This year I have got a “Cromwell Series” Diary from Woolworth’s. It measures 4 1/8 x 2¾ ins, and has a blue cover with rounded corners. Inside the front cover there is a Map of Europe and inside the back a Map of The World, prepared for D. Harper & Co. Ltd., Copyright, George Philip & Son, Ltd.

   There are 17 pages of notes which include Calendars for 1946 and 1948 (Leap), sleeve markings of Officers of the Royal Navy, shoulder-strap markings of Officers of the Army, and rank badges of the R.A.F. There is then a page of First Aid Hints, then four (unnumbered) pale blue pages listing all the London theatres and a map of the Underground.

   Following this there are notes on what to do in the garden each month, and Hints for Health and Comfort, including a lump of loaf sugar which will instantly stop hiccoughs if I get them, and also how to blow my nose. I must also remember not to rub Potassium Chlorate tablets together or strike them as this will cause them to ignite or explode. They should not be carried by occupants of aircraft. [We do not seem to have any of these, as we only take Aspro or Yeast-Vite.] There are also hints on stopping flies and midges, and the destruction of Earwigs, Ants, Beetles, Cockroaches, Rats, Mice, Wasps etc.

   There are pages giving the Equivalents of Metric and Imperial Weights and Measures, the Morse Code [including V for Victory, which is dot dot dot dash] and a page of Mems. including my Ration Book Number, which is JE 150040, and weight, which was 5 stones 5 lbs. on 25 Nov.

   At the back of the Diary are 6 pages for Cash Account 1947 which I am using for my Camp Hill marks, and five pages for addresses. [During the year I am going to write in the addresses of Children’s Hour, Broadcasting House, London, W.1., of Mr. A. Handley, Colin Gilbraith and John Wilkins, and of “Midland Magazine”, B.B.C., Broad Street, Birmingham.

   It has been a lovely sunny day with a hard frost — very cold for the “squatters” who have camped at Church Road, Yardley, and Billesley Common. The Government has today taken over the Coal Mines so perhaps we shall soon have more coal.

   There is also a prisoner-of-war camp at Sutton Coldfield and two Germans have escaped!

   The King has today made Ralph Richardson a Knight. He is 44 and before becoming a film star he was an actor at the Repertory Theatre in Station Street.

From everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God. Psalm 90:2


   It is the first New Year without Granma Williams. She died 5½ weeks ago on Sunday November 24th and we all miss her very much. I have stuck at the top of the Memoranda page of my Diary the announcement of her death which I wrote for the Birmingham Mail:—

WILLIAMS. — Minnie Jane, aged 63 years,
beloved wife of Ernest, mother of Edna, Fred
and Clarence, passed peacefully away November
24, after long suffering. Interment, Friday,
11.20 a.m. Yardley Cemetery.

Underneath, I have stuck in the notice I wrote in the Personal Column of the Birmingham Mail the following week:—

wish to Thank all relatives, neighbours
and friends from the Fordrough Lane G.P.O.,
also Floodgate Street Fellowship, for floral
tributes in their sad bereavement.

   [Later, after Grandad has died and Fred too, I shall be given the photographs which hung in their back room at 23 Pretoria Road. I do not know when they were taken. Granma is wearing what appears to be an Edwardian dress. She was born in 1882, so would have been about 27 or 28 in 1910, and Grandad a year older.]

   The first of a new series of Much Binding in the Marsh with Kenneth Horne and Richard Murdoch was broadcast live tonight but without the Quiz. Kenneth Horne is the sales director of a company at Kings Norton!

Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:3


   Today Mam took us up town and we all went to the News Theatre to see The Disney Show.


   Birmingham City lost 1–nil away to Burnley. [The photo shows the team which won the League South championship in 1945–46. Back row, left to right: Don Dearson, Harold Bodle, Fred Harris, Gil Merrick, Frank Mitchell, Syd Owen, Ted Duckhouse. Front row: Neil Dougall, Ambrose Mulraney, George Edwards, Arthur Turner (captain), Wilson Jones, Dennis Jennings.]

   There is talk about a cut in the sugar ration, but the Mail says it seems unlikely.

