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World War ll London Blitz:  Buy On Smashwords
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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: 10-2-44 to 10-30-44 Yesterday we heard details of the surrender of Calais and the capture of Cap Griz Nez.

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October 2, 1944

Yesterday we heard details of the surrender of Calais and the capture of Cap Griz Nez. On Saturday at noon the Mayors of Dover and Folkestone announced to the people of those towns the capture of the last cross-channel of guns. This corner of Kent has been nicknamed Hell’s Corner. Saturday night was the first night they could sleep without fear of being shelled, for over four years. They came out of their caves and sang and danced in the streets, and they went to church in the evening, to offer prayers to God for their deliverance. At the end of the news last night the B.B.C. gave a short recording of one of these Thanksgiving services form Folkestone Parish Church. As I listened to those Kent's people singing a hymn, I wept. I experienced a great feeling of belonging. 

October 10, 1944

The war still drags on. The summer has not seen the finish it. Yesterday we were told Mr. Churchill and Mr. Eden were in Moscow; they had flown there for consultation with Stalin. Today we are told they have taken fifty members of their staffs with them. What are they going to cook up now? Final victory? Soon?

The Germans have launched their flying bombs against us from Henkel’s over the North Sea, these past five nights. Everyday a few of their rocket bombs fall without warning. The last was at ten-twenty this morning. Ted said he thought from the smoke that it fell Chelmsford way. Anyhow the explosion was terrific, sounding much closer than Chelmsford. The wireless never mentions these things; only the neighborhoods, which receive them, know anything about them. They make me furious. They fill me with a raging anger against all Germans. In the beginning of the war I did not hate the Germans. I think I was sorry for them because they had to obey Hitler but now I despise them because they do obey them. The obscenities and cruelties of the Germans are beyond all computing, and not one German dares to stand forth and refuse to carry out orders. They must like Hitler. So I say all Germans, they are all demons. Forgive them? Never! They are unforgivable, the whole nation of them, and always will be.

Wednesday October 11, 1944

I am taking a pause before finishing my scullery jobs. I have had a full morning of cooking, and I am now very tired. A rocket bomb startled us while we were eating lunch. It fell at one-fifteen p.m. a worse one, or perhaps a nearer one woke us at five twenty-five a.m. and this was something terrific. Yet the B.B.C. never mentions these things, nor ever has done. We are waiting for either the capture or surrender of Aachen. An ultimatum was given it by the Americans, which expired at ten-fifty a.m. today. So far the commander of the city has made no reply, although a company of German soldiers walked out and surrendered last night, and today in many houses in the city have hoisted white flags. The Germans were informed that if the city did not surrender it would be totally destroyed. This is the first German city to fall to us, although the allied armies have already occupied many villages. The Polish Prime Minister in London has been invited to attend the conference in Moscow with Churchill and Stalin. He is leaving at once. Dunkirk is being demolished. Possibly the explosions we have heard today were not rockets at all, but came from Dunkirk. The B.B.C. said just now on the one o’clock news that people on the South Coast have been hearing and feeling the explosions at Dunkirk since early this morning. What next?

October 13, 1944

Mrs. Jude called in this morning. She went away to Teignmouth when the doodlebugs started, and only returned to Romford last week. She is very concerned over the rocket bombs, but what are we going to do about them? They are fired from inside Germany, and they travel at the rate of nine hundred miles per hour, so we cannot be notified of their approach. Every morning this week one has fallen in this neighborhood at exactly five twenty-five a.m. The first we know of them is the explosion. They are falling on practically the same spot every time in Warstead, so presumably that is their range. The B.B.C. never mentions them.

Saturday October14, 1944

We had a very bad night. Two rockets fell between one a.m. and one-thirty and then at three-thirty a.m. we had an alert for doodles. Oh this wearying war! Aachen has not yet fallen, but Stalin last night announced that the Russians had taken Riga and there is a report, not yet officially confirmed that the allies have liberated Athens. They freed Corinth some days ago. It doesn’t look like the war is ending this year after all, and Eisenhower himself has said there is a prospect we shall have to fight all through this coming winter. What a dreadful prospect!

Sunday October 15, 1944

I had pain in my stomach all night. I had to come downstairs at one-fifty for an alert. One flying bomb passed practically directly overhead almost immediately afterwards. It was very frightening. Then a little later I heard two others exploding at a distance. The all clear was given at two-thirty a.m.

We had authentic news today of the freeing of Athens. The made me weep a little. It seems to me Athens means more to us English than Rome does. It is of Greece we think when we dream of glory and beauty, not the Roman Empire. Damn! There is an alert now. Au-Revoir

Saturday October 21, 1944

The Americans have now taken Aachen outright. This is the first German city to be occupied by the Allies. I wonder how the Germans like that. I am feeling fine. Fine. I haven’t been so serene for years.

Sunday October 22, 1944

An alert went last night just as I had put out the light and got into bed about eleven-fifty p.m. I came downstairs immediately and a flying bomb came right overhead almost immediately. Three others came in such quick succession, almost as close, but all went further on before dropping. However, they were so near they made me sick with apprehension. The all clear came just around midnight, so I went back to bed, but could not fall asleep for a very long time. How heavenly it will be to lay oneself down in bed without fear of the night. According to the six o’clock news we have been doing a lot of bombing over Germany today so I expect we shall get more over here tonight, probably before very long, as the night is pitch dark already. Infernal war.

Monday October 23, 1944

We had no alerts during the night, nevertheless I lay awake a very long time. I was thinking of the books I have never written, and scrapping them all I think.

