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World War ll London Blitz:  Buy On Smashwords
I am the great-granddaughter of Ruby Side Thompson. 
Recently I started re-reading the World War ll journals and felt that they were such an important part of a history that will soon be forgotten if not published and shared with the world. These diary excerpts are not the entirety of what is published in print and kindle.
Ruby grew up during a time when education was just beginning to be encouraged for both upper and middle class women. During the late 1890's Ruby explored many radical political ideas of London, England. She met many famous people including the writers George Bernard Shaw and William Butler Yeats. 
5.0 out of 5 stars A choice pick, not to be overlooked, November 6, 2011 By Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA)

World War ll London Blitz: 7-5-43 General Sikorski was killed last night in an accident, taking off from Gibraltar. Everyone else in the plane was also killed, except the pilot, who is severely injured. The plane was a Liberator bomber, in which he was returning to London from the Middle East. I suppose this is another of those very convenient “accidents”.

Purchase Diary's :

July 5, 1943

General Sikorski was killed last night in an accident, taking off from Gibraltar. Everyone else in the plane was also killed, except the pilot, who is severely injured. The plane was a Liberator bomber, in which he was returning to London from the Middle East. I suppose this is another of those very convenient “accidents”. 



July 7, 1943 

I have a guess that our invasion of Europe began last night, though nothing has been mentioned on the radio this morning. The B.B.C. did not even report that our bombers were out over Germany last night! Ted says, “of course not!” They’ve got to cook up the reports first. Nevertheless the air activities over this neighborhood last night were tremendous. We were wakened about midnight by planes directly overhead, and the zooming intensified and went on and on until about three-thirty this morning. Literally thousands of planes must have passed over us. Our planes, for there was no alarm, and no gunfire. The sky as far as we could see, was ablaze with searchlights. They ranged in orderly placing like great shooks of wheat or corn all over the heavens and above them, clear skies, and the multitudes of the stars. It was a beautiful but fearsome sight. It affected me physically of course. I trembled, and my legs cramped, and my stomach turned over and I retched so much that this morning my ribs are sore. I am so tired from nerves and lack of sleep; I’m ready to weep. Of course, all the flying might have been simply practice; air maneuvers yet I don’t really think so. The Germans opened their long promised, but long delayed, attack on Russia on Monday, so probably we have opened on them with the dreaded Second Front. We’ll know later of course but when there have been practices of night flying in big formation before, the B.B.C. has always informed us it was so the next morning. This morning the B.B.C. was absolutely mum. As Ted says, they’re cooking up what they will say to us. Oh, this damned war! I grow angrier and angrier about it. Not angry with the Germans but angry with all men, and the stupidity of war enrages me. It is a mad world all right. Yet it need not be. That is the awful tragedy of it. Oh God, when will sanity and peace return to us? 


July 8, 1943 

No information about Tuesday night, so we conclude our flyers were simply practicing maneuvers against searchlights.

July 10, 1943

News first thing this morning that the Allies have made successful landings in Sicily; English, American and Canadian troops making the invasion; and General Eisenhower has broadcast from Algiers to the French of Metropolitan France to keep calm, assuring them that the first step in the invasion of Europe has taken place, and liberation is coming to them in due course, but meanwhile to do nothing rash, they will be duly informed what to do when there is anything they can do, but for the moment they must make no rash acts, but keep calm, keep calm! President Roosevelt has sent a letter to the Pope, giving assurance that the Allies will effect the liberation of Italy from the Fascists, and that the safety and neutrality of Vatican State will be strictly observed.

July 13, 1943

There was an alert in the night, so came downstairs just before three a.m. Before that we had heard an enormous flock of our planes going out. At one today we were told our home-based bombers had made a large raid on Turin last night. So I suppose it was some of them we heard passing over. The moon is now in her second quarter, so I expect we shall have raids every night now for the next two weeks. B.B.C. Says a town in the Southeast was bombed last night, causing damage and casualties but of course they do not say where. We had a bad day light raid last Friday. The alert came whilst we were at tea, about five-fifteen p.m. The worst of that one was on Croydon, where a cinema got a direct hit. It was full of children, who had gone in straight after school hours, and also many W.A.A.F. girls.