   There is a “motto” at the bottom of every page of this Diary and I see that this one says:— “A little ‘ginger’ is good for all of us”. [Later this year we are going to be given a pet greyhound called Ginger.]


   We went to the Mission as usual. We always call it “going to Church”.

God giveth strength and power unto His people. Blessed be God. Psalm 68:35


   This morning we had the first snowfall this year. It was very thick and has blanketed the country. The buses could not get up Hill Street and had to be diverted. Two buses collided at Handsworth. It is freezing hard.

   Granma would have been 64 today. It is 6 weeks ago yesterday since she died, of emphysema. She and Grandad had been married 41 years. [They were married at St. Ann’s Church, Nottingham, on Sunday 7th May 1905 when they were both 22. Ernest Alfred Williams was living at 5 Franchise Terrace, off Westminster Street, Nottingham, at the time and Minnie Jane Bower was lodging at 2 Simon’s Terrace, nearby. They subsequently moved to 1 Franchise Terrace, where Clarence Williams, their second child, was born on Wednesday 27th February 1907.

   Minnie Jane Bower was born at Little Hallam, Ilkeston, on Saturday 6th January 1883 and seems to have been the 10th of about 23 children born to William Bower (1838–1910) and Ann Bircumshaw (1844–1894), also of Ilkeston.

   D.H. Lawrence, the novelist and poet, was born 3 miles away at Eastwood on Friday 11th September 1885 when Minnie Jane was 2. He knew the Bowers and the Bircumshaws and used their names in his novels and short stories. Mrs. Bower appears in Sons and Lovers, and Mr. & Mrs. Bower represent his parents in The Miner at Home, Jack Bower being Bert Lawrence himself. Another of his stories is Delilah and Mr. Bircumshaw.]


   More snow fell today. It is the last day of the Christmas holidays. I have been getting ready to go back to school tomorrow.

   As there is a meat shortage we may be getting whale-meat instead, and in tonight’s Mail there is a funny cartoon by Lewis Williams about whale-meat going on sale in restaurants in a day or two. We have a British Restaurant down the village.


   The Spring Term began this morning. We had to be at King Edward’s Grammar School, Camp Hill, for 10.0am. A thaw has set in so the roads were very slushy. Our 1B form room is upstairs overlooking Stratford Road, in the protruding part of the building. The School is very old as it was built in 1883 in the days of Queen Victoria.

   When I took the Entrance Examination last year it was from one of the other rooms where I sat by the window and, if I stood up, I could see the L.M.S. goods trains going by. I always hope to see a passenger train but they don’t use this line. All we ever seem to see is 0–6–0 locos.

   Mr. Rogers the Head Master takes Assembly every morning; he has been here since 1931. Assembly is in the Gymnasium where we have P.T.

   Some of the boys in my form are:

Clasper, R.
Gilbraith, C.
Huber, R.A.
Martin, C.H.
Maund, J.K.
Morris, D.
Price ?
Robinson, T.L.
Wilkins, J.L.
Williams, B.D.
Woodley, L.

John Maund and Christopher Martin (who is nicknamed Kipper) are my special friends. John lives at 92 Shirley Road, and Kipper lives at 8 Oxford Road. John has a young brother Richard (Dick), and Kipper has an older brother, Philip, who is 14 and goes to the High School.


   Today’s periods were: Mathematics, History (Mr. Bates), French and English (both with Mr. Howe); and after dinner, Geography (Mr. Mole), English (Mr. Howe) and Science (Mr. Espley).

   The situation in the country is very serious. Now football specials are being cancelled so that coal can be moved.

   Field-Marshal Montgomery is in Moscow as the guest of Marshal Stalin. He has been to the Ballet Russe and there was a cartoon of him in last night’s Mail, showing him on stage ballet-dancing in his uniform! It is very funny.

Unto Thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in Thee. Psalm 25:1–2


   Today we had Maths, Geography, English, Music (with Mr. Howe), French, then Games this afternoon at Springfield Road, Sparkbrook. We have to make our own way there. Except the 44 (which turns up Warwick Road at the Mermaid) all the Stratford Road buses — the 31A, 32, 37 — stop at College Road, and the 29 and 29A at Showell Green Lane.

