Today’s exams were Physics, French and Trigonometry. I did very badly in the French but I should get 50% in the others.
At 1.10pm the altos had a special practice in the Music Room.
I came home on the Special Bus.
Mam and Dad went to the cinema as usual. I went to bed at 7.45 and read my Meccano Magazines and did some Chemistry revision until nine o’clock. I moved into my own bedroom on Wednesday evening.
I finished reading Stolen Journey last night. It was a good book in general but tended to be rather boring in some of the earlier chapters.
We had our Chemistry examination after break this morning. It wasn’t too bad.
I came home through town as I wanted to have a look in one or two of the shops. There seemed to be quite a distinct Christmassy atmosphere everywhere. I got home for 2.30pm.
We are gradually getting the lounge furnished. We had the two armchairs already. Now we have a carpet — it came yesterday. This afternoon a settee, which Dad had had newly re-upholstered, arrived, but the front door had to be taken off in order to get it in the house. It was a bit of a struggle even then.
Snow fell during the night and lay over an inch thick this morning. I got up at 9.30, made a pot of tea and lit the fire. Then I put some bread out in the garden & there were soon no less than three dozen birds on the lawn. One starling kept vainly trying to balance on a tall pea-stick.
I stayed in for most of the day reading and revising Geography notes.
I don’t think any snow fell during the night but we have had plenty today.
At school we had the last of our exams — Geography.
We have now had nearly all our results: these are as follows:—
Nothing else happened at school. I came home on the Special.
Tonight I took Hound for her walk.
As usual nothing much happened at school today. In Scripture we are continuing our comparison of the Gospels. In Maths we are doing Geometry & in English we are reading some of W.W. Jacob’s short stories — and we also read more of The Taming of the Shrew.
I came home through town and bought a copy of the B.B.C. Year Book 1951.
This afternoon I did some Maths and French.
Tonight I have been to Cubs as usual and I am going to bed after I have had a bath. I took Ginger for her evening walk.
I dreamt last night that I missed the Special. I did. It was about 8.49 when I got down the village. It was 9.15 when I got off the tram, but by a piece of great good luck I got into school just on time.
In Biology Mr. Monkcom dissected a white rat.
After dinner I finished off a little French prep and then bought three school Christmas cards. I still had over half an hour left so I went into the field. Chadwin was just coming out of the Park. In the field we saw a Meadow Pipit and a Coal Tit. In the snow were the tracks of a fox, a pheasant and several magpies.
Nothing else happened all day. After school I had an alto practice.
Tonight I have blancoed my belt and gaiters.
I again missed the S.B. today though it actually went a few minutes early. [It is timed to leave at 8.42am].
In J.T.C. after Battalion Parade, all members of the Choir were dismissed for a special practice which lasted until 12.55.
I went straight home & after dinner cycled back to school to play for the Second XV v Kay’s. The snow had disappeared but Brookside pitch [at Eastern Road] was waterlogged so we played on Park Vale pitch. We had only been playing ten minutes when, as I was about to touch down in a breakaway from a line-out, I was stopped by someone grabbing my running vest which tore in half. I had to borrow a shirt & the game was held up for five minutes.
We lost 31–5.
I caught the Special this morning without much ado.
After prayers the Choir spent a period rehearsing for Sunday’s service.
At dinner time I played football for the first time for weeks & scored three or four goals.
At 2.25 the Choir had to go to Edgbaston Church for a practice. I got home after this for ten to five.
This evening Mam & Dad have gone to the cinema.
Korean War Diary for Nov. 22nd–December 6th:—
23rd. U.N. forces launch offensive in N. Korea.
24th. General assault on 60-mile front.
25th. Offensive checked by counter attacks.
26th. S. Korean forces compelled to withdraw.
27th. 27th. U.N. forces withdraw all along line.
28th. MacA. says 200, 000 Chinese fighting in K.
29th. U.N. Army retreats across R. Chongchu.
Dec. 2nd. Chinese “reds” advance on Pyongyang.
Dec. 6th. U.N. forces take up defensive positions south of Pyongyang, N. Korean capital.
Today was the Choir’s half holiday so I stayed in bed until nine o’clock.
After breakfast I went down the village shopping. When I got back I repaired a picture frame.
I stayed in after dinner and finished a map in my Regional Geography notebook. Then I drew a picture of Mont Blanc while I listened to a commentary on the Arsenal v Blackpool match.
After tea I took Ginger for a walk as far as Tyseley and back.
It rained all this morning so I stayed in. We were very late with breakfast so we did not bother with any dinner.