Tuesday October 24, 1944

We had a bad night. About seven-thirty last night, without a hint of warning, a rocket bomb exploded somewhere near by. The impact was terrific. The whole house rocked. Ted dived under the table. This morning we have heard it fell in Brentwood. We had an hour of the alert with flying bombs between eight and eight-thirty p.m. Four fell in this district but no details are known yet. The remainder of the evening was without incident so we went to bed in the usual way around eleven. I fell asleep quickly but was awakened soon after midnight, by another violent explosion. Then all was quiet, so I fell asleep again, to be wakened at one a.m. by an alert. I got up at once, but one buzzy bomb fell before I could get out of the bedroom, then several more through the next half hour. The all clear was given at two a.m. however sleep seemed banished for the night, and I lay in a semi doze, full of bad dreams, until morning.

When will this damn war end, and life get back to normal? There is a report today that the Russians are thought into East Prussia, thirty miles in on a ninety-mile line. Good! I hope they will soon get to Berlin! A month ago we hoped that the war would be finished this autumn, but now we are not so optimistic. The Germans may collapse any day, but they look more likely to fight on all winter. They’re licked, and they must know it, but Hitler is going to make them keep on fighting. It’s a suicide policy, but Hitler won’t save his own Germans any more than he would save any other peoples. For so long as he can prolong the war, for so long he can save his own life, and that is all that matters to him. Who can be sorry for the Germans? If they are so stupid as to throw away their lives senselessly and uselessly, because Hitler commands the silly sacrifice, well, such sheep are bound to be slaughtered. Who is ever sorry for sheep?

Wednesday October 25, 1944

Two months until Christmas. Will the war be over then? God knows.

It is ten a.m. and I am waiting for the radioman. Last night we had three rocket bombs between seven and nine p.m. and the last one seems to have cracked the radio. We were listening to the Brains Trust when it fell, and the whole house seemed to crack and shake. There was a sound as thought the roof was tumbling off. The radio stopped dead, and has not revived, so have had to call in the expert. The girl at the telephone said she would try to send someone this morning, and I surely hope she does, for one feels lost without the radio these days

Like the previous evening we had an hour of buzzy-bombs during the spasm of rockets. We heard four in this neighborhood, which seems to be our average quota of these damned things. Then after we had gone to bed there was another alert, about midnight, and four more of them passed close by. One dropped before I could get to the bottom of the stairs, taking my breath away. My response to these is anger. Not fear, but anger, deadly anger. They make me furious, and full of hatred of all Germans. As the war goes on I hate the Germans more and more, and I shall hate them until I die. Mrs. James came in yesterday afternoon. She was talking about the war, of course, and about the weather, which has been so bad all the year, and always against us. She said, “ It really seems as though God doesn’t want us to win too easily. He wants to make it hard, so that we’ll fight. We’ve got to fight, really fight. He wants us to remember it. That’s why the weather is so extraordinary, my dear. God doesn’t want to make the war too easy for us.”

What can I say to that? How weary I am of folks that know the intentions of God.

Thursday October 26, 1944

If the war doesn’t end soon I shall die of sheer fatigue. We had raids last night between seven and ten p.m. These make me feel so ill. We had none in the night, but a rocket fell nearby at eight-fifteen a.m. and another at eight-forty. We had another at twelve-thirty p.m. and another at one-fifty p.m. It has been all-quiet since. The afternoon is closing in misty, so probably we shall get more as soon as darkness settles. Early morning was misty, almost foggy, too. Apparently October twenty-fifth is reckoned by the government as the first day of winter, for it provided a winter timetable for transport, and for shop and office hours, to start as yesterday the twenty-fifth. I feel very sleepy and long for a long night of deep solid undisturbed sleep.

Friday October 27, 1944

I am saying damn the war, and damn the war and damn the war. We had no flying bombs during the night but are being peppered with the rocket bombs. One fell at six-thirty last night, and another about eleven p.m. none during the night, but one fell at eight-fifteen this morning, another at ten-thirty and another at eleven-ten, another at eleven-fifty and the last at twelve-twenty p.m. These are terrible things. They drop without warning, and do an awful lot of damage. The one at eleven o’clock last night fell in Ilford, at the corner of The Drive and Cranbrook Road. A whole block is down, and it was a big old property that stood there. Casualties are not known yet, but there must be many. Ted laughs and jokes about the bombs, and says; “ see, we are alright” but I can’t take them so lightly. Somebody dies every time, and sometime it might be us, we have no guarantee the bombs will never fall in this road. They are horrible. They do fill me with fear. I can’t help it. I am afraid.

Old Bert paid us a surprise visit last night. He is staying in Romford with Peggy for a week whilst Mrs. Webb is having a holiday. He told us he has just had a letter from Bertie, from somewhere in Holland, who gives it as his opinion that the war will either be finished in the next three weeks, or else if not finished by that time, it will carry on all through the winter. It seems to me it can go on indefinitely. Mr. Churchill is to make a statement in the House today on his recent visit to Russia. We shan't be able to hear anything of it, because the radio is again on the blink, and was carried away this morning by Mr. Bean to be dismantled “at the bench”, to have its fault found. On hates to be without the radio these days, for one does look for the announcement of the end of the war any day now, or, for the news that Hitler is dead.

Yesterday we heard of the death of the Princess Beatrice, mother of the ex-Queen of Spain, and the last surviving child of Queen Victoria. She was eighty-seven so nobody minds. We were shocked by the news of another death, and of a really important person, Dr. Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury who died very suddenly. He was only sixty-two. The previous Archbishop, Lang, who resigned only two years ago, because he felt too old for the job, is still alive. Temple, they say had been suffering for a few weeks with the gout, but succumbed yesterday to sudden heart attack. I always listened to him when he was on the air, and I was glad when he was made Archbishop of Canterbury, I felt him to be nice in every way and now he is dead.

Saturday October 28, 1944

Last night we had a rocket at seven-fifteen and another at eleven-twenty and another at eleven –fifty p.m. This last upset me so much I came downstairs and spent the night on the sofa. If one drops again tonight before midnight, I shall come down again. We had two more this morning and another this evening. I do not know what the latest news is, as Mr. Bean did not bring back the radio this afternoon, as promised.

