- AFTER THE WAR
- Bringing back My Grandfather: John H. Thompson; Son Of Ruby Alice Side Thompson
- For Genealogy Lovers: THE THOMPSON FAMILY (A Search into History) Compiled by Edward Thompson (1879-1970)
- Mentions and Great Links
- Collection of World War ll Letters (All names changed for privacy)
- CopyRight Statement
- Honoring my grandmother (Frances Wood) artwork and stories : Frances lived in France 1931-1937 Exhibited in Paris and other parts of France.
- 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 Diary: 3-2-42 This afternoon I heard two complaint stories from Elizabeth Coppen. She says that on Saturday the plain-clothes police went to the dog-racing track at Walthamstow and asked all the men for their identity cards, and they rounded up two hundred men who should have been at work in their factories. Now, what is this but Gestapo work? Men can’t and won’t work seven days a week; especially now when they say they get no benefit from extra pay, since the government takes it back as income tax.
Purchase Diary's Here:
Monday, March 2, 1942
Monday, March 2, 1942
This afternoon I heard two complaint stories from Elizabeth Coppen. She says that on Saturday the plain-clothes police went to the dog-racing track at Walthamstow and asked all the men for their identity cards, and they rounded up two hundred men who should have been at work in their factories. Now, what is this but Gestapo work? Men can’t and won’t work seven days a week; especially now when they say they get no benefit from extra pay, since the government takes it back as income tax. The working-class has never been taxed before, and they simply do not want extra money if they’ve got to surrender it as tax. Moreover, Englishmen are not slaves; they will not be driven to work. Moreover, they say, what about the rich man? Does he give up his pleasures? What about his ascot?
The other story was about food. It concerns a young clerk in Jean Kendal’s agricultural office at Colchester. Miss Coppen knows the boy. He earns less than five pounds a week, and has been married only a year. Well, last week, two food inspectors went to his house, and searched it! Elizabeth says they even searched in the beds! The only food hoard they found was twenty tins of salmon. The case is to go to court. For what crime? The young wife had accumulated twenty tins of salmon, and she had a year to do it in. The government advised us, to lie in food stores but now if we do, it seems we have become criminals and are hoarders. How disgusting. How petty! Who told tales? By what right can police come into our houses and search them! What can a poor five-pound per week collect anyhow? Here is a young couple trying to act with foresight, according to early orders, and see what happens to them. Why don’t the food inspectors go and search in Mr. Hudson’s house? He is one of the food administrators. It is said he has one big room filled with supplies, sugar and tea by the hundredweights, etc. Does anybody suppose that Lord Woolton lives on the rations?
Land of Liberty, where? Elizabeth says the Englishmen began losing their rights in the last war, some of which have never been returned to him; and now its worse than ever, all our rights are being taken away from us, but you mustn’t say anything.
After the fall of France Hitler offered peace to England. Poland was conquered. France surrendered. What had England got to fight for? After Dunkirk we had only one division for our army. Had Hitler invaded us then we could not have held him. What did Winston do? He orated. We still had no men, no guns; but he talked us into going on with the war. Our absurd British sentimental self-righteousness asserted itself and we committed ourselves to this hellish war. It need not have been. Not any of it need have been. Men will talk, will scheme, and will fight, so here we are, in hell on earth. For what? For blah.
Now they are talking about India, and Burma, and about losing the British Empire. Why not? Why should we own and boss India, and the rest? Why for exactly the same reason that Hitler aims to own and boss Europe, for self. I can’t grieve that we lose Singapore, that he Dutch are losing Java and Sumatra, that the States are losing Hawaii and the Philippines. Those are not white mans lands. Nor are their people the white man’s burden. They are the white mans riches and the white mans servants. Why have the Australians and the New Zealanders rushed into the fight, to die in Libya and Crete and Greece? Oh oh oh! I groan at all the monstrous folly of this war, the hopeless stupidity of men. I weep for the young. Oh God, save us soon!
Tuesday. March 3, 1942
It is now ten p.m. and I’m constrained to add; well, I’ll be damned! On the air we have just been informed about a debate in Parliament today about clothes and fashion. It seems there is a man, Sir Thomas Barlow, who is Director-General of Civilian Clothing. One of the items that the war office announced, is that in order to save material, it has been decided to modify the regulation pattern of an officer’s service dress and khaki drill jackets, by the removal of the pleats from breast pockets. Silly damned old fools of men! I suppose they imagine every shred of material is utilized in making a shirt. They don’t understand that it can’t be. A garment is made out of different shaped pieces, not out of cubes. Nothing can be saved by eliminating a pleat on a pocket it will only mean a wider cut of waste and meanwhile the wearer has lost the utility use of the pleat on the pocket. God, what fools men are! They debate about this in parliament; and then the B.B. C. announcer takes time to tell it. Fool, fool men! They think they are going to win the war!
