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 Diary: 6-12-41 The wireless news reported fairly heavy raiding all over the country last night, with heavy casualties in one place, not specified as yet. Perhaps we shall be told before the day is finished.

Purchase Here:


June 12, 1941
Last night I was interrupted by the arrival of Mary Bernadette and Doreen Biel. A pleasant evening followed. Ted came in before nine, very amiable when he saw the girls. At bedtime he retired upstairs, but at about two a.m. I had to call him, because an alert had been sounded. Gunfire followed, but we fell asleep. Then, sometime later, I was awakened by a terrible crash, a bomb falling somewhere nearby. Others followed it, either smaller or not so near.
We have not heard yet exactly where these were, not immediately near, or we should know by now. The wireless news reported fairly heavy raiding all over the country last night, with heavy casualties in one place, not specified as yet. Perhaps we shall be told before the day is finished.
Today I have Mrs. Prior working on the premises. I met her in the town on Monday, and quite casually asked her did she happen to be looking for any work. She replied all her week was full except Thursdays. So I asked her would she “do” for me on Thursdays, and she said she would be glad to and here she is. I hope she’ll continue. She is both a pleasant woman and a satisfactory worker. Right now I’m sitting in the parlor whilst she “does” the dining room. Am now going to read the paper, so Au-Revoir.
June 13, 1941
Friday the thirteenth, the day Arthur most abominated.
It is warmer. Went out this afternoon, to the Food Control Office, to see about transferring my card to Wallis’s. When I came back I met Mrs. Thomson on the street, who told me she would come in tonight, whilst daughter and husband are at the dance in Ilford. I groan.
John Cassell called, and stayed for tea. Now Ted has just left for his Home Guarding. The tension between us relieved, thank God. Last night he went to church at nine p.m. for the reception of the corpse of Mr. Brace. When he came back he kissed me, and then with passion, until I thawed. Queer, isn’t it? He came from a corpse to the body of desire? I smiled to myself.
In the afternoon Mrs. Prior had been talking to me about men. We spoke of a young woman whom we both know, whose husband has had to join up, and go to Scotland, and this young woman has taken a young man lodger into her house.
“And you know what that means,” said Mrs. Pryor. “Men are men, aren’t they? Nature! There isn’t a man alive I’d trust, not one! They’re all the same. Silly fool she is. Where do you suppose she’ll end up? In trouble. In the Romford Recorder, I reckon. Shutting her up in a house with a man! Nature will have its way, won’t it? Stands to reason. Trust a man? Not me!”
I agreed with her; all men are the same: men. This is what I think the scriptures mean by the flesh. The world, the flesh, and the devil, always the same. The world, I think, means work, making a living, maintaining us alive; the flesh, sexuality in every form, particularly concupiscence; and the devil, I think, stands for all cruelty, particularly war.
June 14, 1941
Today all the women born in 1918 are registering. Also everyone must register for eggs today. The likelihood is that we shall be allotted two eggs per person per week. We are also informed that our milk ration is to be cut again; to what we do not know, but we are told that the British Medical Association recommends that the allowance should be half a pint per person per day. Hitler’s blockade is working all right: our rations shrink and shrink.
Here is a funny story told me by Ted at lunch; it is a conversation he overheard in the market this morning. Two old dames were chatting.
Says the first one: “I hear men are to be rationed now.”
Says the second: “That won’t suit Vera.”
Typical Romfordian housewives out shopping, laughing at the war and at themselves. English humor. Who can understand it but the English?
June 15, 1941
Surprised this afternoon by a visit from Father Bishop. We talked of the war. What else is there to talk about? I found myself shocked by his appearance and manners. It is just about twelve months since he sat here in this room chatting with me, friendlily, face to face. It seems to me he has aged a lot. He is not as old a man as Ted, about my age I should say, but he looks twenty years Ted’s senior. He looks an old man. He looks to have neither flesh on his bones or blood in his veins. He is as dry and as colorless as a dead leaf. Repellant. He fidgets continually. His talk is not peculiar, but in some indefinable way not grown up. I thought to myself: here is an anachronism. This is the celibate, the priest, the parasite, and what earthly good is he? This is a completely useless, valueless human being. No wonder he looks like a withered mummy, because that is exactly what he really is.