   Aston Villa have signed Trevor Ford from Swansea Town for £10,000. I remember when the record transfer fee was £3,500 for Bryn Jones (Arsenal).

Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in Thy word. Psalm 119:148


   This afternoon Birmingham City beat Fulham at Craven Cottage in the F.A. Cup 3rd Round by 2–1. Wilson Jones and Dorman scored. It was Dorman’s first goal.

   Birmingham City:— Merrick; Trigg, Jennings; Harris, Turner, Dearson; Mulraney, Dorman, Duckhouse, Jones, Edwards.

   Fulham:— Radcliffe; Freeman, Lewin; Wallbanks, Watson, Taylor; Buchanan, McCormack, Nelson, Beasley, Shepherd.

   I got the (pink) Sports Argus as usual tonight. There is always a queue for it outside Dorlings. The (blue) Sports Mail arrives first, and the Argus a few minutes later. There are never enough copies to go round so I try to be there in plenty of time. Some people like the blue Mail best, but Dad and I prefer the Argus.


   We went to the Mission after dinner.

And when they saw Him, they worshipped Him. Matthew 28:17


   Dull and wet today, not too cold though.

   Today’s subjects were Handicraft (with Mr. Smith) first two periods; after the Milk Break, French and History. Since I started in 1B last September we have been doing Ancient History, which is new to me. We have been learning about Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Egypt, and I now know the names of Cambyses, Xerxes and Artaxerxes, Cyrus, Darius, Alexander the Great, Ptolemy, and of places like Nineveh and Thebes. Mr. Bates (“Polly”) told us that many of these are in the Bible! [This will becomes a life-long interest, and I shall publish Notes on Bible Chronology in 2001.]

   After dinner we had English, Geography and Maths.

For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them. 1 Thessalonians 5:3


   Today we had double Science, Scripture (with Mr. Titt) and French; then after dinner, Maths, P.T (Mr. Titt) and English.

   The dockers are going on strike.

Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him. Psalm 103:13


   Today we had French (with our form master Mr. Howe) and History (Mr. Bates), and after the Milk Break, double Art (with Mr. Warne); after dinner, English (with Mr. Howe again), Mathematics (Mr. Espley) and P.T. (Mr. Titt, who also takes us for Scripture).

   It has been announced that parking is now only going to be allowed on one side of New Street, Corporation Street and Colmore Row etc. as the traffic in town is getting so congested. Among the buses are four built in 1941 for South Africa but kept for service here. They are 8 ft. wide and were painted grey for the War. [The four are Gardners, with Metro-Cammell bodies and Daimler chassis, Nos. 1320–23. The photo shows No. 1322.]

   More dockers have gone on strike today.

He maketh sore, and bindeth up: He woundeth, and His hands make whole. Job 5:18


   Reggie, my cousin, who has been suffering from TB, is still convalescing in Switzerland, where I have been writing to him. His address is:— R. Ricketts, c/o F. Christen-Bishton, Schoren Longenthal, Switzerland. I wrote to him last month telling him about Granma and he wrote back. I stuck the stamps in my stamp album.


   In last night’s Mail there was an article about Professor Oliphant, the Atom scientist, who says that no nation can withstand an atomic attack.

   The dock strike is continuing. It is all very disturbing

The name of Jesus. Philippians 2:10


   This afternoon I went to St. Andrews to see Blues play Barnsley, but they lost 2–1.

   Birmingham City:— Merrick, Trigg, Jennings; Harris, Turner, Dearson; Mulraney, Dorman, Duckhouse, Dougall, Edwards. Ted Duckhouse scored for Blues and Bennett for Barnsley, and Cyril Trigg put through his own goal. [Although I did not know it I was seeing Don Dearson for the last time as he is going to be transferred to Coventry City. He has been a Birmingham City player since 1934 and is very versatile. This season he has played right- and left-back and right- and left-half. Last season he played centre-forward against Aston Villa and inside right against Charlton Athletic.]


