World War ll London Blitz: 6-1-42 to 6-29-42 I was awakened at one twenty-five a.m. by the siren. All Clear was given about a half hour afterwards. There was no gunfire in this district. At midday we were told that the Germans made a reprisal attack last night, on Canterbury. They sent fifty bombers over, twenty-five of which got through to Canterbury, and three were brought down. No news of the extent of the damage or casualties given.

Purchase Diary's:

June 1, 1942

When the grip of a people upon reason and so upon a reasonable conduct of life weakens, that is, when the highest human faculty is dethroned, it is only natural that standards of excellence should become distorted. All that is required to illicit admiration for an action is that it should be positive, startling, and productive of results. The good life gives place, as an aim, to life arbitrarily ordered by the efficient or the powerful. Might takes the place of right because might gets things done, and right has ceased to have any content of its own.
In the modern world reason is at a low ebb, and the prime mover in its disappearance has been Germany. Never subjected in its greater part to the disciplined thought and civilization of the Roman Empire and never attaining the status of a nation, it has, throughout history, from Luther to Hitler, continually produced men whose notoriety depended upon qualities opposed to reason: sentimentality, conceit, arrogance, hero-worship and consciousness of inferiority (and hence jealousy); besides the cruder vices which attach themselves to these substitutes of reason, such as greed, cruelty, and a desire to take refuge in something bigger than themselves, i.e. the State. The Nationalist Socialist regime, coming as it did at the moment of Europe’s nadir of reasoned thought, and swallowing whole the bombastic unreason of Hegelian and Nietzsche philosophy, is an exaggerated example of German barbarism. It is therefore not surprising to find in it flagrant departures from what normal men have always held to be common sense.
Here in England too, unreason and oppression, though in less virulent forms, goes on almost unnoticed. Men and women who address public meetings and write books under the aegis of a Party that claims to uphold the cause of the laboring poor are continually making proposals and advocating measures that would effectively destroy any chance of increased freedom for their protege's. Here again we see propaganda pleading for a blessing upon its policy of oppression. Not that the English kind of oppression is the same as the German. It does not seek to empty men of all human prerogatives as National Socialism does, but it looks forward to a state of society in which the mass of the people will be bound hand and foot economically by a bureaucratic clique of organizers; and if the economic life of a man is outside his own control, there is almost nothing in his whole life that will not feel the omnipresent strain of a compulsion that curbs all his creative power. Examples of this can be found everywhere, indeed, the very air we breathe is impregnated with the assumption that “in this scientific age” a man cannot and ought not to want to be his own master. Take two items in last week’s Labor Party Conference: the resolutions founded on the Central Committee’s Post-War Reconstruction Report demand “ a planned society” (in a reasonable community “society” denotes the free intercourse between man and man) “with the State owning and operating the essential means of production”, or again, one of the special resolutions calls for the acceptance  “of the broad democratic principle that all children of school age shall be required by statue to attend schools provided or licensed by the state.” What in the name of reason is either “broad” or “democratic” in such a principle of compulsion? Why should a child be called “of school age” as though schools (and such schools!) were the only possible training ground for life? Have the earnest oppressors of our people ever heard of the family and the fundamental rights and responsibilities of the family?
All this bureaucratic restraint derives, not from the “scientific age” in which we live, but from a dangerous deficiency in us of God’s greatest gift to man--- reason.
To re-enthrone reason we require the common philosophy of life which we have so lightly abandoned.  We must return to truth.”
This is a part transcription from an article entitled, Oppression as Propaganda  in The Weekly Review for May Twenty-Eighth. The article is unsigned, so I do not know who wrote it; but I note it because it is saying the things that should be said. When I listen to our damn fool politicians, and our gasbags on the air, I repeatedly ask; Liberty? Where is liberty? An Englishman’s rights, what has happened to them? Civil liberties disappear daily. The present government is as collection of dictators. When I hear men like Morrison and Bevin and Cripps talk about what they are going to do to us after the war, I ask, yeah? Why do they presume they will still be in power after the war? I’m sure every one of them will get his conge. The country is fed to the teeth with petty and not so petty war restrictions but once let the war be won, then we shall no longer submit tamely to all these bureaucratic tyrannies. Morrison and Co. will be kicked downstairs, and Englishmen will resume life, as they like to live it, unplanned lives, as they individually choose them. Englishmen are orderly, but they won’t be ordered. Every man his own master. Britons never will be slaves. A planned society? Planned by whom? Bevin? Cripps? Green? Never. An Englishmen’s house is his castle. It always was, it still is and it always will be. There will be no permanently planned society in Britain.
I was awakened at one twenty-five a.m. by the siren. All Clear was given about a half hour afterwards. There was no gunfire in this district. At midday we were told that the Germans made a reprisal attack last night, on Canterbury. They sent fifty bombers over, twenty-five of which got through to Canterbury, and three were brought down. No news of the extent of the damage or casualties given yet.

