I’ve been sharing the entries from a diary my mum and her sisters kept during the war, of their experiences as teenagers meeting young soldiers not much older than they were, stationed nearby before being sent abroad.

14th – 25th September 1940

Harold Leonard Scott    Date of birth – 31st August 1918
Middlesex Yeomanry.   Despatch Rider.
Home :- Croydon
Stationed:- Newton Hall

Monica and Audrey went to  dance at Newton on the 14th September. What gad-abouts we are getting! it was here that Audrey met Bill. Such a tal (6′ 2″) good looking boy; he didn’t look more than 19years old and when Audrey got home she accused herself of baby-snatching!

He and Jack (who was in the Signals and whom we also met at this dance) came to tea on Sunday, the 15th September. Bill was a real “handy-man;” this first time he came he mended the drawing-room door lock. In civil life he was an accountant working for a firm in Golden Square, London.

Bill came over by himself to supper on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. On Saturday, 21st September, Monica and Audrey went to another dance at Newton and Bill then promised to come to tea the next day, Sunday.He didn’t turn up and we began to think he had gone away, when he came on the Tuesday evening and then again on Wednesday. It was on Wednesday, he arranged to come early on the Friday, but the next morning Thursday, a Corporal came to the door with a message for Audrey from Bill, saying he had been chosen as an advance guard and left Newton at 9 o’clock that morning, but that he would write to her. He has not done so and we have heard no more of him.

What’s happened Bill?

The girls with their parents, Reg and Ida Matthews

What delightful times we always have at the Newton Dances! We think we would just like to remember “the Liverpool Fellow” “the Doormouse” and “Granny.” We do not know their real names so as usual gave them nick-names. They helped us to enjoy ourselves at many dances, and it was fun knowing them.

Who knows what happened to Bill; I found records of  a Harold Scott’s death in 1942, and another in 1945, both were corporals, but neither were in the Middlesex Yeomanry. I cannot find Bill in other death notices either so maybe he emigrated? Who knows! I get the feeling that Audrey really liked Bill; they knew him for such a brief time but she was obviously struck by his good looks and was anxious that he just disappeared.

Audrey makes two little spelling mistakes in this entry – despatch and doormouse (dormouse); she usually was an impeccable speller all through her life!

Although an exciting time, and fun, it must have been emotionally quite chaotic for these young women… they certainly had a freedom which they would not have had under other circumstances with strict parents, and to have met up with these dashing young men, to find friendship and affection for them and then for them which would end when they were  torn away by war.

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