Monday, October 30,1944

Sure enough, as I anticipated, a rocket bomb fell around midnight, but somewhat farther off then usual. Of course, close enough to wake us from sleep. Another louder and closer, much closer, fell about four-thirty a.m. but since then there have been no more.

It is now twelve-thirty p.m. and we have had two bombs without warning. I was standing on a kitchen chair, hanging up my bandages to dry, and was blown backwards off the chair. Luckily I was able to grab hold of the sink and support my back against the pantry-door so I did not fall to the ground; nevertheless I am shaken badly.

It is now four-twenty and we had another bomb. The midday bombs fell on Becton Gas-Works. Mrs. Cannon’s niece, in Ilford, lost her home in last Thursday’s blowup in the Cortauld’s Road; and only by a fluke did she save her life. The bomb fell at eleven-fifteen p.m., and the young woman (I do not know her name) happened to be standing at her gas-stove, making some coffee, for her mother who was paying her a late night visit. Had the mother not been there, the daughter would have been in bed. After the explosion she found an enormous lump of concrete on her pillow. She had no idea where it came from, but it is certain had she been in her bed she would have been killed.

At six forty-five we had another bomb. Dorrie Stanford came in soon after it fell. She verified the report that this morning’s bombs fell on Becton Gasworks as true, as notification came through to Old Church Hospital about it. I do not know yet where the others have fallen. The radio was brought back at two o’clock today, but no news is ever given about these rocket bombs. So far as the B.B.C. is concerned they have never happened.

World War ll London Blitz: 9-1-44 to 9-30-44 Today is the fifth anniversary of the day upon which Hitler launched his war on Europe, but today, Thank-God, he is nearly beaten.

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September 1, 1944

Today is the fifth anniversary of the day upon which Hitler launched his war on Europe, but today, Thank-God, he is nearly beaten. The battle of France is in its last hours. The Allies have passed Sedan; today they have stormed and taken Verdun, and right now are approaching Metz; they have crossed the Seine above Le Havre, and are within fifteen miles of Dieppe. Rouen and Rheims are freed. The Germans are fleeing in rout. The Russians are in Bucharest; yesterday they took Ploesti. The Poles are fighting in Warsaw. The Czechs are ousting the Germans from Slovakia, and the Italians are in possession of the Great Saint Bernard passes. Yes, the war is winding to its end, thank God; Nemesis is overtaking the Nazis. 

September 3, 1944

It is a National Day of prayer and dedication, by the wish of the Majesty the King. Five years ago today we entered the war against Hitler. It is just a day as that Sunday was, clear and sunny and warm. I took myself in hand and went out to the eleven o’clock mass. The church was packed, and so I believe have all the churches in the country been. As a people we are all moved to prayer by this anniversary.

September 4, 1944

The B.B.C. interrupted all programs to announce that we are in Brussels. Last night the British and Canadians were on the borders of Belgium; this morning they are in the Capital. Also this morning comes the news that the Finn’s have agreed to the Soviet’s terms for an Armistice, and at eight a.m. all firing ceased.

No air attacks from the Germans were launched on Great Britain last night; and no flying bombs have dropped on us since Friday afternoon. I don’t think we shall ever get any more of them. Hitler may be able to launce air attacks on us from inside Germany, but it is certain he cannot now do much. The Germans are licked. Hitler declares he will carry on the war from inside Germany, but it is hard to see how he will be able to do so. Any day now Germany will be invaded from both sides; the Russians will surge in on the East, the Allies on the West. My idea is that once the Allied Armies get into Germany there will be no more fighting, I don’t think the Germans will fight at home, because I think their civilians won’t let them; once the Allies get into Germany all the fraidy cats who’ve never had the courage to defy Hitler and his Nazism will flock to us for protection, like the other refugees. I don’t think there will be a revolution in Germany; though I think it is likely all the impressed foreign laborers will revolt, perhaps even rise and come out openly to join the Allies. I think the people of Germany, the oppressed Germans themselves, will act by passivity, they will know that we will never shoot them, though they’ve been afraid that Hitler might. Well, we shall see.

September 7, 1944

It has been officially announced today that the Battle of London, the battle of the flying bombs is over. Our armies have over run all the launching sites on the coast of France, and the Germans can send no more against us, unless, perhaps a few odd ones they may be able to launch from airplanes over the North Sea. In all, in the eighty days of bombardment, eight thousand seventy flying bombs were launched against London; there were a few others at some coastal towns, Southampton and Portsmouth, but the great majority was aimed at London. Ninety-two percent of the casualties were in the London area. Bombs came at the rate of one hundred a day, but now they will come no more. Thank God.

It is evening now and something apropos. In the Times today, in the column from their correspondent in Washington, date of yesterday, September Seventh about politics, comes this, “Senator Vandenberg (Michigan) said: ”Peace, finally is a state of mind; peace is a moral and spiritual conviction; peace is a matter of world-wide education.” It might have been Woodrow Wilson speaking. Whether any change has been wrought by events in the texture of public opinion in this country has yet to be put to the test, but a quarter of a century ago it was true, if anything was true, that the American vision of peace as a moral and not a political, or a military question marked the deepest dividing line between the United States and Europe. The feel that reason has its dwelling place here and that Europe is a battleground of prejudice, and the hatred, which is born of prejudice, is still deeply implanted. Senator Vandenberg and President Wilson, one a Republican and the other a Democrat, were moved by something which may be irremovable because it is emotional.”

September 9, 1944

In the late afternoon Ted brought in with him three Italian soldiers, for coffee and cake. They had very little English, and chiefly with the dictionary carried on conversation. All had been in Abyssinia and Kenya, and all three seemed to thoroughly dislike Africa. “Africa, no good” they kept saying. I should say these men were some of the Italian prisoners sent here, and now, since the Armistice with Britain, part of the regular army again preparing to fight with the Allies.

