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The letters - 1942

There is a gap in the records from 10th December 1941 until 19th January 1942, after the infamous Waller's raid of 13th January. There are, however, a number of retrospective remarks and comments about that raid which are attached as postscripts to the usual records as the subsequent days go by and which are set out below.

Tuesday 13 January 1942

Editor's note: For those unfamiliar with this raid here are brief extracts from 'Port War', Ford Jenkins' mainly pictorial account of WW2 in Lowestoft:

Summary of 'Port War' account: Lowestoft's worst raid of the war came at a time when attack was to be least expected. It was snowing and just before dusk on 13th January 1942 when a single Dornier glided over the coast unheard and released four bombs in the main shopping area, killing seventy people. The biggest casualty list occurred in Waller's restaurant where many civilians and Service folk were at tea. Almost a complete block of large shops was devastated , as were several other business premises. The town's biggest cinema, the Odeon which was opposite, was severely blasted.

Editor's note: By chance the whole family missed the raid completely and weren't even in Lowestoft at the time. The 13th January 1942 was AJT and Mrs. E. M. Turner's golden wedding anniversary. They and their son JPT, his wife Scylla and two of their three children,

anniversary_menu-500.jpg

Mary (Dilys) and Michael, went by car to Great Yarmouth to celebrate the occcasion at a lunch which had been booked at Purdy's Restaurant (Keith not present as was by this time serving with the RAF). On their way back they heard the siren and could see air activity over Lowestoft and thought it prudent to return to Kirkley via Oulton Broad. The menu above was retained as a souvenir of the occasion.

Monday 19 January 1942

I mentioned a raid on Maidstone Road and Hervey Street and I heard that casualties were light. I have heard since heard that five were killed and twelve injured. Damage to property was pretty bad and those tall houses in Denmark Road, where Sterry lived, have the top stories bulging out over the front garden and the footpath is roped off.

Waller's raid postscript: We hear that 50 sailors were buried in a common grave on Monday, that Waller ordered thirty wreaths, that Mrs. Mills, the wife of the Superintendent of Police was killed, and that at least six people are entirely missing, all from that raid on 13th January.

 Wallers raid with Marina in background

Editor's note: Found on www with no attribution so my apologies if it needs an acknowldgement. Taken from London Road North facing east with the Marina Theatre visible in the background, the degree of devastation explains the uncertain casualty figures in the days immediately after that raid.

Tuesday 20 January 1942

'Alerts' at dusk, three in two hours. Nothing occurred.

Wednesday 21 January 1942

Similar to yesterday but one 'Alert' at 10.45pm, no bombs.

Thursday 22 January 1942

Nothing doing.

Friday 23 January 1942

'Siren' sounded at 8.30am and heavy gunfire from opposite here to farther north but not sure if any bombs. Heard later that some fell in Stanley Street and Till Road. Sent Adams to see as I am not allowed out, bad roads and snow.

Adams reported that number 74 had the windows out but he could see no other damage. I informed Jack and also Warnes. He said there were about twelve houses down and the Police had told him several had been killed. Mrs Eade heard that 17 had been killed but that is uncorroborated.

Saturday 24 January 1942

It snowed heavily all day yesterday with a very fine snow, about six inches in all with a heavy frost. A thaw set in about 10.00pm but much snow is still left this morning.

There has been no 'Alert' but there was heavy gunfire at 11.00am. Adams was told they fired at one of our own planes.

Corroboration of sixteen killed in Friday's morning raid and seventeen severely injured. There were two little boys going to school who were both killed. I have heard nothing further of Stanley Street. Pershore House also has some slight damage.

Sunday 25 January 1942

Another plane flew over the edge of land and sea here at 11.30am. There was heavy gunfire. No-one knows anything more about it.

Waller's raid postscript: The raid on January 13th: Waller told Pounder that out of thirty-two assistants only three are safe, the rest were all killed. The actual fatalities must be over 130 including the forces. The young sub-lieutenant mentioned in the previous note was blown to pieces. There are still five or six unaccounted for.

Saturday 31 January 1942

This last week only occasional 'Alerts'.

Sunday 01 February 1942

Last night about 11.00pm when we were in bed we heard heavy explosions rattling windows and a few minutes later the 'Alert' went - a rotten time of night for it. It lasted about three quarters of an hour but we heard no more and do not know where bombs were dropped.

At 11.30 am there was heavy gunfire and apparently also bombs. Mother and Annie Rix went to the cellar for a very few minutes. We were not at church on account of bad going, snow and very slippery roads. Bombs were dropped near the Lord Nelson and a woman and two children killed, we hear, and some damage to property. The siren went about 6 or 7 minutes after everything was all over. A woman who had been in her shelter all night came out of it in time to see her home demolished. She was injured and taken to hospital. We cannot think why the alerts are so late. No further news yet.

Editor's note: Port War records three High Explosive bombs falling at Hilltop, Victoria Road and Heath Road, killing 3 civilians and injuring one.

It is believed that this raid was the final straw that eventually persuaded the local authority to install an 'Immediate Danger' alarm for the public. A Mrs Hilda Emma Mary Bessey and two children, Peter William aged 10 and Pamela Kathleen aged 4, were buried at Kirkley Cemetery on 6th February. She is recorded as the wife of S. Bessey of no address. In the same plot: Stanley Wm. Bessey, buried 28/03/73, died 19/03/73.

Waller's raid postscript: Postscript to Jan 13th: 1. Freddie Cockrell's wife went to the Marina. He heard there had been a terrible raid and went there, and found she was uninjured. Later he had a stroke and died last week. 2. Another of the Waller girls died from her injuries, and was buried last week. 3. Peggie Lamb was walking home. She wondered about having a cup of tea at Waller's but decided to go home. Outside the National Provincial bank she heard the plane. A man pushing a barrow called out '4 bombs falling'. Something seemed to strike her stomach and doubled her up. She eventually arrived home, sat on the bed and after some time was able gradually to straighten herself up. Shock.

