Wednesday, 6 May 2015

An Occupation Diary – Part 15

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.

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 some of it.

An Occupation Diary – Part 15

June 9, 1944

There does not seem to have been much to write about the last three months, and we are getting very tired of the suspense of waiting for the " Invasion " to start. We were very thrilled with the good news about Rome, and the account of the entry of the Allies. The same night we were kept awake with the sound of thousands of RAF planes passing over the Island - the house rocked and shook and the noise was terrific, like an earthquake. I knew something extraordinary was happening, but it did not occur to me that it was the " Invasion " at last, and was quite surprised to hear in the morning that it really had come.

Were we thrilled and excited ! I must tell you that Father had hidden his wireless instead of giving it up, and so we were able to listen in, and heard all the thrilling accounts of the landing, and the correspondents' reports. In fact we were listening in nearly all day on Tuesday, Churchill's speech, the King's speech, and the service by the Archbishop of Canterbury in fact we have missed nothing since.

It is such a Joy to know we are doing well, though our thoughts and prayers are with our brave boys at the front, and the terrific ordeal they have to face, and the sacrifice. My constant thought is for my dear John, and all whom we love who are in danger. We, of course, are in a state of " siege "; although a lot of Germans have gone away, there are still a good many left, and we are wishing they would go, as then the British would come and set us free, and would also bring us food and medical supplies, which are so desperately needed.

The Hospital is full of wounded Germans who were rescued from the sea last week, when several boats were sunk. Unfortunately for us, the Germans are taking so much of our food away; they are taking 24 cows a week from the Island and our stock of butter and sugar, so now our rations are being reduced, and there is only enough gas to last till July, as there is no coal and nothing can come from France now. The Harbour is full of disabled ships, and I don't think the Germans could get away even if they wanted to - they say they would rather be taken prisoner than fight.

June 22

We went to Mrs Tennant's to tea one day last week, another day to Mrs du Guerin's, and on Monday to Miss Arm's- Harold and Jim were spending the week-end there, and they all came on here each evening to hear the news.

The Germans have cut off the telephone, so we are not able to ring up. Also there is only one bus a day, and only for people who work in town, and we are feeling very cut off.

Some American planes came over one day and dropped a bomb at La Rocque, hoping to hit a gun, but hit several houses instead; this makes the people living on the coast very nervous. We are hoping soon to hear Cherbourg has fallen.

June 24

June's birthday to-day, eleven years old too, and she must be getting a big girl. I do hope the flying bombs do not get as far as Hereford. I think so much of Kathleen all alone with her little family.

Dulcie came yesterday and told us about the affair at La Rocque. There were fourteen houses wrecked, and many people injured and homeless. Some have gone to a nursing home, others have been taken in and cared for by kind neighbours. Dulcie has been very busy helping, and has a family living in Miss Bowles's house next door. She actually saw the bombs drop, as she happened to be outside attending to the goats.

Last night planes were overhead for several hours. We think they were German, as they were not fired on, and must have been travelling back-wards and forwards to France, taking officers away, as that is their only way to escape now.

June 27

We hear that Cherbourg has really fallen, and we hope to hear all details later on.

It is very quiet here these last few days, no firing or explosions; the Germans are very nervous, expecting an attack any moment.

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