Diary Entries


These diary entries are arranged by month in the right navigation, though due to the order in which they were posted (originally they were published on the same day exactly sixty years later), the posts within each month are listed in reverse order (most recent first).

They start in 1938 here.

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April 27th 1946


A.and I have a drink with Jerry Philips in my favourite bar, the Mayfair, and then we have dinner with Bill and Daphne at Manetta’s, where I get a bit weary at 11.30 or so. We see Mary Churchill, who recognises A. with whom she was at school, and A. says “Yes, you are Mary – Mary?

Next day we say farewell in the entrance to Marylebone underground in a flood of tears, and A. makes straight for the up escalator.

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April 22nd 1946


We come up to town and stay at the Majestic Hotel in Cromwell Road. I go to the Great Central Hotel and meet Jerry Philips, 10 Baluchis, Donald Gorden, 7 Jajputs, and Macdowall, now a Lt Col working at the India Office. The outlook appears a bit depressing in India, and no word of when we sail. I report there at 10.30 and 5pm every day. Saturday we have a party at Quaglinos. Mike Jacobs and Freddie, Bill and Daphne Lyell-Grant, Bob his brother, and dame, and the Osbornes, which is not too bad and I get quite a lot of financial support – from A. too! Sunday we go down to Sutton to the Williams’ and then have dinner with Mrs Fraser. Bill has got himself engaged to Daphne and we are going to have a party tonight. I shall be glad to get away at last, but do not see what the future holds.

I landed on 25th two years ago. Little did I know!

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April 19th 1946


On 11th I get a wire postponing my report until 20th and I am annoyed. I go up to London the next day and find that I am on a draft leaving on “Britannic” ex Liverpool about 25th, so A. and I are going up to town tomorrow. We have arranged a small party tomorrow night. We walk and ride a bit here, and I knock off a couple more rabbits. My first English shooting since 1938 and very nice round here, as one can practically sunbathe. I get an urge for Scotland, and Tiree, but God only know when I shall get there.

A. thinks she is having a baby, which may well postpone her voyage to India – I hope not. I ger 2nd Lt Indian Army rates of pay, about £50, having sent a postcard to the India Office saying I am living on air and good literature – they pay me by return!

I get an urge to do some work again, as I have a lot to make up. At present I am wandering around with as many medals as a Lt Col at least! Follow the star…

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April 7th 1946


I go out shooting with A. and get a rabbit and a grey squirrel. We also have a sort of family ride and I go over three jumps. The second one I do badly and come off, the first time ever in my life. I hurt my shoulder and go in to Oxford for an x-ray – it is OK and recovers after a bit of massage.

Plenty of sun here and I try and learn up a little Urdu, not very successfully. I get orders to report to the London Assembly Centre, Great Central Hotel, on 12th April at 4pm, and go up to town to see about my baggage. I have just over the prescribed 4 cwt and I want to put it all in the luggage room, which is not alllowed, so will hope for the best. I insure it, and find that I shall be a bit short of money. Yesterday we go to the Old Berkeley Point to Point at Kemble, but I am unable to pick a winner. It’s about time I got on with some work again.

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March 31st 1946


We spend a couple of days in Brighton and then return home, and we ride a little and go out drinking here and there. I have a very good ride by myself along the Icknield Way, and see so many rabbits decide to unpack my .22.

We then go up to town for a few days and stay in the Dominions Hotel. We see aunts B. and V., Mama, and Bill Robinson, and go to the theatre and Ciro’s with the Broomes, who are local residents and rolling in the stuff. I go to the India Office and find that I shall only get four days notice to sail, and that A. will be unable to come until I can get her accommodation. I also see one Lt Col. Owens 1/8 G.R. in G1 Training, who advises me to write to the regimental centre and ask for a course when I get back, and set to work and start at the beginning again. We later return to Stokenchurch, plus rifle, and Tony and I beat around Beacon Hill yesterday. I miss one rabbit, but there are plenty there. I say farewell to Mama at Marylebone station. I have done no work for six months and it is time I did.

