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: 2-6-43 The Russians have taken Stalingrad; we have taken Tripoli, and this morning came the news that Mussolini has dismissed his entire cabinet, including his son-in-law Ciano.

Purchase Diary's Here:
          February 6, 1943
          I am cooking dinner. I have a half a shoulder of lamb for a change. Mostly our war-joint is a piece of brisket, which we are sick to death of, but there is nothing else. Today’s half shoulder weighs two pounds, and is our entire meat ration for the week.  War news is speeding up this week. The Russians have taken Stalingrad; we have taken Tripoli, and this morning came the news that Mussolini has dismissed his entire cabinet, including his son-in-law Ciano. We bombed Turin very heavily last Tuesday so perhaps that has something to do with it; maybe the Italians are panicking. The meeting of Churchill and Roosevelt in Casablanca must have alarmed the Axis pretty considerably. Report of a letter from Stalin to Roosevelt, made public today, says that Stalin states the speedy end of the war is in view. Well, don’t we hope so! Yesterday the English feminists celebrated their Silver Jubilee with a grand luncheon. In spirit I belonged to that group it was only due to the fact of being in America that kept me from joining them. Yesterday, Lady Astor said, it took the First World War to give women the vote, and it has taken the Second World War to give them full citizenship; it will take a tornado to get them on the bench of Bishop and the end of the world to get them in the House of Lords. This is funny, but it is also true. This is still a man’s world, with men regarding women as very secondary creatures to themselves. As to the Bench of Bishops well I feel as the war goes on and on, that the Churches are done for, all of them. Men’s religion doesn’t work any better than men’s politics. As for myself, I still feel and think Mrs. Eddy to be more real and more helpful, to me, and perhaps to women generally, than the Pope.

          February 9, 1943
          At eight thirty this morning we had an alert, and then guns firing for about twenty minutes. Very nasty. Ted has been under the weather and it is the food or diet we have to eat. Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting. We shan’t get any real food until the war is over. When will it be over? God knows. One thing to note. Mussolini has appointed Ciano Ambassador to the Holy See. This is absolutely farcical. How much religion has Ciano got? As things are, one is tempted to ask, how much religion has the Pope got? This present Pope, Pacelli, is a Roman Aristocrat, an intriguer of the first order. 

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.

World War ll London Blitz: 11-5-42 Good news from the Egyptian front, where our Eighth Army is defeating Rommel. Stalingrad still stands. I am alone tonight. Ted has gone to London, something to do with the “Knights”. That’s why I was able to get to the movies this afternoon, no tea to bother about.


Purchase Diary's Here:

November 5, 1942 Guy Fawkes Day
Good news from the Egyptian front, where our Eighth Army is defeating Rommel. Stalingrad still stands. I am alone tonight. Ted has gone to London, something to do with the “Knights”. That’s why I was able to get to the movies this afternoon, no tea to bother about.

November 8, 1942

On the first news this morning we were told of the landing of U.S. Army troops on the Atlantic and Mediterranean shores of French North Africa. Of the broadcasts made to the French about it, by President Roosevelt and General Eisenhower. “The war is now entering on its phase of liberation,” said the President.

Yes, now events are beginning to move in our favor. We have had a decisive victory in Egypt, and now the Yankees will attack Rommel on his flank. Already the German losses are very heavy in Africa, and we claim to have taken between thirty and forty thousand prisoners, up to date. Rommel is considered to be a very clever general, one of the very best the Axis has. Von Bock, who was attacking at Stalingrad was recalled about two weeks ago, and demoted. This has happened to many German Generals; if they don’t win they are either recalled, or killed, “accidently.” Sometime back Hitler declared that he was guiding his German Army against Russia “on his intuition.” The Russians ignore his intuitions and still defy him. It is eight o’clock now, and Ted is out at a Knight’s meeting. After the nine o’clock news Mrs. Roosevelt is to give the Postscript. She has been in England about a fortnight. I wonder what she will have to say!