Monday 02 February 1942

There are so many raids now that I find it difficult to sort out one from the other.

Speaking of newspapers the Telegraph on Monday said "One bomb dropped in Southwest (on Sunday) - no casualties or damage". Daily Mail reported that one and "also damage and woman and two children killed in Eastern England coastal town".

Alert about 12noon bombs in distance. I have already mentioned this I see. Later at 1.30pm there was gunfire close by. We got up from dinner but did not go to cellar. Possibly this is the one destroyed over sea.

Tuesday 03 February 1942

Referring to last Saturday night (31/1/42) we hear those bombs were dropped in the sea off here.

Rix was told by the sailors next door that the Sunday raider was hit by anti-aircraft fire, went out to sea and was finished off by two Spitfires.

Editor's note: Probably on a passing convoy. George Rix and wife Annie lived at 44 Windsor Road, next door was Mrs. Vroliks at 42.

Another was brought down off the coast yesterday (2/2/42) - Monday - and was possibly the one we heard dropping bombs - Rix says Yarmouth way - confirmed by wireless and papers as 'one of the latest Dornier bombers, 217'. One was shot down between here and Gorleston the week before last and two wheels and part of tail were washed up on our beach. The story of the wheels was told me by Adams and corroborated later by Mrs. P. from Eileen so probably true. The papers mentioned the destruction of the plane.

The Blitz: 6/KG40 Dornier Do 217E-2 (1101) shot down by Pilot Officer J. Henderson in a Spitfire of 19 Squadron. It crashed into the sea two miles north-east of the Happisburgh Lightship at 1.47pm. Oberfw. G. Borkowski baled out, was picked up alive but died later and is burrtied at North Coates. Oberlt. E. Eckett killed. Uffz. F. Geisler and Fw, E. Schutt both missing. Aircraft F8+GP lost. (The Blitz Then and Now, vol3, p97).

Another dropped bombs on the railway at Haddiscoe. One was a delayed action and trains were diverted for a time. The plane came down near Breydon - also Rix's news. So like that we accounted in the district for 3 last week. Rix's news may be correct as Miss Vroliks men are more or less permanently employed at the Nest.

Warnes the builder in yesterday afternoon told me he saw the plane come in that bombed Haddiscoe and that he (the pilot) had to lift to clear the houses and he (Warnes) could hit it with a snowball. There was no alert and he said the Town was very upset and workmen were striking on Thursday if the authorities refused to give Crash warning.

He was followed by the Rector who came in to know if we took the Daily Express as there was a long descriptive article in it describing Lowestoft as Hell Fire Corner instead of Dover which has held the name for several months.

He said also there was severe criticism going on about the lateness of the sirens, the absence of gun fire and fighters and that much talk of a general strike by workers if no Crash warning was to be given. That 'Authority' at Cambridge was not opposed to it but our Mayor thought it would make people jittery and he opposed it. That the Mayor was told to sack the 'Conchies' at the Town Hall and that his son was to resign from his Observer Post.

The poor woman and her children killed last Sunday was the wife of a worker on a shipyard and was always the first to take her children to a shelter when the alert went. There was no alert but a Crash on. The man took shelter and his family were killed. This was the base of all the trouble.

Eileen was in the car at North End and suddenly saw the Messerschmitts at tree top level overhead and could see plainly all markings. She was visiting a lady there who was feeding her children. The plane went over her garden and had to lift to clear some trees and this lady also was frightened. Plane too low for big guns to open and the smaller guns have to be under orders before firing. The officers were not about so they were silent and bombs dropped at Haddiscoe. I may have confused the time in a previous note but this is correct.

A rubber boat brought in last week with four Germans in, frozen to death.

Wednesday 04 February 1942

There is nothing much happened since Wednesday Feb. 4th. On that day we had four alerts, 9.00am, 1.00pm, 4.00pm and 6.10pm when a raider flew over here and dropped 4 bombs on the outer harbour, damaging one of the market piers I am told but no other damage and no-one hurt. Bombs seemed on the loud side. We cellared for 5 minutes only.

I hear semi-officially the shipwrights and also the railway men had two separate meetings about the siren situation, that the Mayor attended the Railwaymen's and on starting to address them was told they did not want to hear him, that they would do the talking. Subsequently the whole matter was taken to the Military and the 'Commandant' said 'This is a military town in a prescribed area. I am above the Mayor and all civilians. If there is any strike I shall not continue any efforts for the latter as I have been hitherto'. So that was that. There was no strike. But we are to have the 'Crash' warning and now each day at 9.00am the old Destructor Buzzer blows the 'All Clear' and we are told that as soon as possible it will sound "Cuckoo" for a Crash warning.

There were 19 people killed in Stanley Street raid. Some names in Obituary list in Journal.

We get alerts daily, sometimes 2 or 3.

The weather and the roads have been and are still terrible. Neither of us have been out for 3 weeks. Last week the Corporation had to employ men with pick-axes to deal with the ice in the main roads. No side roads have been touched. Walking is very bad and dangerous and we are advised to stay in. There was a slight thaw during this afternoon.

Waller's raid postscript: Jan 13th: Mrs Garrood went shopping in the afternoon to Tuttles and Bonsalls. There was a new girl in Tuttles who was very slow and took a long time getting change. The 'Alert' went, then the 'Crash' and she went to the Tuttles shelter for the first time. She was there when the bombs fell and afterwards she went straight home. Had the girl been quicker she would have been at Bonsall's with whom she was very friendly. She knew nothing of the extent of the damage until the next day and has not seen it yet. The above is her own account.

Thursday 12 February 1942

There is nothing much to report since 10th February, thank goodness. Last Thursday, 12th February - the day the Scharnhorst left Brest - there was much air activity during the day. At one o'clock there was heavy gunfire. I went to a Committee at 3.00pm and on arrival home - I was still in the street - there was more heavy gunfire and I saw recognition lights dropped. Half an hour later there was again very heavy gunfire so we cellared for a few minutes. I understand all of them were our own planes although a Jerry was thought to be about at one o'clock.