I didn’t like them. I looked at them, three swarthy ruffians and I thought, they are Italians, turncoats, the enemy. Then I thought, my God! They are Catholics! I felt in revulsion to all they represented.

September 10, 1944

It is the last official day for the Home Guards. They shut down tomorrow. Ted left the house early, before ten, to go to headquarters. The morning was beautiful, a perfect day so I went out early and took myself to St. Edwards.

September 12, 1944

Now a new terror has struck us. Whilst we were at breakfast, about eight-fifteen, without sound or warning, a most terrific explosion occurred, shaking the whole place. Ted rushed upstairs to look from the windows, but could see nothing. About nine o’clock another happened, though not quite so violent. I had also been awakened in the middle of the night by an awful loud noise, and Ted heard what he thought were guns whilst dressing around six a.m. Mrs. Fitch has just been in, coming from shopping, and she tells me that what we heard this morning, was the V2, a rocket fired bomb; this fell in Dagenham, on a nursery school utterly destroying it. Luckily there were no children in it, as it was just too early for them to be there. Where the others have fallen she did not hear. I am filled with a grinding hatred of all Germans. I will never forgive the Germans anything. They are demons incarnate. Last Sunday we heard gunfire from the Channel. It was weird. About half past three I began to hear queer noises, but I thought it was Mrs. Thomson next-door, sweeping heavily through her bedrooms, but nobody was in the Thomson house. Then there were sounds in the top of this house, like an elephant padding about. Then the house began to shake, as though in a gale, and this got worse, until I thought all the windows would rattle themselves out of their sashes. The doors went too, an awful racket. Then all the noises and shakings repeated themselves about five o’clock, and again at seven. We were told it was gunfire on the Channel ports. Perhaps it was, perhaps it wasn’t. It might have been these rocket bombs falling in our southern countries. What ever it was, it was eerie and frightening.

September 13, 1944

Those three Italians that Ted brought to the house on Saturday must have rattled me even more than I recognized that afternoon. I can’t forget them. One of them said, when asked was he anxious to get home: “No, me stay here when war is over. Italy is no good anymore. No money in Italy. No work. Me stay here. Here good food, good work, good money. Yes, yes. Me stay here.” What a patriotic Italian! What does he intend to do, but grab for a job and a living from an Englishman! What about all our own demobilized? Of course I expect all the Italians will be taken back to Italy and demobilized there; then they will have their difficulties in getting back into England again. I hope England will be swept clear of all foreigners, and England left for the English.

September 14, 1941

Guns are sounding intermittently ever since nine o’clock, but I think it is only practice somewhere. I was wakened in the middle of the night by a most terrific explosion, followed by a long rumble, and then another explosion, slightly less in volume. I thought the earth had cracked open. I looked at the time and it was three-twenty a.m. I could not sleep again, mainly because I felt so sick. At six-thirty the alarm went, and Ted got up and went off to mass. I thought: Isn’t this preposterous!” After all, that’s the way he guards his mind, I suppose. Then when I was washing in the bathroom another explosion cracked without warning. The B.B.C. does not mention these things, going on the principle of “fool the enemy”. These bombs are worse than the flying bombs, for they cannot be detected, so no warning of their approach can be given, nor do they make any preliminary sound of their own. You could hear the doodlebugs coming, but you can’t hear these things. They fly extremely high, so you cannot see them. You know nothing until they explode. They are fiendish. The whole war is fiendish. The longer it goes on the more and more I hate the Germans. I didn’t hate them in the beginning, but now I hate them fiercely, and for all time. I will never forgive the Germans anything, not one German, one thing.

Two or three weeks ago the new Catholic Archbishop of Westminster Griffin (Irish!), returned from a visit to Rome bringing a letter from the Pope to the people of London, in which the Pope talked about forgiving our enemies, and not being revengeful against the Germans, etc. This roused a storm of protest in all the papers. To talk to Londoners about loving the Germans is to insult intelligence. The Germans are accused, and will remain accused. The accumulation of their crimes and savage barbarities can never be atoned for. They have put themselves outside the pale of civilized humanity, and there they will stay. As long as memory lasts, as long as history is written, the Germans will stand in time as the most cruel and most infamous of all peoples. They are worse than the antique pagans, because the Germans were supposed to be Christian; they could and they did, know better. Deliberate they chose to make evil their god; they are unforgivable. They are totally, completely absolutely unforgivable.

September 15, 1944

I found it very difficult to fall asleep last night because of apprehension about the V2. However I finally fell asleep and had a quiet night after all, no bombs.

September 16, 1944

I was up very early this morning, so my work is well advanced. Just before dawn the alert sounded, and flying bombs began coming over again. Between five-fifty and six twenty-five this morning three dropped very close here, about Woolwich, I should guess. Then without sound or warning, a V2 dropped somewhere near at exactly seven-thirty and a second at eight-thirty. I expected one a quarter of an hour ago, the Germans are so regular! It didn’t come. The damned Germans! My God, how we hate them! It just occurred to me while preparing vegetables a little while ago that it was a German church where we were received into the church way back in nineteen hundred and nine; old St. Henry’s, Bayonne. Father Riley told us that it was the old Catholic Church for the Germans of Bayonne, and he had been sent there because he spoke German. All pastors previous to him were Germans; he was the first English-speaking priest to be appointed to that parish. He told us the trouble he had because he refused to speak German in the Church, in sermons, notices, and so on. The congregation almost came to riots; they wanted to hear their German tongue. He insisted on using English. They told him they didn’t understand it; he replied they must learn it, for they were in America, they must use the American language. Of course he would hear confessions in German, but nothing further. In the end he had won out, we never heard any German there, but he said it had been a tussle. Certainly now that I think of it I distinctly remember seeing German –Latin missals and prayer books in use in the church, particularly by the older people, and you could pick up an odd one in the pews right up to the time we began to use the new St. Henry’s on Avenue C. A German St. Henry’s, well I never!