June 21, 1941
It is eleven p.m. A quarter of an hour ago Ted was called out by the Home Guard! Is it scare, practice, or real invasion? There has been much air activity today, but no alarms given in the neighborhood. Planes have been going overhead all evening and are still up. This evening’s nine o’clock news reported us making day light attacks on Northern France, and the destruction of twenty-four enemy fighters and bombers; our losses, three fighters and one bomber—so they say. I don’t believe any of the reports. The news is juggled, and also withheld. The British public is treated as one irredeemable fool, or a tiresome child who must be given doses of soothing syrup. The government is a huge muddle and Hitler goes on winning and winning. All the men keep on talking; in the homes, in the pubs, in parliament; their self-righteousness is nauseating. Meanwhile the infernal destruction goes on and on. Syria looks to be shaping into another glorious retreat. America is on the verge. How much longer she can balance there, God knows.
This week Roosevelt has frozen all the German and Italian consulates, travel agencies, etc., and given their staffs until July fifteenth to leave the country. No German or Italian is to be allowed to go to any South American state; all have to return to Germany or Italy. Roosevelt talks, Halifax talks, Churchill talks. The radio is a curse. Hitler says nothing. Nor does Stalin. All week there have been rumors that Hitler is now going to attack Russia. From Finland to the Black Sea both the Russians and the Germans are mobilized along the boundaries, more millions of men waiting to war on each other. Finland is calling up all her men to the age of forty-four. The supposition is that Finland will now join Germany in an effort to get her own back from Russia. So more Finns will die. For what? Politics. Greed. Hate. It is the infernal hatred, which saturates our world, the infernal folly.
Artie is home on a forty-eight hour leave. He arrived in the middle of yesterday afternoon. He is out this evening, taking Mary Bernadette to a dance.
June 22, 1941
Have just listened to the midnight news. Damascus has fallen to us. The news came from Cairo an hour ago. King Peter the second arrived in this country today.
As I was writing the above last night, Artie came in bringing Mary Bernadette with him. She had no key and could not get into her own house; either Doreen was deep asleep, or had returned to her own home. So Mary came here. She is upstairs in my bed right now. Artie and Ted are at church. Ted did not return until after three this morning; but he was up at six thirty this morning just the same, silly fool! I see his boots are entirely covered with thick dust, as they must have made a long march somewhere. Playing at soldiers. There was no invasion, and Ted had known all the time that the Home Guard would be called out last night, “for maneuvers.” Why didn’t he tell me? This is another instance of his absurd secrecy, and a most inconsiderate one too, I think. It might have been a real call out, for the real invasion, and I might have worried myself insane, about him, about the town. But no, he wouldn’t say a word!
When he switched on the news at seven a.m. the announcer said: “An hour ago Hitler marched against Russia. Goebbels made the announcement in Berlin an hour and a half ago.” Hitler is impelled, he says, to save Europe from the perfidious Russians. The Finn’s and the Romanians will help their true friends, the Germans.
Fine! What irony! Ted says Hitler will destroy the Russians in a few weeks. “The communists can’t fight,” he says. We shall see. They fought in poor Finland all right, and even more savagely than Germans. Well, I must get breakfast, so Au-Revoir.
Eleven p.m. Artie left for camp after tea. He went for the six nineteen train, and Ted went to the station with him. Ted has been talking theology at the boy most of the day. I’ve listened and said nothing; but the more often I listen to Ted talking the more I see the depths of his ignorance and innateness of his bigotry; and his complacency. Artie, of course, tried arguing with his father. He is too young yet to realize the futility of argument with a closed mind.
Most of the day Ted has been lying on the sofa, and he has now gone upstairs to bed. Last night’s “maneuvers” tired him out completely. Naturally. He is an old man. Home Guards indeed! An old man’s club, that’s what the Home Guard is: old boys playing as soldiers. Against the young foe they would be useless; worse than useless, in my opinion, because having overcome an old man the young man would instantly secure for himself the old man’s weapons. The Home Guards are another example of English waste, muddle, and sentimentality, and just about as effective for real usefulness as the evacuation of mothers and children.