July 14, 1943

I was awakened by gunfire about three-thirty this morning, and came downstairs, where I remained until five o’clock. Ted remained in bed, as always, but I cannot stay upstairs once the alert is given, or the guns begin.

I was very wakeful and did a lot of thinking. I found myself involuntarily reciting the memorare, and with belief. This is instinctive faith. Is it fear, which creates religion? Or is it necessary for people of today to experience fear, so as to be driven to God, to the experience of God? I don’t know, I only know that it is so. Fear and beauty, these are the two great incontrovertible compulsions which drive us directly to God. Then if to God, I thought why not to church? To the only Church, the Catholic, the Roman Catholic.

Of course when the gunfire awakened me my annoyance had passed away in my sleep, but some solution of lost love had evidently been thrown up, for I found myself thinking in the early morning of this everlasting problem of the conflict of the sexes and its strain. It is like this I thought: the most important thing in the world to man is the gratification of his sexuality, the most important thing in the world to a woman is marriage with its security and support, but in marriage a woman wishes to be loved for herself alone, for her personality, not her body, for her mind and soul, not her womb, and, after satiety, a man become tired of the economic responsibilities of a wife. Keeping a wife is a luxury men would like to dispose of; thence comes the strife and the natural disappointment and dissatisfaction. Legality holds, religion, law, and society hold man and wife together till death does them part, and this is a good thing, it is the wisdom of the ages, luckily for both of them. So they adjust themselves to the harness, ease them as best they can to the gall of it, they accommodate to each other, and that is the successful marriage. 
 

Evening. The B.B.C. has reported speeches made today at Claridge's, made at a luncheon given to Sir Basil Brooke, the new Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. Sir Basil said that the Border created no differences it merely recognized them. Eire was neutral and Ulster was at war. One of the many results of this was that the bases in the South, which might have saved lives and shortened the struggle in the long and terrible Battle of the Atlantic, has been denied to the Allied fighting forces…but it was Ulster’s proud privilege that her ports and her airfields should be used by the armed forces of the Allies… Mr. Morrison said, in the light of the relationship between Ireland and this country in this war, it was bound to have a permanently modifying affect on many people’s opinions in this country… You cannot avoid the fact that in the North, there has been a positive loyalty and cooperation with Great Britain. It is not only that, the great thing is that in the North there has been a positive and courageous loyalty to the cause of human freedom and for the destruction of a menace to our freedom and liberties. Southern Ireland has preferred to stay neutral, the tragic thing is that Eire, a country which has fought many battles for what it conceived to be the cause of liberty in one way or another, should have stood aside neutral and indifferent to this, one of the most dramatic and fateful struggles in the history of all mankind. That does not stand us too well in the history of the nations.”

July 16, 1943

I am very tired. An alert sounded soon after midnight and the all clear at one forty-five a.m. There was a new alert at two a.m. and no all clear until after three o’clock. I spent practically the whole time downstairs. I did not go back to bed after the first all clear, but came down stairs again almost immediately afterwards. 


July 17, 1943

Yesterday Churchill and Roosevelt; to capitulate, to save them, and not to continue to die for Hitler, to throw over Mussolini and his Fascist Government, broadcast appeals to the Italian people. How can they? In Sicily over twenty thousand Italians have surrendered, but they are soldiers, what can the people of Italy do?

World War ll London Blitz: 6-24-43 The R.A.F. is bombing Europe both day and night.

Purchase Diary's :

June 24, 1943

Joan came and spent the day with us last Tuesday; the first time I have seen her in a couple of months. She tells me bombs have destroyed Hampshire Hog House. (Another part of my youth gone.) We have been having raids practically every night these past three weeks. I come downstairs, but Ted remains in bed. The war is awful, worse and worse. The R.A.F. is bombing Europe both day and night. Yesterday the B.B.C. told us that during the past twenty-four hours we had two thousand bombers over Germany. The Americans go by day; the R.A.F. by night and still it goes on!

