6th September 1941
Midday news: bulk of Italians taking another pounding in the Med.
Wing Commander Wells is back. At present in meeting with Squadron leader Green and F/O Gardner. I’ve managed to catch up on my work.
24th September 1941
This morning we had a visit from General Vallin, Chief of Staff of the Free French Air Force. He has just come back from an inspection tour in Africa and Syria.
The Syria-Lebanon campaign or Operation Export, was the allied invasion of the Vichy-French-controlled Syria and Lebanon in June and July of 1941. The conflict was a curious one, because it was one of the few where British and Free French forces were fighting Vichy French forces.
The Russian front is still holding and becoming tough. In France disorder and sabotage are becoming reasonably well organised. The other day in Toulouse, they were showing an American film in a cinema and there was a scene where the British anthem gets played. The whole cinema stood up for the anthem. Some German officers, who were present, called for the lights to be turned on and the cinema to be cleared. In all of France, people are resisting. I’ve learnt that we are moving on Monday, going down to the 5th floor in two rooms. We will have a lot more space. What joy, darling, that I have received news from you. One via the Red Cross, the other by a friend of mine, Lorieux. Unfortunately in order for the latter to get it from Occupied to Vichy France, it had to be torn and reconstructed, so he could send it me. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in your writing and so half the charm was lost.
26th September 1941
[Some comments regarding book: “Looking for Trouble – Virginia Cowles” (regarding the Blitz spirit)]:
‘There is not a man or woman in Britain, writes Quentin Reynolds, that doesn’t firmly believe that this country will win the war.” I recently read some newspaper article for New York and the answer to this sentiment was highlighted in “The English are either very brave or very stupid, I think that they are very brave.” – “God has been very good to the English. He has given each of them a good dose of stupidity. An Englishman is stupid enough to believe that he can beat up a dozen Germans. The boys in the RAF are not showoffs, but each of them is stupid enough to believe that they in their Spitfire can beat a dozen Messerschmitts. The women and the old men are sufficiently stupid to believe that they can defend their villages in case of invasion.
Maurice Southgate’s words
Translated by Parade Antiques