June 2, 1942

Last night the R.A.F. again went out over Germany, thirteen hundred strong. The main attack was on Essex. It was only Saturday and they were over Cologne; we are surprised they can go again in such a force so soon. Maybe the tide has turned. Maybe we are now going to lick the Germans! I heard gunfire nearby about four this morning, but have no information so far as to where it was.

June 25, 1942

I dream persistently of life in America, and particularly of my early years there. It is because of my biding discontent with England of course, and these terrible later years of my life. Last night I was dreaming of the Hewetson household as it was in 1905, and I was there as a young bride, nervously trying to please agreeable strangers. Probably the dream was thrown up by present circumstances, for we are expecting the advent of a strange young girl whom Artie is proposing to bring here next week as his likely fiancee. Her name is Hilda Kane, and he made her acquaintance last year in Lanark. This spring he visited her at her home in Glasgow. She is a Catholic, twenty years old. He is coming on leave on the twenty-ninth, and he as asked to come to Romford with him, for a holiday. Perhaps she won’t come, but we shall see.
The war news is shocking. We go from bad to worse. Now we have suffered defeat again in Libya, and Rommel has taken Tobruk and this in spite of the fact that we were continually told we were holding in Libya; only last week Auchinleck said to the troops: “Hold him boys! We have Rommel in the bag!” Yet on Sunday night we were told Tobruk had fallen, and we had lost 25,000 men there. Now issue will be joined for Egypt. Awful war still rages in Russia. The Germans are not driven back. The fall of Sebastopol looks to be inevitable. The losses at sea increase daily. Churchill is in Washington conferring with Roosevelt. Laval is back in power in France, and working openly for Germany.
Defeat in Libya has come as a profound shock to public confident. Parliament is shaken. So it ought to be. What kinds of incompetents are running the country? We all ask. Isn’t it true we had a new government? As for me, the more I listen to the windbags the more disgusted I become with them and also with all men generally. I think what fools men are and I despise the lot of them as for their endless talk that is downright silly. Fools of men!
Five German bombs were destroyed over the midlands last night. We are not told where and what they list. The way the news is given to us is absurd. This is from the stupidity of the ministry of information of course. We have too many ministries, all of them incompetent, some like the ministry of information, downright asinine.

June 26, 1942
The B.B.C. announces that it is twenty-five years ago today that General Pershing and his first hundred American troops landed in France. Today we are told that Major General Dwight Eisenhower has been appointed Commander-In-Chief of the American forces in the European area. Daily now there is talk of a second front, attack on Germany’s Western front. Nobody says how. It is midsummer now and still Hitler stands. Moscow has published “official” figures of casualties, according to which ten million Germans were killed, wounded, or missing in the first year of Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union. Of this number, the announcement says, not less then three million five hundred thousand Germans were killed. In the same period the Russian losses in killed, wounded or missing, were four million five hundred thousand. Reuter adds that seventy percent of the wounded Russian soldiers have returned to the ranks, but only forty percent of the German wounded have so far recovered, it is stated. What frightful slaughter! What world lunacy!
My Lunch Hour Story
For lunch I served fried sliced potatoes and fried eggs; one portion of canned string beans for Ted, (my only vegetable) rice pudding, made with tinned milk and my last spoonful of sugar, and, of course, coffee.
Ted: “I don’t think much of your idea of frying eggs.”
Me: “But these are not new laid eggs.”
Ted: “I said, I don’t think much of your idea of frying eggs.”
Later I told him what anniversary this was, twenty-five years ago General Pershing landed in France.
Ted: “But with no troops to amount to anything.”
Me: “Only a hundred men, but two million followed in the next twelve months.”
Ted: “But they never saw fighting. Not to amount to anything. Why they only had fifty thousand killed all told! A mere nothing! Of course, I think, they were finally given a little bit of the front line for themselves but on the whole the American Army never got into the fight at all. What are fifty thousand casualties in a war?”
I let that topic alone. Presently Ted said: “Someone said there was a frost last night.”
I said, “Is that so?”
“No,” he snapped, “That is not so I didn’t say it was so. I don’t know if it was so. I said, someone said there was a frost last night.”
Suddenly I felt sick. How can you talk to a man like this, a man fault finding, correcting, belittling? Before going to the office he decided to change into a cooler jacket, as he started upstairs to change I said: “I’ve put your coats in the cupboard this morning.”
He said: “How are the moths faring? Is their diet good? They don’t need clothes ration coupons do they?”
This is one of Ted’s typical jokes. Now he is gone, but I’m left flat, quite flat. I know it was a badly arranged lunch, but the excuse is, I had nothing else with which to make a lunch. There are no vegetables, no fruits, and if I had not had the tinned milk there wouldn’t have been anything at all for dessert. The eggs were dubious.Frying was the only sensible way to cook them. I have got a pot of good bone broth in the pantry but as it is Friday it would have been quite useless to offer that to Ted today. Although the church has dispensed the faithful from fasting and abstinence for the duration of the war, Ted still observe all the pre-war regulations. As per usual, he is more Roman than the Romans. As per usual he is a most silly fool.
One day this week when I turned into this road from South Street and old Herbert overtook me, and walked the length of the street with me. I told him how Ted has taken to carrying a stick now, and how he has become more and more like him (Herbert) as time went on.
“Yes,” said Herbert, “so many people say. I believe there is a big likeness between us, but I don’t think I talk as much as he does, not yet, anyhow. He’s a funny fellow. You ought to hear the questions he asks people! It is quite unnecessary. He thinks up more questions to ask people than anyone else in the kingdom, I should think. You know, they come into the office, and all they want to know is, have we a house to let? Can Teddy boy tell them yes or no? No, sir. Why, he puts them through a whole damn catechism! Damn funny, I call it. You know, he only confuses the people. You see, the more questions he asks them, the more wrong answers they can give him. Then that’s wrong. So he has to put them right Blimey! I don’t bother myself! Won’t. If I don’t like people or if I don’t want to listen to them, why, I just clear off. I don’t want to listen to all their bloody histories. Nor to tell them where they ought to live, or what rent they ought to pay. Let everybody mind his or her own business and I’ll mind mine. Not Teddy boy. Lord”
It is now eight-fifteen and there is shocking news this evening. We sent over a thousand bombers over Bremen last night, fifty-two of which have not returned. Hell, hell hell.
It is eleven p.m. and Ted has just gone up to bed, but here is one last item of silliness, which I must record to finish this day. Ted came in just in time for the nine o’clock news. Afterwards he talked, some of the silliest talk I have ever heard. He was speculating as to what was most wrong with people, their hearts or their heads. This came up because of a news item that the Germans have deliberately executed seven hundred thousand Jews in Poland. Query: Why do the good Germans allow this to happen? (Yes, why do they?) Ted’s answer: because they don’t think right. He elaborated on this for more than an hour. He went back to the Garden of Eden and speculated as to whether Eve ate the apple, committed the sin of disobedience, because of a wrong heart or a wrong head. Eve, of course! Adam was the good boy and thence went on of course to his dear old subject of the will, and free-will.
What about will? Hasn’t Hitler got a darn good will, does anything shift him from it? Hence to the right education of the will, (By the Roman Catholic church, of course.) And finally to the disaster of “modern” education, by which he meant secular public compulsory elementary education.
Finally he said, “What has education done for people anyhow? A man can live without reading and writing. What’s the good of reading and writing in itself? Teach a man to read and write, then he can also forge cheques!” Then back to Adam and Eve, taken literally, because Genesis is historical fact.
Really! When Ted talks like this my mind absolutely shuts. The older he grows the more obscurantist he becomes. I cannot ever make responsive polite noises to this kind of talk. It is literally too silly for words. To me it seems ever more evident that what people need is more and more knowledge, the idea that to keep them ignorant so as to keep them innocent, is downright repulsive. “The simple religious peasant.” Ted’s ideal man! The simple fool, really. Yes and its Hitler’s ideal also. Where Hitler thinks he can make them fight, Ted thinks he can make them pray. My God! What a colossal idiot, what a bigot, what an obscurantist reactionary, I have to live with. Now I must go and sleep with.