November 11, 1942 Armistice Day

War news continues exciting. Today’s latest news from Africa is that Hitler has sent air borne troops into Tunis, and German troops into unoccupied France. We have chased the Germans and Italians out of Egypt. What next?

November 15, 1942

The church bells all over the country were rung this morning, for our first great victory of this war, the expulsion of the Axis from Egypt. At noon they stopped, and they will not ring again until permitted by another victory, or, if necessary as a warning of invasion. Services of Thanksgiving were offered in all the churches and chapels. I went to the Parish Church.


November 20, 1942

A special announcement from Moscow made late last night states that the Russians have inflicted a great defeat on the Germans in the Caucasus at a place named Ordzhonikidze. The Germans were thrown back after a battle that raged for many days. Five thousand were left dead on the field, and the Russians state that between another ten and fifteen thousand were wounded. They do not give the numbers of their own dead and wounded, but, my God, what carnage!

Also from New York comes a report of the sinking of more Japanese ships in the Solomon’s, eight more. At six o’clock tonight we were told that the Germans are evacuating Benghazi. The great battle zone of North Africa will now be Tunisia. Surely the war is winding up to its climax now. Surely this winter must finish it. Pray God that may be so.

November 27, 1942

It is now eleven p.m. and very exciting news. This morning German forces entered Toulon, whereupon their crews immediately scuttled the French warships in the port. The Vichy news agency announce that by ten a.m. not one vessel remained afloat. Two submarines got away, the rest went down, sixty-one of them. My God!

World War ll London Blitz: 10-19-42 There were three alerts before one o’clock today. Tonight we were told the Germans dropped bombs on twelve towns in the Eastern Counties and several villages; also they machine gunned trains, and workers in the fields.

Purchase Diary's:

October 19, 1942 

There were three alerts before one o’clock today. Tonight we were told the Germans dropped bombs on twelve towns in the Eastern Counties and several villages; also they machine gunned trains, and workers in the fields. Twenty people killed, and over two hundred injured, in one place, fifteen killed somewhere else, and “scores” injured. Damn the war! Is it ever going to end?

Ted brings back news from the Home Guard, that the towns near us bombed are Colchester, Chelmsford, Ipswich and Brentwood, and the village of Hampton. Over Brentwood the Gerry flew so low the pilot could be seen, and people saw the bomb doors open, and the bombs descend.

October 20, 1942 

A Mr. Nevin is here tonight to see Ted about a house. He works at Ford’s in Dagenham. He spoke of the women who now work there, over two thousand of them, he said, most of them make good, but he said many of them hate it, and “it is pitiable to some of the girls who break down and cry over their work.”

This is conscription for women. When Doreen Peel came to see me the other week she told me of the girls in the W.R.R.S. who can’t bear the hostel life, and go off into fits of hysteria. She herself had to share a bedroom, an ordinary bedroom in an ordinary house, with fifteen other girls! Privacy there is none. She said some of the girls hate life in the services so much that they commit suicide. Of course, this is hush hush, but it happens nevertheless. Conscription of women. This is one of the most damnable things our politicians have put over us. I record these items as they are told to me; it’s a sure thing they will never get into the history books.

October 21, 1942 Trafalgar Day 

There are lots of arranged celebrations about it. Tonight we heard broadcast a speech General Saints made before the House of the Parliament this afternoon. He was a member of the War Cabinet during the last war, and has now come to London to be a member of this War Cabinet. He said he viewed this war as a continuation of the last war, and the whole as perhaps another thirty years’ war, which began in nineteen-fourteen, was interrupted by an armistice in nineteen-nineteen, improperly called a peace, was resumed with greater ferocity in nineteen thirty-nine, and may continue (who knows?) until nineteen forty-four. An interesting view, I thought. How tired I am of the everlasting, speech making!

