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Vicki Washuk World War ll Blitz  Buy On Smashwords    Also   Buy Diary's Here:
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 Diary: 3-30-41 It was on the news this evening that there has been a great naval battle in the Eastern Mediterranean. Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham is in command. Three Italian cruisers and two Italian destroyers have been sunk, without a loss of one boat, or even one man, of our own!

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March 30, 1941
It was on the news this evening that there has been a great naval battle in the Eastern Mediterranean. Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham is in command. Three Italian cruisers and two Italian destroyers have been sunk, without a loss of one boat, or even one man, of our own! The whole battle carried on in darkness. There will be fuller details to follow later. Also there is a news item that the Vatican today broadcast, in French, to unoccupied France. The subject of the talk was of the growing paganism of the world and particularly in Germany, where Hitler desires that all baptisms may be deferred until the age of twenty, so that only the state will be allowed to instruct the young. Very nice! Why doesn’t the Vatican broadcast to Italy about the “growing paganism of the world?” Why doesn’t the Pope speak out to his Italians, and denounce their own lies, treacheries, and aggressions? Why doesn’t the Pope say, not merely to his Italians, but to the world, that war is devilish, and that the Nazi’s and fascists who engineered this war upon Europe, are criminals? Why doesn’t he tell his people to overthrow their fool Mussolini, whose actions are destroying them? No, the Pope says nothing!

March 31, 1941
Still further news of the battle in the Mediterranean. It is now known that seven Italian ships were sunk, with another “possible” and one “probable.” We picked up nearly a thousand survivors, and could have rescued between three hundred and four hundred more, but German dive-bombers were active overhead, so to protect our own men and boats, we could do no more. That’s how the German’s help their allies! Report says that the estimated Italian dead are three thousand. Three thousand! Such a statement makes me weep. I can’t help it. They may be our enemies, and they have to be conquered, but this is terrible, and I grieve for the dead. These young men have been sent to their deaths through the fatuousness and the cupidity of one wicked man: Mussolini. God console their wives and mothers, though I can’t see what consolation there can ever be for their women.
The Times this morning carries a note from a correspondent in Belgrade. He writes:
Belgrade March 30th
“During the crisis, which has shaken the Yugoslav nation, the part played by the Patriarch of the Serb Orthodox Church, Gavril, recalls that of the Bishops of Medieval England, when the church directed the King’s policy and kept his conscience. Although the full story of his activity during these fateful weeks is not known, the Yugoslav people feel instinctively that if he had not resisted the Regent’s Cabinet and mobilized all the forces of the Orthodox Church to that end, Yugoslav today would be another of Hitler’s serf states. Hence the Patriarch’s intervention is stirring the public imagination today. Not only did the Patriarch head the Orthodox Church openly in the fight to oppose the Three-Power-Pact as it affects Yugoslavia, but in the critical days just before the ministers left for Vienna, when German diplomatic pressure was at its height, the mind of Prince Paul undecided, and the issue still doubtful, he gathered all the influence and the authority of the church into opposition against the policy of capitulation.”
Good! Here at last is one great primate who has dared to stand up for the right, and to defy tyrants to their faces. I wonder if such forthrightness can cause the Pope to feel ashamed of himself. I wonder.
Here in England, last year, the Protestants were saying, “Well the Pope will soon stop the war. He has only to speak to his Catholics, and they’ll soon put an end to the axis.” Oh yeah! As the boys say. “The old Pope, Pius XI might have spoken out,” but only might. Certainly this Pope has said nothing; he minds his place. Posh!
April 1, 1941
Mary Bernadette called in soon after two o’clock. She had been in to see Dr. Keighley. She stayed here for the rest of the day. Danny Hartnett also arrived at teatime, so this has been a day with young people. Ted went off this evening to his Home Guarding.
In the nine o’clock news tonight further accounts were given of last week’s naval battle. Admiral Cunningham has informed the press that one Italian eight-inch gun cruiser was struck by at least seven fifteen-inch shells simultaneously, and completely disintegrated in one burst of flame. “Not a pleasant spectacle,” he commented.