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March 18th 1946


We go down to Brighton and lunch at the Old Ship, dine at the Crown at Chiddingfold, and yesterday morning I dress up and we go and visit the R.M.C. (JDW: Sandhurst). It is much the same, with the same ‘bluebottles’, but damned cold. I teach A. cribbage and we walk around the surrounding country.

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March 12th 1946 – Wedding Day!


Angela and her father outside the church in Stokenchurch

Angela and her father outside the church in Stokenchurch

Bill Robinson and I are staying at Hambledon preparing for a wedding, my own, at which he is best man. We spend the morning polishing Sam Brownes and swords. Old Hume sends two table napkin rings. John and Betts (JDW: Angela’s elder brother and his wife) give a sort of party in our honour on Saturday with some very good rum punch, where I meet Mike Chates, O.H.

A. and I have a puncture on the way and I have to change the wheel. I cause a sensation by walking home from High Wycombe yesterday, and spend the afternoon writing letters. Last night Tony, John, Bill and I finish the last of the rum punch and some cocktail sitting in the dining room on hard chairs before an electric fire, and hold forth on life, and soldiering, in general.

From March 18th entry:

I get married by the ex-Bishop of Singapore, and everything goes O.K., except that I sit on my hat and try to put the ring on the wrong finger. Bill and I discover that we can’t raise the necessary, after the Verger has presented the bill, but fortunately J.J. is at hand and passes £10 over the pews.

At the reception I stand on my sword and shake a lot of hands and try and pop down a lot of drinks as well. One old buffer says “Nice to see an officer properly dressed again – with a sword.” I produce my speech, already prepared, which seems to go O.K., and we later depart in the Morris 8 for the Woolpack Inn, Elstead, Surrey.

At the wedding I remember Aunts Babs and Vivy, J.J., Peggy, Gigs, Wendy, Mike Jacobs and Freddie, Mike Lowry, “Stew” and Anderson from Roland Gardens, and Mrs Steele Smith. Mike presents me with a cheque for £15! (JDW: c. £450 in today’s money). Also Ronald Deakin and Cecil Williams, who carries out one of the bridesmaids, Mary Haines, the other being her sister Vera. I am reduced to tears in the Vestry, and forget to kiss A.

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March 9th 1946


I come up to town and find that I am out of the RAF on March 1st. A chap called Cam gives me 14 days leave at the India Office, but later increases it to 21 days, as the wedding is on 12th March and there is a draft sailing on the 15th. I sell my blue uniform to Moss Bros for £2 and my raincoat for 30/- and put on my old Sandhurst superfine barathea (JDW: a type of super soft material), enlarged somewhat, and not so well at the back, by “Flights”. I go out to christen it, and meet Ronald Deakin, a Major R.A., and we have quite a session at various bars, including the Brevet Club where he becomes a member. He later takes me home to his flat where I have a couple more scotches, and suddenly realise I have had it and go out and am sick, fortunately in the right spot. He then drives me home to Nuffield House.

Next day I come home straight to Stockenchurch, and Ma arrives a couple of days ago, and it’s damned cold and she is definitely off her best form. Yesterday I high-tail it to Moss Bros and hire a sword and meet Bernard Fergusson and Brigadier Sanders-Jacobs there. I appears that I have to make a speech, which will be difficult as I shall be overpowered by the other side – few DW supporters being present. It all doesn’t seem quite right, and yet it does!

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March 2nd 1946


I spend a couple of days in town with A. and then come down to St Ives. We go to Cinderella and see her friend Peggy Murdoch in her dressing rooms where the fairy godma displays a lot of brown powdered flesh. Next day we go down to Kew Gardens, where I have a sudden longing for the Wynnaard near the Nilgiris, and then have drinks with Cecil and Vera Williams and their Ma at the Normandie, and later dinner at the Bristol Grill, where I dance around with A. with a little more zest than the last time in the Tregenna. Perhaps it was the music.

St Ives: An O.H. (JDW: Old Harrovian) at the local box factory is going to fix up my trunks in crates, and then I have to pray that the weight is under 4 cwt or I shall have to reshuffle everything again. We meet Bunny Stone in the Sloop and are to go drinking with him tonight. Ma unpacks all sorts of silver and gives us a little! I get to thinking of India last night, and God knows what I shall do. Start off again as a Coy (company) officer knowing nothing?

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