|1 Jan 1940||The weather was already very cold and got much colder on 10 Jan. Creeks were frozen and there was heavy snow. It did not get warmer until 20 Feb.|
|8 January 1940
||Rationing commenced :- 12 ozs sugar, 4 ozs of butter, 4 oz bacon & ham per person per week [HR]|
|11 Jan 1940||Much air activity over whole East Coast. Balloon barrage for Reservoir. [HR]|
|13 Jan 1940||Barrage Balloon fixed down E. Mersea [HR]|
|1 Feb 1940||Milk price fixed at 6d per quart. Paper rationing[HR]|
|2 Feb 1940||Heavy explosion 11.30am 2 mines [HR]|
|1 Mar 1940||Nazi air attack on British East Coast watercraft. 30 footer COURAGE attacked - smallest yet [HR]|
|8 Mar 1940||'Fir Cottage' to be changed to D.T. (is this Daylight Time ?) [HR]|
|21 Mar 1940||ARP Exercise - fell flat [HR]|
|25 Mar 1940||Butter rashion doubled [HR]|
|30 Mar 1940||Red Cross Concert at Legion tonight [HR]|
|4 May 1940||Sugar rationing reduced from 12 ozs to 8ozs per head. [HR]|
|5 May 1940||20 - 36 years age to be called up [HR]|
|10 May 1940||
Fine - sunny - very warm.
What a day! Germans invaded Holland and Belgium - Chamberlain resigned, and Churchill became Prime Minister. Nobody could do any work at school - everyone thinks we may get air raids at any minute. They have dropped lots of troops by parachute, and they may do it over here. Already 70 German planes have been brought down in the fighting. [MF]
|11 May 1940||Counted 20 - 21 barrage balloons south of Bradwell on walk on beach in afernoon.[HR]|
|14 May 1940||Local Defence Volunteer (LDV) organisation set up. Volunteers wanted - 17 to 65. Churchill was not keen on the name and 23 July 1940 it was renamed Home Guard|
|18 May 1940||Evacuation of some of E. Coast tomorrow [HR]|
|21 May 1940||1st LDV patrols. Petrol up 1½d [HR]|
|26 May - |
4 Jun 1940
|Evacuation at Dunkirk. 338,000 allied soldiers evacuated by an armada of ships of all sizes.
From Mersea, local men including Jack Hoy were rescued, but others were captured and became Prisoners of War.
From Tollesbury, Major Gerald Tatchell from Lincolnshire Regiment and Chief Cook Frederick Frost on HMS GRIVE were both killed.
|27 May 1940||
We were stopped going over the Strood [to school] and made to show our identity cards. [MF]|
|28 May 1940||Fine - quite warm.
Gave my little talk on Shakespearean music, and got on quite nicely. We were stopped again by a soldier with a fixed bayonet. There is barbed wire ready to roll across the Strood, and they are digging up the pavement to lay explosives. The King of Belgium has given up the fight, but his government consider him a traitor, and intend to go on fighting. Things look very serious - there are rumours that the school will be evacuated.
|28 May 1940||The remaining evacuees on the Island told they should leave as it was safer further inland (but this was not enforced and some remained with their parents' permission)|
|1 Jun 1940||West Ham evacuees left Mersea for Cinderford in Gloucestershire. There were 117 children and 16 adults|
|1 Jun 1940||All holidays off for time being. British Expeditionary Forces continue to be evacuated. Serveral Mersea boys back. [HR]|
|2 June 1940||One bomb fell on the Golf Course and another on East Mersea beach.|
|2 June 1940||
Went to Chapel in morning. Sunday School seemed very empty, as all the evacuees have either gone home or been re-evacuated today - we lost 46 from our Sunday School alone. [MF]
|9 Jun 1940||Much troop activity on Island. About 1,000 here. [HR]|
|10 Jun 1940||Invasion considered imminent and Island occupied by troops from 7th Battalion, Kings
Own Scottish Borderers. They set demolition charges at the Strood.
