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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.

World War ll London Blitz: 1-28-41 There are frequent alerts today. The Germans have been very quiet over London for a week. We have had seven consecutive nights without a raid, and five days without one.



January 28, 1941
There are frequent alerts today. The Germans have been very quiet over London for a week. We have had seven consecutive nights without a raid, and five days without one. Today is rainy and cloudy, good for tip and run raids.
I’ve been in a state of anger and grief since yesterday, but am coming back to serenity now, thank God. I asked Ted last night whether he had actually joined the Home Guard, or whether he was only thinking about it. He replied he had put in a written application to join. I asked him, had he stopped to consider me in the matter, and what was I to do whilst he was out defending the town hall, etc. He replied, oh yes, but I could take care of myself. I said I couldn’t stand it to be here alone during night raids. He said, I would have to stand it, moreover, I would have to stand it this very coming Saturday night, as he was down to be on guard at the office all night.
Then I flew off the handle. Every man of sixty is exempt from all fire watching. Why does he go to guard the office? Let old Bert pay firewatchers, as other firms do. I think it’s an outrage that I should be left here alone nights. It’s terrifying. I haven’t forgotten yet how Ted went off in August and left me alone in the raids, and that was for his mere pleasuring. Day raids are frightening enough, but to be alone in a night raid nearly kills you with fright.
I cried last night. It just seems to me cruel that he should manage to go away nights and leave me alone in the blitz, and above all, not to tell me a word about his plans until he has made them. Other women have their families around them. I have nobody.
Now the guns are talking, very near. There must be raiders in the vicinity. Guess I’ll get into my corner. Au-Revoir.
January 30, 1941
I want to record a dream before it fades. Last night we suffered very bad raids again. They began before dark and continued the whole evening, though the all clear came just before midnight. We had no raids for ten nights, so when they began again after the lull, they seemed worse than ever. I was made sick with fright.
In the middle of the night I awakened from a most beautiful dream. I was dreaming of Jesus. He was walking into the house, very casually, like any caller, and he said to me, several times, “You must believe. You must believe.” Everything was bathed in peace, a total assuagement. It was beautiful.
This morning the raids have begun again. There was very heavy gunfire, very near, at nine thirty. My Lily did not arrive until ten fifteen; she had been ordered by the warden to take shelter, and had to go into a house she was passing until the all-clear signal was given.
January 30th, is supposed to be an auspicious day for Hitler, according to his own reckonings. So possibly he will intensify his raids today.
February 3, 1941
It is snowy and cold today. Joan surprised me by knocking at the door about four o’clock on Saturday afternoon. She said she had come to spend the night with me. My letter to Mother, in which I told her Ted would be out fire-spotting all Saturday night, had arrived in Hammersmith at noon, and Joan said I sounded so miserable in it, she decided to come over at once. So here she is now. I was so pleased to see her, I cried. Ted of course went off about seven thirty. Joan and I had a good evenings talk, and did not settle down to sleep until after midnight. Ted returned about six thirty on Sunday morning. Luck was with us and there were no raids.
About eleven in the morning Ted went out again. When he returned he told Joan that he had been to join the Home Guard. After dinner, when he was talking to Joan about the war he said this: “I would willingly see Ruby and Cuth and Artie die lingering and painful deaths if it was necessary to win the war. I would gladly sacrifice them if by so doing we could defeat Hitler.”
Joan protested. I said nothing. What is there to say to such a fanatic? You notice he would remain alive. You see he does not care for flesh and blood. He loves neither his wife nor his sons; only his ideas, what he calls his ideals.
Ted loves nobody, and it becomes impossible to love him. He is not human. He is a fanatical madman, a ruthless egotist, and a lunatic.
Ever since he said that, I have been unable to speak to him. I have known for years that he had no real affection for me, but for him to so cold bloodily say that he could gladly see me die, and painfully die, if thereby my death could help to win the war, my God, this is too much.
I suppose it is only natural Ted wants to fight the enemy. Man’s nature, which I don’t understand. War infuriates my common sense. I tend to think all men fools and old men old fools.

World War ll London Blitz: 1-1-41 It was another quiet night due to bad weather. This afternoon the weather is clearing, so I expect we shall have the raiders again tonight.