World War ll London Blitz: 5-8-43 A raid came first before seven this morning. Junkers’ 88’s. Six of them. One was brought down at Benfleet, one at Stapleford Abbots. Gunfire in this locality is very heavy. We hear there was a bad raid yesterday over Yarmouth, many casualties. Oh, this damned damned war!

Purchase Diary's Here:

May 5, 1943 

The ambulance took Ted to the Hospital and brought him home again. Today showed a second crack, in the fibula. It was too bad they couldn’t have kept him in the hospital last night, but wartime regulations. Nor can he stay in the hospital while his bones are mending. Beds must be left free for possible blitz victims. He is in great pain, and very ill with shock into the bargain. No wonder. I gather he was nearly killed.

May 8, 1943

A raid came first before seven this morning. Junkers’ 88’s. Six of them. One was brought down at Benfleet, one at Stapleford Abbots. Gunfire in this locality is very heavy. We hear there was a bad raid yesterday over Yarmouth, many casualties. Oh, this damned damned war!

However, good news for us this morning. The Allies have beaten the Germans in Tunisia at last. Reports this morning that our troops are in possession of Tunis and Bizerte. This will practically be the finish of the campaign in Africa. This news comes six months to the day of the news of the landings of our troops in North Africa. No further news of Artie.

May 13, 1943

The war in North Africa is ended. The following announcement was made last night from Allied Force Headquarters in North Africa:

Organized resistance in Tunisia, except by isolated pockets of the enemy, has ceased. General Von Armin, commander of the Axis Forces in Tunisia, has been captured. It is estimated that the total number of prisoners taken since May 5, is about one hundred and fifty thousand. Vast quantities of guns and war materials of all kinds have been captured, including guns and aircraft in serviceable condition.

Well, that’s the end of the Battle of Africa. Next will come the Battle of Europe. Shall we finish this war this year? God knows, but not very likely. Reports from Tunisia say the Germans had lost their morale, and were surrendering by entire companies, glad to get out of the fight. What about the Germans in Europe? Will their morale last? And how long?

Churchill is in Washington. This news was given to us yesterday. He has taken many important men with him and conferences are going on with Roosevelt and his chiefs of staff. Presumably plans are being arranged for the immediate invasion of the continent, then after Europe, will come Japan. Then what? The chaos of peace.

Evening and I have just received a letter from Artie: Wednesday 28, April 1943

Dear Mother and Dad,

I am writing this from the hospital. I did send news via Hilda and I hope you got it. I may as well go over the whole story again. On the twelfth of April at seven forty-five a.m. I was blown up by a Gerry land mine. My driver was killed. I escaped with some damage. I didn’t lose consciousness at all that’s I why I looked at the time and thought of you at home knowing you were thinking of me.

Wounds in my left leg are all very slight. The right leg was broken in two places and later on ex-ray showed that it would take over a year to heal and then be perfectly useless. So I had it amputated just above the knee.

I am perfectly fit and well and recovering quickly. I am not unhappy in the loss and pray that it won’t upset you or make you unhappy. I shall be sent back to Britain when I am fit to travel so I’ll surely see you this summer. I guess the war is over as far as I am concerned. I’ve not had a single letter from home since I’ve arrived in Africa yet. Perhaps some will catch up before I leave Africa.

Cheerio now. God bless you both and keep you both. “My constant prayers for your safety and good health. Almost forgot, I had communion on Easter Sunday in the hospital. Regards to all. Fred.”

Also received this letter:

May 6, 1943

Dear Mother and Dad,

Here is another letter but I am afraid no real news except that I am feeling very well and quite happy. About all I can do to pass the time is read and eat the splendid meals provided. I am getting really tired of lying on my back all day and look forward to the day I shall be able to leave it. I can at least struggle into a sitting position every now and again to write letters and eat and that is some increase in comfort. I hope you can manage to read my scribble. I’ve a different pen and besides that my elbow is bandaged up.