Mam & Dad went to a School service of carols and lessons at Edgbaston Church. The lessons were read by Mr. Ballance, the Second Master [Mr. E.V. Smith], the Head [Mr. T.E.B. Howarth], a Boy, a K.E. Scholar, a Foundation Scholar, the School Captain [P.A. Gardner] & Vice-Captain [G.T. Lyall].
The Choir sang King Jesus Hath a Garden, Adam lay Ybounden, Quem Pastores, The Holly & the Ivy, the Coventry Carol, Es ist ein’ Ros’ entsprungen and Quelle est cette odeur agréable?. There were in addition several hymns sung by the congregation.
The Gym was inhabited today by several aspiring, and no doubt perspiring, youths who were partaking in that noble competition generally referred to as the P.T. Handicap Competition. Mr. Benett gave us permission to go and watch if we wished but Chadwin, Durnell, Hollingworth and I did some advanced mapwork. I found the gradient of the River Avon in the Cambrians. It varied from 1 in 13.8 to 1 in 3.3 and then 1 in 308! It was interesting work & we spent the first two periods in this way.
After break I watched the P.T. & played football in the dinner hour.
At 2.45 we had a Julian Horner concert given by the Gilbert String Quartet.
We had normal lessons today. I stayed at school in order to go cross-country running but no one else went so I did not go.
This afternoon I went shopping for Mam.
I went to Cubs as usual this evening. Neither Mr. Winters nor Mr. Thornborough was able to be present so I was in complete charge, as I usually am now, until Mr. Harvey came at 7.30pm.
[It is Clarice’s 11th birthday: I remember her being born and giving her a Remembrance day poppy].
We did little in the way of lessons at school today except in Biology, Maths and French. I had a special Docker Cup parade at 1.0pm but nothing else happened all day.
This evening I blancoed my belt, gaiters and pouches, and pressed my tunic and trousers. This evening I also went round to Phil’s to rehearse some carols with Ian [Hunt] as well. I stayed until nine o’clock.
I received notification that I am employed by the G.P.O. for telegraph delivery from next Monday for a few days.
I had to give my talk in French during first period today. Unfortunately I mislaid it and had to give it more or less from memory.
The Docker Cup results are not yet available but I doubt whether our platoon will win the cup. We did our drill during a snow storm which kept on into the late afternoon. Mam had gone to town to do some shopping.
Tonight I worked out my End-of-Term averages:—
We broke up for the Christmas Holidays this morning. We went to form rooms until 10.15am when we had House meetings.
The breaking up ceremony began at 10.45. The Headmaster presented the Docker Cup to Sgt. G.R. Green (7 Pl; 3 Pl was 5th). The Cup for the cadet with the smartest turn-out was presented to John Adams.
I came home through town as I wanted to have a look at the tropical fish in Lewis’s Pets Corner. I got home for about a quarter to two.
For the first time ever the School Chronicle has failed to appear at the end of term — it will appear on January 11th next term.
Nothing else happened all day.
After breakfast this morning I went shopping for Mam on my bicycle. After this I stayed in until dinner time.
After dinner I spent most of the afternoon drawing one or two pictures. I also listened to a Middlesbrough v Portsmouth commentary on the radio.
Mam and Dad went to town to do some shopping.
I decided to go to see The Duchess of Idaho at the Olton cinema in the evening. It was an American film in Technicolor and a very good one too. It was good all round entertainment. The principle stars were Van Johnson and Esther Williams. The other film was called The Violent Hour, a fairly good film and again in Technicolor.
When I came out of the cinema at 10.30 some snow had fallen.
As usual I got up first today and made the tea. Before breakfast I went round to [Dorlings] the newsagent’s, taking Ginger with me.
After breakfast I washed up and then went out to clear away the snow. A small amount fell again in the morning but in general the snow appeared to be thawing. The wind, I noted, started from N.W.
After dinner I wrote some more of Smugglers’ Bay. Looking through last year’s diary I see that I started the book on August 21st 1949. Now it really is being [sic] to take shape — I spent all the evening writing.
Clarice had her birthday party today.
This morning I started work as a telegraph-boy at Acocks Green Post Office. On arrival at 9.0am I was given a pouch and arm-band. I did not get a telegram until 9.45: this was for Sarehole Road. Later I delivered one to Braemar Road, Olton.
My dinner “hour” was from 12.0 till 12.40. I delivered six telegrams in the afternoon: to Southam Road — Hall Green, then Stratford Road and Shaftmoor Lane and finally Olton Boulevard East, Hartfield Crescent and Hazelmere Road. I used my own bicycle. It snowed all day almost.
This evening I have listened to the last instalment of “Paul Temple”.