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January 1, 1941
It was another quiet night due to bad weather. This afternoon the weather is clearing, so I expect we shall have the raiders again tonight.
January 2, 1941
It is very cold, and a powdering of snow and a very noisy night last night again. At dinnertime Ted brought me in a letter, addressed simply to Mrs. Edward Thompson, Romford, England, which had been taken into him in the office, to be enquired about. It was for me, from Mrs. Slocum, in Roselle. It’s made me so happy I’m walking on air. She had heard of the news about Cuthie, through her Jimmie, via one of the Leech boys. Jimmie also wrote in a few lines, and sent me a snapshot of his boy, now in the U.S. Navy, on a destroyer. This made me brim over with tears. Here is one of the children I knew before he was born, now a sailor. Incredible. I was so excited, and so happy about everything. I sat down after clearing up lunch, and wrote back to Mrs. Slocum right away. Now I’m full to the brim with memories of Bayonne. Those were good years, the Bayonne years. The best years of my life were there in Bayonne.
January 3, 1941
Today is colder. The pail of water that is kept by the front door, and ready to douse an incendiary bomb, is a solid block of ice, and so is the rain water tank at the back of the house. Luckily the indoor pipes are not frozen. Ted is very cranky. I expect it’s the cold.
January 6, 1941
Bardia has fallen. The news was received in London late last night. Prisoners captured exceed twenty-five thousand including six generals. To the Australians go the first honors, for they led the attack. The Italians are crumbling fast, making Hitler’s first broken prop. The axis is now wobbly. Hitler gave London another bombardment last night. The alert was given about six o’clock, and the all clear came just before midnight. We have not been told yet what damage they did last night.
We spent a very terrifying evening here in Romford. Edna Renacre was here to tea, and did not leave until ten fifteen, afraid to start out. However, we think she must have got home in a fair lull, because the next big explosion did not come until eleven p.m. This house was shaken several times last night, so if it was caused by the bombs dropping in London, they must have been even worse than usual. Most of the week anyhow dynamiting has been going on in the city. The damaged buildings left standing after the fire raid of last Sunday were judged dangerous, and the Royal Engineers have been dynamiting the shells. What can be left in the city to destroy I don’t know. Hitler has vowed that he will raze London to the ground, and certainly he seems to be getting on with the job considerably. He doesn’t cow the Londoner. What he doesn’t understand is that the more he bombs and bullies and burns us the more we will resist him. Supposing he could bomb every city in Britain to rubble heaps, he still wouldn’t have beaten the British. The French surrendered Paris rather than have Paris destroyed. Maybe that’s French economy and carefulness. The English won’t surrender London. What if London is destroyed? Hitler can only destroy the bricks and stones. Like Rome and Athens, London is immortal: an immortal idea which can never be destroyed. Once Hitler is destroyed, the form of our city can be built up again, and even fairer.
I wonder what sort of a night we shall have tonight! There’s a moon, and it’s perishing cold. I suppose Hitler is furious because of the fall of Bardia, so he’s relieving his temper by giving us an extra peppering. My God! When will this hellish war end?
January 19, 1941
I’ve got the blues, most confoundedly. For two pins I could lie down and weep. I’m so homesick for America I could lie down and die. A week ago Artie was here. He came home on the tenth, his birthday, and returned to camp last Sunday night. He had forty-eight hours leave. He expects to get another seven days in February, as his battalion is going east in March. Whether he goes or not, he does not know. His commission still hangs fire, though he has been definitely told he has been passed for a commission.
Last Sunday night London received another bad bombing. One high explosive went down the escalator shaft at the Bank Station. All the people on it killed, of course, and all the people in the station. To make horrors worse, a train was just coming into the station, and the force of the blast blew all the people on the platform on to the lines, so they were killed by electricity, and then run over. They were unrecognizable. As for the debris, it isn’t all cleared away yet, and there are still many bodies not dug out yet. It is impossible to count the dead. The night shelter people were there, as well as travelers; the number must be many hundreds, perhaps a thousand. This is modern war, damnable hellish war.
