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.
I received a parcel from Bumpus. A twelve-volume edition of Shakespeare and a four-volume edition of “Middlemarch.” Nothing else. I am very pleased with these. We had a raid last night between one a.m. and one-thirty a.m. I came downstairs but Ted remained up in bed. The figures for casualties in the air raids for February have been given today. Civilian casualties due to air raids in the United Kingdom during February were nine hundred and sixty-one killed (or missing, believed killed) and seventeen hundred and twelve injured and detained in he the hospital. This is the highest total since May 1941. Churchill is speaking in Parliament today about the ban on travel to and from Ireland. Last week the United States Government, with the approval of our government, asked DeValera to expel the German and Japanese representatives from Eire. The request was refused. The reason for the request was severely practical. It was to clear out the nests of espionage and plotting in Dublin, and to free Allied Forces in Northern Ireland from continuing danger. On Sunday it was announced that because of Eire’s refusal to expel the Germans and Japanese from Dublin, a ban on all travel between Eire and the United Kingdom would come into effect at once, and further steps would be taken to isolate Southern Ireland from the world, for reasons of military safety.
Wednesday March 15, 1944
There was a very heavy raid last night between ten-fifteen and eleven forty-five p.m. The B.B.C. states this morning that we brought down nine bombers. It was most frightening. Even Ted showed nervousness. He became very pale, and finally took his rosary out of his pocket and began saying it. This is the first time I have ever seen him do this. I didn’t pray. I couldn’t. Instead I kept on with my reading, luckily a light book, Esther Maxwell’s “Life of the Young Lincoln.” As the war goes on my “Christian” religion evaporates more and more. I can’t see what Jesus Christ and the gospels have to do with this affair, and as for the Blessed Virgin and the Saints, even less. As for mass, nothing. My God is a spirit, and I worship him in spirit and in truth as the human Jesus once told a woman to do. This religion about Jesus I cannot swallow. I cannot believe in a God who was an historical person. That is why I like the Anglican Church so much, Jesus is in it, of course, but much more so is God there, the God one can find in the Old Testament, the God that declared that he was not a man that he should repent him. I have to try to have feelings about Jesus, and responses to him, it is all artificial, a pretense. I don’t have to try to have feelings about God, they are spontaneous, I can feel God in the Old Testament, I can feel him in the sunshine, the moon and stars, the grass, in my love for Ted in the night when that can be spontaneous and true, in an infant, in an eclipse, but I cannot feel God in the Christian religion.
Thursday March 16, 1944
We had an alert at six-thirty this evening, before dark. The raid lasted only a little over half an hour. It was a small attack only. The weather is still very cold. Winter is lasting long this year.