Alice Bonney's Diary 1944
This is the fifth part of the diary kept throughout the German Occupation of Jersey by nurse Alice Bonney
Frank well enough to go back to his trade, thank God for that. Had a card from Clem. They cannot say much, but at least he is alive.
I hope it will end soon, a lot of leaflets dropped over the town, but when you read them you know very well our people did not drop them. "The Language!" Our people would never send out those sort of things. Another thing, the Germans are not collecting them. They are lying around the streets. If they were British the Germans would be collecting them like mad, and punishing us for retaining them. They must think we are fools.
Fred has taken mother to live with them. It will never suit, her and Mathilda will be rowing like the devil. And she was alright in Garden Lane. I spoke to Harold about it, and he agrees with me. Still, we can only watch. The weather very cold, and "Greenfly" everywhere.
Heard from Clem today. He cannot say much, but he is alive anyway.
How much longer can it go on? This is the fourth year. Poor D G has gone. Starved to death. I knew he was crackers, but what an end. There has been an awful lot of deaths this last 12 months. Mathilda came around this morning. "You must put your mother in the hospital, she can't stay with me any longer." "You cannot put her anywhere, neither can I. You put her back in Garden Lane, and the things you took as well." "You had no business to take her out."
I got hold of Harold. We fetched her and brought her round to my house, then we started to collect her things and put them back in Garden Lane. It was surprising how those things came back when we said we would go to see the Constable. She stayed with me for the week. Then today, Harold and I took her back. She is much happier in her own home, and between us we can look after her.
A plane came down at Samares this morning. Dick found a boot with a foot in it, then had the sense to clear out before the Germans came on the scene.
Dick brought me a loaf this morning. He had pinched it from the back of the German bakery at Georgetown. It went down well, but I told them to be very careful, as the Jerries would forget they were only kids if they caught them. Another German ship sunk. They say it was full of bombs and explosives. Who cares? One less to worry about.
Saw mother this morning. She is quite happy to be back in her own home where she can do as she likes. I took her some buns I had made, and brought her a piece of pork. Harold brought her some coke, and she is happy. The weather not too cold, thank goodness, as fuel is very short. Gas is almost non-existent and old people suffer, but what can you do? It is impossible to look after them all. I do hope it is not going on much longer. The misery is awful, and you are so helpless.
Mrs A very bad again, poor thing. She is always hungry. He is a very selfish man. The weather is a bit warmer, thank goodness, and Frank is nearly his own self again. I do hope it will soon end. Gladys B and I listened to Churchill the other night. We are not forgotten, but it is such a long time. My birthday today. I managed some beef. It looks like horse, but it is a meal anyway. I have also bought some potato flour. A lot of prisoners are up at the fort, and a sorry looking lot they are.
Saw Mrs B in the Limes today. If she is not over soon, she will follow Mr B. She looks awful. I told her I had to have Biney put down. She would not eat, and had got the mange. Of course, that dog had been fed on the best of everything until the Germans came. As for Buddie, he eats anything.
The weather turned much warmer, thank goodness. A lot of activity today. I think they must be ours, because only the Jerries take cover. Odd bodies are still being washed up from that British naval vessel sunk outside.
Some mothers’ son's and husbands. You cannot identify them, so they are buried as a naval rating. I suppose after the war they will find out who they are from the records.
Well, my salt has come to an end, so I try what Mr B told me. I got a jug of seawater this morning, and boiled it down in my big pan. Thank the lord for sea and ground. The salt water went and the salt stuck to the sides. I crushed it and I got a quarter pound of rough salt. Full of gypsum no doubt, but better to cook with than the sea water they are selling by the gallon.
Really, the substitutes we have to use: Beet sugar, potato flour, seaweed jelly, beetroot tea. I expect our stomachs will suffer if we use it too long, but I hope it will not last much longer. The weather is lovely. The Germans very jittery. They seem all on edge. Something is going on, crowds of them going to the Forum for a lecture. That cocky little officer is there again. He struts around like a turkey cock. Went to see Mrs B today. She is very down, poor thing. I dont suppose the Limes find it easy to feed all those patients, things being what they are.
Planes been going over all day. Droves of them. They are ours, but the Jerries are not firing on them. I don’t know why. They are certainly jittery. Good - goodie! We listened to Churchill tonight, and the invasion of Normandy has begun. Thank God. Let's hope it won't be long. We are not supposed to have any wirelesses, but everybody knows what’s going on. "Have you heard?" "Do you know we are in Normandy?" Let us hope they succeed.
The weather good, no wonder the planes were going over in droves. It won't be long now. I went down and told Mum. "Are you sure?" "Yes", I said, "Everybody is talking about it, they cannot be all wrong." I dare not tell her we listen to the wireless. She might in her exitement repeat it outside, and you certainly cannot trust the people around you.
We can hear the guns now. Went down and told Mrs B, but poor thing, she seems quite lost. Auntie Liz came up today. I rushed her up a bit to eat. It was not much, but the poor old soul was hungry. Buddie caught a rat in Ede's shop today. The damn things are getting bold. People are beginning to grumble, they say we should have been relieved long ago. But as I say, I know there is a good reason why it is delayed. We must trust our people. They are making good headway in Normandy, and no doubt there is good reason why we have been bypassed. Have just heard the ship that took our cars never reached France. They were sunk in the channel. Oh, I do hope that is true.