Tuesday 17 February 1942

Bombs at Benacre at midday on cross roads and on two farms and also in Park. No casualties, no damage except smashed windows.

Wednesday 18 February 1942

The Sirens and the Destructor Buzzer are on very frequently. There were 4 Crash warnings yesterday one while I was at Wallers. I asked the girl if she desired to go to the shelter and she did not but said I could go if I liked. I did not like. She had just locked the front door.

Editor's note: Waller's: presumably one of Waller's block of shops at Pier Terrace as Waller's north of the bridge had been bombed.

Thursday 19 February 1942

The raid mentioned in today's papers was on Yarmouth, 5 or 6 killed. The official figures as given by the papers for all January in British Isles as you probably saw are: 112 killed, 61 injured, very low indeed I thought.

Waller's raid postscript: In the London Road raid on Wallers etc. our Hospital was overfilled and they turned patients out to accommodate those injured in raid. In addition all ambulances were requisitioned to take injured to Newmarket and - I think - Diss. One of Waller's men was here yesterday who said 150 had been killed including, of course, the forces.

Wednesday 04 March 1942

Intense heavy gunfire three times between 1.30pm and 6.00pm with six planes over the area during that period. One dropped heavy bombs between the Pier and the Gasometer and was heavily engaged by our AA guns. The firing was said to be very good. The Commandant said that the plane was hit and part of it fell off into the sea. The Heinkel which fell into the sea off Mundesley is probably the same plane, there were no survivors.

The Blitz: Erpro/KG30 Junkers Ju 88A-4 (1384) was hit by anti-aircraft fire when near Great Yarmouth and crashed into the see off Mundesley. Uffz. W. Dick missing. Fw. O. Haug, Uffz. R. Prohaska and Fw. H. Trokes killed. Aircraft 4D+DA sank. (The Blitz Then and Now, vol3, p99).

A plane machine-gunned Yarmouth and another dropped bombs at Bradwell again. There was very considerable air activity over us the night Paris was bombed and we thought, perhaps rightly, that they were our own planes coming home.

Waller's raid postscript: Mrs. Garrood told us last Monday that two more bodies had been found on the roof of the Odeon once the covering of snow had melted. She knew no further particulars.

Editor's note: The next comment must be as a result of some public announcement about the Combined Operations raid on Bruneval.

The Pilot who led the raid on the radio-location plant in northern France and who was also the 'F for Freddie' in 'Target for Tonight' is an old Framlingham boy - Up School, well bowled!

Editor's note: Wing Commander Percy Pickard was the ex-Framlingham boy, in command of 51 Squadron, which a few days earlier, on 27th February 1942, dropped a company of the 2nd Parachute Bn at Bruneval to obtain information and parts from the Freya radar system. Pickard was later to lose his life in the raid on Amiens prison in 1944.

Thursday 05 March 1942

See Lowestoft Journal for some of the above. In today's Telegraph there is an account of one of our Aces who said he had a battle with a German who had consistently raided the East Coast. I do not know if the story concerns this fact but think it may have been last Thursday. The last they heard of him he phoned his base 'I have got him' but the poor boy did not return himself.

The Blitz: The above rather confused entry may refer to an event on 28th February when 8/KG2 lost one of their Dornier Do 217's on a minelaying operation on the North Sea. It is believed to have been shot down by a Beaufighter of 255 Squadron which was hit by return fire and also crashed into the sea, killing the pilot Sq. Ldr. F. P. J. McGevor and his observer, Sgt. Baker. (The Blitz Then and Now, vol3, p99).

Sunday 08 March 1942

 

Monday 09 March 1942

In the afternoon and evening there were severe explosions at sea and one very heavy one at midnight woke us all up - like five bombs going off simultaneously. We are still in the front line.

Saturday 14 March 1942

At 8.00pm we had the effects of continuous heavy explosions at sea, either bombs or heavy guns, for some minutes. There was practically no sound but great vibration of windows and doors. At 8.15pm the noises were more apparent and then a most terrific roaring blast, like a tremendous tornado coupled with very heavy explosions of what we took to be several bombs all exploding at once. The whole house shook and we proceeded to the cellar not knowing what was happening and if it was the prelude to invasion. There had previously been a 'Crash' on for only a few minutes, then the 'All clear', and no other warning. The gunfire continued. Annie Rix took her supper to the cellar unconsciously.

Ten minutes later we had a second dose even more severe. The whole of this part of town had all houses badly shaken, the Rectory, Pounders, Garroods and Breese that we know of. I thought two of our own munition ships in a convoy had been blown up. Rix thought it aeroplanes shot up in the air. Then there was a little more gunfire and all quiet and we resumed supper. We played cards and at 10.45 heavier gunfire resumed further away. By 11.15pm all was quiet and we went to bed, asleep by 11.20pm.

Sunday 15 March 1942

Some wounded and dead men have been landed here all day, I am told mostly German and all German., which I doubt.

Battle of the East Coast 1939-1945:  Coastal convoy FS 49 was attacked by E-boats on the night of 14/15th and one of the escorts, the Rosyth destoyer HMS Vortigen was torpedoed with heavy loss of life. The subsequent Board of Enquiry found that contrary to recommended practice in 'E-boat Alley' Vortigern's liferafts were lashed down and few of her crew were wearing life jackets.

Tuesday 17 March 1942

There is a sequel in Tuesday's paper which you will have read. There was also a brief note in Monday's Mail in which it said that a Polish ship protecting a convoy brought down two Ju88's, and giving her name.

Tuesday's version corroborates local gossip that two e-boats had been destroyed, one of which had been stripped of her guns and equipment, took her in tow and she sank. Apparently we want to see and examine one of these e-boats.

Unfortunately, as you already know, we lost an old destroyer, the Vortigern, in the action. The later gunfire at 11.00pm was probably another attack we made on some other e-boats farther away when one of our boats tackled three. Anyway we are not anxious to hear any more boats blown up.

