Jan 31 /42 Sat. 8.15 P.M.
# HUGE FIRE AT ‘HMS ROYAL ARTHUR’
# BENGHAZI RE-TAKEN BY GERMANS
# JAPANESE THREATEN SINGAPORE
# STRANGE DREAM OF JAPAN

Evison came this afternoon. No chance of another wireless apparently. So we are having this one renovated, cost 30S/0 or maybe a little more. We may get it back in a week or 10 days. Miss Scott’s sister (Brenda’s mother) came too to ask Father to take Mr S. to Louth at 10 o’clock on Monday morning. At about 1.45 am this morning just before Father came off watch they saw a fiery glow like a big red moon, then it burst suddenly into a huge fire at Roy. Arthur and spread rapidly. We have heard to-day that no-one was hurt. It was in the Catering Dept. and Gloucester House was burnt out. The Duchess of Glo. opened this a year or two ago and the new wing of Sk[egness] Cott[age] Hospital. She has a little son some weeks old now, who is to be named Prince William. Am writing this in indelible pencil as we are in the kit. tonight and I forgot to bring the ink out and sit. room is not blacked-out. I can’t fetch it. Thought as we had no wireless and Father was on watch at 8 we would not mess up room so shan’t have to clean it tomorrow. Side a little better to-day. It has snowed on and off all day but not much lays on the ground, thawed a bit so roads will be slippery if it freezes, it did freeze at dusk but don’t think it is very sharp yet. It was dull when I looked out about 7.30. Skinned rabbit, it was very fat inside, its kidneys buried in fat and great lumps of fat on its shoulders under the skin. I threw fat to the birds and the gulls were on it as soon as it touched the ground. They are getting very tame. Jean’s cold at its height to-day I think, she has not been out, but is not quite so snuffy to-night. Got a bot. of cherry cough mixture from Hall’s 8D. Will loosen phlegm I think. Can hear the sea, think tide is in.

Gers have taken Benghazi again and Japs are within 15 miles of Singapore. Last night I had a queer dream, I thought we had taken a business in Japan, some kind of shop, and found we were very much in subjection to them. We seemed quite well off and I asked a person, she was a very beautiful Japanese lady about 30 I should think, (there was a plainer one with her but she did not seem to have any authority) whether I could close the shop one evening at 6 and go for a drive with some friends. She impressed (that is the only word for it) on me that on no account must I close the shop before 9 o’clock. That was the time and the consequence to us would be terrible if we disobeyed in any way, the commands of the Japs. I remember I was not afraid when I asked her, in fact I only mentioned it rather casually, but I still feel the awful sinking at heart and despair as she impressed her inexorable will on me and the determined look in her dark and very lovely eyes. I wondered why we had ever come there to do business, as I thought there would never be a chance of escape. Finished Jean’s sock to-day, she has got them on. Eva expects to go to Peterboro’ to learn El[ectrical] engineering she says, but what she is to do takes only a week to learn and she thinks has to do with fixing El. Stoves and telephones. Norman Swift is on draft leave. Am sorry for his poor almost bedridden mother. Rene said G.ma was very poorly, had diarrhoea but was a little better this afternoon. Seems to be several planes about tonight, think they are ours going out. Guess Ron and Emmie are at pantomime now.

Miss Scott’s sister, described as Brenda’s mother, has not been identified.

Benghazi in western Libya had already changed hands during 1941 and was again taken by the Germans under General Rommel on 29th January 1942. It was finally re-taken and held by the British under Montgomery later in 1942.

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