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Parade Antiques Blog

Southgate’s Diary, Part 19 – 5th March – 13th March 1942

5th March 1942

Thursday, 17:35: My poor Dear, you cannot have slept much the night before last. I was thinking of you. But we couldn’t allow a factory like that to build tanks and planes to bomb us without trying to defend ourselves. I hope and believe that only the factory was bombed and that very little civilian damage occurred. You must have heard the noise of our bombs exploding and the anti-aircraft fire. How war is a strange and cruel thing. It has been a longtime without news of you and I am feeling pretty low.

[Newspaper cutting of the bombing of the Renault Works at Billancourt, Paris (4/3/42)]

I think that from Monday, I will come to live in London, as the trip from Slough every day is costing me too much. I will try tomorrow to get myself billeted in a hotel and have my meals there. At least, that way the money from my pay will be for me and in the evenings I’ll be able to write to you, to study, to go to a concert without spending hours on the train. It is now 5:30 and in an hour, I’ll leave and go to visit Jean, to see if there is any room there.

[Another Newspaper cutout of the damage to the Renault Factory.]
[Newspaper cuttings of times 6/3/42 of damage to Renault Factory]

13th March 1942

Friday: – My dear little lady – I am now in London in another swish hotel with maid, maître d’Hotel, Valet and Garcon. The Harvard Hotel, Norfolk St., Strand. I am sharing the room with Jean Cruwys.

[Another cutting of Factory bombed. This time: Matford Works at Poissy, near Paris, which produced lorries for the German Army.]

I am feeling really well. In the morning my toast is on a little rack with silver service. What more could you ask for my dear wife? My wife, it feels strange to write that word. It has been 5 and ½ years since we got married and we have spent so little time together. Your photo looks at me and your smile seems to suggest that we will continue to love each other.

Maurice Southgate’s words
Translated by Parade Antiques

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