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  THIS IS THE FIRST PART OF GRANNYS WARTIME DIARY - I HAVE TRANSCRIBED IT EXACTLY AS WRITTEN. AS IT WAS WRITTEN IN PENCIL IT WAS QUITE DIFFICULT TO READ, HENCE, THERE MAY BE A FEW MISTAKES WITH NAMES AND PLACES THAT I CANT MAKE OUT.
 
MY JOURNAL
 

THURSDAY AUGUST 24TH 1939

This is Bobs birthday (60th I think) also the day of Bartholomew and the massacre of the innocents and it looks fatefully as if the innocents of Europe are to be massacred wholesale. Another crisis has blown up and I sit tonight in the cottage alone with the owls hooting wondering what on earth will astonish us tomorrow.
Every hour brings its surprise and its dread now, and no one has so far been able to make sense of the large scale and flabbergasting news that Russia and Germany have knitted themselves together in a ‘non-aggression’ pact! They have flown into each others arms after years of hatred and abuse. Ribbentrop, the pale-eyed German foreign secretary has gone to Moscow in bullet proofed swastikered vehicles with 34 attendants and come back at once with a signed pact!
Meanwhile, we and the French have a military mission, kicking their heels there, trying to make a pact and have been double-crossed thoroughly. No one knows what it will lead too. It seems the entire German army is mobilized round Poland and that Danzig is already as good as collared by the Reich.
We are preparing step by step and D.O.R.A. is today in full working order again. The King came back from Balmoral in the night and signed it.
(DORA stands for Defense of the Realm Act which was originally brought in in 1914. It allows the government to use emergency powers to create defense regulations which regulated almost every aspect of everyday life in the country)
Alas, for the young, weep for the spring and all their plans that are crashing to the ground. It is a relief in the family that the Aunts are not here to suffer the suspense and horror of all the possibilities of a Blitz Krieg or a long drawn out nightmare.

WEDNESDAY AUG.30th 1939
Nearly a week of crisis - getting hotter daily. In these few days every country has called up its reserves and now there’s 10000000 men standing ready in Europe. Frontiers are closed, rationing started, train transport taken over in most places, but ‘the thing’ has not happened yet. Hitler and Chamberlain are exchanging notes daily. England is really standing fast this time, and calm too. Parliament has met again and there is none of the, God Almighty attitude about Chamberlain at the moment….
I fetched my gas mask yesterday and a very loathsome object it is too! The unknown future is alarming and though Hitler has not won the war of nerves we are all feeling the strain and anxiety. England is doing a good propaganda among the German workers over the radio and the word ‘mutiny’ was mentioned today. Although the nazi populace is not so steady, there is no real hint of a break and Hitler is still paramount and reiterating ‘Dantzig Corridor – Macedonian state of things must cease (whatever that might mean).
Meanwhile all plans, trade, finance and travel are slowed up. Prayers to the Almighty go up, as always, from both sides.

THURSDAY AUG.31ST 39
Evacuation of London school children is now decided upon for tomorrow, also some other towns. Naval and army reserves called up, so it is complete mobilization. Hitler hasn’t budged yet and still says "Dantzig corridor", but his people are sick. He is said to be living on milk and vegetables and working 21 hours a day! The whole of Europe is now armed and ready and waiting! Something is going to go off somewhere!

FRIDAY SEPT 1ST 39
Something went off at 5.30 this morning! Hitler announced that Dantzig belonged to the Reich, he had bombed Poland and his troops had crossed the frontier…..followed a day of long anxiety here – bulletins upon bulletins about mobilization, food, phones, trains, wireless waves, lighting and everything that touches our lives.
Parliament sat and passed lots of bills and Greenwood didn’t mince his words, though Chamberlain still spoke of Hitler as of a gentleman!
Here all harvest and sunshine, heather and slow moving horses, and in London, sandbags, packed stations, and heavy hearts at leaving their homes. Poor driven humanity, never allowed for 2 months together to get on with their normal lives – the worlds surface is all struggle and horror through this insane longing for power.

SATURDAY SEPT.2ND 39
Another 24 hours has passed and we wait on and on. The Polish towns are being bombed, trains hit and God knows what, and Hitler gives out that he is ‘merely adjusting the frontiers!’ Meanwhile we are waiting on his word again. The BBC has gone to pot and Chamberlain is Ay-Ay-Aying in the House, as usual. The city, the business friends and a hidden hand somewhere is urging him back to appeasement. The war mentality is coming back even without the actual war – sob stuff and talk about evacuated children and ‘a nation on the move’, catty remarks, criticism inquisitiveness and spite are all rearing their horrid heads already – one spots the symptoms very soon in a village.
It now turns out that London was expected to be raided on Thursday night Aug.31st but was let off!

SUNDAY MORNING SEPTEMBER 3RD 1939 11.15AM- WAR DECLARED!
I am sitting in the cottage this Sunday morning and the hills are looking their loveliest, the birds are singing and the roses are more beautiful than ever. Chamberlain is speaking from the cabinet room at No.10 Downing Street saying that the time limit had expired at 11 o’clock this morning for Germany to withdraw from Poland and as there is no answer, the PM has now declared war on Germany……….

So it has come – and what will be the end? Old and useless as I am I now feel like driftwood and pray that I can help somehow.
 A rainbow arched with one end in the field after the declaration of war was declared.
 
  To be continued.......... Part 2