WW2 Journal of Constance Turner

From Historical Hastings

[ 1 ]

Journal of Constance (Connie) Turner

covering July 26th 1940 - June 1941 - Hastings, East Sussex.

Hector who is referred to as either `Hec' or his full name was her husband. `Marg' or Margaret was one of her and Hector's children. They lived in Mount Road, Hastings, East Sussex before, during and post WW2, being evacuated during the period this journal covers. The original journal is in the possession of the transcriber's parents. Editorial note: when durations of sirens are given, this is the time between the `air raid warning' and the `all clear' being sounded. Sirens were not sounding continuously during these periods.

There are a number of characters referred to by name who are not yet identified, and some events are confusing with regards to date/time, although I have transcribed this as faithfully as possible. Images of pages are above the transcription. [ 2 ]July 26th 1940 Bombs dropped at 07:30, hit several houses and a school. Priory Road was damaged and some bombs on the recreation ground. One woman was killed, several hurt.

Sat 27th 1940 Hector registered between 5 & 6 oclock. One person died in hospital from the raid, I heard four whistling bombs.

Aug 2nd 1940 Two air raid warnings after ten o'clock. No bombs.

Aug 8th 1940 Air raid warning lasted nearly an hour.

Aug 9th Saw bombs from a long way off. No sirens.

Aug 12th Enemy planes over. Raid warning lasted 1 hour 12:30-1:30. Planes flew high and circled a while. Another warning @ 5:40 pm [ 3 ]August 10th 1940 Hector fetched a ton of coal from Mr Piddy's also food.

August 13th 1940 Warning at 7:00 am and again at tea-time in the afternoon.

August 14th 1940 Warning at 12:45 am to 01:30. Warning and bombs at 4:00pm. German plane very low circled on top of the roof and machine-gunned,then it went towards Ore and back again with 6 of our fighters in pursuit also very low 7:00 pm.

August 15th 1940 Warning @ 11:30 until 12:30. Warning & battle held at 3:15 to 5:35. We heard guns firing for ½ hour.

Warning @ 6:40pm to 7:40. I heard planes over in the night and one bomb dropped and guns, no siren. [ 4 ]Aug 16th 1940 Siren and planes overhead 12:30 to 1:50. We went over to the East Hill and the Nazi planes came right over us, the noise was dreadful it last about ¼ hour. There must have been hundreds going over in formation then we heard the sirens and we got into a hedge. We saw three of our planes return from fighting over the sea. We came home and just got in when the all clear was sounded.

[editorial note: Hector believed they would be safer out in the open rather than being trapped in a property]

Aug 18th 1940 Siren at 12:50 to 3:15pm. Planes flying very high leaving white lines we saw 29, like specks going towards the sea. Siren and Nazi planes @ 5:45pm. We are on the East Hill, can hear the bombs dropping. There seemed to be a good number of planes they left a white trail [contrail]. [ 5 ]Aug 20th 1940 Nazi planes overhead while I was hanging out my washing, then the sirens went. No bombs 3:15 to 4 o'clock.

Aug 21st 1940 Lone enemy plane we saw come out of a cloud and dropped two bombs, all three of us saw the bombs drop from our front window, then we heard the thuds and clouds of smoke rise, the raider went back into the clouds, no sirens 4:30pm.

Bombs @ Barley Lane

Aug 22nd 1940 Sirens at 3:40am to 4:45am Siren and planes @2:45 raiding a convoy. Siren @ 7 o'clock until past eight, saw plenty of planes, 2 bombs dropped.

Aug 23rd 1940 Sirens but no bombs

Aug 24th 1940 Siren @ 8:15am until 9:30am. Siren again 3:30pm. Siren @ 7:15pm until 8 o'clock, again at 12 o'clock midnight

Aug 25th 1940 Siren @ 6:45pm. [ 6 ]Nazi planes over at 9:30pm, crowds of searchlights, the Nazis dropped parachute flares between the hills.

