Alice Bonney's Diary 1945
This is the sixth and final part of the diary kept throughout the German Occupation of Jersey by nurse Alice Bonney
Here we are at the beginning of the fifth year of German captivity. Very cold, and very little fuel, but we can stick it. The allies are doing fine, pushing through nearer Germany all the time. The German's are losing alright. The red cross ship "Vega" is bringing in flour. The bakers worked like niggers to give everyone a loaf of white bread. Lovely, it never tasted so good. Margeret got very exited. Got one for Mum and Auntie. No better, but never mind, it tasted grand by itself. Even Buddie enjoyed a slice.
Please God, it will soon be over now. The German supplies have now ceased and some of them are really hungry, and they are very restless. The rumour is they have turned on their officers. I know they rampaged through the town, painting black swastikas on all doors and walls. Best to stay indoors in the evening.
A day to remember. 6 January. We all had a Red Cross parcel today. Poor Mrs A died before she could open hers. I had meat, biscuits, milk dried, tea and chocolate. Margeret had Spam, biscuits, dried milk, raisons, cofee and chocolate, and we are to have one a week. Lovely. God bless the Vega and all her crew.
Martlands store is a hive of industry. I hope Clem gets Red Cross parcels. If only I knew Frank was safe, then my happiness would be complete. Everybody seems brighter and more at ease. Things are going well. I think this will be our last year under occupation. I went to see Mrs B today. She was quite exited, kept talking about the parcels. To hear her you would think the war was over.
Margeret's birthday. 18, poor kid, she has had a rough deal, but please God it will soon be over now, and we can all be together again, including Frank. Weather very cold, but somehow we don't feel it so much. Maybe it is the news. It is getting better every day. Jersey all on edge. We have a lot of German sailors here. They are a rough lot. Had a card from Clem, but no news of Frank. Want to think he is alright, but have the awful gnawing feeling he might be drowned. there is not much to write about, Things are very quiet.
So we enter the month, the second of 1945 – February. Weather not too bad and things are looking up, thanks to the Red Cross parcels. They certainly are a boon to everybody. Mrs J not very well, losing her son in the RAF has hit her badly. I believe she got the news through the Red Cross.
The Germans very jittery. We hear the guns every day, but we don't mind. Heard the news today with J Brown. Very good headway. Another lecture in the Forum today. The officers were lecturing the soldiers again. We watched them come out from Ede's shop. They looked very dejected. I suppose they cannot give them much good news. The Jerries are giving themselves up all over the place. Heard Churchill speak last night. The Commander here says "He will fight to the last man!!" Sounds alright, but I think the soldiers will think differently. They are very unsettled, especially the sailors, they don't seem so disciplined as the soldiers. Oh well - this is a short month.
So here we go, another one. March. Weather cold but dry, in spite of the lack of fuel, we don't feel too bad. The red - cross parcels have made a lovely difference. Margeret looks very much better and happier. I was worried about her for a while. liberation is not far way now, I think everybody feels it. Have had no more news from Clem, and of course, god knows what has happened to Frank. If anything, I hope not.
My birthday today. Margeret managed to get me a present, poor kid. I will keep it always, and I hope my 44th birthday will be very different. Ede is worrying about Peter and Jean. They are in London, and she has not heard from them for a long time, but as I tell her "no news is good news". I try to believe that about Frank and Clem, but the circumstances are different, but we can always hope.
The weather not too bad. The wind has died down, and it is not really cold. Buddie is fine these days. I have not seen that German officer who wants to buy him. He has caught a few more rats where they are cutting down the street. "A good dog, a nice dog." he says. I explained he belonged to us all, also my boys were in Germany. He was very nice. He said he understood, saluted me, and went away. He spoke decent English, too. The Germans are very polite these days, but it makes my blood boil to see them eating the contents of red - cross parcels given to them by their "Bags". Some of them will "catch a cold" when the Tommies get here.
Exitement everywhere. An air of expectation, but no one can put a finger on what. The weather very mild, thank goodness. Listened to the news this morning with Gladys. Very good. Our boys are getting through on all fronts, and you can bet they don't tell us all. I have had no more news of Clem. I hope the Americans get to the camp before the Russians. I know they are our allies, but I don't trust them. Saw Fred today. He is still driving that Major Peltz around. Minister of agriculture indeed. I hope it won't be long before they all get their marching orders.
That is a day I shall enjoy. No one is supposed to have a wireless, but we all know what is going on. Our wireless has conked - out, so we have to get it from M.
Buddie caught a colony of rats this morning. They were running down Colomberie. The Germans in the hotel are very quiet. No singing now. they all look very glum. Some of them are only kids, but what a smell is coming from there. Rotting vegetation. The Red Cross parcels have been a god send, but all the collaborators will catch it hot I hope.
A lovely month, and the weather is lovely, too. Laid out a couple of bodies. Coffins pitiful, but what does it matter once you're dead? Everyone is excited. I heard this morning our men are marching into Germany. I bet they will see some grim things. We shall find out if there is any truth in the awful stories we have heard from time to time. The terrible times the Jews are having. More rations this week - my word we are getting generous.
Damn Germans. Another meeting at the Forum this morning. Ede and I watched from the shops. They came out very quietly. Not a smile amongst them, and that cocky little officer had nothing to say for himself.
A lovely day. 9 May. We can hoist the flags at 3 o' clock, and you bet we will! Good old Churchill. The Germans are confined to barracks. They are very restless. It has been rumoured they have turned on their officers, but of course, no confirmation.
HMS Beagle in sight. What a lovely sight. Ede, Margeret and I were on the pier when the Beagle came in sight. I cannot describe the feeling the feeling. Wanted to cry, laugh, dance. We felt like walking on air. We cheered, shouted, until our throats were sore, and those familiar Khaki uniforms. Well, I cannot describe what we felt. Came home and made a cup of tea.
I was thinking of my boys. Was Frank safe? I could not help but worrying. At 5 o'clock there was a knock at the door, and behold there was Captain Brewer. Frank is OK He made it, and was serving in the Merchant Service. What a relief. I had to sit down. I could have kissed Mr Brewer. He and some more local pilots had come in with the British ships. What a day!
Had a telegram from the War Office. Clem is safe and in England. I thank God. I have been very lucky, and I am very grateful. Frank is coming on compassionate leave. Clem will be here at the end of the month. I am very happy.
Now I close this book of the occupation. It has passed away many a worrying dull hour. Clem is here. Very thin, but quite well. We will soon fatten him up. What a month - May 1945. But I would not live that time over again for all the tea in China. Any more war - back to England I go. If she falls, I will fall as well. We have a lot to thank God for.