Thomas Graham’s Diary – 17 & 18th September 1939

Thomas begins this entry by bemoaning the actions of Stanley Baldwin during the 1930s. Baldwin was in favour of disarmament but Thomas believes this caused Britain to be seriously unprepared for the current war. He writes ‘how ANY man who had seen his county just squeeze home in 14-18 could possibly have taken even the remotest risk of the thing occurring again is beyond my comprehension altogether’.

For Thomas, tanks were ‘few and not of the best type’ and the country had a ‘dearth of cruisers and destroyers’. On top of all this, new threats were being made concerning the Japanese, Russians and Italians joining forces.

The ongoing A.R.P work was also a concern for Thomas. The designated officer was continuing to do his day job whilst there was a chance he would be called for his A.R.P duties during the night. This was an ‘impossible situation’ and Thomas worried he may be miles away when called for action.

On a brighter note, the weather in the area had been very good. Thomas writes that ‘In happier times this past fortnight would have been perfectly ideal for grouse driving’.

On the 18th September, Thomas continues with a similar tone to his last post. He is anxious about the relationships between Russia, Italy, Turkey and Japan. He expects all four to turn against Britain at some point.

Disappointing news had also reached Thomas that the craft carrier ‘Courageous’ had been sunk. The boat had been torpedoed by a U-29 off the coast of Ireland. The warship was the first to be sunk by German forces with the loss of 519 personnel.