On 15th March 1941 Alec Moss and his wife Lucie were at home, at 57 Melbourne Avenue, Palmers Green, when the dance hall on the corner of Green Lanes and Princes Avenue was hit by a bomb and a passing bus was caught by the explosion. Alec duly noted the details in the diary he had been keeping since the start of World War 2.

57 Melbourne Ave 1950

The family home in Melbourne Avenue, photographed in 1950

It's one of the more dramatic moments in Alec's diary, now published by his grandson, but there were many more scenes of wartime destruction witnessed by the 43-year old First World War veteran as he made his way round central London visiting his firm's customers and suppliers, noting the roads that were closed, and the notable buildings that had been destroyed. The impression that comes across is of people taking all this in their stride and just getting on with things - for instance, ten hours after the destruction of the bus, London Transport employees were already fixing the damaged trolleybus wires in Green Lanes.

Alex Khan came across his grandfather's wartime diary while clearing out the house that had belonged to his late Uncle Laurie. Alec Moss took up his pen five days after the declaration of war, and the volume that his nephew discovered runs up to late August 1941, at the height of the German offensive on the Soviet Union.

Read more about this fascinating diary - now published and available in print or as an ebook - on the Palmers Green Community website. It's not just an account of the war - told with contemporary insights - but a detailed picture of domestic life and work in the pre-TV and pre-Internet age.

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Connecting the communities of Bowes Park and Bounds Green in north London.

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