Throughout this week the bombing has slowed down considerably, but this is because of the weather. We are having a real winter spell of weather. Yesterday we had a snowfall of eighteen inches, but it is thawing today, fast. This means, I suppose, that the Germans will be over again tonight. What will they do tonight?
January 21, 1941.
It is ten thirty-seven a.m. and the first alert of the day is sounding. The Germans are now promising to commence their final knock out assault on us by February 1st.
Last night at six o’clock we listened to the broadcast from America of the inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt for his third presidential term. The reception was perfect. The voices were wonderfully clear. I wept. There was something indescribably moving in hearing him taking the oath. His address was good, too. The prayers were deeply impressive; the invocation, the benediction; I couldn’t help weeping, but they were happy tears.
(Guns, guns, this is an attack on Romford.)
 January 24, 1941
Tobruk has fallen on Wednesday. That was two days ago. Our bombardment was terrible. As I listened to the news, I wept. Men are blowing each other to pieces. Isn’t it awful! War! Man’s occupation! Crazy men.
When will the war end? Hitler has now promised to invade us by February 1st. Well, we shall see. The sooner he tries the better, I think. We had news this morning, via the Netherlands, reported that the German Parachute troops waiting there to invade us are in a state of growing panic. They are said to be mainly boys of seventeen, and they are wondering what will happen to them in England; as also the infantry, waiting to embark, are wondering what will happen to them in the Channel. Boys of seventeen! Isn’t it wicked? It is all to be destroyed to satisfy one man’s lust for power. What about their mothers? Can German mothers think parachuting a glorious career for their boys? My God! Will the world ever be sane again?
January 25, 1941
Ted has just gone out on his Saturday’s rounds. Last night he gave me an awful shock. At ten o’clock, apropos of nothing at all, he suddenly told me he had joined up with the Home Guard. I was dumbfounded, and then I began to cry. What a God Almighty fool he is! The war has got Cuthie and Artie, and now he has to walk into it. He is sixty-three years old, and an old crock. He knows nothing of soldiering, and actually is a downright timid man. He joins the Home Guard. I say, God damn him and blast him for an infernal fool.
Yes, I know there is a Home Guard, and the age limit is sixty-five. The Home Guard is made up of the old soldiers, the men who fought in the last war, and know something about soldiering. By no means have all the old soldiers joined up. Elderly men mostly know better.
I know what the trouble with Ted is: he is suffering from a fit of the heroics. It is his damned idealism again. His damned crusader’s spirit. He’s going to save Romford now, I suppose. God blast him. Ted is a neurotic romantic emotionalist. He is an utter fool.
He wants to go to war. I know him. I remember what he said when he wanted to get into the last war. He said: “I missed the Boer War.”
I remembered last night the agony of those war years in Bayonne, when he was crazy to join up and how he tried to and how our men friends came in a body to remonstrate with him about doing so. He was a man then with five young children and he was ready to walk out and leave me with them.
“I missed the Boer War,” he said. Heroics. War hysteria. War propaganda. Romance. Let’s play soldiers.
I’ve cried myself sick, but there isn’t anything I can do about it. I must protect myself, that’s what I know. In every way, physically and mentally. Only last Wednesday I thought: I must protect my mind. When we wakened on Wednesday, we heard of the fall of Tobruk, and most grisly accounts were given of the bombarding and fighting, and right afterwards the “Lift Up Your Hearts” part of the B.B.C. gave a little spiel about Epiphany, and the gifts of the Wise Men dilating on the gift of myrrh, which represented suffering, he said. He went on to harangue how we all must suffer, and must accept suffering with joyfulness. My mind rebelled at such doctrine. I am against resignation. I resist. It seems to me that nine-tenths of the suffering in the world is not only useless, it is unnecessary, and could be avoided. Take the war, men killing each other; don’t they bring it on themselves? Burning, killing, destruction; none of it need be. Then why should I accept it? No, I don’t. Men create suffering and I hate men; men’s philosophy, men’s politics, and men’s world. I listen to men’s propaganda pouring out on the radio, and I loathe it. I say to myself, as I did Wednesday, “No, you can’t have my mind. I don’t think your thoughts, and I won’t allow you to insinuate them into my mind.”
My mind is my own, and before God I’ll keep it my own. I loathe the war, all wars, but I didn’t bring it on, and I won’t be brought into it for one tithe that I can evade. The war is madness, but I won’t be mad. Now Ted has gone and joined the Home Guard. What a fool! What a blasted fool!

