The money situation is becoming completely unbearable. . . . Wrote a long letter to the Income Tax people pointing out that the war had practically put an end to my livelihood while at the same time the government refused to give me any kind of a job. The fact which is really relevant to a writer’s position, the impossibility of writing books with this nightmare going on, would have no weight officially. . . . Towards the government I feel no scruples and would dodge paying the tax if I could. Yet I would give my life for England readily enough, if I thought it necessary. No one is patriotic about taxes.
No real news for days past. Only air battles, in which, if the reports are true, the British always score heavily. I wish I could talk to some R.A.F. officer and get some kind of idea whether these reports are truthful.
 The fact that Orwell was being pressed for income tax is of interest in the light of his near-poverty in the thirties. In 1939 only some twenty percent of the population paid income tax (see Dearden Farrow, 19.2.85). Orwell’s difficulties, common to writers, actors, and others, may have been caused by higher earnings in an earlier year (for example, royalties for The Road to Wigan Pier) and because Eileen’s earnings would then, for tax, be treated as his.
 Fewer planes were actually shot down than British and German air forces claimed at the time. On 14 August the Royal Air Force claimed to have shot down 144 German planes; this was revised to 71 after the war, when German records could be examined. On that day, the RAF lost 16 planes, but eight pilots were saved. On 15 September 185 German planes were claimed; this proved to be 56; 26 RAF planes were lost, but half the pilots were rescued. This was the largest number claimed for any day of the Battle of Britain. From July to the end of October, the claim was 2,698 German planes shot down; the correct number was 1,733. The Germans claimed 3,058 RAF planes, but only 915 were lost. To what extent this was deliberate official exaggeration and to what degree overenthusiastic reporting by pilots is difficult to assess. Peter Davison