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15 October 2014
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Battle of Britain Diary Part 2

by Daphne

Contributed by 
Daphne
People in story: 
The Gearing Family (Dora, Nell, Kit and Babe)
Location of story: 
Around Epsom, Surrey
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A3294623
Contributed on: 
18 November 2004

This is the next set of entries in the diary by my aunt Dora who died in 1997 aged 84. The diary spans 3 months during the Battle of Britain.

June 11th
Well after the storms had broken things started to settle down again, the weather and the war. Many things have been said about Italy, Americans especially are very angry. Small demonstrations took place in London such as smashing windows in Italian restaurants, nothing serious. Miss Ellis had an offer from her brother to go to Canada, not accepted. Mum gone to Brighton for the day with Jack.

The Germans are pushing on in spots, losing thousands of men. I wonder when or if they will reach Paris. Poor Paris has been bombed already with many wounded and dead. What a day of reckoning there will be. The Poles will have their chance for all they have suffered surely. We have Polish airman in England, only too eager to bomb Berlin but there is a time for everything. Patience is going to be a great weapon in this war.

5 o'clock news: Italy has lost 24 merchant ships already and is scuttling them as fast as the Germans do. We have blocked all seas with mines so this completes our blockade of Germany. Norway has laid down arms. Dutch princess and children arrive in Canada. RAF bombed Libya and what a surprise for the Italians. They were napping. They bombed Malta, not much damage. Still scuttling ships.

June 12th
More bombing on Italy by RAF and by South African air force - very successful too. First air raid warning in Rome. Polish submarine lost, famous for her daring scape from Poland, reached England and joined us.

June 14th
The Germans are marching through Paris. We expected it but we are all stunned and quiet - where will it end. We are sending thousands of our men out today again. Lets hope it will make a difference. Went swimming with Jack for the first time this year. The weather is still stormy and windy but very warm. Wish I didn't feel so - what? I don't quite know how I feel, just glum, not sad, not defeated, I don't know quite. The French minister has sent a last desperate appeal to America, no official answer has been given yet.

June 15th
Saturday and glorious sunshine again. Well Paris has truly fallen - fierce fighting has taken place twenty miles past there. Out men are being landed every day now. It seems to me that a devil of a battle will take place soon. Old Musso is still getting what he asked for.

Well its a lovely day. Fighting is still increasing in intensity. God knows where we are going to coming to. Made Babe's green frock up at Nell's house.

Sunday June 16th
Very cloudy and drizzly rain but trying to clear up. Babe and Nell think France will lay down arms. I don't know what to think. I've got beyond surprises. Nothing will astonish me anymore I am sure. Babe and I went to the cricket at Ashtead and watched the Army play. They won and were fine, thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

9 o'clock news seems to suggest that we must expect the worst in France. I'm beginning to think after hearing the news, that France is slipping after a grand and gallant fight against God only knows what a force. Well we shall see.

Babe and I were talking - thanking God that we have been able to be grateful for all the years we spent as kids up at Linden Court, the years of freedom, the trees, grass, the fun and the wildness of it all. Even then as kids we loved and were grateful for our happiness and my age of 28 years I feel years younger I must say. I don't mind, I'm willing to fight, wait, watch or die. I'm happy we are strong enough not to feel depressed.

I'm tired after a perfect day. just heard some lovely records.

June 17th
The French cabinet has resigned and has been taken over by an old man of 82 years. Lets see what he can do. Not much news, have a faint hope that this man will hold out.

1 o'clock news: France has laid down arms! God what news! Almost expected as it was, we are sad, deeply grieved that they have suffered so severely only to give in at the hour when we hoped for something in the shape of revenge.

Who are we to criticise them, they were brave and fought with us but who knows what Germany has done to them. When lovely Paris fell that was their soul. No body can fight without its soul I am sure. Well what a day. I am going to the pictures tonight. I hope I'm not being wicked for that. I grieve for France but the more things go on here naturally the better. So I'm going to see Jimmy Stewart in "The Shop around the Corner". I hope its good.

Well I must do my needlework now and God help France. They truly need him now. What would it be like if we were placed like this?

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