Earlier this evening Joad said something in the Brains Trust, which is worth noting. Somebody had asked would it be a good idea to send some of our trained psychologists to Russia to find out why the Russians fight so well, why their morale is so high, so that they might come back and teach us how to emulate the Russians? Agnes Hamilton pointed out that the enemy was not on our soil, as he is on the Russian’s; but Joad said something to this effect: “I am a socialist. I went to Russia once to see the Soviet. What was most striking to me was, that every Russian felt that Russia belonged to him, actually and that the young people of Russia knew that they were important to Russia, that they were listened to, and that they could assist in making decisions running the country; therefore, since Russia was for the Russians, what ever you did for Russia you did for yourself; if you made a mistake you paid for it; if you made a success you benefited. So different from public feeling here.”
Of course. When I heard Joad say that I thought of the people I had seen in South Street and the market today. You get an impression, what do they care? England is still in a sense, feudal, for it belongs to the rich, and the poor are compelled to accept the will of the rich, willy-nilly. The feeling I get so often in England is that the bulk of the people are trash. It infuriates me, because they are so content with their state. The poor do not question the “rights” of the rich, and they certainly don’t envy the rich. It is their mild acceptance of their lot, the poverty, the dirt, and the ugliness that distresses me. Things may not be the way they are but the poor don’t mind. The English good nature is a curse to the people.
I remembered something Artie said last year about the soldiers in training in Kent. They didn’t want to fight, he said. They said: “Why should we? Let Hitler win. We’ve got nothing now, nothing to lose. We couldn’t be any worse off under Hitler and we might even be better off.” Artie said, the men said, that after the war England would go communist anyhow. Yes, the present day ordinary common Englishman does not feel that he has a stake in the country. Maybe England will go Bolshevik and perhaps a good thing too.
Monday, March 9, 1942
This gloom inside and out is getting me down. The war news is worse and worse. Java has fallen. Burma is invaded, Rangoon threatened. What next? A beautiful man’s world I must say. Now the women are conscripted! When Maureen Garvan was here yesterday she said she was waiting to be called up. Well, if I had a young daughter conscripted I think I should go stark raving mad. I haven’t a daughter, and I am an old woman, no good to anybody, so the government can’t “use” me. Well Au-revoir.
Tuesday, March 10, 1942
Mrs. Harvey James came to tea. The chief item that distresses her about the A.T.S. is that girls are going to be detailed to act as batmen to officers. Looking for trouble, she says, for there are times when the girl is bound to be alone with the officer. I agree.
Rangoon has been evacuated and now has fallen to the Jap's. Australia is attacked, planes flying over from New Guinea. Vichy is reported to hand over forty new ships to the Nazi’s. What next? Elizabeth Coppen says her Colchester brother-in-law asserts that we shall be involved this spring, late April or early May. Essex men have their orders. Civilians on the roads will be shot.
On the other hand Banyard of the bank says, no, there will be no invasion; Hitler intends to starve us out. Who knows what will happen? Whether Hitler attempts invasion or not, the threat of it is sufficient to keep our soldiers tied to home.
Wednesday, March 11, 1942
It is four years today since the Nazi’s marched into Vienna. Douglas Reid says it is four years today since the war really began. Churchill announced in Parliament today that Sir Stafford Cripps will go to India, to consult with all parties about Indian Home-Rule, and to confer with the vice regent and General Wavell about the anticipated attack on India by the Japanese, which is imminent, for the Jap's are at the gates. This is the “next”, fighting in India. Ted is at the Home Guards, and will be late. I want to record something about us. This morning I thought I wouldn’t but something I read this afternoon has made me change my mind.
Thursday, March 12, 1942
In the beginning of the war general opinion tended to a hope that the common people of Germany would make another revolution; but as the war goes on, from one disaster to another, and all our fool politicians making the absurdist excuses but never proceeding to do anything sensible, and only annoying the people with endless petty restrictions. I find myself thinking that it is perhaps the people of Britain who will make a revolution. Our politicians are and have been a mass of duds. Ineffectual men get into high places, and do not work for the country, but for themselves, for their own glory, or their own pocket. Parliament is nothing but clack, clack, clack, and the gabble of ducks. Think of the ridiculous debate last week about clothes.
Well, I am old enough and old fashioned enough to think that what Parliament lacks is gentlemen. When salaries for M.P.s was instituted that was the beginning of the rot. How can men who “have risen from the ranks, from labor” know what is good for the country or how to rule it? They think only of themselves and their own class, and of today, for they know nothing of history or culture. Lo here we are on the rocks. Eventually if we continue to exist as an independent state, we shall either have to return to a proper functioning Aristocracy, as our fathers knew and understood Aristocracy, or else we shall have to go communist like Russia and all its vermin together. Certainly democracy as we have it now is an awful flop.
