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Parade Antiques Blog

Southgate’s Diary, Part 6 – 3-5th August 1941

3rd July 1941

Went with my father to Hounslow to visit one of his cousins. His son (32) is in the army. His daughter got married during the war and her husband left for Africa 2 weeks later. He is missing. Darling I miss you so much, I sometimes wonder, what is the point without you?

And yet, in the office I am involved in serious politics, very serious politics even, and we have to defeat the Nazi’s at any cost. I cannot put more to paper. In tonight’s news, I have heard that Berlin has been severely bombed last night and I suppose London will get it today or tomorrow.

4th August 1941

Woke up late today – no air raid warning last night. Today’s Newspaper talks on a new German assault towards the South, obviously my hope is for a Russian victory. On Saturday I asked Wing Commander Wells if, all things possible, I could be sent to France officially when we land there. His answer was quite encouraging.

Before the fall of France we could count on the 2nd Bureau and the French Police, but no longer and as I am part of A.I.1. (Allied Intelligence 1?), I will certainly be sent there at some time.

The 2nd Bureau or Deuxième Bureau, was the French External Military Intelligence Agency from 1871 to 1940. After the armistice with Germany it was dissolved, hence not being a reliable organization.

Even after the Armistice, we will still have trouble with France. We are a long way from trusting her and we will have to be the Police ourselves. Armistice and Demobilisation are two very different things.

5th August 1941

Watched film. Newsreel showed Italian attack on one of our convoys in the Mediterranean. The Italian planes were dropping like flies. Afterwards, the Fall of Syria and the entry of the Free French Forces.

What crimes, what stupidity, in this war against the French. Are you blind in France? And Vichy, which had the gall to say that there wasn’t a single German plane in Syria. We have found several there with the French roundel painted over the swastika.

The Syria Campaign was supposed to be an all French affair. Southgate mentions German fighters with French colours, however, these could also be German planes captured by the Allies and then painted in Allied colours. In black and white photographs it is near impossible to tell the difference between French and British colours, the Allies may have used it as propaganda.

Maurice Southgate’s words
Translated by Parade Antiques

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