(All this time, there were guards at the Strood checking every vehicle.)
|14 Jun 1940||Brightlingsea Beach Huts removal ordered by W.D. Mersea beach trenched [HR]
|18 Jun 1940||All Mersea huts to be removed by 12 midnight on Thursday 20th. [HR]
All the huts on the beach are being pulled down to make room for troops and fortifications. [MF]
|19 Jun 1940||Military authorities confirmed (secretly) that in the event of invasion, the Strood would be blown up and the inhabitants of Mersea Island would NOT be evacuated. [ RBN_WW2_050 ]|
|19 Jun 1940||Went for walk in evening - chaos & confusion & barbed wire all along beach. [HR]|
|20 Jun 1940||Went for walk - saw demolished or demolishing of beach huts
Air raid 0.59am till 3.52am [HR]
|21 Jun 1940||Four bombs dropped near the Strood causeway. [RB]|
|22 Jun 1940||Two bombs dropped on searchlight position at East Mersea. No damage but soldier
slightly injured. [RB]|
|22 Jun 1940||Bombs about 12.30am at Wigboro, East Mersea, Peldon. Bombs on Golf Course at E. Emersea & near Pill Box.
Killed 50 sheep at Wigborough (Calverleys). I Heard 'em! [HR]|
|24 Jun 1940||Bombs dropped at 23.47 - no further details.|
|July 1940||WMUDC suspended restrictions on their tenants - they could now keep poultry,
pigs and rabbits|
|July 1940||373 Coastal battery Royal Artillery came to West Mersea and 372 Coastal Battery to East Mersea |
|2 July 1940||Some LDV's training, others sandbagging near Fountain [HR]|
|3 Jul 1940||Several High explosive bombs dropped at 22.33 in vicinity of Prince Albert Road.
No casualties or damage. [RB]|
|3 Jul 1940||5 H.E. bombs dropped near top of Hillybrooms about 1030pm [HR]|
|July 1940||Pillboxes and coastal batteries constructed at West and East Mersea. Beach huts removed and beach mined |
|8 Jul 1940||Air Raid - 4 or 4 bombs dropped south of Mersea. Tea, margarine & cooking fats to be rationed [HR]|
|28 Jul 1940||Bombs dropped midnight at Rose, Peldon [HR]|
|29 Jul 1940||3.40pm mine explodes on beach killing 1 soldier. Air Raid 5.30 - 5.55pm [HR]|
|31 Jul 1940||Army want Haywards bungalow [HR]|
|10 Aug 1940||Mersea 4.7in guns in action 10am - noon [HR]|
|10 Aug 1940||Mersea has enjoyed wonderful days of sunshine over the holidays. Bus loads of visitors arrived, unaware that the beach was not available. [ DM1_AB3_008_002 ]|
|15 Aug 1940||Air Raid 3 -12. 4.7 heard. M/C gunning overhead & saw Jerries' Air Raid
9.40 - 2.10am lots of planes etc. Tremendous attacks on the country today.[HR]
|18 Aug 1940||Air Raid 5.30 - 6.35pm Saw 47 Nazi bombers all in formation and many fighters [HR]|
|19 Aug 1940||Air Raid 5.30 - 6.50pm. 10 bombs near and in Colchester in afternoon and evening [HR]|
|20 to 31 Aug 1940||School closed pending completion of the Air Raid Shelter (behind the Legion
|24 Aug 1940||Heinkel 111 shot down and crashed into Abberton Reservoir. The crew of 4 were all killed|
|30 Aug 1940||Incendiary and High Explosive bombs dropped at Waldegraves Farm at 01.10. No damage or casualties - small grass fire. Eight High Explosive bombs fell at 01.25.|
|2 to 5 Sep||School closed for window protection|
|6 Sep 1940||Serious threat of invasion. Home Guard brought to Action Stations, each equipped with 5 rounds of ammunition
Overhead, the Battle of Britain was taking place. By the end of the month, the threat of invasion had receded
and the Luftwaffe had transferred much of its attention to bombing London.
|8 Sep 1940||Air Raid. Slept downstairs. Largest Air Raid on London [HR]|
|9 Sep 1940||Air Raid 5.40 - 6.25 and 8.30 - 3am. London heavily bombed. 1 shot down near here [HR]|
|10 Sep 1940||Colchester County High School to close as Colchester is being evacuated to make room for troops. [A number of Mersea pupils went to the School] [MF]|
|17 Sep 1940||Electric light failed 4.55am. Lines fouled by Barrage Balloon. No supply all day or tonight.
