This morning I read more of my Thunder in Europe book. After breakfast I played some gramophone records, then I watched part of the morning’s play in the match between Middlesex and Lancashire. Lancs. were all out just before lunch for 246 in reply to the Middlesex total of 125.

   After dinner I spent the whole afternoon cutting down the hedge on Prentice’s side. Dad and I burnt the privet after tea. This evening Don and Ron came again and corrected the sound fault [on the TV set]. Also they tuned 208 rather more accurately. I’m listening to 208 now — Cadbury’s “Roundabout” with Nigel Patrick — and the reception equals that of the Light Programme.

   The man who jumped from a 3rd floor window at Lewis’s on Friday died yesterday. He was Frank Ormerod Pilkington (26) of 64 Beeches Drive, Erdington. His is the third suicide and fourth tragic death at Lewis’s since April last year.   

Jesus Himself drew near. Luke 24:15


   I spent this morning writing. After dinner I cycled to Stoney Lane to get Ginger some meat. When I got back I mowed the back lawn.

   I have not long returned from Cubs and taking Ginger out. I am writing this in the sitting room while I am listening to Arthur’s Inn — everyone else is watching a TV play.

The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, plenteous in mercy. Psalm 103:8


   This morning I went to the Library and took back my John Creasey Thunder in Europe book. I enjoyed reading it very much. It had an exciting climax to a most thrilling story of espionage set in the period just prior to the war. When I got back I spent an hour with my troop register.

   [Clarice had a postcard from her friend Pat, on holiday at Ilfracombe, this morning. It is of Mars Hill, Lynmouth, from an original water colour painting by Brian Gerald, and is published by Valentine’s, Dundee and London.

   It is 13 years since the War started, and we still have rationing.]

Christ ... loved the church, and gave Himself for it. Ephesians 5:25


   Today I have done a lot [of] writing up notes — Chemistry and Physics. I spent some three hours or more writing, then shortly after 2.0pm. I walked to John Winrow’s with Ginger. He wasn’t in. Perhaps it was fortunate because no sooner was I in the house than there was a terrific clap of thunder and several flashes of lightning. The rain poured down for an hour. Mam, Clarice and Julia were in town at the time, and the storm there wasn’t so bad. Later on, the storm cleared somewhat.

   I spent this evening reading and listening to the radio.

I, even I, am He that comforteth you. Who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die ... and forgettest the LORD thy maker? Isaiah 51:12–13


   This morning I went down the village three times in an hour. First of all I got Ginger a sack of straw, then I went to get Mam’s meat from the [Co-op] butcher and took Ginger with me, and after that I cycled to the Library and got two books, a Peter Cheyney novel and The Riddle of the Flying Saucers by Gerald Heard.

   I read some of this latter book until 3.15 when I watched two television Newsreels. Wednesday’s edition was devoted almost entirely to the Farnborough Air Show. Charles Gardner interviewed John Derry who four years ago was the first to fly faster than sound. Flying in a De Havilland 110 he’s been producing supersonic bangs by diving from several miles up.

Absent from the body ... present with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:8


   [I went to the Midland Bank this morning and paid in £1.]

   The greatest drama in modern aviation was seen by 120,000 people at Farnborough this afternoon. John Derry and his observer were in a DH110 when the plane disintegrated in mid-air. Derry had dived from eight miles up producing a triple bang, then he levelled out and turned across the aerodrome, flying a few feet above the ground. Suddenly the plane blew up. The twin jet engines shot high into the air and then crashed into the packed crowd. Several people are dead, many injured. Now I can look back on what I wrote yesterday and it makes me wonder whether all such ventures must end so inevitable in tragedy. Such is the endless quest for speed.

   There is nothing else to record except that we have watched TV this evening.

The LORD will hear when I call unto Him. Psalm 4:3


   We got up at 0.0 today because we were expecting Aunt Doll, Uncle Bill, Dorothy and Cyril from Kidderminster at eleven or thereabout. They arrived just before a rainstorm.

