Grandad’s Diary. 23rd January 1945

And here they are… the first entries in my Grandad’s diary.

Left Wythal at last in wintry conditions early A.M. Treacherous roads several skids. Our wagon almost in small factory where cat’s eyes are made. Arrived at Halton.

23rd Janurary 1945

You can see the evidence of the thin pages. How the black ink bleeds through from the other side. And also where the ink has transferred onto the opposite page over the course of time. This book is over 75 years old.

Speaking of time, I wonder how long Grandad had been waiting at ‘Wythal’. He had last been overseas almost 4 months earlier on 29th September 1944. What had his Autum and Christmas been like? Had he seen his family? I wonder what his expectations of his next period of service were?

I love that image of the near-crash into a Catseyes Factory. I’m not sure how this could have been on the route from Wythall (in Warwickshire) to Halton (in Buckinghamshire) as the only Catseyes Factory I can find at the time was near Halifax in Yorkshire. That would have been a round about journey.

At the time there was an RAF Wythall which was the Headquarters of the Number 6 Balloon Barrage Centre. As Grandad as a Balloon Operator it makes sense for him to be based there. RAF Wythall was closed after the war in 1949 and its operations moved to Hereford. RAF Halton is still a big RAF base.

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