And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

30 May

1783
Mary Berry,
writer

‘Spent the day in visiting the principal buildings and streets of Rotterdam, which must strike all strangers with its appearance of great bustle, cheerfulness, and most remarkable cleanliness. The canals are broad with rows of trees on each side, and generally full of vessels of all sizes, which are enabled to come up to the very doors of the merchants’ and traders’ houses. The canals are crossed by drawbridges, of which there are commonly more than one in every street, and which gives them such a look of similarity that it was with difficulty I could distinguish one street from another.’

My only anxiety

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1902
Victor Trump,
sportsman

‘Finished innings. Raining . . . wet wickets. A made 36 . . . batted badly. 2nd innings made 8 n.o. Total score for no wickets. Theatre flag half mast.’

Ran about all day

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1940
Alan Brooke,
soldier

‘I can hardly believe that I have succeeded in pulling the 4 divisions out of the mess we were in, with allies giving way on all flanks. Now remains the task of embarking which will be a difficult one. Went to see how embarkation was proceeding and found the whole thing at a standstill owing to a lack of boats!! Went to see Gort and got little satisfaction. Then found Sykes telephone to sec of 1st Sea Lord, returned to Gort to get him to telephone to 1st Sea Lord to press for marines, more ships and boats. Arranged for Monty to take over Corps, Anderson to replace him [3rd Division], and Horrocks to replace Anderson [11 Infantry Brigade]. Visited all Div Commanders to say goodbye. [. . .]

Went down to beach at 7:15pm, was carried out to open boat, and with Ronnie Stanyforth and Barney Charlesworth we paddled out to the destroyer and got aboard. There I found Adam, to my great joy. We have been waiting till 10pm before starting, rather nerve wracking as the Germans are continually flying round and being shot at, and after seeing the ease with which a few bombs can sink a destroyer, it is an unpleasant feeling.

Later: We never started until 12:15am, at 3am we were brought up short with a crash. I felt certain that we had hit a mine or been torpedoed. But she remained on an even keel and after some shuffling about proceeded on slowly. I heard later from the commander that he had 3 routes to select from, one was under gun fire from the coast, one had had a submarine and mines reported in it, and the other was very shallow at low water. He chose the latter and hit the bottom, damaging a propeller slightly. Finally arrived at Dover at 7:15am. Wonderful feeling of peace after the last 3 weeks!’

A lack of boats

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1977
Paul K Lyons,
journalist and writer

‘Who is Dannie Abse? Yesterday evening my mother showed me a book of his poems, an old friend of Frederic, I was told, before I was born. A poem ‘Epithalium’ [this should be ‘Epithalamium’ - a poem for the bride on her way to the marital chamber] was pointed out - ‘Today I married my white lady in a barley field’. This evening I walk in to Pentameters because I have nothing else to do. The man himself is reading tonight. I am anxious to meet him.’

Autobiographical items

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1979
Edward Abbey,
writer

‘So. Again. Divorce and loneliness loom ahead. Can I endure it all again? If I must, I will. One thing for sure: no more hasty or impulsive marriages for me. Me and Suzi will go it on our own for a while. . .’

As big as the West

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1982
Neil Randall,
soldier

‘We moved down to goose Green through the battlefields of the day before, there was little or no cover for the advancing forces. As we approach some areas it seemed like there were discarded water proofs & ponchos laying around, it soon became clear that they were in fact the bodies of the dead Argie defenders. We could see first hand the effect our fire had on the guys in uncovered trenches “poor buggers stood no chance, why the f..... didn’t they get some over head cover on the trenches?” “I for one am glad they didn’t we might still be here trying to move the buggers, think of the blood split on both sides then!”

On the approach to the settlement Rick called the gun to a halt to grab himself a souvenir, he’d spotted a helmet laying beside a trench so he leap over and gleefully picked it up waving his prize in the air. He didn’t at first notice something sliding from it until bits hit him on the shoulder, it appeared that part of the previous owner were still inside. Needless to say Rick’s prize was quickly discarded.

It was a bloody cold night & we woke to a blanket of snow everywhere and a strange smell hanging over us, I still don’t know what it was but I can still smell it from time to time. We got to look around the devastation at the settlement, it looked like the Argies had no regard for sanitary conditions they seemed to have squatted anywhere. “We could’ve left them to it, if we hadn’t invaded the dirty sods would’ve died of dysentery all we’d had to do would’ve been send in the Pioneer corps to clean the place up.” I said.

The airfield was covered in small arms & ammunition lined up in rows where the soldiers had stood when they grounded them & walked into captivity. The locals were pleased to see us, they had been locked in the village hall for the past 30 days without any knowledge of what was happening.’

Falklands War diaries

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is the world's greatest online anthology of diary extracts. It is presented in the same way as popular books like The Assassin’s Cloak and The Faber Book of Diaries, i.e. by calendar day, but contains more, and many longer, extracts than is possible in published books. Moreover, for each quoted extract there’s a link to a Diary Review article with some or all of the following: further extracts, biographical information, contexts, a portrait, and links to online sources/etexts. Furthermore, new extracts are added on a regular basis.

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Notes and Cautions
In general, these diary extracts are quoted as given in the published (book or online) source referred to in the reference articles. Each extract may be all, a large part of, or a small part of the complete entry for that day. I have tried to indicate where text has been removed from within a quote by the use of trailing dots in square bracket.

For any other use of these diary extracts other than browsing please refer to the original sources.

Any author, publisher or other copyright holder who takes the view that I am unacceptably breaching their copyright please let me know. I have tried to remain sensitive to copyright rules (using far fewer quotes, for example, when a book, by an author still alive, remains in print and popular), but it is not practical for me to seek authorisation for every quote and article, since I maintain these websites without any funding or advertis-ing. I take the view that publicity for the source books is a quid pro quo for my use of the extracts, but I am more than happy to remove the extracts if asked.

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The Diary Junction is one of those wonderful privately maintained public resources for which the Internet is justly celebrated: a database of information about celebrated and obscure diaries[over 500] from all historical periods, with referrals to the dates the diaries cover, where the originals are held and bibliographic information on published versions.’ Laura Miller, Salon

The Diary Review, hosted by Blogger, publishes magazine-style articles on diaries and diarists, usually several every week. The blog has been publishing for over five years, and is the secondary source for the diary extracts in this online anthology.