   This afternoon we went to the Mission.

Thy name is as ointment poured forth. Song of Solomon 1:3



   At school Mr. Espley heard us talking about Dick Barton and seemed surprised that we listen to it. I listen to it every night. There is now an omnibus edition on Saturday mornings at 11am.

What hath God wrought! Numbers 23:23


The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped: ... with my song will I praise Him. Psalm 28:7


   This afternoon Mr. Maund gave me the photographs which he took at John’s Christmas party. Mr. Maund does photography and took one of John, Kipper and me together pretending to play dominos, then one of me by myself. I liked them very much, so Mr. Maund has given me one of each. They are mounted and I am going to put the one of me in a frame [see frontispiece and opposite].



   At school Mr. Howe has started a Music Club. It was the first meeting today, with Dr. C.M. Edmunds, Principal of the Midland Institute School of Music, giving a talk on “Listening to Modern Music”. Dr. Edmunds used to teach here at Camp Hill.


   This afternoon Dad and I went to see Blues play Portsmouth in the 4th Round of the F.A. Cup. We had 3/- tickets for the stand. 50,000 tickets were sold altogether. Blues played in red, Pompey in white.

   The teams were:— Birmingham City: Merrick; Duckhouse, Jennings; Harris, Turner, Dearson; Mulraney, Dougall, Trigg, Bodle, Edwards. Portsmouth: Butler; Rookes, Ferrier; Scoular, Flewin, Dickenson; Froggatt, Reid, Evans, Barlow, Parker.

   Blues won 1–nil, Harris lobbing the ball into the net in the first half. Later Portsmouth were awarded a penalty but Merrick made a magnificent save at the foot of the post from Reid.


   I have been collecting B.C.T. bus numbers and the latest I have seen are:—

No.Regn No.MakeEngineBuilt
  881BOP 881Daimler (COG5)Gardner 5LW1936
1151FOF 151Daimler (COG5)Gardner 5LW1938–39
1161FOF 161Daimler (COG5)Gardner 5LW1938–39
1245FOF 245Daimler (COG5)Gardner 5LW1938–39
1444FOP 444Guy Arab (FD)Gardner 5LW1944
1171FOF 171Daimler (COG5)Gardner 5LW1938–39
1208FOF 208Daimler (COG5)Gardner 5LW1938–39
1202FOF 202Daimler (COG5)Gardner 5LW1938–39
 153EOG 153Daimler (COG5)Gardner 5LW1937
1396FOP 396Guy Arab (FD)Gardner 5LW1944
1165FOF 165Daimler (COG5)Gardner 5LW1938–39
1178FOF 178Daimler (COG5)Gardner 5LW1938–39
1447FOP 447Guy Arab (FD)Gardner 5LW1944
1450FOP 450Guy Arab (FD)Gardner 5LW1944
 161EOG 161Daimler (COG5)Gardner 5LW1937
1178FOF 178Daimler (COG5)Gardner 5LW1938–39
1246FOF 246Daimler (COG5)Gardner 5LW1938–39

   All the buses are pre-war, except the “Utility” Guy Arabs, and there have been no new ones, as far as I know. All seat 54 passengers; the Guy Arabs have wooden slatted seats. [The illustrations are of No.290, built by Leyland with Metro-Cammell body, introduced in 1939, and of No.1356, one of 18 Guy Arabs with Gardner 5LW engine and Weymann wartime body put into service 1943–44.]


   Prince Gustav of Sweden was killed yesterday in a plane crash (Dakota). In the Birmingham City Official Handbook 1946–47 there is a photo of Arthur Turner leading Blues onto the field, between a “bevy of beauties”, during the visit to Sweden last year. Prince Gustav attended the match at Stockholm when Blues won 2–1.



   I listened to Dick Barton — Special Agent at 6.45pm as usual, then there was the News at 7.0pm followed by Wilfred Pickles in Have A Go at 7.15pm.





   Today I went to St. Andrews to see Birmingham City’s match v Southampton. Blues won 3–1. Birmingham City:— Merrick; Duckhouse, Jennings; Harris, Turner, Mitchell; Mulraney, McIntosh, Trigg, Bodle, Edwards.