I’ve been thinking about my return to Blighty and I feel sure I’ll be confined to a military hospital for some time before I can get home. I will almost certainly be discharged from the Army after I have been provided with an artificial leg. I feel quite proud I’ve done the little I could do in this war and now my job is over. I always had a feeling I should live through this war but I didn’t expect to come out before the end. I can’t write to Sket from here so you must give him my news and my love.

I hope everything is well at home. Give my love to all who ask after me. I cannot foretell how soon I shall be on my way home but you can take it as certain that I shall come. God bless you and keep you safe. My undying love. Fred.

What is there to say! I haven’t been able to help crying but at least I can thank God he’s alive. Thank God he isn’t blinded. Thank God he’s now out of the war. Poor poor Artie!

There was a raid in the night tonight at two a.m. until three a.m. Also, at the same time a bad thunderstorm, all very frightening.

May 14, 1943

The following cards came in from Cuthie. Number one, addressed to me:

April 13, 1943

Dear Ma,

Just to say I am o.k. I am sorry to read that Grandma is dead. Somehow I always thought I would see her again. It made me realize that in a way you people at home are, to me, all dead. I get letters from you but if anyone died it would just mean a cessation of letters. I must be in a similar position to folks at home if I did not come back or ceased to write it would be as though I went in with my aircraft nearly three years ago. My love to you. Sket.

Number two addressed to Ted:

April 13, 1943

Dear Dad,

Easter is here in a few days and it has occurred to me that I have never told you that since I was shot down I have heard mass said by a French priest, by a German Army Chaplain, by a German parish priest and by a French Canadian missionary. We can hear mass each Sunday. I once told you that I heard a midnight mass at Christmas in 1941, but I had no reply. I hope that by 1945 I shall hear mass in Romford. I send you and Ma my love. Sket.

Saturday May 13, 1943

Noon. We are lucky. By first post this morning we received the following letter from Cuth:

Stalag Luft 3. 7, April 1943

Dear Folks,

I do not know what to write to you about this month as I think this letter might be more disjointed than usual. I am pleased to read your reply to my letter saying that I hope to work in Romford. I have made up my mind what things I do not want. I am waiting for my letter from Bertie to send my letter to him. I have not had any letter from you about my account, so I conclude that financial information is banned. I was surprised to learn that Art is married. I have nothing to say about the event. I cannot imagine myself getting married for a long time after my return. Sometimes I think about my headstrong behavior when I left the University. Had I taken your advice I would not be a “Kriege” but I would be in an officers mess; but at the same time I would still be an innocent schoolboy. I often think that doctors know much less than they are thought to know. We had a few new prisoners in lately. Some of them have not yet been caught for a month. I remember when I was only a month ole “kriege”. When I heard that France had capitulated I laughed at the Polish doctor who told me and told him to stop joking. It was a bitter pill to swallow when I found out that it was true. Well I come to the end of the paper. I send you my love and respect. Please do not send me anything at all unless I ask for it. I hope to see you next year. Tell Art that I shall write to him when I can find time to do so. Sket.

Thursday May 20, 1943

Ted is at the office. He had a taxi and went off about ten o’clock and will come back at two-thirty p.m. Last night he got himself upstairs and slept properly in bed. We had two raids, and I came downstairs each time, but he stayed up there. We have been having raids every night for over a week, usually two a night, small ones, but frightening just the same. The R.A.F. has done big damage in Germany this week, blasting great dams, and letting out water, which is flooding the Ruhr Valley, and doing tremendous damage. I can’t care. I’m so so sick of the war.

Churchill addressed Congress yesterday. His speech was broadcast; we received it here at six-thirty p.m. I can’t care about his speech either. Nor any man’s speech. I’m weary to death of men’s plans and men’s speeches. I’m weary to death of the war. I’m sick of the world.

May 22, 1943

It is three years today that Cuth was brought down over Amiens. Very surprising news was given at one o’clock, the official dissolution of the Communist Third International. This comes from Moscow. Query: What becomes of the Anti-Comintern Pact? What will Goebbels do now for a bogey? 


