Friday, 3 April 2015

An Occupation Diary – Part 3

In 1972, the Pilot magazine began an exclusive serialisation of private letters from the late Mrs G Luce de Pre, which had taken the form of letters written to her absent children and grand-children, covering the period July 9 1940 to June 6 1945.

The Pilot at that time was facing major financial problems, and printing this diary helped to win back readers.

I suspect it has not been read much since then, 45 years ago, so here is a second chance in this special 70th Anniversary year to read it.

An Occupation Diary – Part 3
September 22, 1940

Still busy packing and the lounge is beginning to look very bare as I am putting away all china, pictures and brasses, etc., and taking all the clothes we possess. The Germans come into empty houses and take anything they like, especially clothes, blankets and linen.

September 29

We got here yesterday leaving our Moorings desolate. We had a horse and van to bring all our big luggage and I came in a car and brought Sandy (the cat) in a basket. He cried all the way but settled down soon after we got here. It was such a lovely day and the garden looked so lovely - full of flowers and the houses flooded with sunshine.

Captain and Mrs Cradwick were here to help and soon got the beds made up and luggage unpacked and put away. Father found it very nice to be able to walk down to Church this morning, and this afternoon Dorothy cycled out to see us and stayed to tea, then helped me with a few things.

We have a new Commandant now and he is a Prussian and much stricter than the first one. The latest is he has commandeered all cars and lorries, which are being sent to France. They are taken according to their year, so when the war is over, no one will have a car and many unable to buy again.

I have not said anything about all those poor children being torpedoed, for it upset me terrible and for days I thought perhaps Babbo's children were there - but one and another have assured me that it was not very likely, as they were mostly drawn from the Council schools, but it is all too sad to talk about and I hope all ours are safe somewhere in England.

October 14

We are now allowed to send letters through the Red Cross, which will take several weeks and can only say "We are quite well".

November 3

Since my last entry, I have been to town and had my hair shampooed and set. I had an offer of being taken in by car and came back by bus. I was not able to do any shopping as all the shops close at four o'clock. The time has not been altered and we are still two hours ahead of the sun. It's so dark in the morning and so the schools do not start till ten, and the shops do not open till then.

For some time there has been a rumour that everyone living on the coast road would have to clear out - but that has been given up and a new order for all those people to get an identity card and must not be outside their house after eight and not before eight a.m.

We are just outside here - but Father will have to get a Pass to enable him to go to Moorings at any time, which he does about three times a week to get limpets for Sandy, as that is all we can feed him on now. There is no salmon or cat food to be had. The shops are getting very empty and there are so many things one cannot get.

But it is wonderful how cheerful everyone keeps Almost everyone rides a bike, but there are none to be had now.

The Germans seem to be very active at night and we hear cars and lorries rushing about all night and a lot of coming and going of troops - a large company of "Storm Troopers" have lately come and are a fine looking lot of men -- they seem to send men. here on leave, instead of going to Germany and many have not been home for three years.

Last Friday a plane crashed on the beach at La Pulente and the crew of five were killed. We were very thrilled the other day to hear Charles Le Quesne speaking about the Channel Islands and how I wished some of ours could have put a message through.

December 28

Christmas has come and gone once more and it as rather a sad one, thinking of you all and wondering where you all were. Father and I were quite alone - he had to go 'to Church in the morning.

After lunch we listened to the wireless and heard the King's speech and the Christmas carols. We had a lovely dinner at eight o'clock -Father cooked it all beautifully and we did enjoy it all. The week before Dulcie brought us one of her tame rabbits, all ready dressed, it was lovely - lasted several dinners.

Now she is going to give us a live baby one which we shall feed and fatten up.

On Xmas Eve, Auntie Flo came out in bitter :old weather and brought us a little Xmas pudding and several little dainties. Captain and Mrs Cradwick also came and brought jam and chutney, and we had quite a little tea party.

It's terribly dark in the mornings now, as the sun doesn't rise till after ten, owing to our being two hours ahead of the sun - but we always have tea by daylight and don't light up till after seven..

The weather has been bitterly cold since Christmas, snow, frost and a high east wind all the time.

The Curfew has been changed again and now everyone has to be indoors by nine o'clock -which doesn't please a good many people.

Some time ago Harold Giffard was arrested for saying things against the Germans and sentenced to three months' imprisonment with hard labour, and was going to be sent either to France or Germany - but the Doctors said he would not live through it, and so put him in prison here and he is still there.

One has to be careful what one says and mind one's own business and keep to the orders and life goes on pretty much the same - except that the shops are getting very empty and there is very little one can buy.

No comments: