Alice Bonney's Diary 1943

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Alice Bonney

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

Now I wonder what the new year will bring? We hope the end of the war and isolation for us. My tea is coming to an end. That will be a blow, as cups of tea keep me going.

I have been busy with the undertakers. Death is everywhere. I have laid out the thinnest corpse - 6 stone. Poor thing. They say she was 13 stone in life. It is pitiful. A good job I had my pass on me. Was stopped coming back. Only nurses, doctors and undertakers allowed in the military zone after curfew.

News from Laufen

Joy! Had the first card from the boys today. It does not say much, just that they are well and hope we are the same. But it is something. They are alive, anyway. Olive came in. She has a card from Elsie too. It is a terrible time for us all. Let us hope it will soon end.

I cannot sleep at night thinking of them two boys. Laufen camp I believe is in Bavaria. I wonder how Frank is. He had that accident here, but that did not worry Jerry. When Dr Gow approached he was told: "If treatment is wanted - there are doctors in Germany". But that is no consolation to me.

Margeret got a load of wood today from Bob R. His family are farmers. It is very welcome. I went up to "the Textiles" today to get some warm underclothing for the boys, as February in Germany is damn cold, and lack of proper food and warmth will make it very hard. Poor kids. Mr E told me the Red Cross would look after them as soon as they know where they are. I hope so. But until I know for sure, I worry. Buried poor Mrs C today, poor old soul. She fretted an awful lot after Glad and Pop was taken away.

Alice and Margaret at Snow Hill

More deaths

Orders, orders, orders. The "Greenfly" would order the air we breathe if they could. Heard today poor Mr A was killed in an air raid at Cassel. Just as well, poor chap, as goodness only knows what he would have to face. Life is hard, and yet we are better off than some. We can still walk the streets.

Mr H died this morning. Happy release. It is awful to have to stand by and not be able to do anything. Heard from the boys today. They are still together at Laufen. Thank goodness for that. I know they will stick together and help each other all the way. "Bonneys" are like that. More people are supposed to go, but the rumour is they won't. Mrs W hopes the rumour is true as she is expecting another baby, and doesnt want it born in Germany.

Sea salt

Well, I have to come to the end of my stock of salt, so this morning I went down and got a jug of sea water, boiled it down in the oven. All the salt had stuck to the sides when the water was gone. Its rough, but good to use. Mrs B told me how to do it, but I never thought I would use it. I hope the war will soon be over, as this salt is full of gypsum and if used too long will cause stomach upsets, but we live in hopes.

The weather still cold, and people are suffering. Poor Mrs A is ill again. Lack of vitamins, poor thing. Buddie pinched a piece of meat from the Beaufort. A German was chasing him. I hid in the cemetery gates. A Jerry officer coming laughed his head off, stopped the German, and Buddie came home with the meat. Needless to say, he did not have all of it.

’Black market’

That Mrs B cant see a joke. Came into the shop yesterday. Ede and I was cutting up the cheese ration - 200gm for adults only. "Oh", she said. "Can I buy some"? "Oh yes," I say jokingly, "2 marks a pound". Believe it or not, she told me as I was selling the cheese on the Black Market, she had a good mind to report us to the Germans.

Gladys came over to my house: "Aye Bon, If you have any black market cheese over there - get rid of it, as she has threatened to report you." I was astounded. It was only a joke. It was rationed cheese and has all gone. Gladys says: "I had to warn you". I thanked her and told Ede, and I said “wait until this is over, I will tell her something she won't like”. They would sell their own mother some of them.

Clem and fellow hockey players at Laufen


Had a good laugh today. I was attending a patient in St Saviour’s Road. A German was painting out the word - "Mentone". Two kids about nine were watching him. One says to the other: "What is he doing?" "I dont know". Then he wrote the word "Ausfart" meaning "out". Then the kid says: "I know - I fart, you fart, we all fart!" The Jerry pats them on the head and says: "Ja, Ja!" He wondered what we were laughing at.

House taken

Mr B very ill, he is a diabetic and we cannot get the insulin for him. Poor old chap. He wont last long. Mrs B at her wits end. She is an invalid. Well, the "Greenfly" came to Mrs B this morning and told her they want his house. I will take Binny with me. Dr Gow can get Mrs B into The Limes, and the Jerries were nonplussed for a while.

Old B kept on: "First my pigeons, then my car, then my house!" They said they would be back in the morning. Well in the morning, Mr B was dead. I got Croad, and we took him to St Thomas' Church. The coffins today are pitiful things. I went to the the funeral in Mrs B's place.

Now we have to put her in The Limes, and the Jerries are using the house and everything in it. And so it goes on. How long? How long? It makes your heart ache when you see the misery around you. Surely it cannot go on much longer. The cemeteries will be full if it does. Food is getting shorter and shorter.

The weather getting very cold. It seems winter will start earlier this year.

A hockey certificate for Clem

Frank’s return

Surprise! Surprise! Frank came home this morning. Poor kid, he looks more dead than alive. I have to put him to bed and sent for Dr Gow. Explanations can come later. He is asleep now, poor kid. He is very thin, but I am glad he is home. He had a German guard with him. I don’t know where he is. Gow has been. He has examined Frank. He says his worst trouble is malnutrition.

I cant help thinking of Clem. Poor kid, he is still out there, and he must miss Frank. Frank tells me he was in Salzburg Hospital. It was run by nuns, and they were very kind. The Swiss commision of protecting power ordered his return. He also told me the guard who brought him was very good. On the way he was lodged in jails at night, but the guard made things as easy as he could, and I am grateful to him for it. Dr Gow saw him this morning, he said he is suffering from malnutrtion and exhaustion. He is going to see Dr McKintrup and see what he can do. Damn the Germans - Damn and blast them!! I hate them!

A portrait of Frank Bonney painted at Laufen by Jersey artist Harry Barnett

German guard

Saw the guard that brought Frank through the continent. He seems a nice chap. I thanked him for his kindness. He has a wife and children. He has not seen them for nearly two years. He is at the Continental and does not like it. They treat him like dirt. Frank asked me if he could come for a meal? I said yes. He was very pleased. I managed a piece of pork and an apple pie. He talked of his wife and children all the time.

Dr McKintrup gets me a pint of milk a day, and a bottle of wine a week. So that, and what I can get hold of, we shall soon have him on his feet. I am very grateful. Dr McKintrup is a good man.

The German guard came to say goodbye today. He is off tonight. He thinks his unit is going to Russia. Poor chap. I wished him luck, and thanked him again for looking after Frank.

Basket of pork

Weather good for October. I hope it keeps that way. It will help to shorten the winter, as fuel is non-existent. It is surprising the number of pigs that die. Went to St John today and picked up a basket of pork. These farmers make me sick. They charge the earth for it, and you have to take a load out of their way. I got stopped by a Gerry Seargant. "Halt!" I halted. "Corn?" He says, putting his hand on the sack. "No!" I says. "Swedes"

"Identikass!" He looked at it , gave it to me back, and said: "Go on." It did not take me long to go on! I got safely back to Ede's. We cut it up and sold it for what we paid for it. There is always a piece for us out of it, and we get a kick out of diddling the Jerries.

Well, Christmas is here again. I have got hold of a couple of chickens. Margeret came with me to get them. We put them in a sack again and got them safely to town. Ede has one for her and Jeune. I have two, so I can feed my mother and Auntie Sig. Harold got me a small barrel of tar that mixed with ground ashes, will cook them.

God knows what the stove will be like when this is over, but who cares? We will have a Christmas dinner, and who knows what next year will bring? I wonder how my Clem is faring? I have not heard lately. I cannot help worrying how long?

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