1.8.42

If the figures given are correct, the Germans have lost about 10 per cent of their strength in each of the last raids. According to Peter Masefield this isn’t anything to do with the new guns but has all been done by the night fighters. He also told me that the new FW 190 fighter is much better than any fighter we now have in actual service. [An aircraft construction man named Bowyer who was broadcasting together with him agreed with this.] Oliver Stewart considers that the recent German raids are reconnaissance raids and that they intend starting the big blitz again soon, at any rate if they can get their hands free in Russia. [1]

Not much to do over the bank holiday weekend. [2] Busy at every odd moment making a hen-house. This kind of thing now needs great ingenuity owing to the extreme difficulty of getting hold of timber. No sense of guilt or time-wasting when I do anything of this type – on the contrary, a vague feeling that any sane occupation must be useful, or at any rate justifiable.

[1] Peter Masefield (1914-2006; Kt. 1972), was war correspondent with the RAF and US Eighth Air Force, 1939-43. Became Chief Executive of British European Airways, 1949-52. He was scheduled to discuss Aviation in one of Orwell’s broadcasts to India on 31 July 1942 with Oliver Stewart (1895-1976, editor of Aeronautics, 1939-62), but when he had to drop out, Orwell engaged E.C. Bowyer who was on the staff of the Society of British Aircraft Constructors.

[2] The weekend would have been spent at the Orwells’ cottage at Wallington.   

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