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Prelude: the outbreak of war

David Holbrook and D-Day

For most of 1939 the schoolboy David Holbrook, living in Norfolk, kept a pictorial diary in a small pocket-sized volume showing a week to a view. It is a document of considerable charm, revealing a temperament which combined both bookish and boisterous elements. As the spring and summer progressed with the study of Keats and Paradise lost, examinations, cricket and rowing, a demonstration of air raid precautions, and helping with the harvest, the outbreak of war in Europe drew ever closer. The diary records that on 3 September, the day Britain entered the War, Holbrook spent time digging a shelter, and the first air raid siren was heard at three o’clock the following morning.