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A Brighton Boy's Wartime Diary January 1941

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Norman Foord, Morris Funnel, Mr Gordon (teacher), David Buttress
Location of story: 
Whitehawk, Brighton
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
02 June 2005

Jan 1st 1941.
I played with my barrow most of the day. I went to the library but I couldn’t find a good book.

Jan 2nd.
We had a heavy fall of snow last night. I had rides in my barrow in it. I went out with my mother this morning.

Jan 3rd.
We had another heavy fall of snow last night and several showers today. I had my hair cut this afternoon.

Jan 4th.
We had some more snow last night. It was heavier than both the other nights. I went to a treat today at St Andrews Church.

Jan 5th.
I went to church this afternoon and got a stamp with the shepherds watching their sheep. The snow thawed a bit today but it froze again about four o’clock.

Jan 6th.
Our holiday was over today and we went back to school. There was a slide round a bend down the street, and all the boys were having goes on it with sledges. I got my trousers wet and had to change them.

Jan 7th.
Today was my birthday and I had some presents. I had a jigsaw puzzle, a book, two shillings, ‘Aeroplane Recognition Tests’, and a model of a Whitley Bomber. I had some more goes on the ice today.

Jan 8th.
The sandbag arrived this afternoon to put out the fire bombs. Our pullet laid its 25th egg today.

Jan 9th.
Morris Funnel and I tried to make a snow house today. It was no good for there wasn’t enough snow to build it with. After that I went along the road and had some slides. The siren went tonight but the all clear went at a quarter past eight.

Jan 10th.
Mr Gordon asked us to go out and tell him what we did at Christmas. I went on the slide down the street again today.

Jan 11th.
Mr Gordon has told us four puzzles, three of which he has told me the answers. The first one was to make four words ending in them, stem, helm and thin. The answers were anthem, system, overwhelm and within.
The last is to make the names out of 4 animals out of Peter Neel, Chapel Road, Chatham. I do not know the answer to this one.

Jan 12th.
All the snow has thawed now and I had a puncture in my bike this afternoon. I got my 8th stamp at Sunday school today.

Jan 13th.
I went out with my father this afternoon and bought a bike. It has got a three speed gear on it. There was a lot of aircraft about this afternoon. Mr Gordon showed us how to do multiplication of fractions this morning. We had a crossword puzzle today.

Jan 15th.
The answer to the puzzle about Peter Neel is panther, cheetah, camel and leopard.

The puzzle for tonight is the titles of six books mixed up together. I do not know the answer yet. The titles of the books mixed up together are: The Shop With Two Steps Gone, The World of Wind, Thirty Nine Selfish Cities, The Old Tale, A New Curiosity, The Brave Giant. It has snowed again today.

Jan 16th.
The answer to last nights puzzle is: The Selfish Giant, The Old Curiosity Shop, A Tale of Two Cities, the Thirty Nine Steps, Gone With The Wind, Brave New World. There is another puzzle tonight. Every number from 1 to 9 must be used twice. It is a subtraction sum.

Jan 17th.
Tonight’s puzzle is to make four words ending in — perb, anac, ipid, uce. I made a slide this afternoon.

Jan 18th.
I had last night’s puzzle right. The answer is: superb, almanac,
Insipid, lettuce. There is no puzzle tonight. It snowed hard today. My aunt gave me an American dime today.

Jan 19th.
It rained hard last night and washed all the snow away. I had a puncture on my bike this afternoon. The stamp which I got from church this afternoon had Jesus turning water into wine.

Jan 20th.
I made my Skyleada Hurricane aeroplane tonight. My father changed the front wheel of my bike this afternoon. Teddy White came along my house this afternoon and gave me back my Rover book, and I gave him his Wizard book. It has rained hard today.

Jan 21st.
This afternoon I drew a picture called Air Battle. In this picture there are 4 German bombers being attacked by nine Hurricane fighter aircraft. Like yesterday it has rained hard all day.

Jan 22nd.
I saw Charles Chaplin in ‘The Great Dictator’ at the Regent cinema this afternoon. I had a shower bath after PT lesson this morning.

Jan 23rd.
My friend David Buttress knocked a girl’s teeth out when he was on his bike this afternoon. Tobruk was captured today. When we captured it we took 14000 prisoners.

Jan 24th.
When we had science lesson this morning Mr Gordon showed us how a compass worked. I went out with my mother this afternoon and I bought a three penny tin of white paint for the back mudguard of my bike.

Jan 25th.
We never had PT lesson this morning because Mr Gordon said it wasn’t long enough. Mr Gordon has asked us to do a composition about our aunt and uncle and little girl have come to stay with you over the weekend. I went round Wilson Avenue three times today on my bike. I put some white paint on the mud guard of my bike at dinner time.

Jan 26th.
The stamp which I got at Sunday school today was Jesus speaking to a Roman soldier. I went round Wilson Avenue three times this morning on my bike with David Buttress.

Jan 27th.
Mr Gordon has given us another puzzle for tonight. It is 76 76 76 76 76=2. To do this puzzle you must put in the necessary minus signs. My father bought me a pair of ball bearing roller skates today. Mr Gordon has told us to write for a week about our wartime meals. I had fat bread and bacon, meat, cabbage, carrots, gravy, blancmange, bread and jam, a cake and two biscuits and a cup of tea.

Jan 28th.
I had fatbread, liver, a cup of tea, mince-meat, carrots, cabbage, pancake, bread and jam and a cake for my wartime meal.

Jan 29th.
We went into the hall this afternoon for singing. The firemen came up to the school this afternoon and showed us how to deal with fire bombs. The fire bomb weighs 2lbs 2oz. When a fireman had finished giving us a lecture about firebombs we went into the playground and he showed us how to use a stirrup pump. For my wartime meals today I had egg, bacon, fatbread, two cups of tea, meat, carrots, cabbage, potatoes, bread, fish and cake. I made an aeroplane tonight.

Jan 30th.
We had games this morning. My wartime meals today consisted of bacon, fatbread, two cups of tea, pease pudding, meat, cabbage, potatoes, bread and jam, cake. I went out to play today. I finished making my German aeroplane which is a fighter. I started to make a Westland Lysander tonight. Our team won in football this morning by six goals to four.

Jan 31st.
For my wartime meals today I had fatbread, bacon, sausage meat, meat, cabbage, potatoes, gravy, bread and jam, a cake.

Norman was a pupil at Whitehawk Primary School in Brighton and his diary was typed by Donna at Brighton History Centre and has been added to the site with his permission. Norman fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

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