Aug 26th Siren 12am until 10 minutes past 1 o'clock, again @3:45PM until 4:15 Siren at 9:15 until 4:30 am. Planes going in and out again all the time, searchlights out all the time.

Aug 27th 1940 Siren at 12 O'clock midnight until 2 o'clock. Planes sounded low we saw flashes and heard a lot of bangs.

Aug 28th 1940 Siren @ 9 O'clock am until five minutes to 10 O'clock. Sirens at 4:30pm until 5:45. Sirens at 7:20pm until five minutes past eight saw a dog fight. Sirens @ 12:30 O'clock until 1:45Pm.

Aug 29 Siren at 3:20pm until 5:10pm.Siren at 6:15. /cont [ 7 ]... a lot of dog-fights bullets fell in Mount Road.

Aug 30 1940 Siren at 11:15 until 12:40 about 200 planes terrible dog fights. I saw a parachute come down and two planes. Siren at 3 o'clock until 7 o'clock PM Siren @ 7:25pm saw incendiary bombs.

Aug 31st 1940 Siren & planes,guns @ 9 o'clock until 10am. 10 mins past one o'clock, guns and planes until 12 o'clock. Siren at 5:40 until 7:40 pm.

Sept 1st 1940 Siren & planes @ 11 o'clock until 12 o'clock pm. Siren & planes @ 2 o'cock until 3:15 pm. 3:15 until 4:30 planes and siren. 4:35pm siren and planes until 5:15pm 11 o'clock PM until 12 o'clock, German planes kept circling round.

Sept 2nd 1940 Siren at 8 o'clock until 9 o'clock. Siren @ 12:30 until 1-40pm Siren at 4:15 until 6:45 [ 8 ]Sept 3rd 1940 Siren at 11:30am until 12:45 Siren @ 2-30pm until 4-30

Sept 4th 1940 Siren at 9 o'clock until 10 o'clock. Siren at 5 mins to 10 o'clock until 1.25 pm. Siren at 9.10pm until 11 o'clock.

Sept 5th 1940 Siren at 10.45 AM until 12 o'clock. Siren at 3 o'clock until 4:45, German plane shot down in the sea by one of our Spitfires. We heard firing, our lifeboat rescued the German pilot.

Siren at 7 o'clock until 7-25PM

Sept 6th 1940 Siren and planes fighting at 8.45 until 10 o'clock. Siren at 12.50 until 2 o'clock. Siren at 10 mins past six until 7 o'clock. Siren at ½ to 10 o'clock until 1 o'clock am.

Sept 7th 1940 Siren at 11.30am until 12.15. Siren when Marg. [Margaret] and I was on the beach at 3.45 until 7 O'clock. Siren @ 8.15pm until 5 o'clock am. [ 9 ]Sept 8th 1940 Siren at 11.30 until 1-20pm. Siren at 8 o'clovk until 9-45. Siren at 2 o'clock AM until 5.30 AM.

Sept 9th Siren at 1.15 am until 1.30. Siren at 5 o'clock until 6.45 we saw about 100 German planes in formation with a big bomber in the centre. They came right over our house, lots of dog fights. Siren at 9 o'clock pm until 5.30am, we went to bed, then `all clear' woke us up.

Sept 10th Siren at 12.30am until 1.20pm. Siren @ 5.15 until 6.30, a number of bombs dropped. Land defence guns in action, we could hear them plainly. Siren at 8 o'clock until 4.30am.

Sept 11th 1940 Siren at 3.20pm until 10 minutes to 5 o'clock. Siren at 5 mins past 5 o'clock until 6.15. Siren at 8.30 [pm]until ¼ to six in the morning.

Sept 12th 1940 Went to go away about... [ 10 ]...10 o'clock still waiting here, time is now 3.40 pm. Lone raider dropped a load of bombs it shook the school windows where we are it made such a noise. Damage in Berlin Road, only 2 or three houses from our house. No sirens sounded.