September 17, 1944

Yesterday again before dark the alert sounded again, and we had three doodlebugs over. Then all was quiet, until just before eleven when with out warning came the awful crash of a V2. Only one, but this put the wind up me, so that I could not go up to bed, so I spent the night on the sofa here in the dining room. Several bombs passed in the early part of the night, and then we had quiet until about five twenty-five a.m. after which we had a few more. This morning was without incident, but I could not get up the nerve to go out, so no church.

Reta Pullan came in to tea. She was looking very well. Whilst she was here we had some more doodlebugs, and just at the end of our tea another V2 came crashing without warning. She left before dark (the clock went back an hour last night) but before she could have reached home another warning sounded, but the all clear came quickly, and nothing fell hereabouts. On the six o’clock news we were told that this afternoon an enormous Allied Air-Borne Army had safely landed in Holland. After the nine o’clock news “war report” gave several eyewitness accounts of this feat. I sat and cried. I weep for all the young men. They are all glorious, and they are defeating the enemy, but in what strange and awful ways. Everything is so unnatural, so frightening, and so awesome.

September 18, 1944

Joan arrived about eight a.m. She had written last week to say she would come, but I scarcely expected her, for we had raids in the night, so I thought she would be too cautious to start out. However, it seems they had no incidents in London, so she was quite unperturbed. The day had been a long talkfest, for we had not seen each other for months. We had no warnings or raids or V2’s all day, thank goodness.

September 19, 1944

I am very tired after an extra busy morning, catching up with the work that didn’t get done yesterday. Oh, God, I am tired of housekeeping! The early part of the night was quiet, but at about four-fifteen a.m. the alert sounded. I came downstairs at once, and about a half a dozen flying bombs passed and dropped nearby in the next forty minutes. The last one was extremely close; I thought this house was falling down. That one, we have found out this morning, dropped between the gardens at Cranham Road and Hasel-Rise, only a very little behind Artie’s place. Ted was up there this morning. He says the devastation is worse than at Hainault Road. Four people, so far, are known to be killed, and when Ted was there he said the A.R.P. were still digging for victims. These bombs are being launched from Henkel’s, from over the North Sea. Of course they can’t keep up long, but everyday they hit and destroy and kill somewhere. It is hellish awful. It’s so stupid. His flying bombs could never have won the war for Hitler. All they can do is to make even more indelible the English mind our undying hatred for all Germans. The end of this week brings the equinox. Pray, we can bring this war to an end before the bad weather sets in. We are now past the middle of September and soldiers say that only a fortnight remains of the season of good weather conditions for campaigning in Western Europe. It is important if we can to reach a decision within that time. Can we? General Montgomery and General Eisenhower broadcast optimistic speeches, and say the end is in sight, but they do not say when, and certainly they do not say within the next fortnight.

September 20, 1944

I awakened at two a.m. by a warning. I came downstairs immediately but Ted remained in bed. The all clear was not given until three a.m. During this hour many bombs passed overhead, I lost count of them. One seemed barely to skim our roof tiles. I thought I would die. The din alone is terrifying, they sound like express trains rushing through the air clackety clack clack. We had more of them this evening between nine and ten p.m. two of them seemed to travel our roof. Of course they didn’t but it sounded like that. Ted went into the garden to look at the second one. He said it was on the other side of the tracks, probably a mile away, and heading for Chadwell Heath. (At Cranham Road and Brentwood Road the death toll is now thirteen, and two hundred people injured.) Romford is now directly in the new bomb alley, all the bombs come in from the East. It is believed that they are discharged over the North Sea from aircraft based on aerodromes which may be in the Island of Sylt or even further away. (Cuthie used to fly over Syet in 1940) Anyhow they come, and wherever they are coming from we are in their direct line of route. Lord, defend us!

I thought in the night, holding myself together whilst the bombs flew over: Germans: it is Germans who are doing this. I thought; millions of Germans are Catholics, Roman Catholics; so then, even if there were no other reason then that, I shall leave the Roman Catholic Church. I will not stay in any church, which holds Germans any more than I will stay in any other place in this world that holds Germans. Germans have put themselves outside the pale for all time so far as I am concerned. The Pope can keep them if he wants, as many as he likes, but he can’t keep me also. The unspeakable Germans I am English and I cant be anything else. I wont be anything else, so help me God!

September 21, 1944

We had one short alert in the night; it sounded about four-thirty with the all clear given at five a.m. I came downstairs at once, but nothing fell in the neighborhood, and I heard only one passing at a great distance. It has been quiet ever since then.

Brest has fallen and so has Boulogne. The British Second Army has established an armored corridor through Holland to the banks of the Rhine at Nijmegen, and at noon today we were told that they had secured the bridge there. In Italy we have taken Rimini and are on the heights North of Florence. Stalin has announced the launching of a double offensive in Estonia. Warsaw? God knows what is going on in Warsaw. In Denmark the Germans have tried to abduct King Christian, but were foiled. The population of Copenhagen has gone on strike. The Germans have rounded up seventeen hundred of the Danish police and sent them to Germany to an internment camp. It is impossible that any people could ever be more hated than the Germans are hated, and will be hated, until the end of time.

A flying bomb factory has been discovered at Thiel, near the Luxembourg frontier. The workshops were in tunnels of an old iron mine, three hundred and thirty feet below ground. It is estimated that fifteen thousand impressed workers there could eventually have assembled five hundred flying bombs daily. It is said that the workers were never allowed out of the mines. They were Russians, Poles, Italians, Serbs, and German political prisoners, under the supervision of two hundred German technicians. Even the local French had no idea of what was going on inside the mine. Yes, Hitler intended that the flying bombs should utterly destroy London; there is no doubt about it. On Monday Joan was telling me of the flying bomb damage in Hammersmith, and round about. One bomb she says, fell behind Woolworth’s, down Cambridge Road. It completely obliterated eight houses. She says not even bricks and rubble remained, there was nothing there but one huge hole. This is annihilation. Then the Pope dares to write to Londoners expressing his hopes that they will forgive the Germans! We shall never forgive them.