May 24, 1943 

There was news that the R.A.F. made a tremendous raid on Dortmund last night, dropping over two thousand tons of bombs on the city. This is the heaviest raid yet on Germany. Thirty-Eight of our bombers missing. This makes me feel sick. Also it makes me say, thank God Cuthie is safely out of it all. What Hell!

World War ll London Blitz: 4-15-43 Today all nurses, male and female, and all midwives born on and after March 31, 1883 had to register. 1883! That is before I was born. That’s the war, now taking old men and women of sixty, as well as the boys and girls of sixteen. Damn the war!

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April 2, 1943 

A letter from Gladys arrived, after a very long silence she sent me some tea (three quarters of a pound), which comes like a lifesaver, I was down to my last two ounces. Also a letter from Cuthie, dated February 8, he says he has been very depressed the last six months or so, but is now back to normal spirits. Poor old Cuthie! Soon he will have been a prisoner three years. 

April 3, 1943 

I received a letter from Artie, the first since March 20, written from somewhere in British North Africa. No, not British North Africa, we think probably he is in Algiers, but from British forces in North Africa. I find this gives me a certain sense of relief. I was afraid he would be in the first company of men to invade across the channel, and somehow I think he will be safer fighting Rommel in Tunisia than storming the beaches of Northern France or the Lowlands of Belgium or Holland. He writes that he is permitted to tell us he is in North Africa. He says he feels well, the swimming is warm, all the boys are in good spirits, and glutting themselves with oranges after three years fast from them. 

April 10, 1943 

Today all nurses, male and female, and all midwives born on and after March 31, 1883 had to register. 1883! That is before I was born. That’s the war, now taking old men and women of sixty, as well as the boys and girls of sixteen. Damn the war! 

April 15, 1943 

I spent all my free time today writing to Eddie, with the result I am devastated with homesickness. It is now ten years since I was in America, eight years since I have seen Eddie and Harold. It is three years since I have seen Cuth and now Artie has gone to North Africa, and I wonder shall I ever see him again. I’m a Rachel. My sons, my sons! There was a bad raid here last night, it started soon after midnight, and lasted until two a.m. 


April 19, 1943 

As I anticipated we had raids last night. The first one came at ten-thirty, before I had gone up to bed, the second at one a.m. this morning. We also had one at two o’clock yesterday afternoon. Last week’s raids hit Chelmsford severely, and also Ongar. Today I am very tired, through lack of sleep. 

April 20, 1943 

I got a letter from Sket today, date of March 5, also one from Artie, which must have been the first he wrote after leaving England, not dated, and also an aerograph letter for me for my birthday. This is written April 4, he says he is well and happy. Good. Cuthie’s letter is more downcast. Poor boy, it is almost three years now he has been a prisoner. 

April 21, 1943 

At eight fifty-five this morning the telegraph boy brought this message to the house: 

Important, Hand Delivery. Mrs. A.F. Thompson 78 Western Road. Romford, Essex. 

Regret to inform you of report dated 16 April 1943 received from North Africa that Lieut. A.F. Thompson, Reconnaissance Corps has been wounded inaction. Letter follows shortly. 

Under Secretary of State for War. 

Although addressed to Hilda I opened it and read it, and then gave it back to the boy for re-transmission to Glasgow. First, of course, I made a copy of it for us, and then I telephoned it through to Ted. Now this afternoon I must write to Hilda. My idea is that Artie gave this address as Hilda’s purposely, and for our satisfaction. The wound must be serious, or there would be no notification. I pray it is not his eyes. My instant private hope is, that it is bad enough to keep him out of the war. I’m no patriot. I say damn and damn the war. Poor Artie! Yesterday’s letter was so bright and happy. 

I received American mail this morning, a birthday card from Eddie and Chic, and a letter from Marjorie. Marjorie writes that she and Charlie have signed contracts to buy a house in Westwood, New Jersey. It has eight rooms, and four acres of ground and a barn. That’s fine. That’s the kind of home I’d like. 

Every time I think of Artie I begin to cry. What am I to say to Hilda, poor child? 

