29th August 1942

Another very fine hot day.  Raid alarm at half past 1, as I was having lunch.  Heard a little gunfire, and the sound of a plane very high.  Met Miss Parrington and had tea at the Regal this afternoon, then drove her out to Lawford.  She said there had been a lot of firing at Lawford, and when we got back Joy said that Hughes, the schoolmaster (Observer Corps) told her that two Dorniers had come over at 35,000 feet.  They were fired at, but the shells burst 15,000 feet short, and the planes flew away to the N.W.  Only two fighters appeared, he thought either because they cannot go anything like as high or because they did not want to take off and reveal their landing grounds.  I suppose the Germans were photographing the new aerodromes, preparatory to bombing them at a later date.  I hope they were not photographing Colchester.

Driving out tonight we went past St. Annes’, on the Harwich Road, where the Americans are now installed at Pawsey’s old house.   There is a huge sentry in the garden, wearing what looks exactly like a German helmet.  Several American Officers in the town this afternoon.

Thunderstorm far off tonight.  Very few planes over.

The arrival of American troops into the Colchester area began in the summer of 1942.  E.J. Rudsdale's friend and contemporary, Hervey Benham, wrote in his book 'Essex at War' (1945): 'In the summmer of 1942 U.S. uniforms were still sufficient of a rarity to attract attention.  By Christmas they had, in the current phrase, bought the town.'

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