   The pitch was covered by three inches of snow, which was left on to prevent the ground freezing over. It was, however, a very good match. Trigg got a couple of goals, the other goal coming from Mulraney. McIntosh, playing his first game [after being transferred from Wolverhampton Wanderers] was unlucky not to score.

   Bradley, Saints’ inside-left, scored Southampton’s goal in the second half. [Alf Ramsey was right back. He is going to be Manager of England when they win the World Cup in 1966, and — as Sir Alf Ramsey — will be Blues’ Manager from September 1977 until March 1978.] There were about 35,000 at the match.



   During the first two periods today Mr. Smith gave us our Handicraft exam.


   In fourth period this morning (French) I was elected as form monitor for February. I have to fill the ink wells, clean the blackboard, etc.


   Today we had both our Art and Dictation examinations.


   In English this morning we had a Reading exam. The book we have been reading since I started at Camp Hill is Bran the Bronze-Smith. It is a tale of the Bronze Age in the British Isles, written and illustrated by Joyce Reason, and very exciting.



   [I wrote to Mr. D.M. Sinclair, the General Manager of the Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus company at Smethwick, and] this morning I received a Fleet List of vehicles from the “Midland Red”. [The photograph shows Midland Red bus No.2345.]

   This afternoon Dad and I went to St. Andrews for the F.A. Cup 5th round match between Birmingham City & Manchester City. Blues won 5–nil. Trigg scored two of the goals, Bodle, Mitchell (penalty) and Mulraney the others.

   Birmingham City:— Merrick; Duckhouse, Jennings; Harris, Turner, Mitchell; Mulraney, Dougall, Trigg, Bodle, Edwards.

   Manchester City: — Swift; Sproston, Barkas; Fagan, McDonnell, Emptage; Dunkley, Smith, Black, Capel, Westwood.

   It was an all-ticket match. 50,000 were there.



   We had our History exam in 5th period this morning, and English, Algebra and Geometry exams in the afternoon.


   We had Geography, Arithmetic and French exams today.


   Mr. Howe gave us a Comprehension and English Essay exam this afternoon, and we also had the Science exam.




   This afternoon I went to St. Andrews to see Birmingham City v Coventry City. They won 2–nil. I wanted to get a programme but there were not any, due to the paper shortage. However, the teams were given out over the loud speaker, and I recognise all the Blues’ players in any case.

   Birmingham City:— Merrick; Duckhouse, Jennings; Harris, Turner, Mitchell; Mulraney, Dougall, Trigg, Bodle, Edwards. Cyril Trigg scored both goals. The attendance was 30,000.

   When I got home I went to Kipper [Christopher Martin]’s New Year Party at 8 Oxford Road. First we had a very nice tea and then we played games until about 9.30.this evening.



   Today was our half-term holiday. I wrote a letter to Reggie in Schoren Langenthal, Switzerland.


   Today was the second day of our half-term holiday today and I went to St Andrews to get some autographs and spent the morning there.


   We went back to school this morning. I changed my dinner arrangements — for the rest of the term I am having school dinners again. I bought three dinner tickets for this week, making a note of the numbers in case they get lost:— 24294, 24295, 24296.




   This afternoon I went to St. Andrews to see Birmingham City play Chesterfield. The result was a goalless draw. There were no Blues News programmes again due to the paper shortage, but I recognize all the Blues’ players as they come out:— Merrick; Duckhouse, Jennings; Harris, Turner, Mitchell; Goodwin, Dougall, Trigg, Bodle, Edwards.


   In the morning I read the papers. We went to the Mission as usual after dinner.


   I bought dinner tickets again today, and am writing the numbers in my Diary for each day this week. They are 24492–6.

   After school I walked down Stratford Road as usual, under the railway bridge, then crossed over Kyotts Lake Road (where the tram depot is) and went to the Stamp Shop. They had got the stamps of the Royal Family’s visit to South Africa so I bought the set for Bechuanaland Protectorate. They are the 1d red which shows the King in Naval uniform, the 2d green with the King and Queen, and the 3d blue with Princess Margaret Rose on the left and Princess Elizabeth on the right. The stamps of the Royal Family are very attractive. They have the words “Royal Visit 1947” and are the same for all the countries they are visiting in the Union of South Africa, e.g. Orange Free State.