September 23, 1944

I am so weary of wartime meals! They are so monotonous and dull. Not that monotony would be so bad if only it was real food, real beef, real eggs, real milk, real bread, and real fruit. It is the monotony of fakes and substitutes, which is so tedious and so uninteresting. There were no raids during the night, although we had a short one between eight-thirty and nine o’clock last night. Three bombs went over here, that was all, but they made me feel very sick all the same. After all any one of three is likely to kill you, the same as any one of one hundred, if you happen to lie in its direct line of travel, and it explodes upon you. Oh, I hope the war ends soon. I can’t endure it very much longer.

This letter is in the Times today:

To the editor of the Times:

Sir, May I direct your attention to the incalculable harm, which is being done to the prestige of the United States Troops by the knowledge that they are treating the Germans with the kindness that has been extended to a liberated people of Europe?

This attitude is being bitterly commented upon in the country homes and quiet villages where British public opinion is often more vocal then in the towns. It is essential to the future peace of the world that American soldiers should understand what Europe has suffered at the hands of Germany.

Yours faithfully,

W.A. Skeate, Squadron Leader, R.A.F. Rose Cottage, Cookham.Berks. September 19 (retired)

Yes and I too, hear with nausea some of the accounts given by war correspondents regarding the behavior of the Germans in Germany towards the invading Allies, how they come forward with cups of coffee, bowls of plums, and the girls giggling, bidding for favor from the incoming troops, of course. The Americans breeze along, of course. As Eddie says, the Germans are already busy with the whitewash brush. Can they wash out their concentration camps, their atrocities? Not for us, never for us. There is an alarm now. Damn the Germans! God Damn them forever.

September 24, 1944

Last night was so threatening that I could not go to bed. Searchlights were everywhere weaving about, searching, and searching. So I made up my bed on the sofa again. As it happened no bombs came over during the night but I was full of apprehension and could not sleep. There was incessant traffic on the railway; too, trains seemed to be going out all night. Supplies, of course, were being carried to the coast for shipment to our armies. Towards dawn heavy rain began to fall, and there has been rain and storm ever since. It is the equinox of course. We have had a raid tonight, between nine-fifteen and nine forty-five p.m. bombs dropped at a distance, but more immediately near. All clear now and I am going up to bed or at least to start the night there.

September 25, 1944

I was awakened soon after five this morning by an alert; almost before I could get downstairs I could hear the damned bombs traveling toward us. There were three of them that fell in this neighborhood, one very close, though I have not heard exactly where. There have been none since six a.m. but my poor old insides still feels quakes. What bliss it will be when we no longer go in fear of our lives from hour to hour, day after day, night after night. When we can live in peace and security again, what Heaven!

September 27, 1944

I had to get up this morning for an alert, one bomb only came and dropped near by, possible in Chadwell Heath again.

September 29, 1944 Michaelmas Day

There were flying bombs over the southern counties and London again early this morning. No alert sounded in this area, but three terrific explosions were felt and heard at five twenty-five a.m. No warning was given, no approach was heard; Ted says he thinks they must have been rockets. News was given at ten a.m. that the Canadians are now in The Citadel of Calais, but fighting is still going on in the town. All this week our hearts have been wrung for the Battle of Arnhem. We have had to withdraw and our losses are very heavy. Glory. What price glory?

September 30, 1944

We had two nasty periods yesterday evening, between eight-thirty and nine ten p.m., and again between nine-thirty and ten-fifty p.m. One bomb seemed to trundle over the back garden, and stopped and dropped very soon afterwards. The night was cloudy, so I thought they might come over all night long. However I decided to go to bed, and slept soundly until four-thirty a.m., when I was awakened by a long alert. I came downstairs at once, and the all clear didn’t come until five-ten a.m. I heard several bombs, but all in the distance. It was a horrible time. You think every bomb is making towards you; then they pass and you feel better, but only for a few minutes, because lo, you hear another one on its way. You are literally sick with apprehension, or at least I am. Last night Ted heard nothing, he slept through it all.

When this war is finally over I think nothing will ever bother me anymore. To have surcease from this constant fear of sudden and frightful death, knowing you are alive only by luck, oh, what bliss! We had great hopes in the spring that the war would be finished this summer, but it isn’t, nor shows any likelihood of being over soon, either. Opinion is that it may be over by the end of the year, but I don’t think any of us believe that. The Germans will be able to fight quite along time on their own ground. Why wouldn’t they? They are beaten now, and they know it, but they are not going to easily surrender. In fact, Hitler has boasted that if he is destroyed he will drag all Europe down to destruction along with him. He has ordered all his troops to stand and die for him, and most of them are obeying. To only comparatively a few does it occur to consider that as a live man he could live for the future good of his country. Germany seems to be a nation of lunatics, with an arch lunatic raving at the head of them. I wonder how posterity will see us all.

World War ll London Blitz: 8-1-44 to 8-31-44 The weather is clear tonight, but I expect the bombs will begin coming before midnight as they usually do.

Purchase Diary's:

August 1, 1944

The weather is clear tonight, but I expect the bombs will begin coming before midnight as they usually do. We had two very nasty ones this morning about ten o’clock. I think they fell in Dagenham. We had several more this afternoon but more since four o’clock.
This evening I have managed to get a letter to Doris written. She was expecting her fifth baby in July, so I presume that it is safely born by now; our eighteenth grandchild.
Now I am going to spend the rest of the evening listening to,Tuesday Serenade. I am too tired to do anything else, so Au-revoir.

