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Southgate’s Diary, Part 3 – 24th & 25th July 1941

25th July 1941 (Continued)

The news on the radio is, the continuous bombing of the French front, the stop of the German advance in Russia and the sinking of an Italian convoy in the Mediterranean. The Japanese have seized bases in Indochina and the Vichy government disgusts me more and more. Soon, I suppose, Japan will attack Russia soon and then the USA will enter the fray.

(With the Occupation of France, Germany split France into two separate sections: The territory in the North, with all the Atlantic Ports, was occupied, militarily, because of its strategic importance, whilst in the South; The Germans instated a puppet-government, based in Vichy. The Free French, headed by Charles De Gaulle, resided in exile in North Africa. After France was liberated, the Vichy Government was tried for treason.)

25th July 1941

In the news today: “The French government, sick of seeing England try and grab their colonies has seen fit to kick out all British subjects.” On the other hand, their Indochina bases are given to the Japanese. Yesterday our losses were quite serious, 15 bombers lost on the attack against Brest and La Palice, as well as 10 fighters. The Russians are holding on.

In 2-3 weeks I hope to leave here (Princes House Kingsway, on the Strand) and go to Whitehall.

At 1900 hours Pearl, Mimi, Doudon and I leave the office and go in a taxi to Queen’s Brasserie, Leicester Square. There we find (speaking French) P/O Crews, his son Sgt. Crews, his daughter Miss Crews, the three Witherington sisters, George Stan, Sgt. Massé, Sgt. Lacey, Sgt. Southgate, four Czechs and Miss MacDonald from the British embassy in Paris. We are all in the bar (10 boys and 9 young women). We toasted the King , France and tapped the famous Victory sign. People were very surprised to hear me speak French, then English, without any accent.

Spent the night with George Stan in St. James Park Barracks. Poured down with rain! Back in the office Jean Crows arrived an hour late with a sore head, not a great start to his first day in the Ministry. Lt. Col. Wells (my boss) arrived from Blackpool and calls a meeting as a result of his inspection tour.

Maurice Southgate’s words
Translated by Parade Antiques

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Comments (3)

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