- 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: 11-11-41 The Second Diary More about the war and devastation in London alongside living with a swine of a man, I look forward to finding out what happens between them.
There is news tonight of the destruction of six more Axis ships in the Mediterranean. On Sunday night we were told of the destruction of ten.
Roosevelt made a stirring speech at Arlington today. It was an Armistice Day speech. In it he out rightly declared that the people of America, as in 1917-1918, are “ready to fight and win at any price” to save their liberty.
A card from Cuthie came through today. It was posted airmail, on September tenth. It took two months to get here. He says he is well, but asks again for shoes. We send shoes in every parcel, but presumably the Germans swipe them for themselves.
In September last year we endured nineteen thousand air raids. This September we suffered only fifteen hundred.
We have had comparative peace ever since June when Hitler attacked Russia, but it is thought that directly the winter weather slows down his campaign in Russia, he will turn his attention westwards again, and again we shall bear the brunt of his Luftwaffe.
Practically every day now the B.B.C. gives us warnings to be prepared for the resumption of heavy air raids. How long can this war go on?
World War ll London Blitz Diary: 11-10-41: Churchill said, “whether their efforts will be successful, but if they fail, I take the occasion to say, and it is my duty to say, that should the United States become involved in war with Japan the British declaration will follow within the hour.” Soon the whole world will be at war! All the big men are making speeches. Stalin, Hitler, Churchill, and Roosevelt tomorrow.
We had a warning last night. Gunfire, pretty heavy, it began about eight–thirty p.m. The alert was given just before nine and the all clear at nine-forty. This morning we were told three bombers were brought down last night, but we were not told where.
It is still very cold. When they gave us the news this morning, we are told the R.A.F. was out over Germany again last night, but no mention was made of our losses. Have we lost another thirty-seven bombers or more?
Churchill said, “whether their efforts will be successful, but if they fail, I take the occasion to say, and it is my duty to say, that should the United States become involved in war with Japan the British declaration will follow within the hour.” Soon the whole world will be at war! All the big men are making speeches. Stalin, Hitler, Churchill, and Roosevelt tomorrow.
World War ll London Blitz Diary: 9-1-41 We did not come downstairs, but I felt simply awful. I began uncontrollably to tremble, and to feel sick in the pit of my stomach. I began to pray! In danger everything primitive asserts itself, and one prays by instinct. One feels so helpless in the dark. The very darkness itself is terrifying.
I went to the movies this evening, for the first time since July a year ago. A special government film is being shown everywhere this week, “Target for Tonight”, showing a real crew in their Wellington Bomber, making a raid over Germany. The fighting in Russia is giving us in England a respite. Just the same we are warned daily to be prepared for the resumption of heavy attack, and to expect this winter to be even worse than last.
An “alert” is sounding. This is the first daylight warning for about two months. I have just got back from the library, so I am lucky to be inside the house. Last night Gerry was over. We had just gone to bed about eleven thirty p.m. no alert was sounded, but we heard the German engines throbbing over, and then the guns; not immediately near, but about Upminister I guessed.
We did not come downstairs, but I felt simply awful. I began uncontrollably to tremble, and to feel sick in the pit of my stomach. I began to pray! In danger everything primitive asserts itself, and one prays by instinct. One feels so helpless in the dark. The very darkness itself is terrifying.
Ted is out to the Home Guard. This is the second anniversary of the start of the war. At eleven this morning we entered on the third year of this war. I heard guns in the depth of the night, but no alarm was given. All day planes have been flying overhead incessantly. The news today tells that we bombed Berlin very heavily last night; so I expect London will receive a bombing tonight.
God help us! The news from the Russian front is terribly momentous. A tremendous battle for Leningrad is expected now, and my even have begun. The Russians are fighting magnificently, but, regardless of their own awful losses, the Germans press on.
World War ll London Blitz Diary: 8-7-41 I got this book and could not put it down. It's a fascinating journal of a thoroughly unhappy woman dealing with WWII, a terrible marriage and desperation and separation from most of her children. She shares her despair as well as her sometimes-immature methods of coping with her misery. What we really see is a woman 50 years ahead of her time.
Franco is a minor Hitler, or Mussolini, a man ruthless and cruel, self-seeking and a liar.
I received a note from Artie this morning to say he had been passed for a commission. Good. He will probably go to an O.C.T.U. before the month is out. Rascality, and idiocy, of men in high places, and how greatly the life of the world lies in the hands of the giant capitalists. A few rich men do own the earth. The rich men of Europe wanted war, because war makes profits; but ordinary men never want war.