   When I got home I stuck them in The Wanderer Stamp Album which Dad gave me and which already had a lot of stamps in. There are 128 pages and many of them are already full of stamps, but fortunately it is a “loose-leaf” album, and I can get extra identical sheets but blank at the top for me to write in the name of the country. There isn’t a separate page for Bechuanaland Protectorate — it is on the same page as Bermuda, British Solomon Islands, British Honduras, British Guiana and Brunei. At the top of the page it says:— “Bechuanaland, a comparatively unknown region in South Africa, annexed in 1895 to the Cape of Good Hope.” The stamps look very nice. I have stuck them underneath a King George V red 2c stamp of British Guiana which is overprinted “War Tax”.


   School dinner is more or less the same every day. We have a ball of Pom (which we never have at home), a slice of cold corned beef with bits of fat in it (which I can’t stand), and a spoonful of sloppy cabbage (which has been boiled away). Afterwards there is semolina pudding, which has a funny taste to it and makes me feel sick. Mam does much better dinners for us — she is an excellent cook.



   It is Dad’s 40th birthday today. He was born in Nottingham in 1907. [This is a photo of him as a teenager.]


   I had a letter from Reggie in Switzerland this morning in reply to mine of the 17th. I am going to stick the stamps in my album as usual.


   Mam and Dad went to town this afternoon and bought me a Size 5 football.

   Blues are out of the Cup. They lost 4–1 away to Liverpool in their 6th Round match.



   This morning John and I did not get to school until 10.0am. The snow was thick on the ground and we had to wait a long time for a 44 ’bus. At last we got a ’bus to Stoney Lane and we walked the rest of the way along Stratford Road to Camp Hill.

   At school I bought a copy of a very interesting booklet on Education entitled “Learning to Live”. It has a photograph of our school but does not say what school it is, only the caption:— “Not all schools are so airy and light.”

   My dinner tickets this week are:— 24798–24802


   Laurel and Hardy are on stage at the Hippodrome this week and it was packed out, despite the thick snow and terrible conditions. I wish I could see them. I am surprised to learn that they have been to Birmingham before — on Saturday 5th August 1932 when 10,000 people went to see them arrive at New Street station. They stayed at the Queen’s Hotel, were welcomed by the Lord Mayor (Alderman H.E. Goodby) at the Council House, and made a guest appearance at the Gaumont cinema that night. [I have to wait four more years until 7th May 1952 to see Laurel and Hardy.]

Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants, and Thy glory unto their children. Psalm 90:16


   I have been reading Learning to Live and find it is a handbook, written by Louise Morgan from material contributed by members of the Handbook Committee of the Council for Educational Advance. The handbook measures 8“ x 5” and has 36 pages — they are not numbered but I can pencil the numbers in if I want to. There are photographs on every page, including one of a performance of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio at the Town Hall.

   I thought the caption to the picture meant that Camp Hill Grammar School was “airy and light”, but it means the opposite. Having been built in about 1880, it is not at all airy and light, but very gloomy and depressing compared with the school shown on the previous page. Hartfield Crescent was a lovely school to go to, with Greenwood Avenue to walk down from Shirley Road, and each end of the Crescent opening onto Fox Hollies Road. The school playing fields extend to the back gardens of the houses on Shirley Road, and to the sports field with the path alongside, which connects Shirley Road with Fox Hollies.

   This booklet is extremely interesting but I wish I knew where all the photographs were taken, especially the one of girls performing a Dance Drama, “Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt”. The Handbook is published by the Birmingham and District Council for Educational Advance in connection with Birmingham Education Week, beginning tomorrow and finishing on the 15th.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1


The Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting of Christ. 2 Thessalonians 3:5


   Max 36, Min 25, Sun 3.7, Rain 0.03 ins.


   Owing to the continued freezing conditions, Birmingham City’s home game against Bradford was postponed, so I stayed in this afternoon.



