Alice Bonney's Diary 1941

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Alice Bonney

This is the second part of the diary kept throughout the German Occupation of Jersey by nurse Alice Bonney

January

The weather is very cold. I feel it, going out to my patients in the mornings. I hope we are not going to have any very severe weather, as fuel is very low. In fact, a good many people have none at all. Goodness knows what will happen if it goes on much longer. Frank and Clem dodging the guards after curfew. They think I dont know, but what can you do?

Anyway, it is not a very serious offence. The Gerries themselves laugh when it is safe to do so. How can intelligent people live under such a shadow of fear? It does not seem possible to hold a big nation in such subjegation. Could it happen in England? I wonder.

Fortifications going up everywhere. My word, we will be the most fortified place in Europe. Cement everywhere.

Red Cross messages

There are not so many planes at night now, so England’s seaside towns are getting a short respite. I hope our people are OK. Red Cross messages are trickling through so slow, or are they? I would not put it past the Gerries to first have them at their headquarters, and not even bother to deliver them.

It is surprising how small minded the Germans can be, and the petty things they do when they consider themselves top dogs.

Margaret is 14. I dont know what I shall do with her, there are no trades open to her and half the shops are closed. I do hope it is not going to last much longer. It is not good for them to waste their time, the devil soon finds work for idle hands to do. I am lucky the boys are still at their trades. That is something to be thankful for, anyway.

Margaret Bonney

Food supplies

The weather is hot and I am tired, been on the go since seven o’clock this morning. Thank god I still have plenty of tea, that keeps me going. I was told today a commision is going to be allowed to process finance to order to buy food. That will take care of the food situation. I expect it will be strictly rationed, but at least everyone will get a share. There is not a lot of our own money about, not at least in circulation. Marks are the order of the day, and some of them are in a filthy state already.

Mr B is very jumpy. He has been ordered to kill all his pigeons. The Germans will see the order is carried out, too. It took me over two hours to convince him that it had to be done. He is getting very eccentric; of course he is a chronic diabetic. God knows what will happen if the insulin comes to an end, and it is bound to if the "Greenfly" are here long enough.

At last I have managed to get all those pigeons killed. Old B is getting more mad every week. The things he does, poor devil. He is getting in a pitiful state. Gow cannot do much without insulin. The weather is very hot. The streets very dusty and dirty. So they are issuing a coffee substitute, a mixture of barley and acorns. One thing about it, no one will need "opening medicine". Acorns are a "fine stringent" as some will find out to their cost.

After curfew

Well, here we are, jogging on towards the end of 1941, an eventful year really. Those kids of mine make me laugh. They think I do not know they go out after curfew and dodge the patrols. I also know they have a collection of hand grenades hanging from the chimney pots, and I know they let off Farey lights, but what on earth can I do about it?

They must have an outlet for their energies. All I can hope is the "Greenfly" does not find out. God knows they have not altered in their methods, and would certainly choose to conveniently forget they are only kids. So all I can do is keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.

Got another new patient today, Miss G, poor thing. She is to have a breast off and wants me to nurse her. I will do my best, but the public does not know how pitifully small is our ability to do much unless the "Greenfly" permit it. We just cannot get the most simple remedies, and when morphine comes to an end, or at least it will be witheld from us, I shudder to think what will happen to these poor sufferers.

Cement

Well, the months are running on. Those poor devils of slaves, they are building a new blockhouse at the beginning of Springfield Crescent. What for, god knows, but those poor devils do a maximum of work with a minimum of food. How those damn Germans love cement. They would feed those poor devils on it if it were possible.

As for those Organisation Todt guards with the whips, how I would love to give them a taste of their own medicine. Never mind, the day will come, but god knows how many will die before that day comes. Poor Mrs B, her case is hopeless, and as for the old man, he has gone proper barmy. Goodness knows what their ends will be.

Gosh, I am tired. Sat up all night with Miss G, but she is making good progress. Stood over two hours at the gasworks for some tar. Got it in the end. Met Elsie M's mother. Elsie no better. Terrible scourge that TB. Managed to get some meat today, the kids will have a good feed tomorrow. They have shifted St Luke’s School to the stadium. Bill Ryan has taken up the carpets, the kids will certainly have more room.

Accident

Got a bit of a shock today. The Jerries fixed a gun outside the stadium, and Margaret fell across the back of the seat. Gallagher took her to the hospital in his car. She is bruised but I hope she will be alright. Some poor kids will go through it if this lasts too long, anyway we must hope for the best. The weather not too bad, I hope we get a mild winter. No hint of snow as yet. Old people are feeling the pinch. My mother going to live with Fred. That is doomed to failure. Better she stays where she is. Margaret is on the mend, I hope to have her home next week. Frank's birthday. Time is going.

In fact, it seems to me more and more Germans coming in. Blockhouses and gun emplacements going up everywhere. They are still tunnelling at meadowbank. Some say it is to be an underground hospital, but whatever for? Do they think they are here for ever? There is one thing about these Jerries, they are very optimistic. A poor Xmas for everybody. So ends 1941.

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