Saturday, March 14, 1942
An announcement made by the admiralty has just been read on the nine o’clock news. It is that the allies lost twelve war ships, five cruisers, six destroyers, and a sloop, in the three-day battle of Java. They are listed as British, the Cruiser Exeter, and the destroyers Electra, Jupiter, Encounter, and Stronghold. Australian: The Cruiser Perth, and the sloop Yarra. United States: The cruiser Houston, and the Destroyer Pope. Dutch: The Cruisers Java and DeRuyter and the Destroyer Hortense. In addition the Dutch destroyer Everston was damaged and beached.
The Japanese losses are not known, but it is believed that an eight inch gun cruiser was sunk, a second damaged, and two more set on fire, while one destroyer was sunk and three seriously damaged and left on fire or sinking.
The only allied survivors mentioned in the communiqué were some members of the crew of the British destroyer Jupiter, which sunk near the mainland of Java. These men have already reached Australia.
This was the battle in the Java Sea on February Twenty-Seventh and this is terrible news. Not a single ship of the original allies force, which entered the battle, escaped. It is not stated how many ships the Japanese had, but only that it was a bigger enemy fleet. Awful. Awful. What price the British Navy pay now? Again an Axis partner is the winner. Now the Jap’s, the despicable little Jap’s, licks us. What was our white world doing to allow this to become possible? The lunacy grows and hell increases.
Wednesday, March 25, 1942
As for the war it gets worse and worse. I am sick of the war, totally, absolutely, completely and permanently sick of the war. As for the politicians, I loathe the lot of them! What a crew! And the blah blah goes on daily. The English are a nation of hypocrites. Who ever gave that verdict gave a true verdict.
I am going to record some facts regarding the conscription of women. The conscription of women as such, I consider criminally stupid, and an astute way of obtaining cheap labor, but apart from the compulsion of the conscription I want to note these facts about the sexual side of it. It is already notorious that the girls in the services are producing bastards. Dorrie Stanforth has told me she has seen a document in the old church hospital that assures service girls that if they get into trouble they will be taken care of, that their child will be taken care of, and their secret will be kept, They are specifically told not to worry about their parents finding out, for their parents will not be informed, and that this is a promise to them. So, after taking young girls away from their houses the government condones them if they fall into immorality. Very sweet.
Pauling Dunball tells me that at Exeter an older woman was sent from London to lecture to the A.T.S. girls, and she said, “If any of you girls are going to have a baby, whether you are married or unmarried, you will be taken care of. If you do not want the baby, it will be taken away from you at birth and put into a good home. Do not think that having a baby will release you from service. After the birth of your baby you will go straight back to your uniform” Horrible!
Last night I got even more information. Mary Bernadette came into see me. She is now in the W.A.A.F.s and she is in the administration department. These are some of the things she told me, is now going on in Hornchurch Aerodrome. There are four hundred girls in the camp, and besides our own R.A.F. there are Czechs, Poles, Canadians, there. Every night it is the duty of the Administrative staff to go the rounds and see that all the girls are in their beds. “But its no good,” said Mary, “because although you may see them in their beds, half an hour afterwards the bad ones will be out. Not out of camp either. There are enough rotten officers up there and the Czechs and the Poles are particularly bad. They make arrangements through their batmen, and any girl who wants to oblige can easily do so.”
She told me that in the health lectures the girls had to listen to they were warned that the Czechs and Poles “were not like our men.” Also, that the girls were watched, and after any girl had been seen out four times with a Czech or Pole, her parents were notified! The girl was given seven days leave, with secret instructions to her parents to give her a careful talking to. Sweet.
Mary said that the regulars, “the girls in the business,” are in with all the rest of the girls and it’s disgusting. The authorities use no discrimination to keep the vicious apart from the virtuous. The bad girls desert regularly. They go to town on their leaves and do not return; they have to be found and fetched back by the military police. Mary says they don’t care a hang; they take their punishment, and at the next opportunity go right off again. If anything is said to them, they just retort, “we didn’t ask to come here.”
Mary says all the girls are dosed daily with bromides, to keep their sensuality down. The stuff is put into their morning tea, without them knowing anything about it. This week, if you please the medical officers gave orders for the dose to be doubled on account of it now being spring. What price the sweet English Rose? Another thing Mary says is, that it is distinctly bad for the men to have the girls around. “You can see the girls distract them,” she said. Of course. The average age, I suppose, both for men and girls is twenty. What do they care if there is a war on? Twenty is twenty, and boys and girls together are bound to carry on at love making, but to give the girls bromides!
