We had a terrible Air Raid last night. The Air Raid siren is nearly next door to us where we live in Kathleen Road, and the Ack-Ack guns are at the bottom of the road. Mammy’s nerves are very bad and we must get away from here. [She is 3 months pregnant.]

  135 planes came over. They dropped 120 tons of High Explosive and 30,000 Incendiary bombs.


    The Germans bombed Coventry again last night.


The city centre destroyed

   We had another terrible night of bombing. Up town the Bull Ring was bombed and St. Martin’s Church was badly damaged, also the shops in New Street, the Midland Arcade, High Street and Dale End. In Broad Street a high-explosive bomb destroyed the Prince of Wales Theatre. Everywhere up town was on fire. The bombing was also very bad at Small Heath, Aston and Nechells.

  235 bombers of Luftflotte III dropped 280 tons of High Explosive and 40,000 Incendiary bombs.


Good Friday

   Today is Good Friday. We had another terrible night, the bombing is getting worse.

  245 aircraft from Luftflotten II and III dropped 245 tons of High Explosive and 43,000 Incendiary bombs on the city. Hall Green, Erdington and Olton suffered badly. About 350 people have been killed and hundreds injured.



   Today is Easter Sunday.


   Today is Easter Monday.


   I now go to school at Redhill Road.


   At school we all had our photographs taken.

Brian aged 6, at Redhill Road

FRIDAY 9th MAY 1941

   The German bombed Nottingham last night. This is where Daddy used to live.


    The Germans came over again last night and the bombing was very bad.

  More than 100 bombers from Luftflotten II and Luftflotten III dropped 150 tons of bombs on the city, including 27 parachute mines. They hit the ICI and Wolseley and other factories, also many houses and shops. 83 people were killed in Nuneaton.    German figures show that between 7 September 1940 and 16 May 1941 Birmingham has suffered 8 major attacks (i.e. at least 100 tons of bombs) with 1,852 tons of high explosives dropped on the city. Only London and (slightly) Liverpool suffered more.


SUNDAY 1st JUNE 1941

   We are leaving here tomorrow and going a long way away to escape the bombing.


A new home

   It is Whit Monday today. We have left 24 Kathleen Road, Hay Mills, and have come to live at 153 Circular Road, Acocks Green. It is very nice and there is an Air Raid shelter at the bottom of the garden. It is a council house.


The garden

   This is a very nice house with a nice lawn in the front garden, and flower beds and a privet hedge at the front and the sides. In the back garden there is a lawn with two flower beds down the middle, one in front of the other longwise, containing flowers and lettuces. There are also two other flower beds with rose trees on each side of the lawn, and a privet hedge on both sides separating us from next door. At the bottom of the garden is the Air Raid shelter which we get into from the right hand side of the garden. Beyond the shelter is a high fence with a row of poplar trees and the back gardens of the houses in Olton Boulevard East. This is the nicest place we have ever lived in.


All round the Circle

   Mammy took us for a walk. We can walk all round the circle and come back to where we started. The houses are all in blocks of four but the blocks are different. Looking at our house from the road we are the left hand house of the four. Then there is another block of four beginning to go round the corner into Wetherby Road. This is only a short road. At the bottom is a big traffic island. I think it must be the biggest in Birmingham. The roads leading off are Shirley Road leading to Acocks Green village one way and Shirley the other, and Olton Boulevard East where the 31A buses run. We can go up town on the 31A bus which stops just round the corner, or we can catch the 44 bus down the village.



   I played in the garden today. The rose trees are beautiful and all different colours. They have big thorns. There is a flower bed outside the back window, and a prickly bush [cotoneaster]. There is also a flower bed outside the kitchen window. Between them is a wide concrete step leading down to the lawn. Looking down the garden, the people living on the left hand side are Mr. and Mrs. Webb and their daughter Ivy. On the right hand side the people are Mr. and Mrs. Prentice and Ruth, Eileen and Janet. There is also Arthur Prentice but he is in the Navy. There is a tunnel running between their house and the next (like Granma and Grandad’s). Next door is Mrs. Jenkins, and next door to them at the end house live Mr. and Mrs. Gray and Jessica and Kenny.


Coalhouse in the kitchen

   This is a very nice house. It is the best we have ever lived in. The front door is set back from the step in a vestibule. The left hand wall is the wall of the pantry and the right hand wall is the wall of the front room. Opposite the pantry door are the stairs leading to the bathroom and three bedrooms. The smallest bedroom is over the vestibule. Downstairs there is the front room, the back room and the kitchen with a back door leading to the side of the house. Just inside the back door is the coal-house door where we keep the coal. Mammy thinks it is funny having the coal house in the kitchen. When we go for a walk we always go out of the back door and turn left to open the big gate and then we walk down the path to the little front gate which has a latch on it.


Acocks Green Village

   Today we went shopping down the village. There were lots of shops and it was full of people. There is a Woolworth’s and a British Restaurant, also the Public Library and the Post Office and many other shops. There is also another big island. At the bottom of Shirley Road is Warwick Road which goes to town one way and to Olton the other way. If we walk down Shirley Road on the left-hand side there is the Public Library, and round the corner is the New Inn, Westley Road and the Warwick Cinema. The Outer Circle No 11 bus comes down Westley Road, turns left into Warwick Road and then straight away into Dudley Park Road. I don’t know where it goes after that. Also in Warwick Road just past Dudley Park Road is St. Mary’s Church but it has been bombed and one side of the roof has got a cover over it. It is a very nice village.


Fox Hollies Park

   Mammy has taken us to a lovely park. It is not very far away. We turned left out of the gate and started walking round the circle. We crossed over Starcross Road and kept walking round the circle until the next road which is called Fanshawe Road. We walked down there, crossed over Dolphin Lane and then came to Pool Farm Road. Opposite us was the entrance to the park.

   It is a beautiful park and very big, sloping down to Gospel Lane. Just inside the park is a drinking fountain with not much water in it, and behind it a large pool with trees all round marked PRIVATE. We walked all through the park. A lot of children were playing on the chute and roundabouts. At the other end of the park is Shirley Road. There is a stream running all through the park, but the Shirley Road end is concreted and it was nearly dry.

MONDAY 7th JULY 1941

Hartfield Crescent

   I now go to School at Hartfield Crescent Infants School. I am in Mrs. Howe’s class [Dorothy Mary Howe]. I have not gone to school very much because of being bombed out and moving to different places.


   It is my birthday today. I am 6.


   It is Mammy’s birthday today. [She is 29.]



Another baby sister

   I went to school and told Mrs. Howe that I now have a baby sister. She has not got a name yet. I now have two sisters, so there are 5 of us.


Visit of Winston Churchill

   Mr. Churchill came today. He arrived at 2.30 p.m. and went to a factory where they make tanks. Then he went to the Spitfire works at Castle Bromwich and watched a display by a Spitfire and a Hurricane. Afterwards he drove to New Street station with thousands of people waving and cheering as he went by. Mr. Churchill went to Coventry this morning.


St. Mary’s Church

   We took my baby sister to St. Mary’s Church to be christened. The Church was very dark and gloomy because of the bombing [on 10 December 1940]. Granma and Grandad Williams were there, and Mr. & Mrs. Vizard [W.H. and Ada Vizard] from the Mission. We decided to call her Julia Annette Williams. I found the names in Daddy’s Daily Express Dictionary.

A card for Julia Annette’s christening

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webwork by Jim Nagel at Abbey Press, Glastonbury — this edition published 2007-06-30