History is never quite as real as when it is told by those who lived it. Ruby Thompson, living during the World War ll London Blitz bombing blasts history out of the realm of dry, dusty names and dates and places the reader in the midst of the terrifying events as they unfold. This is very important documentation and will have tremendous appeal to those who have an avid interest in the effect of the war on ordinary citizens.
This has been another bad week with any rockets falling. One at Hornchurch, near Emerson Park Station, very bad; two in Ilford, one falling just behind the Super Cinema, on a shirt factory, killing many, and the other on the Cranham Road.
This has been another bad week with any rockets falling. One at Hornchurch, near Emerson Park Station, very bad; two in Ilford, one falling just behind the Super Cinema, on a shirt factory, killing many, and the other on the Cranham Road. One fell on the bottling plant of the co-op milk depot, killing forty-seven men; the building had a complete glass roof, so the casualties were many. One fell on Bethnal Green Hospital, two hundred patients had to be removed under murderous conditions, and so it goes, night and day. We get about fifteen every twenty-four hours in this neighborhood alone, that is, counting only those I can hear; but they are falling all over London; probably a couple of hundred are launched against us every day, but only the officials know what happens in its immediate locality. No information is ever given on the wireless beyond the base statement that “enemy action over Southern England caused casualties and damage during the period ending at seven a.m. this morning.” The allies have launched a new offensive in this West this week; the Russians daily get closer to Berlin; yet still the Germans fight. How much longer can they go on? The big three- Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin is meeting in conference, “somewhere in the Black Sea area.” In the Pacific the Americans have re-taken Manila. The Burma Road has been re-opened. Possibly this year will see the end of the war, but guessing is futile.
Friday February 16, 1945
The war news is terrible. The collapse of Germany cannot be very far off now, but the daily battling is more than I can bear to think about. Death, death, death, all the time. Then when it is all over what is the living going to do? All these young men who have gloried in killing for so long, how are they going to resume normal peaceful lives? They wont be able to be Normal ordinary men, to live lives without excitement. The present can’t be thought about, nor can the future. I think nowhere in Europe is life going to be tolerable, even when the war ends. I hope to get out of it, to get away home to America. Meanwhile I think of the war as little as ever I can; that is the only way to stay sane, not to think about it. Instead I think about D.H.Lawrence, about Miriam Henderson, about Alice Searle, about Ruby Side…..
Tuesday February 20, 1945
What I want to say, right here is that in case any grandchild of mine, forty or fifty years hence, should read this record of my life and thoughts; this is only a record of my life and thoughts, not a record of my times. I see, what I have written today, may be considered very trivial, and in face of events, very unfeeling. I tell you now; I have to turn my attention to these comparatively trivial things, to save my reason. To think about the war is to think about Hell. I wont do it. For the record of the history of these days you must look elsewhere. For instance, Churchill and Eden returned to this country yesterday from the Crimean Conference with Roosevelt and Stalin at Yalta, and a visit to Athens and Cairo in addition; and today both of them went to Parliament and spoke there. I don’t care. They are great politicians, but I am sick of politicians and all of their words I am sick to death of them. On the Continent the war is more hellish then ever; men destroy each other without ceasing. Over the air we are told of deeds of gallantry, which entail such suffering that simply to hear of them, is to shudder. Right here in town we suffer assault by the rocket bombs day and night without ceasing. Our absurd “rulers” daily devise plans for the future of our society, which if put into effect, will destroy the liberty of the ordinary free individual; we shall be planned into a very convenient servile state; and this I wouldn’t think about because it makes me angry; I feel that even when the war is over life isn’t going to be worth living. So I deliberately distract myself with thoughts and interests, which have nothing whatever to do with the war, and the present hour. Luckily I am practiced in living from my own vitals. More than most women I have had to live from my own roots.