June 27, 1942

All women born in nineteen twenty-three had to register today. There were over three hundred thousand of them. Hateful. The government assures parents that no girl will have to leave home before she reaches her nineteenth birthday. It is a good thing I have no young daughter to be conscripted. I should ignore the rule, and then fight it. I expect I should land in jail. These young girls have had no say in the government; why should they be taken to factories or the services? We have the servile totalitarian state now, and no mistake about it; so what are we fighting the Nazi’s for?  Churchill returned from Washington today. I hate the newspaper pictures of Churchill, Atlee, Eden, Bevin, Morrison and Co. All these fellows look so damned pleased with themselves: almost as though the war was a riot of fun for them. God!  I hate politicians.

June 29, 1942

I received a letter from Artie to say he will not be here tomorrow; his leave has been postponed until the end of July.
Rita Pullan came in to tea. When Ted went off to the Home Guard she and I had a heart to heart talk about Cuthie. She tells me Sket (also called Cuth) has asked her to tell her parents of their intentions when he returns, and so she has done so. Mrs. Pullan is most against the difficulty of the different religions, and against their difference in their ages. However Mr. Pullan has said, “Alright, and if you and Sket really want to marry, I’ll help you all I can when he comes back, with money or a job, or anything I can do for him. As for the seniority, don’t worry too much about that. Your mother was older than me, and so is your stepmother. I found an older wife no disadvantage so I don’t see why Sket need necessarily do so either.”
When I asked Rita, did Isabel know, she said, no, because Sket doesn’t want Isabel to be told, not because he doesn’t like Isabel, but because he definitely dislikes John Robbins; but she said, “Anyhow, I think Isabel guesses.”
I asked if we were to tell Mr. Thompson yet and Rita said, “No, Sket says let that wait until he comes home. Then he can deal with his father alright.”
I suppose Rita and Sket will make a match when the war is over. I shall offer no objections. Rita is a nice girl and I think she is genuinely fond of Cuthie. If he wants to marry, my feeling is he should not be prevented. Ted would hate the marriage, but if it is Cuthie’s long-standing choice I shan’t mind.

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