August 2, 1944

I have just been listening to a long report of Mr. Churchill’s statement in Parliament today. On the whole it was optimistic. I have noted some of the figures he gave: R.A.F. losses in the Home Command, from April, First to June, Thirtieth: over seven thousand, and very many more in the American Air Force. Dreadful. This is the price of victory. About the flying bombs: in the period from June 15, to June 30, five thousand three hundred and forty have been launched against us, mainly London. They have killed four thousand seven hundred and thirty-five, severely wounded fourteen thousand, with many more people slightly wounded. They have totally destroyed seventeen thousand houses, badly damaged eight hundred thousand, with many more slightly damaged and the number of people evacuated from London, mainly women and children, is nearly a million. He holds out hope of us being able to check them until we can occupy the part of France where the launching sites are and moreover he advises all who can leave London to do so, “in an orderly manner because it is quite possible Hitler may launch his heavier rocket guns against this city.” God defend us!

I managed to write to Eddie today. Now I must really concentrate on writing to the rest of the children before the end of the world finally crashes in on us. Oh, God help us!

August 3, 1944

I was about to prepare myself for the night when Ted telephoned about a half hour ago to inquire if I was all right. He had heard of last night’s raids. In Oxford they have none. Last night here was terrible. The flying bombs came over in six shoals. Nothing in this immediate vicinity struck. Rainham Road and Whalebone Lane the nearest spots to be hit. In London seven hospitals were bombed and God knows what else. It was as though to crown Churchill’s speech Hitler was just showing us what he could do. It was an awful, awful night. They began again at seven o’clock this morning. All has been quiet since mid afternoon. The moon is practically at the full and tonight is a clear night, so we may have a quieter night tonight. Last night was cloudy. There was news from France that the Americans have taken Rennes. I wrote Charlie and Marjorie today but could do no more. I am too exhausted for writing.

August 4, 1944

The weather turned fine and hot this afternoon. Very hot. I had to walk to Green’s to put in my grocery order and the walk nearly killed me. Very few people are out. Thousands of Romfordites have evacuated themselves and the fact is plainly perceptible on the streets. I had only been back in the house about ten minutes when the first alert of the day sounded and the bombs have been coming constantly ever since.

August 5, 1944

We had heavy rain last night. We had no bombs until about five this morning and then many very bad ones; one at four-thirty on Hogg Hill towards Chigwell, and one-fifteen on Gorseway. I thought the house was hit, for it rocked and the glass crackled, though luckily it did not break. Mrs. Cannon was in this afternoon, and she tells us that the bomb in Gorseway fell within twenty yards of the one that fell there the other Sunday. It fell directly on an Anderson shelter. Everybody in it was killed, a whole family. Many houses demolished.

Ted returned about two-thirty this afternoon. He looks very well and has thoroughly enjoyed himself. This evening of course, he went off to confession. Oh dear! He enrages me but I give no sign. Supposing I gave rein to my tongue as he does to his, what frightful degrading quarrels we should have then! I won’t quarrel. I loath quarreling. I endure with these silly books for my only safety valve. Better to write as I do herein, I think, than write my scourging and scolding’s to my children; or worse, confide in friends or neighbors. Every marriage in the long run is unendurable, I suspect, but adult women don’t broadcast the fact. That is, unendurable to wives; husbands live their own lives regardless of marriage altogether men can always find compensations, always find fresh outside interests. It is only women who are imprisoned in marriage, whose circle is circumscribed, and whose exterior life perishes. What a curse to be a woman!

August 7, 1944

It is Bank Holiday and a very nice day. For those people able to take a holiday the weather is perfect. We were amused when the B.B.C. informed us in the news that all day long, at Ascot cyclists went around informing the public that warning would be given if any doodle bugs approached. As those folks wouldn’t know! What would a crowd on a racecourse do anyhow supposing flying bombs approached? All they could do would be to lie on the ground. Nothing happened there. We had a few bombs in London, but not as many as usual, I expect because the day was fine. One awful cracker fell near us at seven fifteen a.m. but nothing in this immediate neighborhood since.

August 8, 1944

I am resting after my morning’s chores. Laundry day today, so I had all that to attend to. I also have made a hodge-podge using Sunday’s beef bone and a variety of the summer vegetables. Ted is out on his rounds of rent collecting.

Our early morning bomb arrived at six this morning. I do not know yet where it his, but probably Rainham way again. It brought down more of our plaster and crackled all the glass, though none broke, thank goodness. We had another one very near at nine. The morning was very misty, so they came along pretty steadily until the sky cleared, but I haven’t heard one for the past hour. People begin to think the war may end this month. I surely hope so. The Germans are taking a licking in France, and the Russians are on their eastern borders. Our bombers go out day and night by the thousands. I don’t see how the Germans can stand it much longer.

My private war is taking a lull. Ted was as sweet as pie all day yesterday, so I knew exactly what was going to happen when it came to bedtime, and it did. I knew it was inevitable. As the evening was quiet he persuaded me to “start the night” in bed. However, an alert was given at eleven-thirty p.m. and I came downstairs instantly. A few bombs passed over and at intervals during the night, but nothing dropped in this immediate vicinity until that six o’clock one, our morning call!

August 10, 1944

It was a quiet night until around four o’clock this morning, and then between four and five about a dozen bombs fell in this neighborhood. We have had none since.

Today’s news is that General Eisenhower has moved his headquarters to France and General Maitland Wilson moved his to Italy. This shows we are safely established on the continent; the war is at its climax. It probably will end this summer. Oh what joy then in the world!

This morning I received a letter from Charlie’s little daughter Lynne, addressed to Dear Grandmother and Grandfather. She tells us she was seven on the Fourth of July. She also tells us that cousin Beth is staying at her house, because Beth’s mother is in the hospital with a new baby, his name is Carl James. So Jimmie has another son. This brings our total of grandchildren to eighteen: ten boys and eight girls. Artie's child is expected tomorrow, the Eleventh.