October 22, 1942 

Here is another item to note for reference in the future, one of the items, which is not likely to be put on the historical record. It is about coal; “the coal crisis,” as it has been dubbed in the press. We have heard in Parliament and outside, a good deal about absenteeism of miners (and it may be true that a good deal of time is being lost through this), but we have not heard much about the management of the mines. There are signs that this is more at fault than the miners. One of the complaints made comes from the face-workers. They state that they are being removed from good “stalls” where they can easily produce the coal required, and are put to work in bad “stalls”, where this is impossible without much overtime, and overtime is difficult for men on war rations who have to do fire watching as well. The reason put forward for this action on the part of management is that places where coal can be easily got are being reserved until after the war, when prices will be higher. Wagon loaders make another complaint. They allege that many of their number have been either sacked or sent down the pit, and the remainder has been put on one shift instead of two as before. The result of this is that instead of thirty-five to forty wagons being filled each day the number has dropped to something under thirty per pair of men. This, again, necessitates overtime for the surface men even though the total output of coal has fallen by some twenty to thirty percent. The complaints deserve thorough examination by the government. Will they get it? I don’t think so. For the mine owners sit in Parliament, in the government. They are not likely to allow their private profits to be interfered with, now, or in the future. No, it is simpler to put adverts in all the papers asking, are you keeping your eye on your fuel target? Oh, the British, the hypocritical British!

In Parliament today Mr. Bevin, Minister of Labor and National Service, announced that the King has signed a further proclamation as a result of which men who have reached the age of eighteen by today, will be able to be called up. Men who became eighteen between July First and September Thirtieth must register on November Seventh. They will be medically examined later in the month and called up to the forces as required, and many of them may expect to join in December.

He calls them men. Poor boys. Bevin added; “I should like to make it clear that the reduction in the age of calling up does not affect the minimum age, namely nineteen, at which men called up to the Army are posted for service abroad”. How kind!

Poor lads, poor children! Why must they be sucked so soon into this damnable war? All the time the oldsters keep on talking, blah, blah, they make me sick. How I hate the old men!

How about the Fourth International, which is of course, the Central Bankers’ International, the Bank for International Settlements? The links between the two camps of belligerent countries were severed with the outbreak of war, or as a result of subsequent legislation passed to this end. There is one noteworthy exception, however. The link between Central Bankers stays intact. Rising above the petty quarrels of their respective nations, they are still firmly united in the Fourth International of Basle. It is true, they do not communicate with each other, though they have received permission for their fellow-citizens on the management and staff of the B.I.S. to do so, and they themselves are still members of the same board. The list of directors, published on the cover of the annual report for nineteen forty-one and nineteen forty-two, includes British names rubbing solemn shoulders with German, Italian, and Japanese names. The distinguished name of Mr. Montagna Coleet Norman appears in the same list with that of his fellow director Heir Walter Funk, German Minister of National Economy and chief inventor of the notorious Nazi “new economic order” for Europe. Are we still at peace with Germany? How God must laugh at this preposterous business! Business, that’s it. Sacred business. It is a fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Kingsley Wool, has defended the axis controlled BI.S. and the association of the Bank of England with it. When Mr. George Strauss rose the subject of the B.I.S Sir Kingsley Wool failed to answer his criticisms of the report. Instead he embarked on a lengthy apologia for the Government’s attitude. He declared that the reason why connections are retained with the B.I.S. are in order to safeguard the financial commitments of the country and also of occupied countries whose assets with B.I.S. would be seized by the Germans but for the fact of the British participation. His explanation was something less than convincing. After all, in so far as the British investments are in Reich marks (as the bulk of them are) they are in any case in the hands of Germany, and the presence of two British directors on the board makes no difference to their fate. Before putting forward the claim that the British participation safeguards the assets of German-occupied countries Sir Kingsley Wool might profitably have re-read the history of the Czech gold scandal, showing that assets of German controlled Central banks with the B.I.S, have a way of passing into German hands.