World War ll London Blitz: 12-27-40 The war began again this morning. Gerry was overhead during dinnertime, and the one o’clock news reported a heavy dueling this morning with the long-range guns across the channel.

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December 27, 1940
There was actually a lull in the war. We had no raids Tuesday, nor Christmas Day, nor yesterday, which was Boxing Day; nor during the nights either. The war began again this morning. Gerry was overhead during dinnertime, and the one o’clock news reported a heavy dueling this morning with the long-range guns across the channel.
“Midnight Masses,” the first mass for Christmas Day, were celebrated during the afternoon of Christmas Eve, because of the blackout, a special dispensation from the Pope being given for this. The real midnight mass, from the Benedictine Abbey of Downside, was broadcast by the BBC. This was weird. Here we lay, in this little room, rolled up for the night on our sofas, and in the darkness we listened to the mass, sung by the monks. We also kept our ears pricked listening for an alert to sound, because we didn’t know Hitler wasn’t coming. It was beautiful. As always, the Adeste Fideles brought me to tears, and also to prayer. I was melted and able to pray. I prayed especially for Cuthie.
December 28, 1940
The German night raids began again last night. There was a very big attack on London. The barrage was terrific. It began promptly at eight o’clock, and went on without ceasing until eleven p.m. Then it died down, and the all-clear came about midnight. It was bad here in Romford too. Bombs kept on falling. One terrific one seemed to fall right in our back garden. However, it didn’t. I don’t know yet where they did fall, though at church this morning Ted heard there was a landmine fallen in Gidea Park again. Perhaps that was the most awful one we heard. As usual, attack seemed to be concentrated further over toward the station, so I suppose poor old Victoria Road got it again. What a life.
Milkman has just been. He tells me the worst damage last night was in Balgores Lane, which is completely wrecked. They also got the gun crew at Marks Gate. At the top of Carlton Road is an unexploded landmine, all the people evacuated. Another mine happily fell in the tennis courts. Barking and Barkingside got the very worst of last night’s packets.
December 29, 1940
Ted is at church, and I’m hoping he won’t invite Simpson back to tea. I am not exactly dressed for visitors; in a towel and my hair hanging down to dry. We had a most awful explosion at exactly noon today, and a blinding flash of light accompanied it. Ted was in the parlor and did not see the flash; but I was in the kitchen, standing at the sink, and I thought the very sun itself had fallen into the room, and I wasn’t even facing the window. I was awfully frightened, and shook for an hour afterwards. There was no alert on, so we presume this must have been a delayed action bomb exploding somewhere nearby. There were no raids hereabout last night.
Memories. I have thousands and thousands of them. How am I ever going to pin them all down in a book? I feel I must hurry. When death strikes now any hour, any day, any night, I want to express all that I know, all this that I am, and all that I was, before death can strike me. I want this for my children. When in the future some of them say, “I wonder what sort of woman Mother was, anyhow!” I want them to be able to look into the mirror of a book, and find me. So I must write quickly and steadily. From day to day, I will write what I can, and if I cannot write consecutively, then those who find my writings must sort them into their proper order and so make the sequence correct for themselves.
December 30, 1940
At six o’clock last night the raids began again. The all clear did not sound until just before midnight.
Nothing fell here in Romford, though the zooming was incessant. This morning, however, we are told the main attack was on London, the heart of the city, and that hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of incendiary bombs were literally rained down. Among the buildings damaged were the Guildhall, another Wren church, two hospitals, a museum, and several schools. Except for naming the Guildhall, no names were given, but the report says it was a wholesale attempt to destroy London completely by fire. Eighty horses were killed when a high explosive fell on a brewery. Several shelters were hit, and railway stations; no properly military objectives were attacked, and the enemy appeared to be concentrating on setting fire to as many buildings as possible. When is all this deviltry going to end? The rest of the world for the remainder of time, I think, will hate Germans.
President Roosevelt made a great speech last night. Ted actually woke me up at three thirty this morning to tell me Roosevelt was on the air! We tried to get through, but could only get music. I was sorry. I would have liked very much to hear the real voice, making the real speech. However, we were given many excerpts from it in the one o’clock news; good, but not so good as hearing it in the first historic moment. He was calling to the Americans to give all aid to Britain. Harold, back in the summer, thought America would be in the war by January.
Now I’m going to get a cup of tea. I’m most horribly restless. I hope I am not suffering a premonition of something.
December 31, 1940
It was a quiet night, due, most likely, to bad weather.
Further reports on Sunday night’s raids on London. It was evidently an attempt to destroy the entire city by fire. Uncountable thousands of incendiary bombs were dropped, and practically old historic London was burnt down. The Guildhall is gone, Trinity House and eight Wren churches. What vandalism!
Commenting on this vast devastation to Ted this evening, I inadvertently let myself in for a long evening’s monologue; in particular the loss of Wren’s Churches gave him a fine springboard for his criticizing. He said the churches weren’t beautiful, weren’t used, and Protestantism was dead anyhow. Then he enlarged his discourse to condemn modern art and modern religion, about which he knows nothing of either. He kept on nearly the whole evening, and I sat grinning like a Cheshire cat, I suppose. Oh, I was so bored. I kept on noticing Ted’s mouth. When he monologues, he scarcely opens his lips, or his teeth either. He speaks very quietly in a monotone, and his mouth is one thin straight line. It was a horrible and cruel mouth.

