Solving the puzzle

In researching the background to the origins and publication of Anne Hughes' Diary it is very easy to make assumptions and to follow false trails. Just as the published version of the Diary is probably a mixture of fact and fiction, so it seems are the stories that have come down to us about its origins. Over time stories get altered, rather like Chinese Whispers. Assumptions made by those trying to resolve the puzzle become a further confusing factor if taken by later researchers as fact. The ambiguity in the way some of Jeanne’s and her daughter Molly’s statements were made or recorded may be one cause. An illustration of this is Michael Croucher’s suggestion that the American soldier he mentions was an airman. This could be right or he may himself have been misled. In WW2, of course, America’s air force was still part of the army and in the absence of visible insignia the uniforms were very much similar. So a soldier in a black and white photograph could be in either the US Army or the US Army Air Force, yet you couldn’t tell which. In the task of finding one man among the 2 or 3 million American servicemen located in the UK in 1944, knowing the correct service in which to look is, to say the least, helpful. Michael’s clue is nonetheless important when you discover that among the US servicemen, at some time quartered near where Jeanne lived, were an Army Engineer company who had previously built airstrips and airbase support facilities. Or are we jumping to our own conclusions?

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