Well that’s the damn fool government. No wonder we don’t win the war. It has taken this war to make me thankful I don’t have a daughter. If a girl of mine had to go away from home into one of the women’s services I think I should go stark raving mad. Of course the girls can stay good and sweet, but thousands of them don’t. Then there is the contamination. In civil life a respectable girl need not associate with prostitutes but in army life she cant evade them, and not only must she work with them, she must even eat and sleep with them. It is horrible. The conscription of women, if that isn’t one of the stupidest rulings of our addled politicians I don’t know what is. Anyhow, if we can only win the war by conscripting our women, we’ve lost it anyhow. It would be better to cry quits.
Saturday, March 28, 1942
Today the girls of seventeen are registering. In two weeks time the girls of sixteen will have to register. To me this is outrageous. Have the children got to fight this damn war?
Monday, March 30, 1942
I am now going to Boots to exchange my library book. I was wakened in the night by a terrific crash, so probably a bomb fell somewhere near. The B.B.C. news said, “No damage was done by the bombs which fell on the country last night.” Of course they didn’t say where they fell. Perhaps I shall pick up some information on South Street. The tempo of the war is increasing daily, and invasion is expected within two weeks. It’s a crazy world and I am sick of it.
World War ll London Blitz Diary's 2-8-42 It is now three p.m. and some items in the news make me feel ill. At one o’clock we were given a detailed account of how one Gordon Highlander killed seventeen Japs single-handedly in Malaysia, in one days fighting. I couldn’t eat my dinner. I thought I should faint. To know you have killed one man must make you feel different all the rest of your life; but to have killed seventeen-how must you feel about that?
Sunday, February 1, 1942
Sunday, February 1, 1942
The main items of news tonight are: the appointment by the Germans of Quisling to be the Prime Minister of Norway: and the destruction by the American, under command of General MacArthur, of a large Japanese force in Manila Bay.
Sunday, February 8, 1942
It is now three p.m. and some items in the news make me feel ill. At one o’clock we were given a detailed account of how one Gordon Highlander killed seventeen Japs single-handedly in Malaysia, in one days fighting. I couldn’t eat my dinner. I thought I should faint. To know you have killed one man must make you feel different all the rest of your life; but to have killed seventeen-how must you feel about that? I suppose he will go home to his wife’s bed! Yesterday a record was put over of the actual battlefront in Russia; you heard the guns and bombs of both sides, and the Russian broadcaster commentating. I think this sort of thing is horrible. Men are killing and being killed, and the sound of the death struggle is sent over the air to satisfy morbid curiosity. Simply devilish, I think. I get weary of the news. Most of it now washes over me and I do not take it in at all. Such items as these I loathe. Men at war. I hate it.
Monday, February 9, 1942
The war news is bad. Last night the Jap’s landed on Singapore, the impregnable Singapore! Privately I think; why shouldn’t the Jap’s hold Singapore? What do the English want it for? It is not a white man’s land. We want it for money, for rich men’s investments. We took it once. The Jap’s want it for the same reason, because of its riches, so they’re trying to take it. Why don’t governments get together and arrange matters peaceably? Why must they make war? Why must the common man die to protect his so-called superiors? Why should we, or anybody else, hold an empire? This, of course, is rank political heresy. Well, I’m a heretic. I hate men, and the way they run the world. Men’s ideas and men’s works infuriate me. War! Hell let loose.
Propaganda nauseates me. Last night Sir Stafford Cripps broadcast the Sunday postscript. All praise for the Russians, of course, and a plea for “greater war production” here at home. He said he noticed on his return to this country our general feeling of a lack of urgency. Of course all decent people are sick of the war.
No normal person would ever go to war. Every sane person knows war to be lunacy. What are we fighting for now? Prestige. Neither side will pause and say; let’s talk over our difficulties, let’s come to terms. I am sure there isn’t anything that couldn’t be arranged. Will men arrange anything? No, but they’ll keep on killing, and keep on talking about how wicked the enemy is and how righteous our own side is. The other side is just the same. We are told that the Germans are not told the truth of the matter. But are we? War is a game played by the big shots, whilst the public on both sides is kept bamboozled. What about the Russians anyhow? Today it is the fashion to praise them. They are winning the war for us says Cripps. To which I say shucks! The Russians are not winning the war for us. They are fighting the Germans because the Germans attacked them and they are fighting for themselves. How much did they help us when the Germans attacked us? Not a man, not a gun, not a penny. Their perfidy is entirely overlooked. Just the same it is history that they attacked the Poles in the back and they were the aggressor in Finland. When the Russians attacked Finland they were the villains and Finland the hero. Now that the Finn’s have joined their lot to the Germans they have become the villains, and Russia is the hero. Funny, isn’t it?