   This morning Mr. Howe gave us our examination results. I was first in English and French and third in the final order with 414/600  69%.

   My dinner tickets this week are numbered:— 2088–2092



   The snow has almost gone now and flooding is beginning to take place.



   The weather readings (which I study every day in the Birmingham Mail) show how bitterly cold the weather is, the temperature barely rising above freezing point. The maximum temperature up to 9am was 35°, the minimum 26°. We had 0.1 inches of rain (snow) and only 0.6 hours (36 minutes) of sunshine. [Do these readings apply to today’s weather, published on Saturday, or Thursday’s weather published on Friday? CHECK]

   It was freezing cold again today for our Open Day in connection with Education Week.   


   Blues lost to Manchester City in their away match 1–nil.


   Summer Time began today, but it feels more like winter time. The clocks have gone forward an hour. [The original entry says Double Summer Time, but this is an error.]

   After dinner we went to the Mission as usual on the 44 ’bus.


   We had a half-holiday today and this afternoon I went shopping with Mam and got me a new blazer and shorts.


   With another half-holiday today Mam took us to Alum Rock and we saw again our old home at 23 Belchers Lane where we were bombed out on the night of 19th–20th November 1940. We went on the 31A ’bus to town, then caught the 8 tram from Martineau Street to Alum Rock. [The illustration is of tram No.387, introduced in December 1911. It has a United Electric body and truck and two 40 h.p. motors.]

   Tonight I went to a film show at the mission [Floodgate Street Fellowship] in Sandy Lane, Camp Hill.


   My dinner tickets are 2285–7.


   I wrote a letter to Pierre for my English exercise today:—

My dear Pierre,

   I hope you are well when my letter reaches you, as it leaves me fine.

   Would you like to come and spend the easter hollidays here in England. I am sure you would be delighted to come and stay with us. The hollidays commence on Wed. 26th March and finish Sun. [Tuesday] 15th April and perhaps you could arrange the dates as I don’t know when yours are. Let me know soon.

   We shall be able to have a great time together. We can go out into the country. My parents and you and me can go to London one day as my aunt lives there. I know you are interested in football so we might go to a football match on Saturdays. We can also play it ourselves and there are many more things to do to enjoy the three weeks.

   Well, I don’t think there’s any more to say so best of luck,

   Your loving friend,


   I find there is only one “l” in holiday, but the Hollidays who live over the road at 92 spell their name with two.



   After dinner I went to see Birmingham City play West Ham United. Blues won 3–nil. Birmingham City:— Merrick; Jennings, Hughes; Harris, Duckhouse, Mitchell; Mulraney, Dougall, Trigg, McIntosh, Edwards.

   I got a programme again. Hooray! Since the last one Blues have lost 4–1 at Liverpool in the F.A. Cup (March 1st) and 1–nil away to Manchester City last week. I wish they could score more goals away. They have scored 39 so far this season at St. Andrews, but only 13 away from home, which is very strange.

   Blues News says that the Government is banning mid-week matches because of absenteeism among factory workers which is affecting production, but the reason there are so many mid-week fixtures is the number of Saturday matches being postponed due to the weather.


   It is three years since the plane crash on the Midland Red ’bus depot at Digbeth, late on Wednesday night 22nd March 1944. The plane was seen in difficulties flying close by St. Martin’s Church, then it nose-dived, hit a Midland Red ’bus which was outside the depot, and reared up onto a workshop roof where it burst into flames. It was one of our planes — the Germans were not coming any more — and the three crew were killed. One of the crew was pulled out by a police sergeant from Digbeth police station across the road, but the man was already dead.

   I remember we all went to Granma’s to have dinner on the Saturday and everybody was talking about it. There was a picture in the Thursday night’s Evening Despatch of firemen viewing the wreckage, and another in Friday morning’s Birmingham Gazette, and Granma said she had shed a few tears for the man.