Frank talks about getting to France. He has got a boat, and they are making it quite seaworthy somewhere at Le Hocq. Wilfred is getting the petrol for them. There are three of them and a Dutch sailor. The Germans are going to shoot.
It worries me to death, but I would not let him see it. I will help all I can, but if he gets caught, he will be shot for sure, having been brought back from Laufen, and then to escape. Well we all know what the end would be, but I am not saying anything to deter him.
Fred came in this morning. The Palace Hotel went up in flames last night. "Any German's killed?" says I. "No" says Fred, "A pity." First De Gruchy's, now the palace.
Frank goes tonight. They have the boat tucked away at Le Hocq. Wilfrid came in to tell me. I won’t go to bed. Oh, God, I hope they get away safely. Well, I never slept a wink last night, and I have heard nothing, so I hope so far, so good. I have said very little to Margeret. If we are questioned by the Jerries, the least she knows, the better.
I saw Mr E today. I told him Frank was missing, and what "I thought". I had drawn no rations, but I had the book. He said: "Do not hand it in until Monday. Give them a chance to get well away." Monday handed the book in, so must await events.
The Jerries came today, but went away again. I heard the planes and the guns, but it looks as if Frank and his mates have got clear away. But of course, I would not know if they had drowned. Oh God, the worry of it all. Went down and sat up with Mrs A. Poor thing is dying, I am sure. I also went to see Mrs B. She is very depressed, but it cannot be very long now. Had a card from Clem today, things are fine. Now I wonder, Frank will get in touch with him if he can, but I can only hope and trust for the best.
Mother is not very well. Time is so long. Mr G. had another bad bout, but there is nothing I can do except make him as comfortable as possible. Poor Mrs R died this morning. A happy release, but how many more? Gladys Brewer and I listened to the English news this morning. Very good. Heavy fighting, but they are making headway.
The Jerries came this afternoon and took me down to Silvertide. Ede will look after Margeret for me, should I not come back.
Well, here I am, back again after being questioned all night. But I could tell them nothing. Then they told me my son and his mates were drowned, as something had been washed up. Oh God, what am I to believe? My poor Frank. I won't believe them! Please God, it is not true. The state of the house. They searched the house from top to bottom. They found nothing, of course, but the mess!!
Everything thrown about. Carpets cut, records broken, my bracelets, sovereigns, rings and pearls - all gone. The soldiers pinched them of course, all soldiers do that. They have it all. If only I was sure my Frank was safe.
I have had a good day, I feel better now. I must start to clear up the mess. Good heavens, where shall I start? Tidyed up after a fashion. Never slept a wink. I feel he is alright, but you never know. I do hope it will be over soon - the worry of it is more than I can stand at times. I have not told Margeret as I am hoping against hope that what those damn Germans told me is not true, but there is no need to worry her.
Had a card from Clem today. At least he is safe, thank God! What a time to live in. One thing it takes me all my time to earn the marks to feed us. Well, Christmas will soon be here again. What a Christmas for some. I have been promised two chickens for me and two for Ede. My mother will have a dinner, and so will Auntie Liz. I got some potatoes from Godel, also eggs and milk, in payment instead of marks. There is some talk of Red Cross parcels. When I was told about it, I said “I hope it is true, if we get them, we will know”. The Jerries are on the losing side. If they are "top dog", we won't get them. So like Asquith, we will wait and see.
I heard this morning they did not get our cars to France after all. The barges they were on were sunk. Goody, Goody, I do hope it is true. I don't mind the car going to the bottom of the sea. As long as the Jerries don't have it, I don't care if I get any money or not. Good old Channel.
All I want to hear now is the boys are safe. Weather very cold, Christmas Eve. Went and got the chickens today. There will be little else. Ede managed a couple of swedes - ugh! After the war, I shall never touch another. Got some potatoes. But will pick out the best - it will be dinner anyway.
Got a tin of tea today: - 200 marks - ($20.000 - odd) for a bit of tea bought for 3s 6d before the war. What damn rogues some people are, but never mind, I will make it up into 200gm packets, and a few of us will have a cup of tea on Christmas Day. I shall have to work out how much it will cost.
Harold brought me some tar. He is not good. I will mix it with ground and ash, and will cook the dinner okay. Mrs A bad again, poor thing, but there is nothing we can do. Christmas, I do hope it is the last under occupation.
Not a bad day for us. We cooked the lot. Had a nice dinner, and precious cup of tea after. Mum enjoyed it, and so did Auntie Liz. I hope Clem had a decent dinner, poor kid, and I can only hope my Frank is alive. God, how much longer? Strong rumours of Red Cross parcels. Jerries very jittery. Well, here we are at the end of another year under the Nazi heel, but somehow it may not be much longer. Things are going well in France. We are pushing them back all the time. The Germans here are very glum. A lot of German sailors got here yesterday. They look like a rough bunch, and they and the German soldiers are getting hungry and restless. There will be trouble.