April 24, 1943 

We had a raid last night, lasting from ten-thirty to eleven forty-five p.m. No damage in this neighborhood. I have been writing letters these past two days. I have written long letters to Eddie, Charlie, and Harold and Marjorie. 

April 27, 1943 

This afternoon I received a letter from Hilda with an aerograph letter from Artie enclosed. It reads: 

“April 15, Darling Hilda, at the present moment I am in the hospital and shall be for a long time. I am o.k. I’ve got to lie still and let two broken bones set. There is no need to worry in the least, I am perfectly whole. My driver was killed beside me but I escaped with a broken leg and small wounds. It was a German land mine. Maybe I’ll be sent back to England this year. Please “don’t worry darling, you can see this is my writing. I am recovering quickly. Please tell my people if you get this first, it would be best to send them this letter. My constant love for you dear. Fred.” 

What a relief! If he wrote this on the fifteenth he was probably wounded on the fourteenth, perhaps before. Here in Romford this morning we received a picture postcard of Algiers, which he had written on the Eleventh of April. So maybe he only knew three days of battle, maybe less. Thank God he is safe in the hospital and will be safe there for some time to come. The fighting there in Tunisia gets worse and worse day-by-day and the worst must yet be to come. Oh, this awful war.

World War ll London Blitz: 3-4-43 Well, today, March Fourth, I live. I still live. Last night we had two bad raids. The first came at eight-thirty and went on until ten p.m. The second came at four thirty this morning, and lasted until a quarter to six. Our gunfire was terrific.

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March 4,1943 

Well, today, March Fourth, I live. I still live. Last night we had two bad raids. The first came at eight-thirty and went on until ten p.m. The second came at four thirty this morning, and lasted until a quarter to six. Our gunfire was terrific. I have not heard yet what damage was done. Nothing in this immediate vicinity, though when Ted returned from the Home Guard he said one of their officers had come in, in an extremely nervous state, and said bombs had fallen in Collier Row. However, when the radioman came this morning, about a half and hour ago, he said, no, not Collier Row last night, but nearer to Fairlop and Warley, the airdromes, well, we’ll know later. Whilst the racket is going on I get very sick, and retch constantly. I can’t help it, and I can’t stop it. This morning I feel sore in the ribs, as though somebody had kicked me. If a bombardment went on for twelve or eighteen hours, I think I should expire, not from a direct hit, but from my one bodily mechanism, which will not behave properly, and which I can’t control, no matter how emphatically my will commands it. Sheer animal fear, over which the soul has no control, yes, sure it can kill you. This blasted war! When, oh when, will it finish? If there is anything in this world stupider than war I have never heard of it. Men deliberately destroying mankind, men deliberately destroying the entire world, could there possibly be anything more insane? Well, I pray like mad. God be merciful to me, a sinner. Deliver us from evil. Oh, deliver us from evil. 

March 5, 1943 

I wrote Artie today, also Hilda, and Hilda’s mother, Mrs. Kane. I am weepy. I can’t help it. There is news today of a terrible accident on Wednesday night, mostly women and children, and sixty injured when the crowd entering the shelter after the alert, tripped up and fell on top of one another, blocking a stairway. They were suffocated to death. Authorities say there was no panic, and the nearest bomb to fall was two mile away. There must have been panic. There were nearly two thousand people already in the shelter, and many more coming in. A woman with a baby and a bundle tripped near the foot of a flight of nineteen steps, which leads down from the street. This flight of steps terminates on a landing. The woman fell down the last two or three steps and lay on the landing. Her fall tripped an elderly man behind her and he fell similarly. Their bodies again tripped up those behind them, and within a few seconds a large number of people were lying on the lower steps and the landing, completely blocking the stairway. Within a minute there were hundreds of people crushed together. What a terrible accident! 

This was announced over the radio, but I heard of another awful disaster this afternoon, which has not been broadcast, nor put in the papers. Mrs. James came in as I was finishing my letters, and she told me of it. She got the news from the wives of two railway men who live in the neighborhood and are customers of Mrs. Dumaresque’s. On Wednesday the bombs hit the railway, at Sheffield, when the Harwich Express came through it went straight down into the crater. The engine catapulted three times and the four first coaches were completely smashed. Nobody got out alive. The train was full of sailors, returning to their ships at Harwich. 