   Friday night’s Birmingham Mail said that one of the crew killed was Sergeant Observer Wireless Operator David Huddleston, who, before joining the R.A.F., worked for the Alliance Assurance Co. Ltd. in town, only half-a-mile away from where he was killed. I think that may have been the man Granma was referring to. His father, Mr. R.R. Huddleston, was living at 220 Chelmsley Lane, Marston Green, at the time.

   There were no other casualties, but four Birmingham City Transport girls had been sitting in the Midland Red ’bus just before it was hit, but went to have a cup of tea in the Midland Red canteen. I cannot help but think about the plane crash every time we go to church on Sunday or go past on the 44 ’bus.


   Immediately after school dinner today, the choir caught a ’bus to the Town Hall where we were to take part in the annual Birmingham Grammar Schools’ Music Festival. A number of schools took part. We sang Bois Epais by Lully and The Trout by Schubert, but only in unison as we are a Junior Choir.

   The High School Choir came first. [I am going to sing in their choir in only six months’ time, and their pianist T.F.H. Oxley and I will become friends. Their conductor is Mr. Phillip Cranmer.]


   At school today it was the Boxing and Wrestling Finals. Beaufort won, Tudor were second, Seymour (my house) came third, and Howard last.

   We normally do P.T. on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons but we have been doing boxing lately. Everyone was forced to do it. Mr. Titt sorted us all out so that each boy in the form fought someone about his own size. I am the smallest in the form, together with Griffiths, but he is tougher than anybody in the form and always beating people up. When Mr. Titt said that I had to fight Griffiths, all the boys gasped.

   But I couldn’t get out of it. Griffiths went like a madman. punching me in the face and body. Mr. Titt quickly intervened and said, “Griffiths, if you think you are going to knock Williams into the middle of next week, you had better think again” and told me to put my hands up to defend myself. I did but it made no difference so Mr. Titt stopped it before I got killed.

   I simply cannot hit anyone or do anything that might hurt anybody. John and Kipper both won their fights but then they had to fight each other and Kipper won.


   We broke up for the Easter Holidays today and I brought home all my school books and report. Kipper and I came home with John in his father [Mr. Maund]’s car.

   My School Report says I was 6th out of 28 in January, 4th in February, and 3rd out of 27 in the exams this month. Altogether I am 4th in the form.


ScriptureB E.J.T
English Language  )AR.L.H.
English Literature   )  
FrenchC+ TermR.L.H.
A Exam 
PhysicsAWorks well. R.W.E.
MathematicsAExcellent examn. result 76/100 R.W.E.
Physical TrainingCE.J.T.
General Report:— Very good work. R.L. Howe, Form Master
Very satisfactory. T.F. Rogers, Head Master



   Mam took us all up town today and we had dinner in Lewis’s. As usual, I noticed all the buses in the city centre, especially the quaint A.E.C. Regents, such as No. 492 on the Harborne route.

   Our Circular Road football team played a team got up by Trevor Gager on a pitch behind Walker’s greengrocers in the village. We won 3–1. I played right-half. Barry Craven kept goal.


   It was very warm today. The figures given in the Birmingham Mail, recorded at Birmingham Observatory, are:— Max. 53 degrees, Min. 46 degrees, Sunshine nil, Rainfall 0.19 ins.


   I sat the examinations for the High School this morning. It seemed strange working on a Saturday morning. We had the Arithmetic exam from 9.30 until 11.0am and the English from 11.15am until 12.45pm.

   Some of the senior boys from Camp Hill were going to the Film Society meeting at the Broadway Cinema, Bristol Road, to see Film and Reality, postponed from February 22nd because of the fuel crisis.

   Birmingham City lost 1–nil at Sheffield Wednesday this afternoon. They have only scored 13 goals in the last 15 away matches, but 9 of those goals were in 3 matches, so there were only 4 in the remaining 12. They have almost certainly missed promotion to the First Division



   I did the remaining exams at the High School this morning and afternoon. First we had a preliminary test then the Intelligence Test followed by History from 11.0 to 11.45am, and Geography from 11.45am to 12.30pm.

   In the dinner hour we played football in the quadrangle.

   After dinner I did the Algebra and Geometry paper from 1.30 to 3.0pm, and French from 3.15 to 4.45pm. Exam papers

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