Grandad’s Diary. 24th February 1945

Entry for 24th Feb

Officers in black market racket. One for ever covering his haversack. On guard while fast asleep aroused by doodie ffalling on dyke. Not properly awaked but nerves affected for half an hour. probably reason why so many suffer from headaches, subconcious taking shocks.

There are a couple of words here I’m not sure of: ‘covering’ and ‘nerves’. They are the words that ‘fit’ best with the context, but I could be wrong.

There is more evidence here of the growing impact of the Doodlebugs – the constant threat of them taking its toll on the menatl health of the soldiers.

I’m not sure what he means by the officers – whether they were leading the black market racket, or whether their presence meant those involved had to be more careful that they weren’t caught.

Grandad’s Diary: 12 February 1945

Entry for 12 Feb

Smashing billet with homely people who do anything for us. Plenty of black market here earned or by a ring who control it. Sites widely scattered.

As a balloon operator, Grandad and his team would have had to attend various sites where the barrage balloons were deployed to deter enemy air attack (planes or V1 bombs). Obviously he had a lot of balloon sites to look after.

There is another insight into life in newly liberated Belgium – requiring a black market to operate. And also Grandad’s appreciation for kindness and home comforts comes out with his sentence about his billet.

Good times near the battlefront…