It is true that since Hitler attacked Russia we have had no more big air raids over England. Evidently Hitler can’t do everything. But, Russia isn’t “saving” us, not a bit of it. She is saving herself, as she naturally would do, but she signed a friendship pact with Germany didn’t she? Not with us. Yes, propaganda talks make me sick.
Friday. February 13, 1942
War news is disastrous. Singapore is falling. Naval defeat in the Channel.
Saturday. February 14, 1942
Yesterday we lost forty-two aircraft in the Channel. The German battleships left Brest and sailed home to Helgoland and we couldn’t stop them. We lose a little more of the war every day, but the talkers keep on talking. “Britain always muddles through.” Does she? Will she this time? What of all the lives she throws away for nothing? Rommel is advancing in Libya. The Jap’s are penetrating in Singapore, and filling up Malaysia. Each day there is a fresh setback somewhere or other, but we silly English still hold ourselves in our fathead complacency. Oh yes, we are quite sure we will win the war. I think the issue is doubtful. Hitler isn’t licked yet, not by a long chalk. We are all sick of the war. The old men talk, but the young men have had enough of it.
Sunday, February 15, 1942
Singapore has fallen. The Jap’s have taken it, and claim that sixty thousand of our troops have surrendered. Churchill spoke over the air at nine o’clock tonight. Yes, more talk! Churchill is a fine talker, but is he a fine statesman? Eric is in Singapore. Somehow I can’t get depressed about Singapore. I think why should we hold it anyhow? It seems to me that geographically all Malaya and the Pacific Islands naturally belong to the yellow races, therefore why should we appropriate those places? White men can’t live properly there. It is for greed, of course. We covet the riches of those places, so we annex them. The Jap’s do not covet Europe. I think, let the Europeans stay at home. This idea of an Empire is a curse. There is one great thing to be said, for America; America has never desired colonies and “possessions.” What is the world fighting for but loot? Oh yes, there is a lot of fine talk about “freedom.” Oh God I am sick of the war!
Monday February 16, 1942
It is a bitterly cold day again. Miss Coppen was here this afternoon, full of depressing gossip. She tells me that Stanley, on the Council, says that the German’s won’t defeat us by invading us, but by starvation; and that our food situation is going to be acute by June; also our meat ration will shortly be reduced to six pence.
On the other hand her brother-in-law, who is head of the Home Defense Association in the rural districts near Colchester, says the Germans will most certainly invade us, that they will drop parachutes by the thousands. Also, officially, Essex, Suffolk and Kent, are listed as the most likely counties for the invasion to start in. Essex heads the list as the most dangerous, and Kent, contrary to general ideas, comes third. This is official. Last week the Colchester wardens were called to hear a special instruction, given by Air Army High Officer, given to them behind locked doors, and with soldiers and police on guard outside. They were told what to expect and what to do when the invasion starts. Simply lovely!
Well we shall see; but the general idea is Germany will attempt invasion this spring. If so God help us! Why shouldn’t they? They must be terribly bucked this weekend by their axis successes. Their admiral got his Scharnhorst, Guiseman and Prince Eugene safely up the Channel, and our wonderful British Navy couldn’t stop him and out East the Jap’s have taken Singapore, as well as other Dutch Islands. It is true the Germans are reported to be suffering great losses in Russia; nevertheless, they are still in Russia. So what? To date the axis is winning the war.
Wednesday, February 18, 1942
It is still very cold. The Prime Minister’s statements in Parliament yesterday depress everybody. The figures he gave of our bombing of the German ships at Brest are downright worrying. He said that whilst the ships were there, for ten months, no less then four-thousand tons of bombs were dropped on them; three thousand two hundred and ninety-nine bomber “sorties were made, with a loss of two hundred and forty-seven air force men and forty-three aircraft. “Sortie” is used by the R.A.F. to indicate an action carried out by a machine; so, if two hundred forty-seven men were lost during these attacks this gives the surprisingly high average of almost six men in a crew, and indicates that most of the aircraft lost were of the bigger four-engine type. Churchill said, “The ships were undoubtedly hit several times and repair work was made very difficult.”
Yet those ships came out and sailed home through the Channel! Where was the Navy? Why did we not send our ships against them whilst they were in Brest? We boast of Taranto but here were stationary targets and we simply wasted our R.A.F. boys and machines against them. It is dreadful. Churchill is full of excuses, but eventually announced that a tribunal is inquiring into this episode. It should be. Churchill is a fine talker, but we are not winning the war. Mistake after mistake is made. Our Dud’s are not weeded out; instead they are white washed. The loss of Singapore is another major disaster. The impregnable Singapore!