World War ll London Blitz: 12-10-40 Last Sunday night we had the worst bombing that has happened in this town yet. South Street, North Street, London Road, Old Church Road, the Market Place, very much damage done.

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December 10, 1940
Artie came on the twenty-fifth and left again the following Monday, a week ago. We had a quiet time, on the whole, whilst he was here, though we received a bad bombing on Friday, November twenty-ninth. Then things were fairly quiet again, with no alert at all throughout Saturday night last, the seventh of December. Sunday also was a quiet day, but last Sunday night we had the worst bombing that has happened in this town yet. South Street, North Street, London Road, Old Church Road, the Market Place, very much damage done. Also the Telephone Exchange demolished, operations buried in the debris, awful! Our old section near Westwood practically completely demolished. The number of casualties is not yet known.
Then yesterday was quiet, and a quiet night again last night, quiet so far today, but what will happen tonight?
It is four p.m. and Miss Coppen has just been in. She only came back from Devon a week ago and arrived home in time for Sunday’s slaughter. Happily there was no serious damage in her locality this time. She had only to endure the noise, and the fear, of course.
This morning I was writing letters to America. The censor returned a long letter I wrote to Jim and Doris, November eighteenth, to me a few days later, also parts of a letter I wrote to Harold. It seems no information about times and places of air raids must be mentioned to anyone abroad; it might help the enemy! This is sheer nonsense. The enemy knows what he has done, anyhow. Further how can he possibly get hold of the mails? Further what good would it do him to know the names of the obscure suburban streets on which his bombs fall? Especially when the news is weeks old? Oh, the silly censorship!

December 13, 1940
Saw the town. The devastation is tremendous, but everywhere workman are clearing up, boarding up the broken windows and renewing shop fronts with planks and beaverboard. There isn’t a piece of glass left from Latham’s Corner to the Romeo at Raynham Road. Exchange Place, where the biggest bomb fell, is one indescribable heap of rubbish, which looks as though it could never be cleared up.
One curious thing I noticed in the town, and that was a sense of exhilaration. The streets were as crowded as usual, but people looked more alive than usual, sort of excited. There was no gloom. Everybody seemed to be smiling, ready to chatter and laugh. It’s as though the town knows it has suffered the worst, and now it says, let them all come! We don’t care a damn!
December 15, 1940
Ted is playing for High Mass. I just want to say, I’m happy. No reason, just happy. Perhaps it is a general feeling everywhere that the tide of fortune has changed, at last we are beginning to win the war. There has been a terrific defeat of the Italians in Egypt this week. This morning’s report says we have taken over thirty thousand Italian prisoners in Egypt, with all the tanks, guns, equipment, and supplies. The Greeks too continue to beat the Italians in Albania. It’s heroic. Then, besides, Petain has forced Laval to resign from the French cabinet, and this morning’s report is that Laval has been placed under arrest. At least this means that French public opinion is changing. Maybe the French are recovering from their defeatism.
The day is cold and frosty. We had a good sleep last night. No warnings yet since that all clear which sounded at eight-thirty p.m. last night. Ted slept upstairs in bed, but I remained down here in the dining room. I don’t think I shall ever be able to stay upstairs ’til the war is over. Had a good sleep just the same. When Ted went out to church, had a good bath by the fire, and dressed in my new Jaeger combs. Also put on two new plasters. Altogether I’m feeling very comfortable and very fit. Now I am going to cook the dinner. Actually have a piece of beef today, two pounds fourteen ounces of rump. This is marvelous. Beginning tomorrow the meat ration is to be reached again. Anyhow, here’s roast beef for today. Oh the roast beef of Old England, and Oh the Old English roast beef! That’s a song that was always mixed up with the Christmas carols when I was a child. So long!
December 20, 1940
A bad raid this morning, which frightened me considerably anyhow. I am in a very depressed frame of mind. Ted is on my nerves most frightfully. He talks and he talks, such drivel, and I’m so bored. My constant judgment on Ted is that he’s a silly fool. He talks such rubbish, about the war, and about religion, or, rather, about Catholicism. He’s so fanatical and so puerile, oh my God; I do get so weary of him.
Yes, I’m tired, tired of the house, tired of the husband, tired of myself, and damnably tired of the war. I want ease and love and laughter. I’m tired of the glooms, sick to death of war.
December 23, 1940
We had a bad night again last night, but I notice I am not as frightened as I used to be, which shows one can get used to anything. I also notice I don’t pray anymore. Why? Is it because I am convinced God doesn’t care, so why bother Him? Or is it because I am so fed up with Ted’s religiosity that I am drained of all religion? Or because I am so disgusted with all the religious piffle, which is so interlude in the BBC programs, I feel I cannot add an iota of my own to what I have to receive from the air?
Ted was talking last night about what the world might be after the war, and saying that the Pope ought to be asked to the conference table for the peace. Ted thinks the Pope the most important man in the world. The world doesn’t think so. After all, our ancestors fought bloody wars to throw the Pope out of politics, so I hardly think statesmen will take him by the hand and invite him back into politics today. Besides, he is an Italian. I don’t think any Italian will ever be asked for his advice in the administration of democracies.
Well, I must write my letters, so Au-Revoir.