At nine o’clock tonight Mr. Churchill made a broadcast, which was relayed to the world in general. It was a declaration of British policy in view of the new situation created by the German attack on Russia. He promised Russia that all possible help would be given to her steadfastly to the end. He said that he would unsay nothing he had ever said about Communism, “but all this fades away before the spectacle now unfolding. The past with its crimes, its follies, and its tragedies, flashes away. I see the Russian soldiers standing on the threshold of their native land, guarding the fields, which their fathers had tilled from time immemorial, and I see them guarding their homes where mothers and wives pray. Ah yes, for there are times when all pray.”
And so he went on; a great speech. He went on, “My mind goes back across the years to the days when the Russian armies were our allies against the same deadly foe, when they fought with so much valor and helped to gain a victory from a share in which, alas! They were from no fault of ours, utterly cut out. I have lived through all this…now I have to declare the decision of his Majesty’s Government, and I feel sure it is a decision in which the great dominions will in due course concur. We must speak out now at once, without a day’s delay. I have to make a declaration. Can you doubt what our policy will be? We have but one aim and one single irrevocable purpose. We are resolved to destroy Hitler and every vestige of the Nazi region. From this, nothing will turn us, nothing. We will never parlay, we will never negotiate, with Hitler or any of his gang. Any man or state that fights against Nazism will have our aid. Any man or state that marches with Hitler is our foe. We shall give whatever help we can to Russia and to the Russian people. We shall appeal to all our friends and allies in every part of the world to take the same course, and pursue it as we shall faithfully and steadfastly to the end.”
And lots more. Oh God help us!
June 23, 1941
The alert sounded soon after I had put out the light last night. I had to waken Ted to call him downstairs. He fell asleep again at once, he was still so tired, but I lay awake until dawn and the all clear. Much gunfire. Two land mines dropped in Collier Row. It was a terrible night. It is very hot too. Summer came in with a rush yesterday.
Elizabeth Coppen was here this afternoon. Miss Owelett calling this evening, and Dorrie Stanford also. We are so used to the war by now that we pursue our lives as usual: read books, pay calls, gossip, drink tea, etc.
June 24, 1941
I had to call Ted downstairs again last night. Not as bad as the previous night, but pretty bad enough. The heat has moderated, thank heaven.
I have been reading Julian Duguid’s new book. It is entitled The Journey Back. It is an account of his reconversion to religion, by which he understands Anglicanism mostly. It is interesting in places, but to me somewhat irritating. Another man concerned with religion, and expressing all the time a definitely restricted masculine viewpoint about everything. He speaks of his wife as the female principle, who “ministered” to him, by bringing in flowers, and switching on the light. Yes, she for man only, and so on and so on, dear old Milton and the old school tie etc. Duguid is a Scotchman, and it is as fundamental to his mind, and feeling, as it is to an Englishman that woman exists for man, that man in primary being and woman the secondary. So he explains God and religion for men.
The consequence of such a book to me is that it arouses all my sleeping Americanism, and makes me so homesick for America where every woman is naturally recognized as a one hundred percent human being, that I do not know how to endure existence here in England another minute.
Again, I cannot follow the transition of the argument. The argument for “natural” religion, yes, but the jump to the thesis that Jesus Christ was God, no, I can’t make it. Fundamentally I remain the same rock bare theist that I discovered myself to be under Voysey’s enlightenment. Nothing changes me, the same as nothing changes anybody. We are all what we are. We recognize ourselves, more or less; and to which I would add, I the more, Ted the less.
Duguid gives me an exposition of a deep inner faculty, which he names, “The Helper.” This was a discovery for him, but it is nothing new to me. I call it my inner woman, my deep self, and I found it when I was in my early teens, or perhaps even before. When I was very young I found the power of the will, of deep resolution, of the psyche and the secret inner life, and of how to draw up from my depths what I needed for my surface life. Myself, I say; my inviolable secret self. Sometimes I forget my secret self, and then my top life is parched, like a plant without water; but directly I remember that self, then I am refreshed, renewed. It is from that deep inner woman I draw all the power and all the knowledge I really have; it is my creative self, in which and from which I most truly live.

No comments:

Post a Comment