Artie writes he expects to be home March twentieth, his commission certain. A short leave, and then where will he be sent? Cuth is safe in prison, but what fate lies in wait for Artie? Oh this cursed war!
In turning the radio dial around you can often pick up a foreign station. At two-thirty this afternoon I heard a German giving the news in English. This speaker claimed our aircraft losses in the Channel on Friday as sixty-two. We were told forty-two. It is impossible to believe any accounts. They all sound plausible, and they all lie. Men talking again. Oh, the stupidity of the war, it infuriates me. Millions of young lives are thrown away simply because of politics, damned men talking damned nonsense. Men are just having heroics. I hate it. Men are gabbing about honor. Oh God, it is to laugh! War is hellish lunacy, nothing else. Yet why are the multitudes such sheep? Is this the end of the world? It is certainly what Bagger calls the end of our time.
Thursday, February 19, 1942
Port Darwin in the north of Australia was bombed by the Jap’s this morning and last night San Francisco had an alert warning lasting twenty-five minutes because unidentified aircraft was overhead. San Francisco was not bombed, but Port Darwin was, suffering damages and casualties. So this hellish war goes on. Where next?
The nine o’clock news says that Port Darwin has had two attacks today; one two twin-engine bombers, accompanied by fighters, carried out this morning. Five ships in the harbor have been sunk, hospitals and military installations and air drones on shore, the number of casualties not yet known.
Friday, February 20, 1942
Changes in the cabinet were announced. Sir Stafford Cripps has been appointed Lord Privy Seal and leader of The House of Commons, so he came home from Russia for something. Mr. Eden, Secretary of State for Foreign affairs has been included in the Cabinet, and Sir Kingsley Wood has been dropped and also Lord Cranbourne. Lord Beaverbrook declined. He remains as Minister of Production, but intends to go to Washington, to speed up munitions there. So, it is another shuffle. That awful fool Sir Kingsley Wood has been dropped at last, and Mr. Eden promoted, but will this new set of men win the war for us? I’m afraid not.
Saturday, February 21, 1942
Reports of a great naval battle off the Island of Bali were the Jap’s are attempting a landing. The U.S. navy and the Dutch are attacking them. The Jap’s have also landed on the Island of Timor, which is Portuguese, and neutral, but apparently neutrality means no more to the Jap’s than it does to the Germans.
Sunday, February 22, 1942
It is a bright sunny morning but still very cold, with occasional flurries of snow, too cold for snowfall however. I have just been out to the gate to investigate a strange noise and I found two workmen cutting the railings. The Government is removing all Romford railings for scrap-iron for munitions factories.
Monday, February 23, 1942
I went to Wykeham Hall this afternoon to a meeting of the Friends of The Prisoners of War. Pretty futile, I think. A sort of mother’s meeting, with a Parson in charge, but the women get together for fun and a social good time rather than anything they can do for prisoners. This afternoon they actually played games, including a romp with oranges and lemons. What good does this do the prisoners? The “do” begins with hymn singing and prayers, pretty awful. Listening to the fool parson, looking at the stupid women, I thought how shoddy they all were. Well, I know people are stupid; but I feel today, Oh God, give me the real thing! If Catholic women had felt called to pray, they would have prayed the liturgical prayers naturally, and there would have been dignity and a sense of rightness and truly felt religion but as things were in that Wykenham Hall meeting today, no, there was no life in that religion; the women were like so many dead leaves rustling, the parson a nincompoop.
Wednesday, February 25, 1942
It is Harold’s birthday. I wrote to him. I also made up a Red Cross Parcel for Cuthie. The weather is bitter. There is shocking news from the Russian front. It is good news for the Allies, but shocking nevertheless. The Russians have surprised the Germans south of Lake Ilmen, and gained an important victory in the region of Staraya Russia. They claim to have routed three German Divisions, and say that the Germans left on the battlefield twelve thousand men killed. This is what is called the Leningrad Front. The Russians are proving to be wonderful fighters, but oh, the horror of it all.
Tuesday, February 26, 1942
It is colder than ever. I feel very depressed, in fact I am in one of those moods so perilously near to dissolution, where I should like to close my eyes and die. I feel I cannot contend with anything any more. “These are the times that try men’s souls” all right, and women’s.
Saturday, February 28, 1942
Sunshine today and is slightly warmer, though still freezing. Dorrie Stanforth was here for the evening. I have promised to go to the movies with her next Thursday if nothing happens. War news gets worse and worse. The fall of Rangoon expects to be inevitable and soon. News tonight that last night we dropped parachute troops in Northern France, who successfully destroyed a German radiolocation unit and plant there. The R.A.F. took them over; the Navy brought them back, the Infantry, Fusiliers and Welch detachment are fighting on the beaches to cover our men’s getaway.
