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.
World War ll London Blitz: Buy On Smashwords I am the great-granddaughter of Ruby Side Thompson.
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)
There is news this morning that the Finish Prime Minister resigned and a new cabinet is forming in Helsinki. Meanwhile, there is a lull in the Russian attack. I suppose Finland will have to accede to all of Russia’s demands, or else be absolutely exterminated. Anyhow, Russia will swallow her, then, who next, the Scandinavian countries?
December 21, 1939.
Well, I have written the Christmas letters, made no Christmas preparations, read no books. I have been absolutely tired out with the Thompson affairs. We are going to be alone for Christmas. Neither of the boys will be able to be here. Artie who is training at Nutley, Sussex, will have leave from December Twenty-Nine, to January Second. Cuthie, who is now with an operational squadron, stationed at Driffield, Yorkshire, does not expect to get any leave before March. I have written to Hammersmith and asked Mother to come and spend the Christmas with us, but so far have had no reply.
The war continues to get worse and worse. Finn’s have not surrendered to Russia, and up to date are proving very successful fighters, but as there are about forty Russians to every Finn, I don’t see how they can win in the long run. The war at sea is dreadful. The Germans are laying magnetic mines, and attaching neutrals. They bomb fishing boats from the air, and machine gun the fisherman on the decks, and in their little open boats.
Last week there was a big naval battle off South America, with the German pocket battleship, the Graf Spee. She was forced to take shelter in Montevideo Harbor, and when the Uruguayan Government declined to allow her to remain longer than seventy-two hours, she put to sea and sculled herself at the mouth of the River Plate. Yesterday came news of her commander; Captain Langsdorff had shot himself. This is all very inglorious. Also, yesterday, the German liner “Columbus” scuttled herself because she saw a British warship.
December 27, 1939
Artie surprised us by coming in about one o’clock on Sunday. He got a pass for the day. When evening came, he couldn’t return. Neither buses nor trains were running. Nor could he hire a taxi. The fog was impenetrable, so about seven o’clock he returned to the house, and stayed here all night. This was very nice for Ted, as the two of them went to the 8 o’clock mass together on Christmas morning. Artie couldn’t get a bus to Nutley until eleven o’clock so had time to have breakfast here. We expect him again on Friday, for a five-day leave, unless he is punished for not returning to headquarters on Sunday. He couldn’t get there. It was one of the thickest fogs in years. On Christmas night, we heard in the news that a steamer from Jersey, which usually crossed the channel in six hours, had three nights on the water, with two hundred passengers aboard!
It strikes me as we are going to hear some very bad news tonight. Our airplanes are going over constantly, bombers, in both directions, and flying very low. A group passed now which seemed almost to graze over our rooftops. There are many more about today than is usual, especially in this last hour.
December 28, 1939
We expect Cuth home today, for a twelve-day leave, so if he is traveling down from Yorkshire today, he’s going to have a beastly journey. I have just put two hot water bottles in his bed, and after tea, I will put some onions on to boil to make a nightcap for him. Artie is due home tomorrow, for a five-day leave. We got letters from him this morning. It appears he didn’t get back to the barracks on Christmas Day after all. When he got to London on Christmas morning, he found there were no busses running and no train to East Grimstead until seven in the evening; so he went out to Hammersmith and ate a Christmas dinner with his Grandma. He writes she is as fit as a fiddle. When he did get to East Grimstead, he had an eight-mile walk, in the fog. However, he was excused his absence. It seemed that none of the fellows on leave with him were able to return, on account of the fog, but he was the last one of the lot to get in, being the one who had gone furthest a field. So, there were no punishments.
There was a severe earthquake in Turkey; between five and six thousand people killed in Anatolia. This world suffers one misery after another.
Letters arrived from America this morning. They have been on the way since December Eighth. New babies expected early in the year. Harold and Kay expect one in Christmas week, so that may be born already. Eddie and Chic expect their first in March, and Johnny and Ruth their fourth in January. This will bring the number of our grandchildren up to twelve. Incredible, but there it is.
I brought out an old photo of Grandma Searle this morning, to show to Mrs. Jude, who, of course, was calling. With Mrs. Jude and Selma, I never anymore get a day to myself. Mrs. Jude at once perceived a strong resemblance to me, in the picture. I can see it too. So, there’s the Irish in me, for Grandma Searle was fifty-percent unadulterated Irish. She was the daughter of the infamous Joe Beate’s. The damnable Irish!
January 10, 1940
Mrs. Jude just left: then a chat with Miss Coppen on the telephone. The twins are twenty-one today. They were born just after the termination of the Great War; now they are fighting in this one. Artie was home for a few hours on Sunday, but did not see Cuth, because he was spending the weekend with the Spaul’s in Cambridge. Cuth returned to Driffield on Monday. Mother must have been the age I am now when the twins were born; if I live another twenty-one years, I shall be as old as mother is now, providing I also live so long. Time; and time passing.