Several people - Pounder, Spavin, etc. - went out to see what was happening and saw large gun flashes in the sky so not so very far away.

Mrs. Eade has just told me her next door neighbour has been employed in demolition work. He was digging in Laundry Lane or Essex Road last Tuesday when he dug up a live cat which had been under the debris for twelve days.

Wednesday 18 March 1942

We had a 'Crash' warning and a 'Siren' at 11.00am, the latter lasting until 12.30pm and another 'Crash' with gunfire at 8.30pm. At 9.00pm the 'Siren' went followed by the 'Crash'. A plane came over on the low side and there was quite heavy gunfire for a few minutes. We hear that the plane went Yarmouth way but have no further particulars at the moment.

Thursday 19 March 1942

Other than that I am pleased to say that there has been nothing very much in the way of aerial activity to report for several days but we have had many 'Alerts' and 'Crash' warnings. One of the latter was on this morning at 8.10am lasting only a few minutes, with no siren.

Friday 20 March 1942

Editor's note: According to the Mayor's report on 6th May 1945 the 'Cuckoo' warning of immediate danger to the public sounded today for the first time, at 9.37am.

Tuesday 24 March 1942

Further to my previous mention last week of naval activity off here, fourteen British bodies have been landed here and five unwounded enemy POW's, three of whom were German, very cock-a-hoop. One was Dutch and one was a Pole, all of whom came out of an e-boat. There were also some wounded British and German all smothered with oil and taken to hospital. The ambulance was soaked with oil and took very much cleaning, it was from Miss Breese's post.

Wednesday 25 March 1942

From about 9.00pm until 11.00pm there was very heavy gunfire and possibly bombs as sea and we believe another convoy was under attack but we have no particulars. We have had a few 'Alerts' and 'Crash' warnings, of course, but fortunately nothing on the town.

Friday 27 March 1942

Incidentally all our boats, motor launches and everything were turned out on the occasion of the scrap. One boy aboard one of them had never been to sea before and had only been here a fortnight. On being asked how he liked it he replied that he hoped it was not a regular weekly show.

Wednesday 01 April 1942

I am pleased to say there has been little to report in this last week. About 8.00pm on Wednesday two planes came over and were fired at and we are told that they were both ours. They dropped no lights until the guns went off and consequently asked for trouble, we had the 'Cuckoo' on too. There was a strong westerly gale at the time.

Thursday 02 April 1942

The wind and traffic noises that evening were terrible. The troops and sailors had been summoned from cinemas and everywhere and subsequently, about 10.00pm, all available were called out to man the cliffs and beaches. Lorries tore about, etc., etc., and the whole caboodle was kept going until 1.00am Thursday morning. Adams was called out for duty until midnight. No-one seems to know much about it but Pounder heard that there were 70 e-boats off the coast somewhere.

No confirmation of this yet but I was taking some ivy into the church on Thursday morning and a soldier asked me how he could get the key of the tower as the Military required to use it when necessary. He told me there had been considerable activity and excitement the night before.

Friday 03 April 1942

There is a whole crowd of Army lorries parked up in the area with heavy camouflage nets hanging on trees around them and there is a sentry outside Miss. Breese's. The lorries are still there today.

About the account you saw in the paper of one plane coming over and one bomb dropped at Walberswick, we heard both but did not know where.

Sunday 05 April 1942

The 'Cuckoo' went and the 'Alert' at 6.00pm. Mother and I had arranged to go to church as it was the first evensong for over six months. While waiting for a bus I heard what I thought was distant gunfire and next morning it was claimed that a hostile plane had been brought down over East Anglia.

The Blitz: There is incomplete information of several Luftwaffe losses in the North Sea over the period March 29 to April 5, including a Junkers Ju 88 of 1/Kustenfliegergruppe 106, another Junkers Ju 88 of 3/Kustenfliegergruppe 506, a Heinkel He 111 of 3/KG26 and another from Stab/KG26, a Dornier Do 217 of 111/KG2. (The Blitz Then and Now, vol3, p108).

There has been little more to add about the fuss I wrote about in the last week. The account of 70 e-boats off here has now been varied to 100 barges off Cromer which were surrounded by our boats and set fire to. Both these reports must be incorrect to say the least.

Another report says it was the escape of some Norwegian boats to British waters which caused of a large body of German e-boats and submarines to be waiting to intercept them in the North Sea and possibly we got to know about them. But, as has happened before, a very thick fog descended quite suddenly and some boats escaped and arrived in England.

I do not know how many but the word is that eleven tried to get away, some returned, others sunk and some who had prepared to surrender escaped under cover of fog. Anyway it is wuite rue that thousands of the Forces on this coast, soldiers and sailors, were called out, all guns manned and defensive measures taken for over 100 miles of coast. They 'stood to' from around 10.00pm until 1.30am. many had been summoned from cinemas by notice on the screen. Adams saw vivid flashes some way to the north of us.

Monday 06 April 1942

We have had the 'Siren' and 'Cuckoo' on and off all day. At 11.30pm both came on again. We were both in bed and heard no explosions but very heavy shaking of the windows and then what sounded like distant bombs in the sea. Miss Breese told us they were at Yarmouth. Also another plane was destroyed that night.

Wednesday 08 April 1942

There was an 'Alert' and the 'Cuckoo' in the morning.

Thursday 09 April 1942

'Cuckoo' but no alert at 8.30am, overcast and raining. I would go down the town but Mother suggests that I leave it for a while. Warnes was here last week and told Mother that in the Essex Road and Laundry Lane raid there were 18 houses demolished and 150 damaged and that one man was killed.

Sunday 12 April 1942

With the exception of a few 'Alerts' and 'Cuckoos' nothing to report until Sunday when at 10.50am we were waiting for a bus and the 'Alert' went again. We heard machine-gun fire to the west of us. There was a further 'Alert' in the evening and we heard later that a raider had been brought down 'over East Anglia'.