Scandals, scandals. What does a woman make of all this? Those who have the money keep it. They pirate away at their ease in safety, and meanwhile our boys and girls can go out an win a war for them, whilst our poor and old can sit at home and shiver in the dark. I say damn the bankers and the politicians. Damn then and damn them.

October 24, 1942 

Last night the R.A.F. went out over Italy and heavily bombed Genoa and Turin. Yesterday afternoon Mrs. Roosevelt arrived in London. She was met by the King and Queen at Paddington, and is to be their guest whilst here. She says she came on their invitation. Perhaps. What does she want to come for, except vulgar curiosity? She is a regular nosy parker, and an everlasting talker, a thoroughly disagreeable woman, not only in my opinion, but also in the opinion of millions of her fellow countrywomen. So she has to come and see the sights, and patronize the doughboys.

News tonight is that our Eighth army has launched a big offensive in North Africa. Stalingrad still stands.

World War ll London Blitz: 9-15-42 The Ottawa government has announced the loss of Canadians in last months raid on Dieppe. The figure given is three thousand three hundred and fifty killed, wounded, missing and believed dead.

Purchase Diary's:

9-15-42

The Ottawa government has announced the loss of Canadians in last months raid on Dieppe. The figure given is three thousand three hundred and fifty killed, wounded, missing and believed dead. This is the loss of the Canadians only; our own losses have not been given out. The Germans claimed to have killed or captured ten thousand men. Very likely they did. Our government has been suspiciously quiet on the subject of Dieppe. Naturally everyone considers it a major disaster. “Reconnaissance in Force” is what it is described as. Also, general opinion is, that the raid was ordered by Churchill, at the instigation of Stalin, also that Churchill went to Russia to bolster up Stalin and keep the Russians in the war, he even said on his return that Stalin thought we should do more in the West, but that “it was difficult” to make Stalin understand our difficulties of water transport. Very likely. We have two large bodies of opinion in this country, one is that we should immediately open up a second front in the West, to help Russia, and the other is, that we cannot do so, and that to attempt to invade the continent is to bring about another Dunkirk. Dieppe would seem to prove that the second opinion is the right one. There is much talk about helping Russia, so far so indeed that you would think Russia entered the war of her own free will, to help us. This is nonsense. History is, that whilst we were negotiating in Moscow, for an Alliance with Russia, Stalin signed his non-aggression pact with Hitler, and further very soon after that, Russia invaded Poland and invaded and attacked Finland. All that is forgotten. I do not believe in the wonderful noble heroic Russians. I think the Russians are savages much in the style the Germans are. Yes, they are enduring horrible invasion now but, after all, its only tit for tat, therefore, why should our boys be thrown away on the continent merely so as to help Russia? Politics! The imbecility of war! A most terrible battle is raging for Stalingrad. It has been going on for three weeks now, but I expect eventually the Germans will take it. Madness and hell, that is what war is. 


9-28-42


I have passed Colonel Casado’s book to Ted to read. Though dry in places, that is, for civilians, it is an extremely enlightening book on the Spanish Civil War. Casado, though a Republican is definitely against the Russians and their so-called help in Spain. He declares Spain was lost because of Communism, and Soviet intervention. He complains of their practical control of the radio, and how Spaniards, instead of being reminded of heroic Spaniards and of Spain, heard only interminable laudations of Stalin, and ceaseless Russian music, etc. This makes us think of what is happening in England, where daily the B.B.C. gives us preponderantly Russian themes and Russian music, Russian artists, and constant praise of “our allies, the Russians.” It is all very insidious. True, the Russians are fighting well, disagreeably surprising Hitler; but they are not fighting for us, or for civilization, they are fighting for themselves, and that only because they were attacked. The pact they signed with Hitler before he invaded Poland is forgotten. Had Hitler not invaded Russia it is certain Russia would not have come to our help against him; but we go to hers. Then our wireless and press talks daily of the wonderful Russians! Yes, they are fighting, but for themselves.