[My school report has come:—
ENGLISH Writes a very good style and works very well. (Mr. L.K.J. Cooke)
GEOGRAPHY Not good enough. He is taking things too easily. (Mr. J.F. Benett)
FRENCH A keen and willing worker but he needs to widen his vocabulary and increase his grammatical accuracy. (Mr. A.E. Leeds)
MATHEMATICS Good, has worked very well throughout the term. 2nd. (Mr. J.C. Roberts)
PHYSICS He has worked conscientiously and well. 3rd. (Mr. J.B. Whinnerah)
CHEMISTRY Steady work and good progress. (Mr. J.B. Guy)
BIOLOGY Good work during the term. Examination result rather disappointing. (Mr. M.E. Monkcom)
FORM MASTER A good term’s work — except in Geography. (Mr. J.B. Whinnerah)
HOUSE MASTER Very useful indeed. (Mr. J.D. Copland)
HEADMASTER He is coming on well now. T.E.B.H. (Mr. Howarth)
It is much better being in a smaller form, especially as I am now free of the boy who has been shoving me around and threatening me for the last three years.]
Rain fell last night and cleared away the snow but left the roads in a filthy state. By dinner time both Bob’s bicycle and my boots were completely spattered with mud.
I delivered ten telegrams in the morning, all in the Hall Green district. After dinner I had to collect an express parcel from Stockfield [Road Congregational Church] Hall which has been temporarily converted into a sorting office for parcels. After this I delivered another four ‘grams after which I went home at 4.30, half an hour early.
I went to Cubs tonight. We did not use the [Golden Hillock Road] school-room. I played snooker most of the evening and took Ginger for her evening walk when I got home at 8.45pm.
I delivered twenty two telegrams all today, as usual in Hall Green particularly along the Stratford Road and Baldwins Lane. Although no snow or rain fell the roads were still very wet and dirty.
I had some difficulty with one telegram addressed to 82 Webb Lane. I could find no even-numbered house above 58, so I delivered it to 83 which was apparently the correct address.
I got home at last at about half past five.
During the evening I wrote a letter to Bob while listening to the radio.
I had to use a Post Office bicycle today as the front brake cable on Bob’s bicycle snapped and the back brake was non-existent. I brought it home at dinner time and, by a curious coincidence, Bob sent a van to collect it during the afternoon.
I managed to obtain fifty-five minutes for my dinner hour and this gave me time to buy a few more Christmas cards.
I delivered twenty-six telegrams and one parcel today.
This evening the “Barnardo Octet” put in its annual performance & this was our finest ever performance. We had two girls singing for us tonight. Altogether we collected £3, which was just ten shillings better than last year.
Today I delivered thirty telegrams in Hall Green and Olton. There is little to record except that I worked an extra hour as overtime.
One of my journeys took me across the canal at Lincoln Road North and here there must have been over a dozen Herring Gulls gliding overhead. No doubt the cold weather and subsequent shortage of food is responsible for bringing them over a hundred miles inland. As the wind has been south-westerly for the past few days I should say they are from South Wales and the Bristol Channel.
This evening I have been listening to the radio. Mam and Dad are at the cinema as usual.
Today was my last day at the Post Office and I delivered about twenty four telegrams and a parcel. During the week I worked forty nine hours and earned £3 1s 3d plus 3s 9d for the use of my bicycle and less 2s 10d [National] insurance.
I gave Mam the three pounds but I received 28s 3d in tips which helped to buy my aquarium and Christmas presents. I finished work today at five o’clock and then finished buying presents.
After tea I went to the Warwick to see George Formby in Much Too Shy. It was an enjoyable comedy though not in the same class as The Happiest Days of Your Life. The other film was Outlaws of the Orient.
Nothing much happened all today. I went out for a short time in the morning with Ginger.
Part of the afternoon I spent writing my book and I continued it in the evening before taking Ginger for her evening walk.
Korean War Diary for Dec 6th–19th:—
7th. Chinese troops attack both ends of 8th Army’s new line in Western Korea.
12th. Twenty seven full Chinese divisions estimated to be in Korea.
13th. Soviet delegates oppose resolution for cease-fire in Korea.
14th. U.N. General Assembly adopts cease-fire resolution.
17th. U.N. forces complete withdrawal from port of Hamsung.
18th. U.S. naval forces shell Chinese positions in Korea from the sea.
19th. President Truman agrees to the appointment of Gen. Eisenhower as supreme-commander of W. European defence force to be set up.
I heard the church bells heralding Christmas Day at midnight. They sound very beautiful.