   After dinner at 1.0. I did some of the washing up while everyone else went for a walk.

   Our guests had to start back for Kidderminster an hour after tea so as to arrive at a reasonable hour. When I had taken Ginger out this evening, Mam, Dad and I watched a forty minute play “Stop the Roundabout” by Alwyne Whateley. Michael Bilton was excellent as a little man who marries a big bossy woman. TV seems to be veering towards shorter plays. Whether this is an advantage or not, this evening’s effort certainly achieved more in forty minutes than some others have done in almost three times as long.

With God nothing shall be impossible. Luke 1:37


   This morning I went to [the] Library with Ginger and later on we all went to town. We went to the Co-op [in High Street], Smith’s [in Corporation Street] and then round part of the museum [in Newhall Street]. We got back in time to see a film Small-Town Boy at 3.15pm.

   Mam and Dad are at the cinema. They have gone to see Reluctant Heroes at the Warwick. This is the second time the film has been shown at this cinema. It was previously shown on April 3rd for three days. I saw it on the 4th. [Suburban cinemas changed their programme on Thursday, and had a still different programme on Sunday.]

Hold up my goings in Thy paths, that my footsteps slip not. I have called upon Thee, for Thou wilt hear me, O God. Psalm 17:5–6


   Mam had to go out this morning so I washed up and after paying the rent collector and [Liverpool Victoria] insurance agent, I went shopping with Ginger. When I got back again, I got some meat for Ginger and then cooked the dinner. [I had been asked to light the gas under the saucepans at the appropriate time.]

   Nothing else happened all day. I spent the afternoon reading and listening to the radio as usual during the evening.

   Last Sunday, Aly Naher, the Egyptian Prime Minister, resigned and General Neguib formed a new government. General Neguib, who on July 23rd carried out the coup d’etat which resulted in the abdication of King Farouk, thus becomes Prime Minister as well as Commander-in-Chief. After the army had compelled Aly Maher to resign the Premiership, fifty political leaders, including two former Prime Ministers, were arrested.

His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me. Song of Solomon 2:6


   John called this morning and we went for a walk — the same as that which I went last Thursday week.

   It poured with rain for an hour or so this afternoon. I had to go to town to take some letters to the Mail offices [in New Street] for Mam. Having done this, I spent an hour looking at the books in Smith’s and the Educational.

   I went to the Olton tonight to see Little Big Shot. Ronald Shiner plays the part of the son of a successful crook. Very tender hearted, he nevertheless determines to follow in his father’s footsteps, but in the end his conscience wins. Compared with the two previous Shiner successes, this was rather poor. There were quite a few laughs but all too often, promising situations faded away. I don’t think Ronald Shiner’s part was strong enough. Derek Farr played his part as a dull-witted det. sgt. well, without being really funny. Marie Lohr was good: she was also in the supporting film, Counterblast (A), a spy story with Robert Beatty, Mervyn Johns and Margaretta Scott.

Turn thou to thy God. Hosea 12:6


   I went to John’s at 10.15 this morning. I spent about two hours playing his organ. Otherwise there is nothing to record this evening. I have taken Ginger out and I am now listening to the radio.

He healeth the broken in heart. Psalm 147:3


   I went to John’s again this morning and stayed until 12.30pm.

   Nothing much happened in the afternoon. I watched two Newsreels on television.

   This evening Mam and Dad have gone to the Olton to see the programme I saw on Wednesday night. I am listening to the radio.

   I have not see a Wood Warbler since Wednesday so I should think they have started their migration to Africa by now. The birds we have seen in the garden are stragglers. The normal time for migration is July and August. Our swifts seem to have been gone for almost a month.

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power. Revelation 4:11


   This morning I was out with Ginger for three hours. [I went to the Midland Bank to pay another £1 into my account, then] I walked to the Sheldon Cinema via Yardley Road & Coventry Road and home by way of Clay Lane.