Last night I had to get up, about one a.m., guns. I came downstairs, and heard a big bomb fall somewhere.
At the first news this morning we were told a special announcement from the government would be made on all stations at three p.m. by Mr. Atlee, the deputy prime minister. We had never heard of a “deputy prime-minister,” so wondered if Churchill had been assassinated, or what. At three p.m. the announcement: Mr. Churchill and President Roosevelt had met at sea, and drawn up, and signed, a mutual statement, about our war aims.
For weeks there have been rumors of “Peace Negotiations” coming from Hitler. This asserts again that the world will never negotiate with Hitler. Anyhow, I’m sick to death of the war, and all the war talk. This ceaseless destruction and lunacy gets me down. We have had comparative quiet in England since Hitler attacked Russia, but the war in Russia is too ghastly awful.
Marshal Petain made a very silly speech from the Vichy this week. He is still talking to his defeated Frenchmen about self-abasement, and the need for repentance and sacrifice. Marshal Petain is just a pious old fool, cow towing to Hitler. He is a dictator, dictating his own countrymen.
Frenchmen have lost their liberties. “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity,” officially is no more. Petain has substituted Family, Work, and Obedience. Fine For nitwits! Petain is governing France “by authority” Whose? His own? Hitler’s? France is dead.
I went to the movies this evening, for the first time since July a year ago. A special government film is being shown everywhere this week, “Target for Tonight”, showing a real crew in their Wellington Bomber, making a raid over Germany.
World War ll London Blitz Diary: 7-23-41 Window To Two Wars, The Blitz and Ted - A very revealing insight into life in London during the Blitz and life in marriage in the early 20th Century. Ruby Side Thompson is a very intelligent woman who has a passion for reading and life. She is bound in a marriage to a despot Ted Thompson. Her views are very much ahead of her time. She suffers the mental anguish of the constant bombings from the air and from her husband. In all of this she makes the best of her time. There is a third front in that she had raised her family in the US and is now separated from most of them. Ted moved Ruby and their two youngest sons back to Britain prior to the start of WWII.
If the politicians in power could be taken out and shot there would be no more wars.
Gladys has been to see me today. Her account of the blitzes in Plymouth is awful. She says there is practically no Plymouth left at all. It has literally been razed to the ground. On the last blitz there were nine hundred identified as dead, counting civilians only. The naval and military casualties were not counted in with the civilians.
The unidentified were uncountable; two shelters, each holding about two hundred people were simply limed and sealed up and the wounded number about three thousand. This is war. This war diet is a very poor one. We are filled, but we are not fed. Half a pound of good steak a day for the next month would be the very best tonic I could have. There is no meat.
Last night Gerry renewed his air attacks on this London area. We were wakened by the alert at a quarter to two. Of course we came downstairs. Ted just left for Home Guards. Our last nights raid was a fairly bad one. One whistling bomb which we heard descending caused Ted to roll off his sofa and get under the table!
Victoria Road was hit again; this time five bombs and also Catharine Road, Hamilton Road, Heath-Park Road, our immediate vicinity. Many houses demolished, casualties not yet known. The London damage has not yet been told us but large fires were started there, and we could see them still burning this morning. Oil bombs.
Our fighters went up and everything seemed be going on immediately overhead. Three Gerry’s were brought down in this neighborhood. I was very frightened, and trembled. The all clear was given at four-fifteen a.m. All day planes have been up much more than usual; some are roaring over right now.
I am afraid we shall have another bad night. Five weeks now since the attack on Russia, and Russia is still holding. Nine million men are arrayed against each other on the Russo-German frontiers. The carnage is frightful. Oh, God save the world!
World War ll London Blitz Diary: 7-13-41 An Everyday View of WW II - This diary has given me new insight into the day by day life of the British during the days of WWII. While I sometimes get very irritated at her husband, I have trouble putting the book down. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
It was that the British and the Soviet governments have signed an agreement to give each other all assistance and support during the war against Hitlerism Germany, and to conclude no armistice or treaty of peace except by mutual agreement.
So now we are definitely allied with Russia once again. It is three weeks today that Germany attacked Russia. The fighting is awful beyond words. There is a rumor, coming via Stockholm that Hitler and Goring have quarreled, and Goring has been sent to a concentration camp.
