Monday 21st February, 1944

Alec’s diary continues:

Caught 8.0 a.m. train. No cards as Harold not travelling. Talked with Clarence most of the way. Ray bought coffee as he lost the toss. London train not very full. Arrived without incident 11.50 a.m. Not feeling at all well. Hole in roof over Leslie’s head where an incendiary struck and burned out.* Another i.c. fell on Mr Hobbs’s table and burned up some of his papers. Mr Palmer who was on duty put same out single-handed. Big raid on Fridays tons of i.c. fell Gloucester Terrace and Westbourne Park. Mr Rust from Bristol in Paddington Hotel. Had to get up. Sunday’s raid set fire to Kensington Church Paddington Hotel. Areas of Wembley Alperton Chiswick and Hammersmith. Tubes out of order to Hammersmith and Central London from Wood Lane to Ealing Broadway. No bombs or i.c.s in Hanwell but several in Ealing proper. Mr Kathrens fire watching Friday. Went to Kensington in dinner hour saw the burnt-out church. Caught 3.50 p.m. for Hanwell to tell Mr Palmer to resume duty at 7.0 p.m. He is asleep and Mrs P says he has only been to bed since 3.0 p.m. Caught 4.57 p.m. back told Lionel. He says OK if he comes in at 9.0 p.m. but not later. Picked up case and mac caught 6.4 p.m. train for Hanwell. Went to Jim’s place but he had left 10 minutes ago. Took my tin hat and gas mask home. Mrs Stone has her husband home on leave. Had a rough weekend with guns and sirens. Listened in to radio but has not gone as yet 11.0 p.m. (Siren went at 3.50 a.m. bombs dropped but did not wake up.)

*At roughly this time the shortage of office space meant that Alec and several of his colleagues worked from old rolling-stock which had been gutted and fitted out as offices. His recollection was that he worked in ‘Adelina Patti’s railway carriage’- which, believe it or not, has had a book written about it. Photos of Alec and his colleagues from the period are inconclusive.


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