I had several presents including a fine Kelton wrist-watch which I have always wanted. I also had My Boyhood in a Parsonage by Thomas W. Lamont [the American philanthropist and banker whose father was a Methodist minister], a Datada Diary 1951, a large jig-saw puzzle from Freda and some fruit and nuts.
During the day we listened to the morning service and to H.M. The King at 3.0pm fo|lowed by Wilfred Pickles’ Christmas Party, and later on to Charlie Chester in “keep Smiling”. The annual B.B.C. party was broadcast from 7.30 to 8.55pm.
During the morning Dad & I took Ginger for a run in the park, but we spent the rest of the day indoors. It did not snow.
I got up first this morning, made the tea, and went back to bed again. We got up so late that we had our breakfast for dinner.
Grandad came at about one o’clock.
This afternoon Dad and I went to see Birmingham City play Manchester City. Blues won 1–nil with a goal by Trigg in the last minute. Last year Blues beat Man. City with a last minute goal by Brennan.
Today’s game was a very good one in spite of the slippery conditions. Trautman, the Manchester goalkeeper [who used to be a German prisoner-of-war] played very well but was lucky when a shot from Berry, which he thought was going over, hit the bar. Birmingham were by far the better team. At present their record is:— P25, W12, L8, D5, For 40, A g 32, Pts 29, Posn 4th. Coventry are 1st–-30 pts.
Before breakfast today I went down the village to buy a newspaper. Later in the morning Dad and I took Ginger to Hall Green for a trial but none were held [sic] today so Ginger had a run in the park instead.
After dinner I stayed in writing more of my book and then read a book.
After tea we all [five of us] went to the Olton cinema to see Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Joan Caulfield in Blue Skies, a Paramount Technicolor film. It was an enjoyable film. As supporting films there was one about the city of Basle in Switzerland and a “Popeye” film.
When we got back I took Ginger for her walk.
It has been cold today and snow has fallen. There are still plenty of gulls in Acocks Green [perhaps from Olton Reservoir].
It was 10.15 when I awoke this morning. After having breakfast Julia and I walked to Hall Green where I had to arrange for a trial for Ginger next week.
After we had been to the race-track we walked along Cateswell Road to Tyseley and back home along Warwick Road. Ginger was with us, of course.
I stayed in all the afternoon and looked through some copies of the Children’s Own magazine which I used to write when I was at Hartfield Crescent [Junior School]. Altogether I wrote sixteen editions, as a monthly magazine from March 1946 to March 1947, as a quarterly between Autumn 1947 and Summer 1948.
This evening I read Gunby Hadath’s The Fifth Feversham. [“The Tough of the Track” has started up again in today’s Rover, No. 1331. The cover features “School Badges worn by Rover readers”, but there is a mistake, as Bournville Day Continuation College has been spelt with an “e”. I think it must be because the boy who sent it in is D. Bourne, 68 Dimsdale Road, Northfield.]
This morning I took Clarice and Julia to town. We went to Pets’ Corner in Lewis’s to see some of the tropical fish. It was 1.30 when we got back.
After dinner I took down the latest weather readings and bundled up the waste paper. Later in the afternoon I went down the village with Mam to help with the shopping. Ginger came with us.
This evening Mam and Dad have gone to the cinema while I have been reading the January 1951 B.O.P.
Korean War Diary for December 20th–26th:—
Dec. 20th. Fighting reported to have broken out on a 30-mile front in N.W. Korea.
23rd. Gen. W.H. Walker, 8th Army commander, killed in road accident near Seoul. Lieut. Gen. M.B. Ridgway appointed successor.
24th. Evacuation of U.S. X Corps from Hungnan beachhead completed. Seoul evacuated.
Nothing much happened all this morning. I was out for an hour and a half shopping for Mam. I took Hound with me.
After dinner Dad and I went to St. Andrews to see B’ham City play Notts County. Blues’ team was: Merrick; Green, Badham; Boyd, Atkins, Ferris; Stewart, Higgins, Trigg, Smith and Berry. Notts County included Lawton and Broome. Blues scored first through Stewart then Sewell and Crookes scored for Notts Co.
In the second half only Trigg of the forwards kept his original position owing to injuries to Badham and Higgins, and Sewell and Crookes scored again making the score 4–1.
On the radio tonight I listened to a very fine play “Libel” by Edward Wooll in Saturday Night Theatre.
There are now only seventy five minutes of 1950 left and in this book alone I should have written something in the region of forty-two thousand words.
Today I have stayed in for most of the time.
After dinner we listened to “Life with the Lyons” and the first of a new series of “P.C.49”.
Tonight I have been reading a book and have taken Ginger for her evening walk.
In London at this moment big crowds are gathering around the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square ready to welcome the new year.
Here endeth this Diary 1950.