World War ll London Blitz: 1-18-43 I am saying hell and damnation. Last night the bombing began again. The alert went at eight-thirty, the all clear at ten p.m. We were wakened at five forty-five this morning, and there was another raid, lasting until nearly six a.m. They were bad raids, and today I am sick from fright.

Purchase Diaries:

January 18, 1943

I am saying hell and damnation. Last night the bombing began again. The alert went at eight-thirty, the all clear at ten p.m. We were wakened at five forty-five this morning, and there was another raid, lasting until nearly six a.m. They were bad raids, and today I am sick from fright. When the guns begin I begin to tremble and to retch. I can’t help it. It is sheer animal reaction and I can’t do anything at all to stop it. Animal fright. Today my ribs feel sore. I wretched so much last night I feel today as though someone had been kicking me in the stomach.

There has been intermittent gunfire all morning too, though no alert has been sounded. Yesterday the news was full of accounts of how the R.A.F. bombed Berlin on Saturday night. This was the fifty- fourth raid on Berlin, though we haven’t been over for fourteen months. The boasting and complacency of the announcers was sickening. Well, back comes the Luftwaffe on London last night, what a game! What a damn fool game! Men and war, loathsome. I am full of anger, and its terrible impersonal anger. War. What can an old woman do about it? Nothing, simply nothing at all. What a filthy world! I loathe it.

January 20, 1943

I went to town. An alert sounded whilst I was on the bus, about noon, and there was a prolonged daylight raid on London. I managed to get into number six before the heavy firing began. Joan was extremely frightened. We stayed in the drawing room and watched the street. It gave me a horrible feeling to see people running through clear streets, in broad daylight. Mostly we are indoors, in the blackout, when the raids come, so we do not see how other people are affected. To watch them running for shelter was a queer sensation, making me feel sick.

The all clear came about one-thirty and we proceeded to eat lunch. After lunch I went in to see Jo Tibbs, and find out how the dressmaking was getting on. She had completed for me a black alpaca skirt, and a black gabardine frock. When I returned to Number Six I found Artie and Hilda home on leave having tea with Joan. I packed a couple of valises with some of Mother’s things, and the children will bring them with them tonight. Official reports tonight say that one hundred and thirty planes were over London and Kent, and eleven were brought down. The worst casualties were in the L.CC. School which was bombed.

January 21, 1943

Mid-day news of the L.C.C. school, which was, bombed yesterday, gives figures as: forty-four children killed, fifty injured and in the hospital, five teachers killed, two more teachers and about another thirty children still unaccounted for. It was an infant’s school, mixed boys and girls, and they were assembled at the midday dinner. There are many other casualties and destructions but the school is the most shocking. It was bombed from low level, by direct aim, so the German knew exactly what he was hitting. The swine’s also flew about machine-gunning children and people in the streets. This is not war, soldier against soldier this is murder. Oh when will this frightful war end?

It is a full moon tonight, so I expect we will be raided again. No alert so far today, but I have just tried the radio and can get nothing, so I suppose the devils are somewhere about and the B.B.C. is off the air.

January 22, 1943

Artie and Hilda left for Scotland at two-thirty today. Last night during a discussion on the radio about religious problems the question was asked: When we are told to forgive our enemies is the condition of repentance on the part of their past necessary? This led Ted and myself to talk about forgiveness. I said that I found that as I grew older fewer things offended me and therefore I had less to forgive; also that I found that in moments of great danger, as in a raid, where death may strike you any moment, I found out that I forgave everybody everything, I could hold no grievance against anyone, not even the bombing flyer. So I thought the great majority of the aged and of the dying did forgive their enemies, not only easily, but because they could not do otherwise.


January 23, 1943

News was given at one o’clock that our Eighth Army in Africa has taken Tripoli. Now Italy has nothing left in Africa. Also the Germans have admitted a withdrawal of several miles in the Stalingrad area, an admission that our military authorities consider “the gravest they have yet made.” Leningrad was relieved this week too, after a siege of sixteen months. The indomitable Russians are slowly but surely pushing the Germans out of Russia. Defeat for the Germans has actively begun. How long will it take to complete it nobody knows, but it will be completed.

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