Grandad’s Diary. 3rd March 1945

Entry for 3rd March 1945

Went to dance but couldn’t join in with their jigging. Everyone must be jigged. Two Russians in village ex P.O.W. Mongolian type. People very religious. Services in every farmhouse. Crucifixes and holy pictures in every room in house and people cross themselves at mealtimes holy after every doodie has passed. Mary is so good generous to a degree and so helpful and unselfish.

German mistreatment of Russian POWs is well documented. It happened across the Western front. When I visited Jersey a few years ago, I learned about it happening there. I wonder if the Russians Grandad met had had similar experiences. It’s good to know that he met two who were free by this point and able to attend dances in the village if they wished.

I think I haven’t quite got all of the words corerct towards the end of this entry as the passage doesn’t make its normal sense. I wonder if by referring to Mary Grandad was thinking about the contrast between his Christian faith (Church of England) and the Christians he met in Belgium who would have been predominantly Catholic.

Grandad’s Diary. 26th February – 2nd March 1945

Entries for week beginning 25th March 1945

26th February. Bad stomach detached from flight to wing. Everybody looking out for Soir de Paris scent but all bought up.

27th February. Suppose next supplies will be dearer. Plenty of Doodies falling near. Awful suspense waiting to see where thing falls and waiting for it to cut out.

28th February. New falls affect nerves for short periods. One fell on sites killing 5 in farmhouse.

1st-2nd March. Fair bit of business this week. Tiger bargainers these people. Bought and bartered plenty of eggs. Peculiar how market has demand for certain items for so long, then changes to other items. People undercutting mob, themselves and others.

Grandad is increasingly merging entries acorss days in his diary, making it difficult to work out when he has written each entry, hence some of the above confusion. I’m just making my best guess.

Again in these posts we see the contrast during life at war. One one day, Grandad is trying to buy some of the famous ‘Soir de Paris’ (Evening in Paris) scent, invented by perfumer Ernest Beaux in 1928, discontinued in 1969 and then relaunched in 1992. On another day he learns of 5 deaths killed by a Doodlebug in a farmhouse at a site which is suppsoed to be protected by one of Grandad’s barrage balloons. It must have been very difficult to live in a time of such contrasts.

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