Tonight’s news said that when operations were finished, on all our ships the men assembled on deck, facing the guns, and, standing, prayers were said, giving God thanks for the victory, thanks for their own safety, and prayers for the speedy end of the war. The commentator added that the men were most visibly moved and it was observed that with many of them the tears were rolling down their faces. No wonder. What they must have seen, done, and endured, must have been veritable hell. Sailors are naturally religious men. I think no one can go to sea and not feel God.
This was Ted’s instant comment: “All organized, of course!” How else could a ship’s crew pray? Of course they must have been ordered to assemble for prayers. Were they ordered to weep? Ted is ridiculous. I hate it when Ted belittles other men’s feelings, and when he will not allow validity to other men’s religion because it is not his special brand, nor to their prayers, because they are not according to his book.
Oh, I am exasperated beyond endurance. He has a report of our sailors praying with tears and giving God thanks for his help in battle; a battle that must have been one of the worst and awesome in history, and on the instant, Ted has to belittle the moment. He simply cannot believe that anyone else outside the Roman church can have any religion. He is an inveterate bigot, and I can’t stand such bigotry. I say nothing. What would be the good of any words? It is Ted who poisons life with his words. I say nothing, but when he talks as he does against all “Protestant Religion,” as he names it, my heart sinks down and down and down. He is impossible.
April 2, 1941
Tonight T.S. Eliot, the poet, spoke on the radio for twenty minutes. His subject: “Towards a Christian Britain.” It was a good speech, but a useless one. He is an American, a college professor, and a long resident in England, and he is a High Church Anglican, who, if he lives long enough, will no doubt ultimately go over to Rome. So he made a good statement about our three duties, to God, to Righteousness, and to Us.
Like most good speakers on the radio, the speech was so condensed and concentrated, that only those listeners who already knew the subject would understand it. On the whole he was remote and most remarkably so towards his ending when he recommended the study of the life of Charles de Foucauld to English people. He could say largely that English people have never heard of Charles de Foucauld. When Rene Bazin wrote a book about him, that book penetrated to America, and was read by the general public as well as by the American Catholics. I have never heard mention of either Charles de Foucauld or Rene Bazin here in England. Quite rightly, I suppose, English publishers knew their business. I can’t imagine the English, or even the Catholic English, ever being interested in Charles de Foucauld; he was the type of man they could never understand. So, what help Eliot imagines he could be to us now, I can’t think. I suppose what it is, simply, is, that de Foucauld is one of Eliot’s own pets. (Though “pets” is a nasty word. What I mean, is, that de Foucauld’s mind and actions are sympathetic to Eliot’s imagination.)
This talk, and this reminding of the life of Charles de Foucauld, came to me oddly tonight. For during the day I had been reading an authorized version of the Bible—Isaiah, Joshua—and I had been most forcibly struck by a comprehension that we English are an Old Testament people. We feed our minds and hearts and souls on the Old Testament rather than the New. I am dumb struck today that these old exhortations and promises of the old Hebrews, in their lives of continued stress and battle and afflictions, are much more opposite to our needs of today, rather than the sweetness’s of the New; also the community sense, a nation united in troubles and in efforts and in repentances is more to us as a nation than the individualism of the New.
Further it is that tremendous realization of God as the Creator and Judge and upholder which is the base of the Book of Common Prayer and the Anglican Ritual; the personality of God and the humanness of Jesus are quite secondary in all this due to what the theologians have made out of the New Testament. Christianity is a very selfish religion. You and God, instead of us and God, like Jesus stressed when he said “Our Father which Art in Heaven.”
