About Me

My Photo

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)

World War ll London Blitz: 2-5-41 I think I’ll note some items about food. It has occurred to me that perhaps we have become more cranky than ordinary because of the food situation. Although we could not say the food situation is bad, it is decidedly tiresome. There are so many restrictions that variety in food is hard to come by, and meals are uninteresting and uninviting. Rationing does give everybody a definite amount of whatever is available.

February 5, 1941
I think I’ll note some items about food. It has occurred to me that perhaps we have become more cranky than ordinary because of the food situation. Although we could not say the food situation is bad, it is decidedly tiresome. There are so many restrictions that variety in food is hard to come by, and meals are uninteresting and uninviting. Rationing does give everybody a definite amount of whatever is available. As it stands now this is what one person can get every week:
Sugar: four ounces
Tea: two ounces
Bacon: four ounces
Eggs: two (if you can find any)
Cheese: two ounces (if you can find any)
Meat: one shilling and two pence worth
Butter: two ounces
Margarine: four ounces
Note: this is per week!
Eggs are practically unobtainable. Lemons and onions are absolutely unobtainable. Kidneys and liver are not to be found. Fish is out of sight for all practical purposes. There is no fruit anywhere, either fresh or tinned. No dried fruit. No nuts. No tomatoes. No marmalade. No jam. No syrup. Sausages are forty percent bread.
Neither bread nor flour is rationed, yet, but only one sort of loaf is obtainable. Cakes and pastries have practically disappeared, certainly all those at popular prices. The last time I was on South Street I saw a chocolate layer cake in one baker’s window priced at eight pence; ordinarily it would have been two pence.
We are exhorted to eat plenty of carrots and potatoes and oatmeal. What a diet! The lack of onions for all savory cooking, and also of tomatoes, fresh, tinned, or pureed makes very flat dishes; and the lack of sugar and eggs deposes of all sweets.
Try to cook without eggs or onions and see how little you can do! We diet on potatoes without butter; or porridge without sugar or syrup, and with milk at nine pence per quart. Meals have been dreadfully uninteresting. If one cared to sit down to a hearty, variegated, tasty meal one would feel like a new being.
Joan also told us something about shelter life and the effect it was having on people. She spent every night sitting up in a shelter for three months and finally got such excruciating pains in her back she had to go to the hospital to get cured. Shelter strain. Son has had to go to the hospital with neuritis in his right arm. Shelter life. Joan tells me many people are getting what is described as shelter ankles, that is swellings due to always sitting up, never lying in bed for a night anymore. Joan thinks all doctors must be under orders not to say anything against the shelters, or to admit that any aches or pains or illnesses are due to sleeping in shelters. She says it is quite remarkable how they don’t ask patients about where they sleep and how they sleep!
“Of course the shelters must be bad for the health. I’ve heard of two doctors in this town who have forbidden mothers to take their young children into shelters. I heard that Dr. Levy wept when he lost a baby with pneumonia, contracted, he declared, by sleeping in a shelter. Another doctor told my Lily that she must take a chance on a bomb, but she must keep her bronchial baby out of the shelter.”
February 7, 1941
I am serene, thanks to St. Francis. The whole of last night Ted was out on fire spotting duties, on top of Lyons, from eight p.m. until six this morning.
I was all right. Happily there were no raids. The weather was too bad I expect. We had deep snow yesterday. Anyhow, I was all right. I sat up until midnight, and then settled down to sleep quite calmly. Today I have been writing. My mind’s in spate again, hurrah! There was news at one o’clock of the fall of Benghazi.
February 15, 1941
I am waiting for Sainsbury’s delivery. Airplanes are buzzing about. No morning alert yet. The last alert was at one twenty a.m. this morning, with all clear after about an hour. Ted heard nothing of it, and even though I got up to get a light, he did not waken. We had raids most of the evening, too. The all clear came about eleven fifteen p.m., so that we could settle down comfortably to sleep.
Throughout this week there has been plenty of air activity again, after the January slow up. The weather is improving of course. Things are getting more frightening now. There is constant talk, in public, and on the air, of the prospect of imminent invasion. It is that Hitler must invade us to lick us, and he must do it soon before American aid reaches us. In the first news this morning at seven a.m. instructions were given as to what to do in case of invasion, to “stay put,” and await direct instructions from the military or the police. It is sickening.
This week Franco went to Italy for a conference with Mussolini, and on his return had a meeting with Petain at Montpelier. What does this portend? So far Franco has kept out of the war, recovering from their civil war, of course. Franco is a minor dictator, and a puppet of the other two. Will he take Nazi orders? Will he copy Mussolini and land a stab in the back to a power he considers to be losing? God knows.
Anyhow the coming slaughter is going to be awful. Again millions of Europe’s young men will be destroyed and for what? For the damned stupidity of political maniacs. Civilians too will perish in multitudes. Oh my God, the stupidity of men!
February 21, 1941
I went to the hairdressers this afternoon. Ted told me at dinnertime that he would go straight to church from the office, to play for benediction at six p.m., and would not be in until about six forty. So I decided I had time to get my hair done. It is a problem getting to the hairdressers. I certainly will not go out while the raids are on. No day raiding today, so off I went. There were raids again last night. We have had them every night since Wednesday in spite of the cold. On my way back I met Mary Bernadette Jude, so brought her into tea. She has returned to Romford and is living alone in their house, her mother still staying in Belfast.
February 22, 1941—Washington’s Birthday
An alert! There is trouble again in Romford. So I cannot write now.
It is eleven thirty a.m. and all quiet, though no all clear has been given. We had a very bad night again last night. The evening was quiet, but the guns began soon after midnight. No clearance still from this morning. Oh this senseless war! What I sat down to note was another folly of men. Though perhaps not a “folly” but only a fundamental. Last night when Ted returned from seeing Mary Jude home, he began to kiss me, so we loved. Inside I was intensely amused. First, because I notice that a young girl around excites Ted, not towards them, but towards me. Next, because in the act of love, theology completely vanishes. Men forget God when their lust is upon them. I thought: what married woman, or any woman that lies with a man, can possibly believe in a man’s religion? I don’t mean the religion proposed by the individual man but the great cancers of religious dogmas, which men have invented, and the churches have built up?
February 24, 1941
I am waiting for the water to warm up for a bath. It was a noisy night again last night. Some bombs fell nearby about eight thirty p.m. Then everything quieted down again until nearly midnight. There were two bad spells of raiding then. All clear not coming until after three this morning. Oh this damned war!
About ten o’clock last night Artie telephoned. He said he got his leave, and was phoning from Victoria. He said he was going down to Hammersmith and would stay at Grandma’s for the night, and would be in Romford in time for dinner today. Good.

No comments:

Post a Comment