[evacuation to Axbridge]

Sept 13th Axbridge Left Town Hall at 1.15pm chosen by Mr Lewis at once and went away at 2.30. We have been for a car ride, then Mr Lewis showed us around the farm. He has 70 acres, 19 milk cows, four calves.

Sept 14th 1940 Nazi planes over here all day. Sirens can be heard from Weston-Super-Mare, Bristol and other places. Barrage balloons are all around this farm. We are 9 miles from Weston.

Sept 18th Gran's Birthday. [ 11 ]Sept 19th June's Bithday. I went to the school master, he said if I run away the government will sue me, but will try and rebillet me.

Sept 24th Went to Clevedon by car, levely place.

Sept 25th Bridgewater Cattle Show & Fair we took our food for all day, lovely sunny day.

Sept 26th Sent Hector's letter. We left Churchill.

Sept 28th 1940 Hec come to see us on Oct 9th until Oct 13th going back by bicycle to Frome on Sunday morning, then by train to Paddington. Hec arrived at Hastings at 11:45pm. Mr Snook gave in his notice. [ 12 ]Oct 18th 1940 Mr Briggs see me this morning and he showed me the letter he had received from Mr Williams granting the transfer to Coleford. I wrote to Mr Williams las night about it, our letters crossed.

Oct 14th 1940 I bought shoes from the Coop 13/6 Knickers & two pairs of ¾ socks for Margaret on the 17th of Oct at 1/11 ¾ pair.

Oct 28th 1940 Trunk arrived paid carriage 4/4

Received billeting money 32/- for 4 weeks.

Nov 1 1940 Heated? [undecipherable] 3 times 2 pairs of shoes mended

Nov 1st gave mum chocolates 4/3

Nov 2nd Finished Phyllis' jumper, we went to Coop to change boots, then on to Mr Buttons got very wet. [ 13 ]Nov 6th Wednesday Hec came and saw us went back Nov 10th 1940.

Nov 10th 1940 I went and took ??? [Margarets?] glasses to be repaired at Radstock. I had to stay there for 4 hours. 4 sirens went and heard the guns I also saw the German planes very high leaving white trails. I bought a hat for myself, a doll for Margaret, some bananas, oranges and soap.

Dec 3rd 1940 Left Boleford at twenty minutes to nine in Mr Jack Cullens car, caught train in Frome at 10.30 late in 10.45. Reached Paddington at ten minutes past two, got the tube to Charing Cross, down the moving stairs, train stopped at Picadilly Circus because of raid. We all had to get out and wait until the all clear, then we got to Charing X station at 10 minutes to... [ 14 ]... three, my train left at 4.20. Another warning, plenty of police around with their helmets on. Charing Cross has only just reopened, still taking away debris and removing broken glass from the roof.

The compartments from Frome was full, ten of us all very friendly a scotchman in the Army asked me if he could come with me to Charing X. I said yes, he never knew the way but was very nice. When the warning was on he wanted to go up to the street and catch a bus. I said I'm not running into danger and told him to go but he stopped and our train came along.

I told him to get tea at the YMCA and I went to the buffet then I met him and shook hands he was going to Chatham to see his brother who is very ill in the hospital then he is coming back to London and catching... [ 15 ]... a train from ???? to Scotland

Jan 16th 1941 Left Highbury at 10-40 arrived at Bath 11-30. Had a pot of tea and caught bus to Corsham at 12:30. Police job no good. Met Hec on Corsham Station went to Bath by train with him then up to see Phyll[is] we caught 5-30 bus back to Frome and had to wait until 8-40 for bus to Coleford. Hec stayed the night.

I sent rates for Hec to see on Jun 8th 1941.

I sent ?Bentwoods? Letter on Jun 13th 1941.

Hec had leave came Friday June 20 until Tues morning 24th. We went to Hastings on Monday 23rd June.

Paid Spearman? £3 -/00 June 5th 1941.

[Journal ends here] [ 16 ] [Inside back pages and a fragment of a page.]