World War ll London Blitz: 8-26-42 There is news today of the death of the Duke of Kent, in a Sunderland Flying Boat which crashed last night in the far north of Scotland. It was en route for Iceland. Sixteen men in the plane were all killed.

Purchase Diary's:

8-26-42

There is news today of the death of the Duke of Kent, in a Sunderland Flying Boat which crashed last night in the far north of Scotland. It was en route for Iceland. Sixteen men in the plane were all killed. This is a tragedy for the Royal family, but although most people are sorry, I think the general feeling is: Good! Let those people also feel the war! Why should they be immune? I must also note that on Monday Churchill arrived back in London from a visit he has been paying to Stalin in Moscow.

The war situation gets worse and worse, you don’t think it can and then it does. Germany still wins everything everywhere. Brazil has this week declared war against the Axis, but what difference will that make, except the Brazilians will now die before their time? Our raid on Dieppe last week was probably a fiasco; the war office has been too long cooking its report for it to be a good job. “Gaining valuable experience,” says the war office, but they do not tell us their losses. We claimed to have killed ten thousand Germans, but if so, how many of our men did the Germans kill? We are not told. The more I listen to the B.B.C. reports, the more I distrust all news. I think our propagandists are as big liars as the Germans. All we really know is that everyday and every night our men are dying. For what? The talk about democracy makes me sick. I will not write about the war.

8-27-1942

The latest “target” at which we are bidden to aim is what the Minister of Fuel calls the fuel target. This, to all intents and purpose, means coal. We are to cut down our consumption of coal drastically or undergo a still more drastic system of rationing. Should we complain, our rulers have arguments ready to prove that our complaints are groundless. They tell us first of all that the coal we should in the ordinary way be consuming is urgently required for war purposes, and that the winning of the war is more important than our immediate personal comfort, and they add that coal is only one more item on the list of those things of which the war has reduced our consumption and that anyhow the less we spend on personal requirements the more there will be available for war purposes, and the less chance of ruinous inflation. Indeed, every argument (save one) is used that has already been used to defend the rationing of food, building, and clothes. The omission is important. Hitherto, in every category of abstinence, it has been impressed upon us that by abstaining, whether voluntary or under compulsion, we are all saving vital shipping space for imports that are necessary for us as a nation. That argument clearly cannot be used about coal, for coal is one of the few raw materials that we have consistently exported in peacetime after satisfying our own needs.

Coal thus stands in a category by itself. Like food, shelter, and covering for the body, it is a primary economic need. It is necessary to keep warm and to cook. Unlike the other primaries, coal has always been abundant in England, and probably more planning and legislation has been devoted to coal mining in the pre-war years than to the production of any other natural commodity. We thus started the war with an inexhaustible supply and a fully matured organization for tapping and distributing it. Furthermore, there has not been really any substantial additional demand for it owing to the war. We have not used it to any considerable extent for the extravagant production of oil, synthetic rubber, etc. and there has of course been a saving to the country as the result of diminished exports. To this it may be replied that the big increase of factories for war materials has greatly increased consumption. This is true, although it must be remembered that a large number of the present war-factories existed in full production of other commodities before the war. Again, there is the inflation argument, but, with coal at four pounds per ton, the government need hardly fear that most of us will buy more than we need.

I suppose this winter we shall have to resign ourselves to cold hearths, burst water pipes, and probably an increase of illness, or, at any rate, a diminution of our powers of resistance, but why? The Minister of Fuel is not convincing us. Is it that big business has once again failed where small units with individual ownership or control have succeeded? Or are there perhaps deeper and even less savory influences at work? Is the town mind, with its obsession that profit is the sole object of existence finding it impossible to adjust itself to the wholehearted patriotism that is imperative if we are to win this war? I say damn Major Gwilym Lloyd George and the rest of his fool government. Our boys die and we at home may starve and freeze whilst the fool politicians debate! Rationing, saving, war-work. Meanwhile the Germans go steadily in winning the war, Lord, how I hate men, particularly Englishmen!