We boast about what we do to the German railroads, but we don’t utter a word about what the Germans do to ours. No, we are not told half the news, nor yet a quarter of it. We are lied to, half-lied to, and kept ignorant of events. Propaganda? The Germans are not the only liars. 

March 10, 1943 Ash Wednesday 

Ted is with the Home Guards. All is quiet for the present. On the six o’clock news we heard that all boys and girls of sixteen and seventeen must register next Saturday. What next? Are the children now to fight? Blast the war! 

I am more than ever determined to get whatever I wanted, whilst I can get it. Today alone I live. As with the books I ordered that came today, they are not necessities, oh, no. I am not going to content myself with necessities, not ever, not ever again. Why save for a future, which may never dawn? This week is a “Wings for Victory Week,” and the city of London has set itself the job of collecting one hundred and fifty million pounds for the war effort. Hundreds of millions has already been reached. This leaves me cold. The men wanted this war, let them pay for it, that’s what I think. I’ll never save. I’ll soon be fifty-nine if Hitler lets me reach my birthday. Even if the war stops, how many years are left to me anyhow? We considered Mother a very old lady yet she was only twenty-one years older than me. I intend to get all the pleasure I can out of whatever time remains to me. I intend to spend my own money while I know it is expendable. God knows what life will be like when the war is over. Well, I am not going to voluntarily put myself into any sort of straightjacket. Save? Economize? Give to charity? Not me. No, I’ve no sympathy, no charity, and no patriotism. I realize there isn’t a darn thing I can do about the outside world, so I quit trying. To keep myself secure, serene, inviolate, that’s my object. To keep still, and let the damned war wash over me, and so to keep sane, that’s what I must do. Today, tomorrow, if there is a tomorrow. Every day. 

March 12, 1943 

Whilst I was in the bathroom washing, just before seven-thirty this morning, I was considerably startled by what sounded like the wheels of a plane directly on the roof, and a second later a huge machine flew in view, right over the gardens, away towards the town. Then there was firing, and a minute later, the alert. From the back window I saw smoke, a row of it, running down along the railway. 

Six enemy planes were over this district; flying so low they cut the tops off the trees, machine gunning and bombing. They set fire to the gasometer, hit the brewery, and took the roof off the water-works; they machine gunned people in Old Church Road, in the busses, and the trains on the line. Our butcher’s boy, crossing the railway bridge from Victoria Road, was hit in the leg. It is not known yet how many people have been killed on the streets. Leaving here they flew on to Ilford and Barkingside. At Ilford they hit the co-op stores, completely destroying them, and two busses standing near. Both drivers were killed, and several passengers inside, also passengers waiting in the ques. At Barking they dropped their biggest bombs, bringing down several streets. All of this out of the blue, before breakfast this morning. War, damnable war! Death without warning, and not to the soldier, but to the civilians going to work, and to the women and children in the houses. It is simply devilish. Yes, today alone we live, and for many of us, not even today. Oh, when will all madness end? 

March 17,1943 St. Patrick’s Day. 

The death of Cardinal Hinsley was announced this morning. It was a terribly foggy morning. I went to town, and had to wait fifty-five minutes on Romford Station for a train. Whilst waiting I was joined by Jean Lee, and then later by Doreen Peel, who was in her W. R.A’s uniform. So of course we all rode up to Liverpool Street together. 


March 31, 1943 

The war gets worse and worse but seems now to be mounting to a zenith. At this last full moon we expected to be told any hour that we had begun the invasion of Europe. No, the moon is waning, and except the increasing aerial bombing by the R.A.F. nothing has been done. The Germans are still in Russia, still in North Africa. Artie has vanished. He is probably at least off on invasion tactics somewhere. God knows. No more word of Cuthie since the Third of January. No news from America. My sons, where are they? 

I am terribly restless. Some days I feel I cannot endure the war, this life, any longer. Here I am, still here, still miserable