfully worried and unsettled.

Thursday February 22nd 1945

Lovely weather. Took David out. Wireless report 2661 P.O.Ws liberated by Russians.

Friday February 23rd 1945

Rained, so did not get to Thorneydene. Phil & Fred came – Andy also.

Saturday February 24th 1945

Andy went back. I took David out – he has a cold.

Sunday February 25th 1945

Very dull – cycled to Thorneydene in the A.M. Wrote to you. Reading ‘For them that trespass’ by E. Raymond.

Monday February 26th 1945

Took David and Derek out. Uneventful day.

Tuesday February 27th 1945

Received a P.C. dated 25 October. Did some shopping but did not take David.

Wednesday February 28th 1945

David had quite a number of gifts and eleven birthday cards. Had photographs taken. Shirley came round. Wrote to you.

Thursday March 1st 1945

Monchengladbach captured.

Friday March 2nd 1945

Took David for a walk.

Saturday March 3rd 1945

Ada Parker sent a cardigan and helmet for David. Andy came. Reconciliation.

Sunday March 4th 1945

Dull day – did not go out. Wrote numerous letters.

Monday March 5th 1945

Went for a long walk with Betty Sprawson. Knitting myself a pullover.

Tuesday March 6th 1945

Andy at Ossington – failed. B.O.A. awaiting posting.

Wednesday March 7th 1945

Went to see Phil Mitchell. Wrote to you. Cologne has fallen.

Thursday March 8th 1945

Busy day. Did not go out.

Friday March 9th 1945

Margaret and Derrick came. Andy here also.

Saturday March 10th 1945

Went to the doctor, trouble with eye, etc. Awful cold.

Sunday March 11th 1945

David has troublesome cough. Did not go out, still feeling not so good.

Monday March 12th 1945

M & D returned. Went for a walk with Betty Sprawson. Had a letter from Effie. Saw ‘Fantasia’.

Tuesday March 13th 1945

David not well – took him out during the morning.

Wednesday March 14th 1945

Took David to the doctor – got medicine but already he is much better. Andy still here.

Thursday March 15th 1945

David greatly improved. Took he and Derek out in the afternoon. Went to see Pop at night.

Friday March 16th 1945

Uneventful day. David fine.

Saturday March 17th 1945

Did not go out. Received parcel from Effie. Rompers, building blocks, H/chiefs etc.

Sunday March 18th 1945

Same as yesterday

Monday March 19th 1945

Took David out – the fair here.

Tuesday March 20th 1945

A cold day. Wrote to Effie.

Wednesday March 21st 1945

Heard from Lois & Constance. Saw a wonderful film ‘ Madonna of Seven Moons’ Stewart Granger, Phyllis Calvert.

Thursday March 22nd 1945

Your father & Mrs. L. here, took David to Thorneydene and spent a very pleasant afternoon.

Friday March 23rd 1945

Dorothy, D.J. and I went to Leicester express purpose of buying shoes. Glorious weather.

Saturday March 24th 1945

Letter dated 22 Jan 45. Saw your people off on the bus. Big Allied airborne landing beyond the Rhine.

Sunday March 25th 1945

Lovely day – took David out. Derek and Dorothy came too. Spent the evening with Pop.

Monday March 26th 1945

Went for a walk with Betty. A lovely day.

Tuesday March 27th 1945

Our armies well beyond the Rhine. Surely the war must end soon. Do worry about you and wonder where you are. Took David out. Lovely weather.

Wednesday March 28th 1945

Feeling rather flat. Wish I knew more about you.

Thursday March 29th 1945

Took Derek and David to have tea at Pop’s.

Friday March 30th 1945

Wrote to you. Went to see ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’

Saturday March 31st 1945

Saw Joan Johnson married. Horribly windy.

Easter Sunday, April 1st 1945

Still cold and windy. Margaret and Derrick came, returning tomorrow.

Monday April 2n 1945

Took David to Thorneydene.

Tuesday April 3rd 1945

News of liberated P.O.Ws keeps coming through. I feel so unsettled.

Wednesday April 4th 1945

Took David out. Cold weather.

