Friday 12th August, 1960

Eva to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan & Carol

Many thanks for June’s letter. I am very glad the doctor says there is nothing seriously wrong with your mother. I expect she is feeling the strain of years of hard work without much holidays or chance to rest. I do hope they will soon see a house or a bungalow they fancy, they are difficult to come by these days as I don’t think there is all that much building going up. Houses this way are fetching a good price & that cuts both ways.

Susan is quite coming on with her writing also drawing. I expect they have been busy in the garden these last few days, it’s been really lovely. This morning although a peculiar sky it has not rained yet. (Leon says it’s just started.)

The men hope to finish today thank goodness. There is an awful smell of paint & pickled onions down here as Dad has done eight jars & I have them in the kitchen cupboard & every tie I open a drawer we get a whiff of onion.

Spencers were going for their holiday & the morning when they should have gone Ian developed chicken pox; Mr S doesn’t mind and hopes Ann will catch it as well.

Dad has been busy cutting all the hedges again, the long one on the lawn behind the flower bed was awful, thought we should never finish picking up the stuff, it hadn’t been cut for two years. We are still selling beans & tomatoes & I suppose we shall soon have to be picking apples, there is no end to it.

Heels have gone to Croyd for a fortnight. Hope Alec can call in for a few hours before he goes to Cardiff this week.

The house at the bottom of our field is not sold yet they wanted £5,250, but this week it’s down to £4,850.*

I went into next door one afternoon with a cup of tea for the girl who is getting married in October, she was busy painting. They have a lovely Claygate fireplace in the fireplace in the front & a nice one at the back beige. She told me they are locking up the front two bedrooms & lounge & going to live in the back for the present so presume they are only finishing the back.

Mrs Marshall & Bessie & a friend opposite her are on a tour of Scotland (coach) for a fortnight.

They have a wedding at the beginning of October at St Peter’s but bells at Old Church but nothing for Sept. other than what they have done already.**

There are notices on the beach at the Pill telling people that there is an unexploded bomb in the mud also there may be several so it has scared people away. If the bomb goes off I don’t think we shall be affected by it. Apparently they have lain in the mud for years; expect they dropped that night they came to bomb Weston.***

Well I think this is all for now so will close with love to you all.


Mum & Dad

*£114,000 or thereabouts in 2020 money.

**I confess I don’t know what it means except possibly that with St Peter’s being a new church they may not have had their bells installed yet and the wedding peal would have to be rung elsewhere, and that there were no other bookings for September except what was already known about.

***This was in June 1942, and was actually two nights. I haven’t (so far) been able to pin down the particular bomb that turned up in 1960, but the most recent one appeared in the vicinity of the local ASDA in 2018!


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.

Friday 11th February, 1944

Alec’s diary continues:

Caught 8.43 a.m. Finished off Laira and continued with Bristol Diagram. Finished the Mondays to Saturdays. John started Mondays only and Saturdays only. Charles and myself doing other work for Mr Hill. Paid for tea and buns in the morning. To the club for lunch not too good. Glasses have arrived but they seem to be all frame at the moment, have worn them all the afternoon. Caught 5.5 p.m. Charles has permission to go to Birmingham on 6.10 p.m. Sprats for tea, managed about half of them. Hope they won’t repeat. Siren at 7.50 p.m. Planes and a little gunfire. Dark as pitch out but moon rising. All clear at 8.40 p.m. Nothing about for last half hour. Finished off one novel and will start the next. Bed at 11.0 p.m. no more sirens.