27th July 1941
Guy Wingate is now married to an English woman after breaking his engagement in France. Clear sky outside, ideal bombing weather, if the Germans knew. They haven’t been over for several weeks (10 to be exact). We do not forget them however, every night two large German towns get some of our medicine, not counting canals, railways and not forgetting their shipping. Just heard on Radio Paris (which is laughable) that the Americans are having to ration petrol and cannot drive on Sundays. Only the French must believe that. I despair of the Republic. The United States produces more petrol than the rest of the universe put together. Off to bed now, have to get up later to do fire watching duty (once a week).
Astute by Southgate – The USA was responsible for 63% of the World’s Oil production in 1941.
28th July 1941
This morning there was an air raid warning (02:05am), the first in a long time. At 3am I get up to go and do my fire duty. Towards the east, over London the sky is torn by anti aircraft explosions, and the explosions of bombs. At 3:55am the raid ends. The next day there is no trace of the path of destruction on my way to work. In today’s paper, I see that some fishermen from Berek Ville attacked a German post. The Russians are holding on, and are now counterattacking.
This afternoon I had a meeting with lt. Col Wells, Biles and Rock de Besombes and 4 other officers. Nothing new on the radio. The Russian counterattack, the Germans lost 3 bombers last night over London and we attacked Dunkirk. –
29th July 1941
Lt. Col Wells has gone out, so I am alone in the office. I have learnt that the Witherington girls have been in England before. Not surprising, their English is so good. Doudon and Mimi are veritable devils and use a familiar tone with me. Their sister Pearl wants to ship them off to the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force at the end of the month. It will be the only way to keep them in check. Lt. Col Biles has just popped in and then out, leaving me in charge of all 4 phones. Pearl is having lunch at the Finance Ministry, so I ate alone reading the paper. The Russians are still holding out. After lunch Pearl told me about her youth in Paris. In a minute I am going to write a letter to Guy Wingate. I leant 10 shillings to Jean Crews. Still 10 days till payday, so I don’t know how he’ll manage.
30th July 1941
Not been able to write to Guy, as I have been very busy. Yesterday I left the department very late. Missed my 2 trains, so I went for dinner with Pearl and Stark.
Maurice Southgate’s words
Translated by Parade Antiques