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Wartime memories of Miss Munro

PUBLISHED: 15:00 20 January 2018

Two RAF Hawker Hurricane MK1 fighters from RAF 79 Squadron taking off from RAF Hawkinge, Kent during the Battle of Britain. Photo: PA

Two RAF Hawker Hurricane MK1 fighters from RAF 79 Squadron taking off from RAF Hawkinge, Kent during the Battle of Britain. Photo: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

The diarist is Alexandrina Elizabeth S. Munro, who resided at 177a Fullwell Avenue Barkingside. Born August 3 1895, possibly in Scotland, died 1984 in Redbridge.

The diary starts on Saturday 31 August and ends on Saturday 7 September 1940.

One hour out of London, the train stopped. The guard came around to every carriage

to ask if anyone wished to leave the train. With one voice we all said. ‘No, carry on!’.

An Australian Tommie stretched out his legs on the other seat and said. ‘Come and bomb us you swine!’ then went to sleep. The train went on slowly until we heard the ‘All clear’, then it got up to speed again. Air Raid No.1.

Looking out into my garden, the flowers are still blooming, the Roses and Clematis looking beautiful in the sunlight, the cosmos waving on the breeze. Went down to the garden to ponder the peace and loveliness thereof, when Mournful Minnie (siren nickname given by our parson at Holy Trinity, from the pulpit, suddenly howled out. Walked slowly up the path, collected my cat and waited. In the fields opposite the cows grazed peacefully, Jerry or no Jerry. All the days were lovely from a weather point of view and the nights starlit and clear with a new moon.

There is a sting in the tale.

The boys went up and they were snapping at each other with their cannons. Then one or two hit. Gently floating on the breeze were two pilots, one of ours and one of the enemy. Afterwards I saw the Messerschmitt 109 - at least what was left of it, the starboard wing, battered and burnt.

When the German pilot landed he told them, when they have to bale out, they open to full throttle and crash at an impact of 500 mph. He was 18 years old.

There seemed to be 100 aircraft up above us – cannons blazing out and machine guns snapping away. Then up the Dornier Bus Route (As the boys call it), the dog fight nearer and nearer.

The diary ends.

All together that week, I had 27 raids the 27th being at 5 o/c when in the train to depart.

This is the third week of the Blitzkrieg and if anyone should get the V.C. it is the lonely woman who has to be alone with and old man too deaf to hear a siren and so she considers it her duty to stay with him and never goes to the shelter, because he cannot go also.

I only hope that death and destruction may always pass over and I salute the boys that make it pass over. There is always a joke after each raid, that is the English way, but when one gets down to thinking, there is only one word for it. HORROR.

Extract transcribed by David Martin. Thanks are due to Frank and Barbara Everitt, who owned the diary originally and kindly agreed for it to be donated to The Redbridge Museum Service.

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