The Blitz: There is incomplete information of four Luftwaffe losses in the North Sea over the period April 6-11 which include two Dornier Do 217's of 4/KG40, one from 7/KG2 and another from Stab KG40 (with Hptmn. von Schlippenbach, Gruppenkommandear of KG40 aboard). (The Blitz Then and Now, vol3, p108).

Monday 13 April 1942

'Cuckoo' and 'Alert' on at 8.00am and another at 10.30pm. We heard bombs falling at midnight but did not get up. The 'All clear' went at 12.30am.

Tuesday 14 April 1942

Bombs had fallen close to Dell Road, one in the river and two north-west of Normanston Park in a ploughed field. There were two in the sea off the High Light and one - a DA - close to the Lord Nelson. No casualties or damage to speak of.

The family arrived by car. They say they had a splendid journey and all look splendid except Mary who has an ulcerated throat, but is now better.

Friday 24 April 1942

We had the pleasure of welcoming 'Shelley' and Keith came down at 5.00am the next day. We were a full and happy party and the whole family were present.

Monday 27 April 1942

Keith, Margaret and Michael went to Norwich. That night we had certain activity here with the 'Siren' at 11.20pm. The family came downstairs three times and cellared twice for heavy gunfire but the planes went to Norwich, which was badly bombed we hear and many fires started. Our engines and also Oulton Broad were summoned there.

Tuesday 28 April 1942

The Newbury contingent left by car at 11.30am. It was a fine day with a strong easterly wind. The 'Cuckoo' and also the 'Siren' went about midday and we hope they will not run into a raid. There were further warnings during the afternoon and evening but a quiet night.

The Blitz: A Junkers Ju 88 of 3(F)/122 is believed to have been brought down by a Spitfire off Lowestoft on April 27 and on April 28 a Heinkel He 111 from 10/KG4 and a Junkers Ju 88 of 3(F)123 failed to return from operations, the nature of which are unknown. (The Blitz Then and Now, vol3, p121).

Wednesday 29 April 1942

A quiet night for us as we slept through the warning at midnight, which lasted until 3.00am we are told. Adams did not hear it or the Rix's. Much wind and the sea noisy. Our corn merchant told us bombs were dropped on, or close to, the reservoir near St. Margaret's Church but practically no damage done.

Thursday 30 April 1942

The Monday night raid on Norwich was severe, much damage and many casualties we are told. Another bad raid on Norwich on Tuesday/Wednesday night. We hear that Buntings, Curls, Woolworths and Bonds shops all destroyed and Caley's burned down or severely damaged.

We heard heavy gunfire here at about midnight last night. A plane tried to come in several times but was driven off. Thursday morning a DA at the north end went off and a few minutes later a mine exploded on Pakefield Beach and we hear all the windows were blown out at Pakefield Camp.

Friday 01 May 1942

Thursday night was very rough. The 'Siren' went at 10.30pm and another at 11.30pm. We went to sleep but were awakened by bombs, then heavy gunfire which lasted a longish while. I could not keep awake in spite of it . Annie Rix was in the cellar and Mother went down for a few minutes but was too cold and came back to a warm bed. I was glad I was already there.

Bombs close to Kirkley Run, 1,2,3,4. We hear Gayes house and next door are damaged and two houses down in Kirkley Crescent, eight people made homeless. Mrs. Garrood had to find them homes today. 'All clear' at 12.50 and went to sleep quickly.

Another raid on Norwich in the early hours we are told. A man told me today that the excise people had classified 13,000 homes in Norwich as damaged in some way from slightly to severely damaged or completely demolished. Last Tuesday night Norwich called for Rescue help. We sent five engines and a crowd of helpers, rescue parties. I have just been talking to one who said they came from every town in the region, from Southend to Cambridge and not nearly so many required. See this week's Lowestoft Journal. You may like to save some of it.

Pounder said thirty planes went past here and turned in between Yarmouth and Cromer. Flares and fires could easily be seen from here and also the barrage. On Monday night they were short of guns. You went home just in time, fortunately. We have had a rough week.

Friday 15 May 1942

The Blitz: Dornier Do 217E-4 (1190) was shot down by Spitfire Mk Vb's of 610 Squadron and crashed into the sea off Happisburgh. The bodies of Oberfw. M. Kalisch and Obergfr. R. Stein were recovered from the sea. Obergfr. F. Wimmer and Obergfr. H-G. Westermann missing. Aircraft F8+LM sank. (The Blitz Then and Now, vol3, p130).

Saturday 16 May 1942

The Blitz: Two other losses were Dornier Do 217's of 3/KG2 which are believed to have fallen to the guns of Spitfires from 412 Squadron over a convoy off Great Yarmouth. (The Blitz Then and Now, vol3, p131).

Tuesday 26 May 1942

Yarmouth had a midnight raid with a small shelter on the front smashed and bombs on the Race Course.

Thursday 29 May 1942

Our planes we were having some manoeuvres when fifty Jerry planes came over. Six went to Yarmouth and our planes, all keyed up for the manoeuvres, went after them and shot down four, badly damaging the other two. Twenty-five were bound for the North-east but fled home.

Saturday 30 May 1942

The Blitz: Attacks off the East Coast on May 30 resulted in the loss of four Dornier Do 217's from KG2 and Junkers Ju 88's from 4/KG30 and 2/Kustenfliegergruppe 506. A total of six claims were submitted by night fighter pilots. (The Blitz Then and Now, vol3, p133).

Jewsons place at Yarmouth was damaged with two killed and four small houses are down. Our 'Siren' was on from 12.30am until 2.00am. We were up all the time and went to the cellar once on account of hearing the planes.

Sunday 31 May 1942

The night of Saturday/Sunday was awful. We went to bed at 11.00pm and twenty minutes later heard planes coming over in force, continuing until 1.30am. This was part of the lot going out to Cologne and it was impossible to try to sleep as it was one continuous roar. The 'Siren' went at 12.30am and was on until 2.00am. They started coming back soon after 3.00am but not nearly so many as went and presumably some took another route back.

Editor's note: On the night of Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st May 1942 the first 1,000 bomber raid by RAF Bomber Command took place against Cologne.