Thursday April 5th 1945

Went to Madge Broughton’s wedding – she married Pat Arsenault an American.

Friday April 6th 1945

The Allies doing remarkably well. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Saturday April 7th 1945

Went out in the afternoon with Dorothy.

Sunday April 8th 1945

Had an enjoyable walk after tea, all of us. Eat a big supper and went to bed early. Sent your photographs

Monday April 9th 1945

Had a walk with Betty Sprawson. Koenigsberg fallen.

Tuesday April 10th 1945

Took Derek and David out. Wrote to your Pa and Ada Parker.

Wednesday April 11th 1945

Vienna, Hanover, various other places fallen. Took Derek & David out. Lovely day.

Thursday April 12th 1945

60 miles from Berlin.

Took David for a walk – lovely day. Wrote to Lois, Constance, Mrs McKinna & Chalky. Wish I could hear from you.

Friday April 13th 1945

Brunswick fallen, Magdeburg threatened. Lovely day. David had his first injections against diphtheria and whooping cough. Took him to Thorneydene, Aunt Ida sent lovely toys.  President Roosevelt died last night.

Saturday April 14th 1945

Received toy bear from America.  Oflag 79 liberated – so anxious about you. Spent the evening with Pop.

Sunday April 15th 1945

Busy all day – did not go out. Gorgeous weather.

Monday April 16th 1945

Stalag 357 11B liberated. Cannot rest – no sleep – just wondering. Took David down the park with Betty and John.

Tuesday April 17th 1945

Nuremberg entered.

Wednesday April 18th 1945

A lovely day. Magdeburg fallen. Thinking of you – very worried.

Thursday April 19th 1945

Took Derek and David out in the morning. Leipzig fallen.

Friday April 20th 1945

My last red cross parcel returned. Took David to Thorneydene. Anxious for news.

Saturday April 21st 1945

Russians shelling Berlin. Feel miserable. Cold today. Nuremberg fallen.

Sunday 22nd April 1945

15,000 P.O.Ws liberated, anxious about you. Went over to see Pop at night.

Monday 23rd April 1945

Shirley’s cousin home from 357. Had David photographed. Cold.

Tuesday 24th April 1945

Russians attacking immediate outskirts of Berlin. David not well.

Wednesday 25th April 1945

Took David out but he is only fair. Met Ken Twilley home from overseas.

Thursday 26th April 1945

Took David to Thorneydene. Walter Lee took snaps. Berlin cut off. Bremen fallen.

Friday 27th April 1945

Ken Twilley came in. I went to see ‘A song to remember’.

Saturday 28th April 1945

Marlag Milag Nord released.  Hitler reported ill and Himmler offered unconditional surrender to ourselves and America – not Russia.

Sunday 29th April 1945

27,000 P.O.Ws liberated at Moosburg. Munich captured. Terribly cold weather, snow etc.

Monday 30th April 1945

V.E. day expected at any time. Saw ‘Sunday dinner for a soldier’.

Tuesday 1st May 1945

Hitler reported killed in Berlin. Admiral Doenitz taken his place.

Wednesday 2nd May 1945

Unconditional surrender of Germans in Italy. Berlin captured by the Russians.

Thursday May 3rd 1945

Andy came on leave. Goebbels reported to have committed suicide. Anxiously awaiting news.

Friday May 4th 1945

Unconditional surrender of North Germany, Holland and Denmark signed at 6.20pm with effect from 8.0am D.B. summer time tomorrow. Camps 3A and 4B liberated.

Saturday May 5th 1945

I keep wondering about you – do wish I could get some news.

Sunday May 6th 1945

V.E. day imminent.

Monday May 7th 1945

The prime minister to broadcast tomorrow. 1,800 P.O.Ws s brought home.

Tuesday May 8th 1945

  1. VE. DAY Unconditional surrender of Germany to ourselves, America & Russia. Prime Minister (Winston Churchill) spoke at 3.00pm, the king at 9.00pm. Lancasters landed in Germany – brought back 4,500 P.O.Ws. Everywhere decorated and looking very gay and festive.

Wednesday May 9th 1945

Tonight [I & W] came to tell me you are in England.  Won’t attempt to express what it means.