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.
There was a very heavy raid last night. It began about eleven p.m. and went on until after one o’clock this morning. On today’s one o’clock news we were told that whilst the Germans were bombing London, we were bombing Berlin. The R.A.F. dropped twenty five hundred tons of bombs on Berlin, during one half hour. Seventy-three of our aircraft are missing from the thousand who were sent to do the job. Over here we suffered damage and casualties, but, as usual, details are not given us. Most of it, of course, was in London. The only “fact” we are given is the information that we brought down eight of the enemy raiders. The German’s have occupied Hungary.
Friday March 31, 1944
The weather is very cold and we had frost in the night. It was a bad night, a raid from three-thirty to four-thirty a.m., also much crossing over of our own aircraft, back and forth. There was bad news on the one o’clock bulletin, a report that the R.A.F. made a raid in great strength over Nuremberg last night; and ninety-six of our aircraft are missing. This is awful. This is the highest loss in one night we have had yet. One night in February we lost seventy-nine, but this is much worse. Poor boys. One prays that they go straight to heaven. Poor boys. When, oh when, will this damnable war end?
April 1, 1944
I am frightfully tired now after cooking and clearing away our dinner. I should like never to have to cook a dinner again as long as I live, and never to have to tend a fire, or dust a room, or be polite to the boring neighbors. I had a conversation with Miss Owlett this morning about her Mother who is seriously ill, and after looking at her plain, plain face; I came back into the house remembering how nice looking Mother was. Mother kept much beauty, right to the very end of her life; she was a beautiful old lady. When I think of the old women on either side of me, Mrs. Thomson with her medusa grey locks and her wrinkles and her make-up and thus Mrs. Owlett with her almost bald head, and her daughter with her reptilian eyes and neck and her scraggy grey hair, Oh, I think of the three witches in Macbeth, Hago, all three of them! I hate the sight of all three. Do women have to become so ugly? There is one think these old hags make me darn sure about, and that is, hair. Hair is a woman’s crowning glory, and I intend to have hair. I’ll never have my hair cut again. I remember Mother’s hair it was beautiful. So could mine be, and it shall be.