Tuesday 02 June 1942

Yesterday and today were quiet but we shall possibly hear them again tonight. I went out twice but not a soul was to be seen but all the town must have been awake, just indoors.

Friday 05 June 1942

We were fast asleep when we were wakened by bombs not very far away. The 'Siren' had not gone but went six or seven minutes later, at about 1.20am. We did not get up.

Bombs were dropped on Kimberley Road and Waveney Crescent again. A man and his wife, not in a shelter as the man was very ill with consumption and found the shelter too stuffy, were both killed. Their little girl of eleven was in a shelter and climbed out unhurt calling for Mummie and Daddie.

There are about six houses down I am told and more to be condemned and altogether about 100 houses damaged. I hear from three sources that one crater is the largest anywhere near here being 60 feet across and deep enough to put a house in, but damage from this bomb was slight compared to those that exploded nearer the surface where the blast was terrific. The dust was terrible and I am told that people in Windsor Road could not see a lamp-post opposite.

Another family of five who always go to their shelter had a direct hit on it but their house had not a window cracked.

Thursday 11 June 1942

We have had several unsettled nights lately with the 'Siren' going between midnight and 1.30am many times, with noises off.

Thursday 25 June 1942

The wonderful parish church at Yarmouth has been burned out. The walls are still standing and also the reredos with the figure of Christ in Blessing stands alone in all the rubble of the spire and roof. The Rector - or Vicar I believe - worked on the church although the vicarage was also on fire. Lacons maltings close by was totally destroyed.

Saturday 27 June 1942

On Friday Norwich also had it again and I hear that as well as the Hospital Thorpe Station got it badly and, of course, other parts of Norwich, Lakenham for instance.

Fairhead, one of our servers, is due to be married next Saturday. His sister lives in a flat in Norwich with a friend, as does his fiancee. He had arranged for all presents to be sent to his sister's flat as she and her friend are to be bridesmaids. When the raid started the two girls went into the shelter, for the first time I am told, and when they came out the house was flat. They had nothing left, only what they stood up in, the presents, bridesmaids dresses, etc. were all gone. The wedding cake had not arrived.

Mrs. Garrood could see the fire, or possibly the glow in the sky, from her house and also what looked like a silver canopy over it all. Everyone here was up half the night. The heavy guns were going continuously for two hours or more. Not very restful!

Norwich called for help later in the morning to clear up and Croft the builder had to send thirty-two of his men. They asked for more but he only had six left.

Sunday 28 June 1942

The 'Siren' went at 7.00am and the 'All clear' at 8.00am. We went to church and at the moment of consecration at about 11.40am a mine went off and made everyone jump, thinking it was a heavy bomb. No 'Alert' on fortunately.

Tuesday 30 June 1942

During last night our planes made a great noise going across at midnight. They kept us awake and at 1.00 we had the 'Siren' and 'Cuckoo'. The 'All clear' came at 2.00 and we went to sleep but they came on again at 3.00 and just after that we heard a dogfight overhead. At 7.00am we had another 'Siren' and 'Cuckoo' and then we had a heavy thunderstorm. At times we did not know whether it was bombs, guns or thunder as there were all three at once, the former in the distance. And so to breakfast.

We have had a rough week since June 23rd and have been up every night from midnight-2.00am for anything up to about two hours, with the exception of last Saturday/Sunday night which was quiet. There have been no bombs on the town but heard many in the distance with very heavy gunfire. The 'Sirens' and 'Cuckoos' have also being going in the daytime.

Sunday 05 July 1942

Editor's Note: The body of Oberfw. P. W. Krause was washed ashore at Pakefield after he had baled out of his Heinkel He 111 from Epr. Kdo. 17 off the East Coast after an explosion aboard the aircraft on June 24.

Friday 10 July 1942

'Siren' and 'Cuckoo' came on at 12.40am last for over an hour.

Sunday 12 July 1942

In the early hours of Sunday a plane came over, about 1.10am, and dropped four bombs on Hamilton Dock killing a rating and injuring six other people, one a woman, who was dug out of the rubble. The 'Cuckoo' went about two minutes after the bombs dropped followed by the 'Siren' three minutes later. There was some gunfire at the north end and we cellared for about fifteen minutes.

The plane went on to Yarmouth and destroyed the Eastern Counties Bus Garage and buildings near the refuse destructor killing one man, young Frawley's father-in-law.

Monday 13 July 1942

'Siren ' and 'Cuckoo' on at 1.20am for half an hour. We did not get up but Rix did.

Tuesday 14 July 2010

'Siren' on at 1.50am until 2.40am.

Wednesday 15 July 1942

Quiet

Thursday 16 July 1942

Our own planes going out over the sea at 1.00am and the 'Siren' came on lasting until 2.30am. I could not keep awake so neither of us heard the 'All clear' although Rix called us three times. Sundry 'Sirens' in the day time.

Friday 17 July 1942

We have had four 'Cuckoos' and 'Sirens' on today between 10.00am and 10.00pm.

Sunday 19 July 1942

Mrs. Garrood tells me a plane was shot down in the sea in full sight of the harbour just after the last 'Siren' sounded.

Thursday 23 July 1942

We have had rather a rough week. We had the 'Siren' on between midnight and 2.30am for the last three nights. No bombs here fortunately but much heavy gunfire.

Friday 24 July 1942

We hear they bombed Cromer on Wednesday night and again in daylight on Thursday. The Davis family were wiped out, see the Journal. They were very nice people and we served them with crab bait for years.

Saturday 25 July 1942

There were forty bombers over on Thursday that went to Southwold, Yarmouth, Peterborough, Cambridge and Kings Lynn. One of the swine kept circling us here but the AA fire drove him off. I hear that of seven that were brought down three were off here.

Some days ago a German airman was washed ashore here. He was 6 feet 2 inches, many ribbon decorations, a silver cross (like an iron one) and a gold chain at his neck with a mascot. He also wore a gold watch and it is believed he was an 'ace'. Last night was the first quiet night of the week.