   I went to see Blues play Leicester City this afternoon. Blues:— Merrick; Green, Martin; Boyd, Ferris, Warhurst; Cox, Murphy, Briggs, Rowley, Purdon. Both sides played well and at half-time Leicester led by an Arthur Rowley goal in seven minutes. Hines also hit a post but on the whole play was very even. In the second half, Blues were often brilliant and scored goals thro’ Rowley, Murphy and Briggs to win 3–1. They now have 10 points from seven games and are third in the league.

O LORD ... with my soul have I desired Thee in the night. Isaiah 26:8–9


   There is nothing much to record today. I spent most of the morning writing up some old Chemistry notes which I came across the other day.

   After dinner I washed up. Mam and Dad went to the Mission. I waited in for Grandad but he did not come to tea.

   This evening Mam, Dad and I watched three short plays by Ben W. Levy. These were The Truth about the Truth with Joan Greenwood, The Island of Cipango with Jean Kent, and The Great Healer with Anne Crawford. They — the plays, not the actresses — were not worth seeing. I hope TV will not concentrate on this idea of two or three short plays in one programme. This tendency is evident lately in the film industry. There have been at least two films of Somerset Maugham short stories and Full House, 5 O. Henry stories in another.

I will give you assured peace. Jeremiah 14:13


   Today, the last day of my holidays, has been dull and rainy at times.

   John called during the morning and called again this afternoon to see a film on TV with Mam and Dad and me. The film was The Shadow Strikes with Rod la Rocque (whoever that gentleman may or may no longer be) working as a private detective against the underworld. During the afternoon I also went down the village with Ginger.

   After tea I mowed both lawns. Dad and I watched an Ice Circus from Brighton at 9.20pm.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8


   This morning we returned to school to find quite a few changes. The main changes are in the time-table. Except on Thursdays, break lasts for twenty minutes and there are five periods on Thursday and Friday mornings when school ends at 1.05. C.C.F. parades are on Fridays from 2.15 until 3.45pm.

   After prayers, the Head swore in prefects. The new prefects are P.S. Trevis, A.B. Macnab, A.R. Franklin, C. Gilbraith, A.R.G. Deasley, P.R. Janney, G.H. Herringshaw, J.D. Waterstreet plus Homer, Price and Wheatley remaining from last year. Benson and Mercer are Captain & Vice-Captain.

   We went to form rooms until break. John has not come up into the Medical VI but gone into a new Prof. Div. as has Kipper; Donaldson has stayed down.

The Father Himself loveth you. John 16:27


   Today’s subjects were Physics, Biology, [and after break] Physics, then a period for private study; we had Chemistry all afternoon [1.45 to 3.45pm].

   Dr. Willis Grant has promoted me to the noble rank of bass in the choir. I have been singing alto for something approaching three years now. The Choir will not now be included in my B.B.C. Show as Dr. Grant thinks we have got more than enough music to learn anyway.

   The S.B. was full so Ian [Blake] and I came home on the 1A ’bus — and beat the Special!! At 5.0 I went to Blues’ home match v Leeds Utd. The result was a draw, two goals each, Rowley scoring once in each half for Birmingham whose team was: Merrick; Green, Martin; Boyd, Ferris, Warhurst; Cox, Murphy, Briggs, Rowley, Purdon.

Keep me, O LORD. Psalm 140:4


   Today we had three periods of Physics in which I worked with Arthur, Option B and lastly Biology. I went to Mr. Babb in Option B, hoping to start learning German, but since everyone else in the set had done at least a year of the subject, I’ve had to give it up before starting. I’ll have to do Art instead.

   This afternoon I wrote up this morning’s Physics experiments and read Picturegoer.

   At 6.30pm a Birmingham Post reporter called to see me about my K.E.S. Variety Show. He stayed for ten minutes.

   I took Ginger out at 8.30pm and at 9.0pm we all watched the World Speedway Championship from Wembley. Jack Young retained his title by gaining 14 points from five rides. Runner up was F. Williams (13), 3rd was B. Oakley (12). After speedway was “What’s My Line?”

