Sunday, 5 September 2010

A treasured find.

Last year, in the process of sorting out dad's paper's and house, (he had asked me to put things in order), I found a diary tucked away in the very back of a drawer in an upstairs wardrobe.
It said,
"1940 War Diary", and as I began to read it, I was transported back to the days when my dad was a young man of 20 years old, stationed in London during the Blitz.

I put it down and the next morning I told dad I had found it, and did he want it destroyed? (as he would never talk about the War, except to relate an odd funny story or two).

I also said to him that it had moved me deeply and it was really important to the family that it was preserved and read as a lasting testimony and record of that time.
He asked me not to read to him, but said I could do with it as I wished.
So only after the subsequent events of him moving into the Residential Home last April, 2009, and then the sale of his house, followed by his death in in March this year, have I been able to work at scanning in each page and editing them.
Since then I have had it typed, as the whole diary was handwritten, all 187 pages, in a small note book.
It documents the times of all the air raids, and the sense of gritty determination of folk to carry on as normally as they could and keep a sense of humour.
A young man revealed through his writings, one of 20, having his own thoughts, feelings and sometimes writing in the current slang of the time.
A treasure to find.
I am in the process now, of having it published.
But several weeks ago, The Times newspaper was asking for reader's stories about the Blitz, for a feature on the 70th Anniversary , which began on 7th September 1940.
I sent in an extract from dad's diary, but did not hear anything afterwards, until yesterday, as I opened the paper, there was the extract in print!
It will be dad's legacy to us as a family.
So in the month that holds what would've been his 92nd birthday on the 17th, I was pleased to see it there.
(Click on the extract to see the larger version. )


  1. Absolument fantastique Viv !! Un aboutissement et une reconnaissance. De plus, pour ma part, un hommage tout mérité pour l'un de ces nombreux Britanniques qui ont continué la guerre et résisté aux assauts les plus sauvages de la détermination nazie pour aider l'Europe et le monde à se débarrasser de ce cancer qui nous rongeait alors ! Je suis fier de t'avoir comme amie. Merci à ce que tu fais pour ton Papa et merci à lui et à tous les autres au nom de la nation française qui leur doit énormément.

  2. This is a fantastic document, I hope you get it published
    Ken Stott