Editor's Note: See the note for 5th July 1942

Further about Norwich: we hear that two hundred and eleven were killed in one raid and that over one million pounds worth of food sent to a contractor for distribution in Norfolk and Suffolk was totally destroyed but fifteen hundred tons of flour were saved. They say the commercial business there is ruined for the present and very many warehouses and factories are destroyed.

Sunday 26 July 1942

Two 'Alerts' and 'Sirens' but nothing more.

Monday 27 July 1942

At midnight the 'Alert' went on until 3.30am or a little later. At 1.20am Jerry came over in a hurry, roared from inland and came round the big tree and followed the line of Short Street to the sea with AA guns and machine guns following him all the way.

I went out and soon after another one did exactly the same thing. I came indoors when I heard him coming. I was in my dressing gown and had the front door open and thought he was coming in. He was heavily fired at and I believe he was brought down in the sea.

Wednesday 29 July 1942

On Monday and Tuesday we had 'Alerts' during the day from 6.30am until 3.30pm with gunfire at times. During Monday/Tuesday night the 'Alert' was on from 11.00pm until 11.30pm and from 11.35 until 3.00am. There was very heavy AA fire at times and we heard bombs but some way off with nothing on the town.

On Tuesday at 9.00am Yarmouth was bombed with two killed. We heard that Halesworth and South Cove also had it but without much damage at either place.

Last night there was an 'Alert' on from midnight and some very heavy gunfire indeed. We have some new guns on the golf course and they shook the picture of the old fisherman in our bedroom until I thought it was coming down.

Editor's note: The nearest anti-aircraft defence, a heavy battery, was sited on the old golf course behind Kirkley Recreation Ground at the bottom of Acton Road, as the crow flies only 2-300 yards away from Walmer House.

Thursday 30 July 1942

The 'Cuckoo' followed by the 'Alert' woke me up at 1.10am and very heavy AA gunfire at 1.15am. The 'Alert' lasted until 4.00am and we had a very rough time indeed. Me made repeated attempts to come in and each time was driven off by heavy canon fire but I went to sleep before it was all over.

The Blitz: On the night of 29/30 July a Dornier Do 217E-4 of 11/KG2 was shot down by fire from a night fighter and crashed into the sea off Lowestoft at 1.06am. Oberfw. A. Hartwig was killed. Oberfw. L. Petz missing. The body of Fw. F. Hotz was found at Great Yarmouth on July 30. The Body of Uffz. W. Elbers was found in the sea off Lowestoft on August 7. The aircraft U5+GV sank. (The Blitz Then and Now, vol3, p157).

Rix went out as far as the gate but it was all quiet then. Mother says that Annie was crying in the cellar. I am glad she wasn't in our room. If it is fate "then meet your God like a soldier", as 'Kip' says. Anyway it has been a very rough week and we are all fed up with it being kept awake and on our toes at least three hours each night, and on Wednesday and Thursday I could NOT keep awake. I heard the devils in my sleep and said to myself also asleep "Get back to hell out of it you swine of the earth".

Editor's note: A slight mis-quote from Rudyard Kipling's 'The Young British Soldier', the line should be "An' go to your Gawd like a soldier."

Let us exercise our pity on the poor misled German nation. WHAT. I know we expect it but did not start it. All quiet today since early morning. We have not cellared once.

Friday 31 July 1942

Several 'Alerts' and 'Cuckoos'. We took dinner to the Summer house but had to take it back to the Blue room, there was too much noise.

During last night and in the early morning some of our bombers went over and then there were five or six terrific explosions shaking the house. I am told they were depth charges at sea on a u-boat. Miss Breese was at Barnby Rectory that night and said the house even there was rocked by them. After this there was some very heavy gunfire and part of the ceiling in Acton Road was brought down by it. It was those new guns again, the noise is terrible at times and you cannot sleep through it.

Editor's note: 'Acton Road' probably refers 26 Acton Road, one of his tenanted houses.

The Blitz: A Dornier Do 217E-4 (5427) of 7/KG2 was shot down by a night fighter into the sea off Southwold. Lt. G. Dietrich, gefr. F. Szelinski and Uffz. K. Puhl are killed. Fw. H. Kleylein missing. The aircraft U5+IR sank. (The Blitz Then and Now, vol3, p157).

Saturday 01 August 1942

'Alert' during the early morning between midnight and 4.00am, heavy gunfire all round us.

Sunday 02 August 1942

There were 'Alerts' during the morning and again at teatime. The 'All clear' went at 5.45pm and we went to church at 6.00pm.

Monday 03 August 1942

A terrible day. Ten or twelve 'Alerts' and 'Cuckoos' from 7.30am until 8.00pm with very heavy gunfire some of the time. At 8.00pm we heard a bomb which we were told later was on Haddiscoe and more very heavy gunfire. Pouring with rain all the afternoon and low clouds all day. There was a fete on Everitt's Park.

Tuesday 04 August 1942

'Alerts' on more or less all morning after 7.30am. Machine gun firing over the town.

Wednesday 05 August 1942

Two 'Alerts' after midnight and before 8.00am.

Thursday 06 August 1942

'Alert' at 3.40am which lasted an hour. No guns or noise. We have had a succession of rough nights and the last two have been comparatively quiet.

Editor's note: There follows a gap in recording until late September, the reason probably being as stated in the first line of the next note. As the family from Newbury was staying with them there was no need for the weekly letter about local news as they would be experiencing it for themselves.

Saturday 26 September 1942

The family came down on 11th August and stayed until September 8th. There has been nothing exceptional to report since August 6th. 'Sirens' and 'Cuckoos' have been frequent. Five enemy planes have been shot down during this period between Yarmouth and Southwold. Two crews or parts of crews have been brought ashore here.