Trusting in the LORD. Psalm 112:7


   When I got to school this morning Willy Kington and Johnny Stokes told me “Your picture’s in the paper.” It seems that the Post must have made a copy of the photo printed in the Mail in 1949.

   Today’s lessons were double Chemistry, Option A — for me French — double Biology, morning school ending at 1.05. In J.T.C. my job was to help organise the new recruits. It rained so we did drill in the [rifle] range. I came home through town [and purchased a copy of the Birmingham Post from the Mail & Post offices]. This evening I have been to the Library.

It is time to seek the LORD. Hosea 10:5


   Today we had Option B (I went into the library), Physics and double Biology. In Physics we are revising Magnetism, while in Biology we are studying by ourselves the structure of the flowering plant, having done the evolution of the plant kingdom. School ended at 12.30 but Mr. Ballance let us out early, and in no time at all I was on the ’bus to town.

   Nothing more happened all day.

And He shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springeth out of the earth by clear shining after rain. 2 Samuel 23:4


   Nothing at all has happened today. We got up rather late.

   At 2.15 we listened to the last edition of “One Minute, Please”. This programme has rapidly become one of the most popular on the air.

   This evening we listened to “Variety Bandbox”.

They all forsook Him and fled. Mark 14:50


   For the first time this term I cycled to school. Our lessons today were Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Option A, and [in the afternoon] P.T. and double Chemistry. Mr. Babb took French in Mr. Gosling’s absence.

   After prayers, the Sixth Forms remained in Big School to hear the Head tell us about admittance to universities. I went to see the Head after morning school about my B.B.C. show. He was somewhat peeved with the press report but he is now in full agreement with the scheme. I only hope it works! [I apologised to Mr. Lunt that he had first learned about the proposed broadcast through the article in the Birmingham Post, and not from me. I explained that the visit of the reporter and his article in the paper had been a complete surprise to me. He said he quite understood: that was what happened with the press.]

   I watched “Hit Parade” on TV tonight. The month’s hit tunes are:—

• The Homing Waltz, Vera Lynn (also recorded by Alma Cogan)

• High Noon, Tex Ritter (also recorded by Frankie Lane)

• Auf Wiedersehn, Sweetheart, Vera Lynn

• Blue Tango, Ray Martin

• I’m Yours, The Four Aces (also recorded by Eddie Fisher, David Hughes, Ever Boswell, Dick Beavers)

• Walkin’ My Baby Back Home, Johnny Ray (also recorded by Nat King Cole)

• Day of Jubilo, Guy Mitchell, and

• Kiss of Fire, Jimmy Young, in that order. [Kiss of Fire has also been recorded by Anne Shelton, Billy Eckstine, Lester Ferguson, Tony Martin, David Hughes, Louis Armstrong and Mickey Katz.

   Personally, I like Meet Mr. Callaghan from Peter Cheyney’s play now running at the Garrick Theatre. [The music is by Eric Spear, and has been recorded by Frank Chacksfield and his Tunesmiths.]

The living know that they shall die. Ecclesiastes 9:5


   This morning I cycled to school. We had Chemistry, Physics, Divinity and Biology. In Divinity we are discussing “mercy-killing”.

   [I went to the Bank and paid £2 1s 0d into my account. I now have £9 11s 0d.]

   Mr. F.J. Williams was made a deacon on Sunday last by the Bishop of Birmingham [Rt. Rev. Dr. E.W. Barnes].

   I did not go to Cubs this evening.

The LORD ... heareth prayer. Proverbs 15:29


   I cycled to school again this morning. There isn’t much to record except that I went to a General Committee Meeting of the School Club. The main outcomes of the meeting, presided over by the Headmaster, were that Fencing, and the Mountaineering Society were affiliated to the School Club, and the Annual subscription was increased from ten to fifteen shillings. Two years ago the subscription was only five shillings.

   It started to rain at 3.45 and I had to wait for an hour till the rain stopped.