Of course there is much more pride in the Old Testament; meekness and submission and resignation in the New; but effort and struggle, power and pride, men relying on God but also relying on themselves and feeling themselves sons of God, and so making demands on God, as well as relying on his help, protection, power, and glory—yes pride. I suppose that is why the Old Testament suits me. There is no resignation in my make up, and nothing can ever make me feel like a worm. I always feel I am a child of God, made in his image and likeness. To my reading there is something so pervading weak in the New Testament, and I despise weakness, men wanting God to save them; whereas in the Old, no matter what their sins and their troubles, you get a sense that it is men upholding God. Most definitely a sense of strength. That’s what I crave, strength and dependability.
Somewhere here is the link with those sailors of last week. They went through a mighty battle, relying on God and their own manhood, and after the victory, weeping for the dead, the enemy dead, they could stand to give thanks to God that he gave them victory, and their own lives safe in the end. Glory and Thanks be to God.
April 3, 1941
I woke up late this morning, Ted having not risen in his usual way to go out to church. I had been dreaming of life in Avenue A. I was in the big bedroom there, fixing the windows, and tracing out the wallpaper. I had the pattern of the old wallpaper exactly. Queer what an assortment of oddments memory holds.
As I turned on the eight o’clock news we heard the item that yesterday Mr. Matsuoka called on the Pope, that the interview lasted an hour, but politics were not touched upon. The Pope spoke only of spiritual, religious, and moral matters.
Fine! What a Pope! What a ninny, yea-yea-ing Mussolini so nicely. This presumption of the Jap to call on the Pope! I suppose Hitler will trot along next, and the dear Pope will say, “Welcome, dear son!”
Yet the Catholic papers are saying that the Pope ought to be invited to attend the Peace Conference when it comes. Had he set his face against this war, and denounced the thugs who brought it about, and forbidden his Italians to join in it, he probably would have been invited in at the end to help frame the peace. As things are, no. He’ll never be given a finger in politics. He has let down the prestige of the papacy to the whole world, before which he stands simply as another yellow Italian.
There are two notables reported as suicides today; one a woman, one a man. The woman is Virginia Woolf. It has to be presumed, says the news, that Mrs. Virginia Woolf, who has been missing since last Friday, has been drowned in the Sussex House, at Rodmell, near Lewis. Suicide is not mentioned, but why is it assumed that she is drowned? Might she not have just disappeared? Surely her friends suspected her of being in a troubled mind, and likely to do away with herself?
The other is Count Teleki, Prime Minister of Hungary. He shot himself with a pistol, and was found dead in bed this morning. According to Reuter, he left behind him a letter saying that he did not feel able to carry on his “difficult and unhappy task.” This is another Nazi victim.
April 5, 1941
Ted just left, presumably to go to confession. Of course he was out to early mass this morning. Ted’s three great ambitions, which he has achieved:
1. To live in England
2. To go to Mass every morning.
3. To read The Times daily.
I wonder, why The Times? This paper is so essentially conservative, aristocratic, and Church of England; I am surprised Ted makes it his paper. It certainly is not akin to his mind. Natural inconsistency of man, I suppose.
I was dreaming vividly of the Utards last night. We were all together in a big house in the country, but the floors of the ground floor rooms were broken! Mr. Utard was boarding over some broken planks with sheets of cardboard, and I was too polite to ask him how we were to avoid stepping on them, and if we did so, falling through into the cellar. This is the second time within a few days in which I have been dreaming of broken floors, so page Freud. I’m sure I don’t know what such dreams signify, beyond their obviousness of a sense of general insecurity, of having one’s sure foundations knocked away from under one.
April 6, 1941
It is a very cold day; frost in the night. When Ted came into breakfast at nine thirty he looked blue and pinched with the cold.
I said, “It’s cold isn’t it?”
And he replied, “Yes, my love. Yes, my love. I hope you won’t freeze!”
What a silly fool. Eleven forty-five now and he is out to his drilling. I bet he will come into his dinner as cranky as the devil.
We had bad news this morning. Germany announced that she was at war with Yugoslavia and with Greece. This expected new aggression has happened. Happily, at three a.m. Turkey signed a non-aggression pact with Yugoslavia, and we hope it can be relied on. After Greece it is supposed that Germany will attack Turkey. Stalin says nothing.