World War ll London Blitz: 11-5-40 Last night was a very bad night again, the Germans making up for all they didn’t give us on Sunday night. Fourteen bombs have been dropped in this immediate vicinity. South Street is a mess.

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November 5, 1940
Guy Fawkes Day
It is U.S. Election Day. In the eight o’clock news this morning I was very amused to hear that last night Wendell Willkie held the air, giving his last campaign speech, for an hour and a quarter, “assisted by Bing Crosby and Mary Pickford.” This is simply ridiculous. It is as though Churchill should broadcast to the Empire assisted by Jack Payne and Cecily Courtridge.
Last night was a very bad night again, the Germans making up for all they didn’t give us on Sunday night. Fourteen bombs have been dropped in this immediate vicinity. South Street is a mess. It is shut from the public from Victoria Road to the Market Place. There are big craters in front of the Havana and in The Plaza Car Park. Also in front of Boots and the police station. There are unexploded bombs in Ives Nursery Gardens, in Errol Road (Bertie’s Road), in Gilbert Road, and one nearly opposite this house, between here and the main road.
We have had notice to keep all our windows wide open. There was another bomb in Eastern Road, and I don’t know where the rest are, but there are fourteen in there, three or four blocks. I don’t know how many in the rest of the town. We are now, four fifteen p.m., having our seventh warning for today. What shall we get tonight? Ted has decided to move the bookcase out of this dining room, and bring in its place the parlor sofa. This is a good idea. For two months he has been sleeping on the floor, in front of the bookcase, but if a blast tumbled the bookcase on top of him, the books would almost surely kill him. Anyhow, it’s getting too cold to sleep on the floor. So we have this shifting job to do this evening. I have been carrying lots of the books into the parlor, but now must rest, as I am too tired to do any more. Artie didn’t come home last night, so I’m afraid we shan’t see him this week after all.
November 6, 1941
Roosevelt is in. Good.
Forty-three bombs were dropped on Romford on Monday night. One lodged in the Gasometer. Captain Davis has been here today to remove it. This is the engineer who successful removed the bomb from St. Paul’s. News from Rome: Last Wednesday the Pope blessed two hundred Italian officers, received in audience, saying to them, “We bless all you who serve the beloved fatherland with fealty and love.” So they were off to invade and destroy Greece, with the Pope’s blessing. My God! What decent English person could remain a Roman Catholic!
November 7, 1940
When my new young charwoman arrived this morning, she had seen last night’s destruction on her way here. She passes the water-works, and she tells me four more houses are completely demolished there, and others, more than she could count, on Clydesdale Road and Melrose Avenue. She was very shaken, and very angry. “They didn’t tell you these things,” she exclaimed. “It is only when you see for yourselves that you know.” That’s right. Specific news is never given out; on the BBC everything is minimized. We, the public, only know what happens in our own localities, and that we are never officially told about. We have to suffer or to see for ourselves, and then we know. On, this devilish war! When will it end?
November 11, 1940
Armistice Day
Commodities are becoming scarce. The shops seem only to have what they have on hand; as their supplies give out they apparently are not able to obtain renewals. Prices are soaring too. I chiefly wanted some scales and a new coffee pot, some Pyrex ware, and some knives and scissors. I also wanted a milk saucepan and a double boiler, but these I couldn’t get. Anyhow, in all I spent three ten; this is a lot of money to put into hardware.
November 12, 1940
It is a very stormy day. News of further earthquake shocks in Romania. The oil fields are reported destroyed. Good! This will save our R.A.F. the job.
Good air report today also. Yesterday we were raided all day long. In all we had eight alarms, though the last all clear came through at nine fifty p.m. We had a raidless and quiet night, thanks to the storm, which was terrific. Yesterday the enemy came over in groups of one hundred and fifty. With them was one lot of Italian bombers, eighteen in all. Of these, our boys brought down thirteen, in the Thames Estuary, and the others turned back without showing fight. So that’s another smack for the dirty dagoes. The Greeks are punishing them too; of an Italian Battalion of twelve thousand men, in the mountains to the north of Greece, the Greeks have destroyed about two thirds, and the rest have run away back into Albania, leaving most of their equipment, guns, field kitchens, even personal belongings, behind them, strewn through all the ravines. The Italians don’t want to fight. In the Mediterranean they won’t bring their navy out. Then why don’t they overthrow Mussolini?
Today Molotov has arrived in Berlin, bringing a suite of sixty-five specialists with him. What for? Russia also doesn’t want to fight. She only wants to stand by and pick the bones.
November 15, 1940
Ten a.m. The first raid of the day is in progress. Wednesday night was fairly quiet, because the weather was very stormy, but last night, though misty, there was moonlight and we had a very bad night indeed. Barrage was very heavy; we heard bombs falling, but whereabouts in this neighborhood I have not heard. BBC reports the raids last night were worst “in a midland town where the casualties reported are very heavy.” But it was pretty bad in Romford too. Yesterday Ted told me that Tommy Skilton had been hit again on Wednesday night, this making the third time he has had it, in addition to having his workshop on North Street destroyed. Wednesday night was the worst for him. The bomb took the roof completely off his house, and fell through into his kitchen, blew out everything and blew to bits even his bicycle, which was in his shed. Mrs. Skilton is terrified, and wanted to leave at once. Naturally!
The raids are continuing all day. There was much gunfire at dinnertime, and what sounded to be hundreds of planes flying over, but we could not see them. The one o’clock news told us that the worst raids last night were on Coventry, on the scale of the first heavy raids on London, and that there are at least a thousand people killed, and much of the city destroyed. Glorious war!
November 25, 1940
Artie didn’t come. His leave was cancelled, but he was promised leave on the twenty-fifth, so perhaps he’ll come today. I don’t know where last week went. I did get some letters written but nothing else.