Went and saw remains of balloon which had cut adrift and come down at Creek Hall. Air Raid 0.55 - 2.45am [HR]|
|18 Sep 1940||No electricity supply till 6.30pm Air Raid. Whistles and hand bells (no siren) 4.20 - 4.59pm [HR]|
|25 Sept 1940||Twenty incendiary bombs and nine High Explosive dropped on West Mersea at 13.35 -
no further details. [RB]|
|25 Sep 1940||9 H.E. bombs & many incendiary bombs dropped near C. White's Yard 13.35
by lone Nazi raider. Saw bomb holes in evening. Went on duty [ARP] 8.40 - 1am [HR]|
|26 Sep 1940||Air Raid 2.20 - 3.35am on duty. 9 incendiary, 2 H.E. bombs and 1 parachute mine dropped on island about 1.35am. [HR]|
|2 Oct 1940||Air Raid 3.15 - 4.15am. Bombs & M/C gunning in Colchester this morning. 4 casualties.
Bomber shot down by a 4f 3in pilot and one landed at Brightlingsea [HR, EW P28]|
|3 Oct 1940||Old Heath Laundry in Colchester bombed, killing 3 girls and a lady who were having
|5 Oct 1940||Rough night. Air Raid 2.45 - 3.15am. Soldiers (R.A.) beat Mersea Reserves 10-1 in afternoon.
Eric [French] came to say goodbye. Air Raid 9.10pm - 4.05am. [HR]|
|6 Oct 1940||High Explosive and oil bomb dropped at 01.23. Slight damage to bungalow and garage. [RB]|
|6 Oct 1940||Air Raid 3.15pm - 3.45pm. 1.30am 2 H.E. bombs & 2 oil bombs this AM near Seaview Aven. RAF have made about 780 mass raids on Germany since May 10th [HR]|
|12 Oct 1940||Went up Glebe after messing about with part of an incendiary bomb. Air Raid 6.55pm - 11.20pm. [HR]|
|15 Oct 1940||Bombs on E. Mersea & in River dinnertime & fighting in south in afternoon. Air Raid 11.10 - 11.25 and 7.03 - 10.40pm. [HR]|
|16 Oct 1940||On duty 7.10am - 1.15am. Air Raid 7.10pm - 1.55apm & 5.0pm - 5.40pm. Played game of chess won at it at HQ.
Had 35-45 min sleep on camp bed.
Heaviest raid ever on london last night. 4 bombers shot down by A.A. Guns [HR]
|17 Oct 1940||Opening week of Canteen cum Games Hall at our S.S. Room. Air Raid 3.45 - 4.10pm. [HR]|
|21 Oct 1940||British Hampden crashed at Friday Wood today [HR]|
|24 Oct 1940||Soldiers Evening at Sunday School. No siren tonight [HR]|
|29 Oct 1940||Ten High Explosive, incendiary and fifty anti-personnel bombs dropped on Square,
West Mersea. Damage and casualties. None fatal. [RB]|
|29 Oct 1940||Two German planes came in low over the saltings, one after the other. The sun had just set behind them. A moment later the village was rocked by the noise of the bombs and of the racing engines as the planes roared off eastward.
The bombs fell straight across one corner of the Island, along Coast Road and Victory Road and dropping in The Square. [EW]
|29 Oct 1940||
Saw dog-fight and one plane drop. After tea, series of heavy explosions sent us all under the table. Heard machine-gunning. Went out - everywhere smoky. Heard that bombs dropped in the Square - destroyed one house - two people dug out - taken to hospital. Water main burst. Dozens of windows broken - several in our road. Lots of excitement - narrow escape.
|29 Oct 1940||Air Raid 4.15-4.30 & 4.40 - 5.25pm & 6.33 - 10.50pm. 10 - 15 bombs dropped on Coast
by two raiders. 1 serious casualty. 5 families homeless [HR]|
|30 Oct 1940||Mr Skinner came to inspect damage etc. Air Raids 12.15 - 12.35pm, 4.35 - 5.10pm.