Yesterday came news of a Coup d’├ętat in Iraq where the Pro-Axis party has seized power. Marshal Petain was to have broadcast to the world last night to attack General De Gaulle and the Free French Forces, it is surmised, but then we were told his speech would be postponed until Monday night; orders from Hitler most likely. Now what next?
This week I have been reading Francis Hackett’s book, Queen Anne Boleyn. Though cast in the form of a novel, presumably it is based on real history. Hackett is a creditable historian and his book on Henry VIII was given great praise from reliable critics. That was history. Though an American, he worked for years here in London, getting his authentic data on the period. Presumably the facts in this “novel” are also authentic. This book was first published in October 1939, so it must have been in the press before the outbreak of war. Reading it today the most striking thing about it is how it shows up the machinations and duplicities of all the powerful, the kings and their nobles and their ambassadors; the Popes and their Cardinals; and the disregard of all the powerful for the common man.
History what a filthy mess it is! Here we are in a great melee again, and with talk, talks, swirling around us, like a blinding snowstorm to make us lose our way. The entire “pretty” talk, so useless. Just like today, when the romanticists breathe their hot air all over us, while meanwhile the bombs do their work of actual downright physical destruction. “All men are liars.” Who said that? Is it scripture? Or is it Shakespeare?
My God! What a world, a manmade world to live in!
At one o’clock we got the news that our Imperial Forces are in Abbis Ababa. They entered last night. Now all that remains to take is the port of Marsawa. Lieutenant has conducted this campaign in Abyssinia. General A.G. Cunningham, who is brother to Admiral Cunningham, who has just had the victory at Mattapan? One gleam of light has come out of this entry in to Abbis Ababa. The Duke of Aosta, who is in command of the Italians, has verbally sent a message to Lieut. General Cunningham, saying “he wishes to express his appreciation of the initiative taken by General Wavell and General Cunningham regarding the protection of women and children in Addis Ababa, demonstrating the strong bonds of humanity and race still existing between the nations.” This is the message of a true gentleman and, subtly and indirectly, is a plain criticism of the barbarism of the Germans, and also of the folly of the Italian dictator, Mussolini.
Both Edna Renacre and Rita Pullan came here to tea.
Monday, April 7, 1941
I think I’ve been doing something silly this morning. Anyhow, silly or not, I’ve done it. I went to Stone’s and bought a lot of material. In all, my bill comes to ten pounds, thirteen shillings, and three pence. I got two pieces of silk and four pieces of woolen goods. Now the problem is how am I going to pay this sum? Of course, the sad fact is, I’m afraid to ask Ted for money. He can afford to give it to me all right, but he hates to give me money. Anyhow, I’ve bought the stuff, and ultimately I’ll pay for it, somehow or other. My total cash assets to date are about forty-five shillings. However, the bill won’t come in, I presume, until after May 1st, so I can squeeze about another two pounds by then, and as for the rest, I must either outright ask Ted for it, or else I must draw the difference out of the post office which, of course I would rather not do.
I did consider it policy to go out and buy some material whilst there is still some to be had. As it turned out, I have bought the last piece of real silk, (black) which they had, and their last piece of fine black worsted. When such materials will be made again, God knows. I have to have clothes. The two woolen dresses I have been wearing this winter, I have had at least four years, maybe five, and now they are finished. I’ve been wearing them patched all winter. They are completely done. Anyhow, why should I feel so damned guilty about buying some clothes for myself? Ted has bought plenty for himself; why should I feel like a naughty girl? I do. It is this damned dependence on a tightwad. If Ted would give me a regular yearly personal allowance, which a man of his means quite usually does give his wife, I should feel all right, as I ought to feel. Oh dear! Anyhow, I’ve been shopping using my best judgment. I’ll pay the bill without bringing it to his notice if I can, and if I can’t, well, he can’t eat me.



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