   As from last Saturday I am a full Corporal [in the J.T.C.]. John is also, and Kipper has been promoted to lance-corporal.

   When I had done all my prep. this evening, we watched Episode 4 of “My Wife Jacqueline” and the Current Release.

The LORD looseth the prisoners. Psalm 146:7


   I went to school on the S.B. today. For Option B, I am doing Music with Dr. Willis Grant.

   Immediately after dinner, I went down to Eastern Road for our House Rugby practice. Then Squire and I went to town together — we each had to get stripes from Oswald Bailey’s. Getting promoted is quite an expensive business. It costs 1/8d to become a lance-corporal, 3/4d to become a corporal, and 5/- a sergeant.

   This evening we watched “What’s My Line?” on TV. The team was Elizabeth Allan, Jerry Desmonde, Ghislaine Alexander, Gilbert Harding.

O LORD, I will praise Thee ... Thou comfortedst me. Isaiah 12:1


   There is nothing much to record today. In J.T.C. [sporting my new Corporal’s stripes] I taught a section some elementary drill. I came home through town.

   Mam and Dad went to the cinema in the evening. I did prep. for three hours.

The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me. Psalm 138:8


   Mr. Ballance was to have given us a Botany test this morning but he was absent and I spent both periods in the library. I was quite inundated with entries for my B.B.C. show and I now have enough material to fill a 60–minute programme and there is still more to come. INSERT THE NOTICE I PUT UP ON THE SCHOOL NOTICE-BOARD ... DATE ??

   I didn’t go to Blues match v Southampton as the weather was very unsettled. I spent an hour or two on my programme. A gentleman called in the afternoon to see the front room which Mam is offering as a bed sitting room. The gent, I don’t know his name yet, is a Scot, and 41 years old. I knew straightaway that he played golf and could swim well. By profession he’s a civil servant, an architect. All being well, he will move in next Saturday.

   Tonight we saw “This Is Show Business”.

What think ye of Christ? Matthew 22:42


   Nothing in particular happened this morning. After dinner, Mam, Dad and I went to the Mission in the Moores’ car. Mr. Ron Tilsley was the preacher. He spoke and played the piano with his customary vigour.

   “What’s My Line?” keeps getting swopped around from one evening to another. First we saw it on Mondays, then on a Friday, next on Thursday evenings and now it’s been put on Sunday evenings. We watched it tonight. The play was “A Month of Sundays” by Geo. F. Kerr, and the action takes place in a British officers’ P.O.W. camp in Southern Germany in 1943. Most of the acting was very good but as is apt to occur with this type of play, the action lagged and the general effect of the play was to some extent lost.

This I know ... God is for me. Psalm 56:9


   In Gym today, the form was split into two groups and we went outdoors to practise some athletics. I am with seven other boys learning to throw the javelin, the rest are throwing the discuss [sic] with Mr. Cadenhead.

   Only twenty-three days ago, when John Derry was killed, I wrote about the quest for speed. This morning, John Cobb, in attempting to break the world water-speed record, was killed when his boat blew up on Loch Ness.

   This evening we listened to “Dear Sir ...” which has returned to the Light Programme.

Blessed be God. Psalm 68:35


   In hymn practice this morning we rehearsed Magnificat and I vow to thee, my country.

   I’ve got nothing to record for the morning and afternoon.

   I went to the Olton tonight to see a comedy Behave Yourself with Farley Granger and Shelley Winters. Farley Granger forgets to buy his wife a wedding anniversary present. A dog called Archie, who has been trained by crooks, follows him home & Shelley Winters thinks it is her present. Farley Granger is content to let her think this. However, when the husband calls at addresses in answer to advertisements for the return of the dog, he discovers a murder. This happens about eight times. The film was very good, fast moving in production and witty in dialogue.

   The other film was The Pace that Thrills, a routine little effort about motor cycle racing. The male lead was Bill Williams.

The LORD thinketh upon me. Psalm 40:17

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