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.
It is the first official calendar day of spring, but the weather is most unspring like. It is very cold. The Government has published a ban today on all travel to the coast, from The Wash to Lands End, and certain portions of the Firth of Forth, to come into effect on April first. All schools in the country were asked a few weeks ago to close down by March thirty-first, for the Easter holidays, as no travel will be permitted after that date. Is the Invasion about to begin at last?
Wednesday March 22, 1944
It is colder than ever. We had another very heavy raid last night, over London and the S.E. coast. It began here about twelve forty-five a.m. and went on until tow a.m. this morning. It was extremely bad. Several times I thought we should surely be hit, but no, here we are, still intact. We are in the dark of the moon now, so many expect several more raids during the next week or so. There is a new moon on Friday. I wrote to Marjorie today, and to Eddie last Sunday. I have received a card from Sket, dated December tenth. He writes: “Dear Folks, I had a parcel from you a few days ago. I was pleased to get only what I asked for. It is hard to realize that only in a month’s time I shall be twenty-five years old. I hope that it is to be my last birthday in captivity. Art has got out of the war pretty lightly so why should he not be cheerful? I have no more to say. Sket.”
Thursday March 23, 1944
Well, after I had finished writing to Marjorie yesterday, I was overcome by the most dreadful feeling of depression and dereliction that I have ever known. Never before in my whole life have I ever felt so derelict and forsaken. It was terrible. I did not know what to do with myself. I could do nothing, nothing at all. It was evening and Ted and I were sitting here in this little dining room together. He was reading, and happy as usual. I could not read, I could not think, I could hardly breathe. In my breast was an agony, not a physical pain, but a torture of despair. It was complete mental agony, utter dereliction of soul. I was sitting here by the table, my eyes closed, in a state of suffocating suspense, then lo, all at once my mind began to say the Hail Mary, and then it went on into the Salve, Regina and then the Memorale. Release, consolation, encouragement, and then, best of all, conviction. This went on for hours. It is still going on. I had to get up in the night for an air raid, and it still went on. I still have it. It is a conviction of the reality of the supernatural, which I have never experienced before. I felt the reality and the presence of the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of God. I felt her. I felt her as my Mother, my heavenly mother, surpassing my own earthly mother, and in a different way altogether from the flesh. It was supernatural. Mary, the mother of God, and the mother of me. All my mental distresses passed away. I have been thinking for months past that I was definitely out of the Catholic Church, and that I was making up my mind to re-enroll myself in the Church of England. But no, it isn’t so. God the father, Yes, but God the son, I cannot ever see him, but Mary, yes. That woman, she I can see as a Divine Person and now I have experienced her. I have.