General opinion is that it is high time we begin to take the offensive and to harass Hitler on his western front. The Russians are still fighting strong on the East, but they have still not driven the Germans out of Russia, but they are not yet beaten.
A letter came from Artie today telling the good news (for him) that he has passed and will be an officer in the Reconnaissance Corps, and not be demoted to Infantry. He’s very happy about this. Poor Artie, God keep him!
World War ll London Blitz Diary's 1-4-42 I am reading Shirer’s, Berlin Diary. This covers the period from 1934 to the end of 1940, and is deeply interesting. Shirer is an American newspaper correspondent and radio broadcaster. This book naturally follows on form and links with Ambassador Dodd’s Diary. To me it is a striking result of reading these books a diminishment of Hitler and his gangsters.
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Sunday, January 4, 1942
Sunday, January 4, 1942
Rita Pullan came in for tea. I am reading Shirer’s, Berlin Diary. This covers the period from 1934 to the end of 1940, and is deeply interesting. Shirer is an American newspaper correspondent and radio broadcaster. This book naturally follows on form and links with Ambassador Dodd’s Diary. To me it is a striking result of reading these books a diminishment of Hitler and his gangsters. We read them after the events recorded have happened and it is literally seeing the past in light of the present, and the effect is belittling. One knows today that the evil protagonists were not, and are not, so great as they considered themselves, nor as they tried to impose themselves. We can realize them now as bogeys, not the giant geniuses they tried to make us believe in. So, a book like this is a comfort for it does diminish the villain.
Wednesday, January 14, 1942
It is six forty-five p.m. and there is an alert! This is the first one we have heard in this area this year. Last night a town on the north-east coast was bombed, and yesterday afternoon one of the coast towns of East Anglia was bombed, right in the shopping center, killing several people. It is now seven-ten p.m. and we got the all clear. Ted left for the Home Guards, complete in tin hat and gas mask. I hope we don’t get another warning whilst he is out.
Saturday, January 24, 1942
This afternoon the sky is very overcast, but this has given cover to Gerry. Planes have been flying over and several times there have been sounds of guns and bombs falling, though no alert has been sounded. There were terrific explosions many times. It is very frightening. This is Saturday too, a day Gerry likes to come over. I heard today of a very bad daylight raid on Lowestoft on January 13. The bombers came over soon after four o’clock and dropped bombs in the main street. They completely destroyed Boot’s drugstore there, and a café next door to Boot’s. The shops were crowded at the time and one hundred and three civilians were killed instantly, and ninety odd others were injured and taken to the hospital. This news has not been given out publicly. The B.B.C simply reported, “A raid on a town in East Anglia, some casualties reported.” The real news comes privately, through correspondents, people on the spot who know what happens. Yet we are supposed to have a free press, free news! As a matter of fact, the censors treat the public like big babies, and it is likely we are nearly as much diddled by the news reporters as the Germans themselves are. It is my opinion that the English public would not be panicked by the giving out of such pieces of news, as presumably that’s why the information is withheld, but would begin in earnest to work to finish the war.
Tuesday, January 27, 1942
Yesterday I went out in the cold to attend the meeting at Wykeham Hall of the Friends of the Prisoner’s of War. I also went into Stone’s and bought the makings of a warm winter coat, lining and interlining included. This was done with Ted’s permission. The idea is to buy good material whilst there is still some to be had.
One item of war news: We were told this morning that yesterday contingents of several thousand American soldiers were safely landed in a Northern Irish port. “The Yanks are coming!” Today Churchill has opened a three-day debate in Parliament on the war and has asked for a vote of confidence. I expect he will get it, but there is a great deal of criticism about what is happening in Malaysia and the Pacific generally. There the Jap's are supreme, and Singapore is threatened. Hong-Kong, of course, is lost. Like Malta, Singapore is being bombed daily. I am not writing a war record. Actually I am getting downright sick with the war news. What a world!
Wednesday, January 28, 1942
I have just been listening to a talk by Lord Beaverbrook, on war-production, and an account of the Prime Minister’s recent visit to Washington. This followed a long news report of the second day’s debate in parliament on the war situation. The effect of all this on me is one of anger and misery. Beaverbrook sounded bombastic, and to my ears insincere. The accounts of parliament are of men squabbling. I feel this damnable war is a game men in power play for their own delight. There is no mention of human lives, which are sacrificed daily, none.
I think this is a profitable business for many, profitable both in honors and in money. Production! Faugh! Money! War is destruction, inhuman, mechanical, sheer destruction, and nothing else. For what end? Hitler started it, yes, but where were our politicians, the statesmen who were supposed to properly manage diplomatic affairs? Why did they allow Hitler to re-arm? Then seeing that they did, why did they not re-arm us? Why, above all else, why in the name of God, did they not correct abuses, pacify Hitler’s just demands, undo the Versailles treaty since now they concede it was a bad treaty? Fools of men! God! Fools of men! I hate war. I hate politics. I hate specifying. I hate men.