World War ll London Blitz: 10-11-40 The war is getting worse and worse. On Wednesday night the Germans bombed forty districts of London. Last night they bombed thirty-six districts.

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October 11, 1940
The war is getting worse and worse. On Wednesday night the Germans bombed forty districts of London. Last night they bombed thirty-six districts. Our fifth warning for today is just sounding. Last night we had an awful fright, soon after eight o’clock. The alarm had been sounded at seven twenty-five. Soon after eight we heard a bomb whistling, descending. We thought surely it was going to hit this house. Ted ducked and got under the table! There were two close following thirds, the house rocked, but we were not hit. Then two more followed, a little further off. Altogether Romford received nine. I sat and cried. I cannot pray anymore. I seem just paralyzed.
The firing went on the rest of the night, but no more hits came in this neighborhood. Today we learnt that the evening’s bombs hit in Victoria Road (for the fourth time!), Albert Road, Lodge Avenue, and Westmoreland Avenue. Craters made and houses demolished, including two pubs, but no casualties.
Our first alarm sounded this morning at seven thirty-five whilst Ted was at church. Mrs. Thomson came in at once, and stayed for breakfast. Ted left early for the office, but before Mrs. Thomson left the second warning sounded, at eight fifty a.m. The raid lasted for one hour. The third was at ten forty-five a.m. until twelve fifty p.m., during which time Mr. Kessey was here; the fourth at two thirty p.m. until three twenty p.m.
It is impossible to get anything done, and the wear and tear on our nerves is exhausting. If only I had some money, I would board The Clipper and fly to New York. I was only saying to Ted last night, just before the bombs fell, how awful these nights were, and I didn’t know how I was going to stand a whole winter of them. A dozen nights like these last two nights and I’m afraid I shall go raving mad. The men are still talking war, war, and war. The politicians infuriate me. Anyhow, they don’t fight. They only specify and egg wars on.
October 13, 1940
The moon is now coming to the full, as there is plenty of light for the raiders. In the middle of the evening they were right overhead, and we heard bombs dropping very nearby. The explosions were terrific. One whistling bomb sounded as though it was going to drop at our very door. I felt we ought to duck under the table. We didn’t. We went right on playing bridge. The men didn’t budge, just winked at each other. This was just as well for us; they steadied us.
October 14, 1940
It is three fifty p.m., just back from the doctor’s in time to get under cover from the raiding. Raids have been going on all morning. An all clear did not sound until two twelve, so I’ve just had time to get my visit in.
Mrs. Jude was in to see me this morning. As usual, she gave me the town news. She only just got into the house before the warning sounded, at about half past eleven, and all the time she was here, a battle was going on above us. Ten bombs were dropped in Romford last night. The most serious damage was in North Street, where Haysom’s was struck and completely demolished. Haysom’s is Romford’s largest furniture store, and occupied nearly a block. This morning there is nothing there but rubble and cinders. No lives lost. Sunday, of course, and not a soul was on the premises. Presumably the Jerry’s were trying for the Romford food storage plant, which is just behind Haysom’s. North Street and the Arterial Road frequently get hit. The Arterial Road, of course, is a military road, so a legitimate target. It has trenches all along it, with soldiers cap-a-pie, and big gun emplacements, and tank traps, and so on. The funny thing is, the soldier’s, or the trenches, never get hit, only the neighboring shops and houses.
October 23, 1940
I have something marvelous to record. We had an almost quiet night last night. The alert sounded at six fifty-five p.m. and the all clear, after a noisy evening, sounded at eleven-thirty p.m. Then we only had one short period of danger in the night, from about twelve thirty a.m. to two a.m. All day we had no warnings until now, the first one sounding at six thirty-five p.m. This is probably for the night. The weather has been bad, that’s why we’ve had practically twenty-four hours peace. It’s too foggy for flying. There have been sporadic raiders today, but not in this neighborhood. Yesterday, Laval saw Hitler in Paris. The rumor now is that France is going to declare war on England. Well, maybe! Anything is possible in this crazy lunatic war.
October 25, 1940
It is ten thirty a.m. and a raid on. After several days of cold mist and rain, today is a beautiful day; therefore the raids have begun early. The first warning went at eight fifty this morning, and there is no clearance. Twice already I’ve had to go into my corner and grab a cushion for my head at the threatening whistles very near and overhead. This makes me furious. I am so angry at this war. The stupidity of it, even more than the cruelty and fearfulness, fills me with rage. Men, blasted fool men, creating war. When I listen to all the poppycock that’s spoken on the air, I’m simply derisive. For here are men again, exhorting, bragging, and begging, diddling with facts, and trickling out sob-stuff about glory and about self-sacrifice. Damn lot of plausible Pharisees, that’s what most of the talking men are. Who are they? The old men.
It’s the young ones, the ignorant, innocent, inexperienced boys, who are sent out to die. Some smarmy parson on the war this morning was talking about the acceptance of pain and suffering; the same old lines, the same glibness and triteness. I say suffering does not ennoble. There aging is a man’s word: “noble.” I ask, why must suffering be accepted as the will of God? I should say that 90% of the suffering in the world is not the will of God, but the infliction by men upon mankind and it need not be.
At one o’clock news we heard that Petain had seen Hitler, last night. Hitler also saw Franco yesterday. What are they cooking up for Europe now? Petain is eighty-four, and a pious Catholic. He was the man who surrendered France to Hitler. Now he talks about the salvation of France laying in her return to an agricultural economy, the cessation of the practice of birth control, the destruction of Masonry, and a return to the bosom of the Catholic Church. If only all men would return to the true faith, which, of course, is Roman Catholicism, then everything in the world would be lovely. Silly old fool! Old, that’s what’s the matter with him. What about the Pope? The Pope says nothing, and keeps on saying nothing. Mussolini makes the Italians behave disgracefully, but the Pope never utters even one little admonition. No. The Pope is an Italian, and a politician, and he plays for safety. The Italians marched into Albania on a Good Friday, and the Pope even said nothing to that.
There used to be a question when I was young: What would Jesus do? Anyhow, Jesus didn’t sit in a palace, with armed guards, and keep a shut mouth whilst his countrymen behaved like skunks. After all, when one stops to think about which are the Catholic countries, which the Catholic people, who would choose to be a Catholic? Ireland, the dirty Irish, the quarrelsome, murdering, lying Irish; Spain, with the Spaniards making murderous civil war; Belgium, with the Belgian coarseness and their Judas King; France, with Frenchmen so cynical or so soppy; Mexico with its illiterate and murderous Mexicans; and Italy, with its rape of Abyssinia, annexation of Albania, its stab in the back at falling France, the treacherous Italians. No, a white man has no sort of affiliation with any one of them. Oh, what moment of madness when I joined the church!
October 27, 1940
It is a rotten day. Ted very teasing, and air raids galore. Today is Grandma Side’s birthday.
October 28, 1940
The Italians have declared war on Greece. An ultimatum was handed to the Greeks at three a.m. this morning, to which a favorable answer was demanded by six a.m. The Greeks refused to accede to the Italian demands, so at six o’clock the Italians began their attack on Greece. At seven o’clock the first air raid warning was sounded over Athens. Last night Hitler and Mussolini met in Florence. I suppose this further aggression was what they then decided upon. The filthy little Italians! What is the Pope going to say to them now? Is he going to say the same old nothing?
November 4, 1940
Eleven a.m. for the first time in fifty-six nights we had no “alert” last night. It is presumed that the heavy rain made the enemy’s bases on the other side of the channel unsuitable for safe landing. Our first alarm for today sounded at ten a.m., and no all clear has come yet.
There is a possibility that Artie may come home on leave today. I sure hope he does. On Friday we got a letter through from Cuthie. It was written July Seventh, practically four months ago. He said he was well, and that he had talked with some other fellows from the R.A.F. and from what they told him he realized he was very lucky to have escaped unharmed as he did.

World War ll London Blitz: 10-6-40 The guns opened up immediately on the warning, and have not ceased all night. It was the worst evening we have ever had.

