Thinning 3: An Original WWII Diary in Fine Condition

JamesWhitehead

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#1
Mrs Diggle's Diary, 1939 - 41.

Manuscript of War Diary, starting price on Ebay will be £350, enquiries invited

This is a research project which was begun but which I do not have time to persevere with. It seems likely that the family has died out, hence the orphaned diary. We never learn the Christian name of Mrs Diggle. The story begins in Didsbury, where the newly-wed Diggles close up their home, put their goods in storage and prepare for war. Mrs Diggle moves to be with relatives in the Deganwy and Llandudno area, later being able to follow her husband around the country as he prepares to be sent abroad. He plays his part in Dunkirk, as a member of the Royal Army Ambulance Corps.

They decide to have a baby and the diary tenderly chronicles Mrs Diggle's pregnancy, the birth of Julia and her early years. It is very much a Home Front story with touch of Mrs Miniver about it. Terrible news arrives at intervals but Mrs Diggle keep calm, carries on and looks forward to the next Rye 'n' Dry! She tipples quite a lot, she flirts from time to time but the diary is a hymn of love to Jimmie, so handsome in his uniform.

Many people are mentioned in the pages of the diary. Some, tentatively, may be identified. For instance, the dates are right for the Neil Westbrooke mentioned to be the one destined to become Mayor of Manchester. Others date from before the time we left traces on the internet. Some of the incidents which disturbed the life of Mrs Diggle can now be fleshed out with news stories and photographs: the 1941 air-raids on Oldham, for instance. The hotels they stayed in, the towns they visited can often be found in historic photographs online. These were eventful years in a quietly privileged life.

The details of daily life during wartime are vividly conveyed. I encourage all viewers of this page to read the complete transcript with introduction which I made a few years ago. It accurately reflects the sometimes erratic spellings and grammar of the original:

Transcript on archive.org

Though the text of the Diary has been placed in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons rules, it would surely justify a properly-researched edition. Included with the manuscript will be the file of information I have gathered. Nothing can match the almost psychometric delight of handling such a unique document.

The notebook itself is in very fine condition, though some pages have been torn from the beginning no doubt when the book was repurposed as a war diary. Scans of the pages are being undertaken.
 
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Yithian

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#2
Too rich for my blood though I'd love to own it, but good show for the transcription and having made it available.
 

rynner2

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I'm about half-way through it now. They didn't half seem to get about the country! Fascinating stuff!
Interesting to think that baby Julia, if still alive, would be older than I am. Most of the others mentioned must have died by now.

Diggle is not a common surname. There must be other records that could tell us more about the family. But as you say, it is sad, and odd, that the diary has become 'orphaned'.
 

rynner2

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#5
I was intrigued that the Diggles referred to their unborn child as Pluto. Since they liked going to the 'flicks' I guess that might have come from the Disney cartoon character.

Or maybe from the quasi-planet Pluto, discovered in 1930 - a thing of mystery, like an unborn child.

Later in the war, Pluto was the acronym for Pipelines Under the Ocean, a way to get fuel across the Channel after the D-Day invasion:- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Pluto
 

JamesWhitehead

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#6
There must be other records that could tell us more about the family.
It should be possible to trace their marriage details, given that we know his name and the approximate date. My attempts always come up against pay-walls but anyone who subscribes to genealogy sites would probably find it easily enough.

We do catch sight of the 2nd Lieutenant Diggle in this cached Army diary from 1940.

I have had slightly more luck with locations and events than people so far. My guess is that Julia would have inherited the diary and it would not have been discarded until her own death. She would have been only 70 in 2010. :(

If she married, her death notices might be under a different name.

Pluto I took to be a reference to the planet-sized baby-bump - the 1930 search-for-a-name would have coincided with Mrs Diggle's childhood. :)

Edit 16.08.2016
We may be able to date the marriage of the Diggles - obviously recent - as falling between late April, 1939 and the start of the diary. Before that, Jimmie would have been a single man between 20 and 22 years of age and liable for the call-up according to the Military Training Act of 27th April, 1939. His effective call-up comes the day before war is actually declared. On declaration of war, the Act was superseded by the National Service Act, which conscripted able-bodied men between 18 and 41.
 
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JamesWhitehead

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#7
I am bumping these three-year-old threads and may add a lot more, reluctantly offered for sale.

I cannot now edit the original posts. If interested, please let me know in the next few days, as I may disappear from the internet for a while.

If you have wants lists, I may be able to help.

James:)
 

JamesWhitehead

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#9
Where are you going?
I am going head-to-head with BT, who have leeched me dry over many years. The extent, pointed out to me, is shocking.
Their latest bill is being strongly disputed but I fear they will waste little time in cutting me off - again.

It's catching me at the worst-possible time for arranging an alternative provider and will, potentially, sabotage my income.

Small issues, I know, given the problems others face at this time! :buck:
 
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James_H

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I am going head-to-head with BT, who have leeched me dry over many years. The extent, pointed out to me, is shocking.
Their latest bill is being strongly disputed but I fear they will waste little time in cutting me off - again.

It's catching me at the worst-possible time for arranging an alternative provider and will, potentially, sabotage my income.

Small issues, I know, given the problems others face at this time! :buck:
Oh dear. Good luck. ISPs are the worst.
 

Mythopoeika

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#11
I am going head-to-head with BT, who have leeched me dry over many years. The extent, pointed out to me, is shocking.
Their latest bill is being strongly disputed but I fear they will waste little time in cutting me off - again.

It's catching me at the worst-possible time for arranging an alternative provider and will, potentially, sabotage my income.

Small issues, I know, given the problems others face at this time! :buck:
Sorry to hear that. It's wise to leave the modem turned off when you're out. Otherwise somebody could hijack it and download huge files, giving you a big bill.
 

GNC

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#12
I honestly believe in this day and age that internet access should be a human right. But there's always someone trying to exploit it, isn't there?
 
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