The Blitz: On August 13 Erpr. Kdo. 210 Messerschmitt Me 210A-1 (0184) was shot down by Fl. Lt. A. C. Johnson in a Typhoon of 266 Squadron and crashed in the sea off Great Yarmouth. Lt. H. menger was killed. Uffz. E. Rudolph took to a rubber dinghy where he spent six days wounded and without food or water until taken prisoner on 19th. The aircraft VN+AV sank (The Blitz Then and Now, vol3, p165)

The Blitz: On August 19 5/KG40 Dornier Do 217E-4 (5370) was shot down by Fl. Off. J. M. Bryan and Sergeant Roberts in Whirlwinds of 137 Squadron and crashed in the sea off the Happisburgh Light. Oberlt. A. Wolf baled out and was taken prisoner. St. Fw. E. Rossner, Uffz. W. Hamann and Fw. K. Glatzel were killed. The aircraft F8+BN sank in the sea.(The Blitz Then and Now, vol3, p165).

I forgot to say that during the above period three houses in Avondale Road have been bombed by incendiaries and burned.

Editor's note: This refers to a raid which took place on 28th August. Port War records two High Explosive bombs and 500 incendiaries dropped on Hill Road and Avondale Road.

These notes are discontinued from now unless anything of import occurs.

Editor's note: At this point AJT appears to have decided not to continue with his daily accounts but just to record highlights as they occur.

Sunday 18 October 1942

'Alerts' morning and evening but otherwise all quiet here.

Monday 19 October 1942

We had eighteen 'Alerts' and 'cuckoos' between 7.30am and 1.30pm and two more after dark. They bombed Kessingland very badly we hear, and Mutford, Beccles, Haddiscoe Marshes (probably for the bridge), Norwich, and Yarmouth. One plane was shot down over St. Margaret's Church. A mother and a girl were killed and there were four other casualties with about sixty houses destroyed or damaged.

The Blitz: The plane shot down was 4/KG6 Junkers Ju88A-4 (144319). There was poor visibility and low cloud over Lowestoft at about 8.30am but aero engines had been heard several times. The junkers appeared over the harbour flying north at about 500 feet and was engaged by anti-aircraft fire from ships in the harbour and local batteries. It crashed amongst anti-landing obstacles at College Farm off Oulton Road. The crew of three: Lt. Dr. W. Blackert, Fw. M. Smit, Uffz. H. Mollenhauer were all killed. The aircraft 3E+CM struck the ground and disintegrated and their was no hope of survival of the crew. The crash site was about one hundred yards from the Heavy AA gun site L2 and their CO, Major Frederick Cooper, of 478 (Mixed) Heavy AA battery, 161 HAA Regiment ran across and was slightly injured when one of the bombs exploded. There was little trace of the four airmen and their charred remains were interred in a single coffin at Lowestoft Cemetery. (The Blitz Then and Now, Vol3: p180 and 183).

One bomb fell in the school playground but the children had all gone to the shelters. They had just finished dinner at a canteen, we are told, and also that there were four hundred of them.

Poor old Perredes had all his windows blown out and the roof damaged again. I don't know what damage was done anywhere else as I have not been out.

Editor's note: Perredes: as well as his 129 London Road North premises being damaged on several occasions his shop in High Street Kessingland has now also been damaged.

Tuesday 20 October 1942

Tuesday was quiet here but at 3.30pm Rix heard machine gunning and saw a plane going down in flames near Somerleyton. There was no 'Alert' at the time.

Wednesday 21 October 1942

There were four 'Alerts', two early in the night.

Thursday 22 October 1942

Three 'Alerts' so far, up to 6.00pm, but no bombs.

Thursday 05 November 1942

Bombs were dropped again on the marshes and were loud to many people who thought they were in the town. We cellared for a short while then went on.

Friday 06 November 1942

At about 1.00pm, just as we were having dinner, both the 'Siren' and the 'Cuckoo' went off. We heard what we took to be heavy gun fire rather close and prepared to go to the cellar but as it quickly cleared up we continued our meal.

Bombs were dropped at Oulton Broad on the Maltings and Robinson's boat yard in Caldecott Road. The former are badly damaged I hear and there was a new Motor Launch lying on Robinson's slipway, ready to be launched, which was cut clean in half. The bombs fell about 1.15pm and the men there used to take their dinner aboard the new boat but that particular day they did not or they would all have been killed. As it was there was one man who lost a leg and four others slightly injured.

A pleasure wherry lying at her mooring had a bomb through her and sank forthwith. There was some damage to local bungalows, roofs, etc, but the Old Malthouse was not hit, very fortunately indeed. I was rather worried about 'Hiawatha' but Rix saw Mrs. Carver and she said that all the boats are all right.

Editor's note: Robinson's was one of smaller of several shipyards in the town building boats for the Royal Navy.Robinson's at Oulton Broad built 1 MTB (110 ft), 5 ML's (110ft) and 9 HDML's (72ft) during WW2, for their size some of the most heavily armed vessels of the war.

Fairmile 'D' MTB

Hiawatha refers to AJT's boat, a 2/4 berth sailing cruiser which in more normal times was usually at a mooring in Crisp's Creek but which had been slipped for the duration was in storage, lying under tarpaulins in a small yard near Leo Robinson's in Caldecott Road, Oulton Broad.

Great activity all evening with the 'Siren on at 6.30pm until late, 11.30pm or midnight. We heard fairly heavy explosions which shook the house a bit and heavy gunfire. We cellared at 10.00pm and Miss Breese sat on until 11.40pm waiting for the 'All clear' which did not go until later. We have heard no particulars since and concluded that it was all at sea.

Sunday 08 November 1942

Saturday and Sunday we had the 'Sirens' but otherwise it was quiet.

Monday 09 November 1942

The 'Siren' today from 8.30am for an hour. Since then we have had lunch and there have been three more 'Alerts' between 12.10pm and 2.30pm while I was writing. Another 'Siren' has gone and it is 3.40pm. We are getting busy today, I think.

Editor's note: The notes for 1942 finish on this day. This appears to coincide with a lull in the German campaign which lasts for several weeks. Port War does not record another raid on the town until 9th January, 1943.

 

 

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