On duty 8pm. Air Raid 7.20p - 10.40pm. Dismissed 12.05am. [HR]|
|1 Nov 1940||
Went to [ARP] HQ at 8. Heard all the news about bombs - one 100lb only left to go off - behind the Waverly. Dismiss at 10:15 [MF]|
|3 Nov 1940||
Harold, Gordon and I walked down the coast in the pouring rain to see the damaged houses (last bomb has been removed). About four of five will never be lived in again - one is completely flattened. All along the road, broken windows. [MF]
|3 Nov 1940||One High Explosive fell at East Mersea in open field at 06.35.|
|4 Nov 1940||King George VI visited Tollesbury to inspect the guns protecting the River Blackwater|
|4 Nov 1940||One parachutist dropped from German plane seen falling over Mersea [HR]|
|7 Nov 1940||Troops Social 40 soldiers present. Many Yorks & Lancs. [HR]|
|11 Nov 1940||Six High Explosive bombs fell in open fields at East Mersea at 16.06.|
|20 Nov 1940||Parachute mine dropped on road between West and East Mersea at 03.35. Large crater in road. One slight casualty and two cottages damaged. Road impassable for four days.|
|21 Nov 1940||Nine High Explosive bombs dropped along Mersea Avenue and St Peters Road Two houses
demolished and others damaged. No casualties. [RB]|
|21 Nov 1940||Air Raid 12.45 - 8.20AM. Slept at HQ. 10am Dorner 17 dive bombs Mersea.
Ernie Woolf's & Percy Mussett's houses demolished almost. 10 H.E. bombs in all.
130 at Soldier's evening
Air Raid 11.0am - 11.20am. [ the time the Mersea Ave bombs were dropped ]. Land mine at East Mersea last night. Air Raid 7.40pm. [HR]
[The houses demolished - almost were 11 and 13 Mersea Avenue. They had the front sucked out leaving the rooms exposed to the street. A plaque on the houses says they were reconstructed in 1946.]
|21 Nov 1940||
When I came home from school, discovered that bombs were dropped here this morning - one in the road about 50 yards from our house. We had one broken window and a small hole in the roof - so did the Stones. Moles and Cooks had lots of broken windows. In Mersea Avenue, all the front of one house was destroyed.
|23 Nov 1940||
Harold called after dinner, and we biked to East Mersea to see crater caused by parachute mine. It was huge - 120 feet across and 45 feet deep. About 50 men all working to fill in hole, but it seems hopeless - great boulders of clay and heaps of sand strewn all round. Supposed to be biggest hole in Essex and second-biggest in England.
|23 Nov 1940||Six High Explosive and some incendiary bombs dropped on West Mersea at 23.50. No further details.|
|24 Nov 1940||Incendiary bombs dropped on West Mersea at 23.58. No damage reported.|
|9 Dec 1940||Air Raid 12.20am - 5.10am. A large number of H.E. bombs dropped around but not on the Island [HR]|
|16 Dec 1940||Bruce Wray blown up by mine on Sunday morning and is no longer.
Air Raid 8.10 - 8.35pm [HR]|
|19 Dec 1940||Went to soldiers evening. Jack returned to Barrackss by 1.30pm. Air Raid 7.15 - 7.55pm [HR]|
|20 Dec 1940||Went round to Grandad Rudlin's & we sang to them. Jack's last night with us at
Church Rd Billett. Air Raid 6.50 - 7.25pm [HR]|
|25 Dec 1940||Went over to Aunt Nan's & coalyard in morning. A. Nan & Co. to dinner. No one here
for tea. Went over to Laurel Villa (alone) in evening.
Heard King's Speech in afternoon. No air activity over Europe or by RAF today. [HR]
|26 Dec 1940||Decorated Schoolroom for Soldier's Xmas Party [HR]|
|27 Dec 1940||Curly to be called up 6-1-41 [HR]|