The story is that Goring declined to be responsible for his air force, and did not want to start the fight against Russia. He said that because of their losses in the West, and over Greece and Crete, he would not be responsible for their fighting now
Hitler flew into frenzy and said he would command the Luftwaffe himself. Then Himmler, who was present, suggested that Goring be thrown into a concentration camp, and the presumption is that he was, particularly that Goring’s name has ceased to appear in the German papers for these last three weeks. Well, maybe.
Anyhow we positively know that Rudolph Hess is here in England, so, if it true about Goring that is two of the rogues who can be counted out.
In unoccupied France Marshal Petain has ordered it to be observed as a day of meditation and devotion, i.e. mourning. In Syria the armistice has been signed, the Vichy French have laid down their arms and the free French are celebrating the day, as Frenchmen should.
World War ll London Blitz Diary: 7-2-41 A great record of a life and a time - I have to say that I'm very confused about the reviews on the first book in the series discussing its merits as a story, with a protagonist and author - do not go into it expecting narrative structure, because that's not there, and neither is any attempt at characterization, because this is non-fiction. And there seem to be a lot of people who recognize that it's not a series of novels (thank goodness) but who still think it's not worth anything because Ruby Thompson was not always stoic and used her diary as a vent for her emotions. But the value of the diaries isn't in their entertainment potential, or their depiction of a kind and sweet personality. (Ranting about her husband aside, Ruby was very classist and shockingly racist.) Their value is in their depiction of daily life, and human attitudes and methods of coping. Ruby's mentions of her own history are also of great interest, especially the passage in which she describes how women of her mother's generation dealt with childbirth and having large families. It is a mistake to denigrate the books because of Ruby's frailties. Londoners held up extraordinarily well during the Blitz, but people must have felt fear and occasionally given way to their emotions, and it doesn't take away from the stories of heroism and pluck to admit that. It is certainly a terrible idea to dismiss an excellent historical source because of a diarist's personality.
The war continues to get worse and worse. Today the Russians have claimed to kill seven hundred thousand Germans in White Russia alone. The Germans have claimed to have killed five hundred thousand Russians, and taken two hundred thousand Russian prisoners. I don’t know who counts but presumably the losses on both sides are enormous. The Germans continue their advance. The Russians continue their retreat.
The R.A.F. is now bombing Germany in daylight every day. The Italians in Abyssinia are nearly finished, but in Libya the fighting continues and also in Syria. The Vichy French do not quit. The Turks continue to sit on the fence. Last night Roosevelt gave a small broadcast “for freedom”.
Our supplies diminish markedly. Myrtle Arch told me this morning that the queues of shoppers in Romford this morning were the worst yet, and there isn’t a potato in town. Food is scarce and very dear, and rationing severe. There is a great food ramp going on. As soon as prices are coded food disappears.
Some one is making money. There are frequent scandals and the bureaucrats are smothering us. There is far too much government control, most of it only gumming the works. This wonderful land of liberty is snowed under continuous official forms, and harassed and annoyed by the ever-increasing army of ineffective petty clerks. War!
World War ll London Blitz Diary: 6-21-41 Another Must-Read! The second entry from the diaries of Ruby Thompson doesn't disappoint. More war, more marital woes and new worries for Ruby, this time regarding some of her sons. If the reader loves to see history come alive, this book is highly recommended. Ruby comes alive through her writing, and those of us living in the 2000s get a glimpse of what life was like in 1941 - how women were viewed and how they functioned, all set against the backdrop of World War II in England. World War II London Blitz Diary Volume 2 is another must-read, and the book ends all too soon. Ruby's writing draws one in so completely that it's a disappointment when this volume comes to an end. Two more volumes will follow this, and if this reviewer had her way, every one of Ruby Thompson's diaries would be published.
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.
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. “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.
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.
Last night I slept upstairs in my bed. This is the first time since last August. It was delicious to get between the sheets and stretch out in a real bed. Since Germany attacked Russia we have had quieter nights in England. Ted has been sleeping upstairs for about a month, but I have had to call him down on several occasions, when the guns began.
We were surprised this morning by the news of the transference of Sir Archibald Wavell to India. We think this is ominous. It looks as though our government expects the Germans to take the Ukraine, and smash through there and attack us in India. Perhaps.
There is continuous and fierce day and night fighting all along the Russian German border. The accounts of losses and gains, from both sides, are prodigious. We believe neither side, but it does look as though the Germans are penetrating into Russia, and Hitler, as usual, is winning. It is truly awful. What next? Supposing Hitler does beat Russia, then what? He will have won the world, for not even America could then stand up against him.