October 6, 1940
Seven fifty a.m. I open this book at this hour to cool my anger. We have just passed through a most awful night. The warning was given at seven thirty-five last night and the all clear did not come until six fifteen this morning. The guns opened up immediately on the warning, and have not ceased all night. It was the worst evening we have ever had. It was pretty bad Friday evening; so bad, that both Mr. and Mrs. Thomson came in here “for company.” But about one o’clock this morning the raiders were directly overhead and began dropping bombs. I don’t know yet where they fell, but one was so close that this house tottered. I began to cry. I couldn’t help myself, in fact, I weep now, recording it. Ted was undismayed. There is callousness and cold-bloodedness about Ted, which I abhor. Well, at ten to seven he started to dress. At seven, the first warning of this day was given, but Ted proceeded with his dressing, and went to church in his usual way. He left the house at seven twenty though mass doesn’t begin ’til eight, and he will not be back until nine twenty.
Ted is a fool out and out. He didn’t have to go to early church today. There is a mass at nine thirty and there is another mass at eleven a.m. Wouldn’t any sensible man have taken two or three hours sleep this morning and allowed his household to sleep? Of course he would. Not Ted. This compulsion on him to go to early mass is maniacal. He is a maniac. Isn’t it because of his craziness that we are here in England at all? That the twins are in the war? That Cuthie is a prisoner? Oh my God how I fret and fret for my children! In nights like this one, which we have just passed through, I fear I shall never see my children again. The bombs strike anywhere. They are just as likely to fall on this house as any other.
I think of Harold, of Eddie, of all of them, and my heart breaks with grief and longing. Ted? It is just as though he never had children at all. He moves along serene and blithe in his own world of dreams. He thinks of no one except the figures of this mythical world of Roman Catholicism. Like the old fool Petain, a Vichy, he is convinced that all the troubles of the world would be cured by the return of the people en mass to the church. That’s all that matters to Ted, the church. He has no affection for anybody. Human beings do not matter to Ted except himself and his will and his own soul. That is all he can “love”; his own soul. I say, curse him. He is an intolerable man, and I am impatient with this fool and so angry. Impatience and anger doesn’t help any. Well, let me dress. Here is another day to get through.
A warning is still in progress, and only fifteen minutes ago the big gun was firing. The warning was given at two twenty p.m. and the barrage has been constant ever since. A whistling bomb fell very near, about four o’clock. Ted has gone out to church all the same. This is already our sixth warning for the day. How many people will be at church? The night’s bombs fell in Slewins Lane.
October 7, 1940
It is eight forty a.m. and another early writing. Ted left ten minutes ago for his Monday’s round, and a warning is still on. It went at six forty-five a.m. and is the second one for today. After practically continuous raiding all yesterday, there was no warning given after the all clear at eight forty p.m., so we have had a quiet night, and the BBC says it has been the same all over England. This is the first raidless night since the intensive war on Great Britain began. It was a stormy night, wind and rain of the Equinox, but peace from the Germans.
Ted went upstairs to bed, and remained there ’til the warning at five fifty a.m., but I stayed down here on the couch and was at ease. Not to have Ted in the same room with me, that is a certain sort of bliss. I realized it when I lay down alone in the darkness that I was free from him, free from the constraint of his presence. For me to be with Ted is always to be under a sense of constraint. It has been that way from the beginning. He oppresses my spirit. From the very first weeks of our marriage it was like that. When he began to deride the things I cared about, when he began to maul at my inner woman, my personality, then I had to begin to protect myself, my secret self. It has always been like that; everything that is precious to me, and in me, I must hide, must protect. So it is a strain, a long strain. I do not hate him, but I long to be free of him, just to be free, forever free.
Now the war takes even more time away. It is impossible to do anything while the raids are on. All one can do is sit still in shelter, perhaps knit, perhaps pray, perhaps talk with someone who happens in, and drink tea or smoke a cigarette together. Most of the raids last at least an hour, and we get five or six a day. Last Wednesday we had nine. Then in-between raids we have to do our work. Then there are meals to fix, the everlasting meals. I am sick. My leg is really very bad. Often when the big guns go, often without warning, I feel a fissure in my leg crack. It seems as though this leg will never heal. The pain of it often makes me sick to my stomach. Sometimes I am even reduced to crying with the pain. I must go now and dress my leg, and this is a job, which takes me nearly an hour every day. Then I must bathe and dress, for I am still in my nightclothes. So Au-Revoir. Perhaps I can write again today. Writing, even the mere physical act, is my dope.
October 8, 1940
Ten fifteen a.m. and the first all clear of the day has just sounded. The first warning was given at eight forty. The all clear for the night did not come until seven this morning. Last night was the longest night of raids we have yet had. It began at seven forty p.m. I suppose as the longer nights increase we shall endure ever longer and longer hours of raiding. Sunday night was free of raids, but last night was worse than ever. Yesterday we were raided practically continuously. Saturday night’s bombs fell on Stanley Avenue, the second time on Lodge Avenue, which is very close to us, and on Gideon Park. On Sunday afternoon they fell on the railway line, at Brentwood, and at Gidea Park, completely demolishing Gidea Park Station.
Ten forty, second warning sounding, so Au-Revoir.
October 9, 1940
Chamberlain resigns; Churchill elected
Raids have been very bad all day; six on London, but only three here in Romford, though the afternoon one lasted a long time, from two forty-two p.m. until four twenty p.m.
October 10, 1940
Eleven ten a.m. Mrs. Thomson only recently left. We have had two bad raids already this morning. The first one, between nine and ten this morning, we had swarms of machines overhead, beyond counting. Our men took off towards the river, and the Germans, in droves, came sweeping in from behind. Flying right over these houses. No bombs dropped, the battle must have been elsewhere.
Last night was a terrible night. I don’t know how we can keep on enduring these nights. Bombs dropped on North Street and in the stadium on the London Road. No casualties! I’m beyond praying. I just lay and shake and cry. Churchill makes his famous speeches, but Hitler is winning the war anyhow, no matter what they say. If it lay with women, we should call for an armistice tomorrow. What sense is there in this stupid fighting? No! Men talk themselves into a war, and then they talk themselves into going on with it. Men’s talk, how I hate men’s talk, men’s minds! Though I’ll make an exception for the Archbishop of York! He talks on the air once a week now, and most of what he says makes sense. “He talks like a Catholic,” says Ted.
Eleven forty a.m. The Sainsbury boy has just been in with the groceries. He tells me that four bombs were dropped in the first raid this morning. One got “The Crown” and nearby houses on the London Road; one fell in a field in the Arterial Road; and two fell on Marlborough Road, destroying several houses and two cars that were on the road. The men in the cars were killed; one had his head blown off. One of the houses was the home of Sainsbury’s porter, who, the boy says, has been released to go home.
Two of Sainsbury’s men were killed on the street in that bad raid we had on a midday in August. Oh God! This fool war!