Wednesday 23rd February, 1944

Alec’s diary continues:

Caught 9.10 a.m. for Bristol. Reg Bird gave me a lift to the village in his car. Had coffee at Bristol and caught 10.25 a.m. thence. Had to tick off a couple of loco men and a guard for bad language.* Arrived Plymouth 3.15 p.m. Limited 49 minutes late so found hotel and went to the Baby Imperial** for grub. Not a bad place. Met Mr Gillett and John at 4.30 p.m. They say bad raid on London in night Hanwell had it very bad incendiaries chiefly. Took them to hotel then had dinner there. Went to see play at the Palace ‘No Orchids for Miss Blandish‘***. Rotten. To Baby Imperial for cup of coffee then to hotel to bed. Beds hard but warm.

*Remember he’s 22 years old, a skinny kid in glasses and a bad suit. It says a lot for the temper of the times that he felt he could ‘tick off’ these men and expect to be obeyed. I’m surprised he didn’t find himself upside-down in a horse trough somewhere; rather priggish of him, I’m afraid.

**I can’t trace the Baby Imperial, although perhaps if I went on to a Plymouth local history site I might. I suspect it was probably a cafe or dining room run by Imperial Hotel staff but on other premises than their own.

***I’d be interested to know if the tour of the play featured the original London cast, in which case he would have seen Robert Newton on stage. Being a theatre buff myself I would rather envy him that, even if the play itself wasn’t up to much.


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