Churchill talks. Roosevelt talks. I hate their talks. Hypocrites both of them, I think. Oh, wonderful speeches. Oh yes. The carnage proceeds more, intensifying. All around the world now men of all races die horrible deaths daily. Why? Because of war. Well, men decree war: men could stop war, if they wanted to. When there is no more money in it, they will stop it. Not before.
World War ll London Blitz Diary: 12-12-41 We had news at nine p.m. that Hitler has dismissed Von Brauchitsh and announced that he himself has taken over supreme command of the German Army. The Germans are now suffering defeat in Russia. Let us pray that at last the Germans are cracking. The Germans are suffering. It is so much the better. When they suffer enough then they will cease inflicting suffering on others.
We had news at nine p.m. that Hitler has dismissed Von Brauchitsh and announced that he himself has taken over supreme command of the German Army. The Germans are now suffering defeat in Russia. Let us pray that at last the Germans are cracking. The Germans are suffering. It is so much the better. When they suffer enough then they will cease inflicting suffering on others.
Christmas Eve. At nine p.m. our time, there was a rally from Washington of speeches by Roosevelt and Churchill on the occasion of the lighting up of the community Christmas tree on the White House lawn. Very moving.
I am always sorry to hear the news because I’m always hoping to hear Hitler has hanged himself and I really should hate to miss the announcement of his decease. I find this Christmas I am even for the war! I’ve lost my impatience with the senile and self-seeking politicians. I still think they are fools and criminals, but they are behind us. I see the present imperativeness of fighting evil. It doesn’t matter now that incompetents allowed Hitler to murder Europe; what does matter is that the competent shall now and henceforward proceed with the annihilation of Hitler and all his works.
Hitlerism must be exterminated. We shall go on suffering in the fight, all of us, but we shall fight, and we shall win. Good and Evil. God and the Devil. Satan rampant. Yes, Satan. With the help of God, good men will vanquish him in the end. Hitler has refused to acknowledge God, and he has damned himself. He has damned all his followers. The Nazis are, and will, excreted by all good men now, and until the end of the world. The Nazi’s suffer for Hitler and will be infamous forever as recompense. The nations who fight Hitler suffer, but dead or living, will have glory.
Churchill addressed Congress last night and this speech was broadcast from Washington. It was a fine speech.
World War ll London Blitz Diary: 12-7-41 It was a queer weekend. Big mock invasion maneuvers are being carried out in this region. Four thousand Home Guards from our Romford district are “out” tracking down “the enemy” who is being acted by the real military units. The war news remains bad, although the Germans have retreated from Rostov but fighting rages unceasingly in Russia, and also in Libya.
It was a queer weekend. Big mock invasion maneuvers are being carried out in this region. Four thousand Home Guards from our Romford district are “out” tracking down “the enemy” who is being acted by the real military units. The war news remains bad, although the Germans have retreated from Rostov but fighting rages unceasingly in Russia, and also in Libya.
Moreover at any moment hostilities may open in the Far East, between Japan and the U.S.A. Yesterday President Roosevelt sent a personal message to the Emperor of Japan, a last attempt to avert war. It is nine-thirty p.m. and war has started in the Pacific. The Japanese have attacked several U.S.A. bases, particularly Guam and Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii. Treachery, murder, and damnation.
At six thirty p.m. tonight we heard President Roosevelt addressing Congress. He said it was not necessary for Congress to declare war on Japan, because Japan had already declared war on America. “We are at war!” It was a very short speech, very impressive. At nine p.m. Churchill broadcast to us, and to the world. As promised, we line up with the U.S.A. and we too are at war with Japan. This is frightful. Roosevelt’s speech made me weep. Ted brought out the precious whiskey, and we drank to America, and the boys. Oh God! How can we endure?
The Japanese have sunk two of our largest ships. H.M.S. Prince of Wales, battleship, and thirty five thousand tons: and H.M.S. Repulse, cruiser, thirty two thousand tons.
Over two thousand men have been rescued from our ships, but Admiral Tom Phillips is among the missing.
Two thousand three hundred and thirty men saved out of a total of two thousand nine hundred and twenty five, but we are told the final figure is not fixed so we can hope a few more may be accounted for saved. The loss of these ships is a major catastrophe.We are told that the absence of adequate fighter protection is believed to have been a consequent of the suddenness of the Japanese attack before a declaration of war, and of the shortage of aircraft which has been experienced throughout the Empire since 1939, and which is only now being remedied by Great Britain.