Last night Ted told me that Artie wants he and I to stand as the child’s godparents. I said I thought grandparents couldn’t be god parents, but he replied, Oh yes they can, Artie has asked about that, and its quite alright. So what? I have a sense of being caught. If Artie asks me to be godmother, I will be but of course his assumption, and Ted’s and Father Bishop’s must be that I am definitely still an orthodox Catholic. So I suppose I shall have to be, or at least apparently one. Well, I suppose I can be. If Artie does come and ask me to be godmother, well, I shall like that, no one has ever asked me to be a godmother, so I shall just continue to jog along with the family, a practical Catholic of sorts. What a worthless sort of person I am, hypocrite all through and I hate

August 11, 1944

I am feeling so well and happy this morning I take a fresh page. Last night I slept the night through in bed for the first time in two months, or more, ever since the flying bombs began their bombardment of London. We had alerts in the evening, the last about nine o’clock, but none at all during the night, in this neighborhood, though the B.B.C. reports there were bombs over Southern England last night, and some reached the London area. However they have begun their usual routine this morning. I had only just got downstairs at seven-twenty, when the alert sounded, and ten minutes later a bomb fell somewhere near. We had three more, and then a rest, lasting until now. It is a beautiful day, clear and bright, so we are not apt to get many until nightfall.

The news is good. Our troops in France are sweeping up all around. Yesterday we took St. Mals; today we are told we have cleared Chartres of the enemy and the Americans are within seventy-five kilometers of Paris. Good. If the weather will stay favorable, as it may do now, seeing how very bad it has bee hitherto, ever since D-day, we may even finish the campaign in France this month. Then we shall pass on into Germany; the allies are determined to finish the war this time in Berlin and they will. The Germans have got to know they are licked militarily without a shadow of doubt.

We had had no news from Artie yet. I hope Hilda will get through her labor without the accompaniment of bombs. Also I hope this frightening time will not have affected the baby.

I thought in the night; it is the war that is getting me down. For five years now we have lived in the restrictions and depressions of war. The war has been on long oppression. It is surely coming to its end now. When it ceases the oppression will lift, and we can be normal again, all of us. I took a firm resolve, as Ted sank into sleep, religion less for a space, I resolved to throw this nagging torment of religion, and the problems of religion, out of my mind once and for all. What I think is my own concern; I think as I must what I will do will depend upon my circumstances. I will attend mass occasionally for the sake of the family, but when I feel I want to attend a service in the Church of England, equally I shall do. I intend to be free, free in myself. I will stop this botheration of religion for the rest of my life.

August 12, 1944

It is a scorching hot day. I have been cooking all morning and have still some to do. We have more food in this house this weekend than we have had at any time since nineteen-forty. Yesterday Greene’s sent with my groceries in addition to our rations, sausages, a flank of bacon, brisket, liver and an ox-tail. Of course this is not the kind of weather for bacon and sausages and ox-tail stew, nevertheless we are very pleased to get this extra food. None of it will keep, except the bacon for a day or two, so today I have to cook it all. With most of the extras, I shall give them to Artie. He has got to nurse Hilda, run the house, and do all the cleaning, shopping, and cooking, until she is up and around again. There simply are no nurses. Dr. Munro will deliver Hilda, and a midwife will come in daily, to bathe the baby and Hilda, and make mother and child as comfortable as she can, but Artie must do everything else. Luckily he is quite capable. His good American upbringing stands him in good stead. I have an idea that the reason the tradesmen sent us these extras this week, is, the evacuation of large numbers of Romfordians, which makes some of their supplies surplus; but of course I may be wrong about that. Anyhow we have got this surprising abundance of food this weekend, and it is really remarkable.

The flying bombs began coming over again about two o’clock yesterday, but quieted off in mid evening. I thought I would try another night in bed, as all seemed quiet, but was unlucky. I had only been in bed about five minutes when the alert sounded about eleven-fifteen p.m. I came downstairs straightaway, and a very nasty night we had of it. Dozens came over before midnight, and then slackened somewhat, until one a.m. when they began coming thickly again. One terrible crumper crashed at one-thirty a.m. These was over the golf course, but have heard no details yet. We have had a cessation of the blasted things since about nine this morning.
Mr. and Mrs. Capes have been in. Mr. Capes tells me his morning paper states that Lloyd's are wagering the war will end in Europe before September Fifteenth. I surely hope so.

Rita Pullan came in to tea. I thought she was in France with the American Army but she says the government will not allow our civilians to go to France before September First.

Artie also called in for a short while. He had a taxi and was picking up a crib from the Garven’s. I sent him off with a basketful of stuff, cake, pudding, bacon and the casserole of our left over liver. I said, There is enough there to make you and Hilda a good hot meal, supper tonight, or dinner tomorrow, just warm it in the oven, all it needs to make it complete is some hot potatoes.
Oh, he said, I can easily boil a pot of potatoes. Yes, and even though Hilda is still around, I bet Artie is doing all the cooking.

August 14, 1944

We had another bad night. The last bomb fell just after eight this morning, but the rest of the day has been free of them, thank goodness. Terrible fighting is going on in France. Field Marshall Von Paulus, who was in charge of the German Army at Stalingrad, and has been prisoner in Russia ever since the fall of Stalingrad, has broadcast from Moscow to the German people, telling them the war is lost, and urging them to get rid of Adolph Hitler, and to create a new government which can bring the war to a finish quickly, before more and more German lives are sacrificed in vain. The great query is: How can they?

August 15, 1944

It is Feast of the Assumption and Ted has gone off to pray for benediction.

At twelve-thirty p.m. today the B.B.C. interrupted its program to give the news that early this morning the Allies made a successful landing on the South Coast of France, between Nice and Marseilles. French, American, and British troops took part, over eight hundred boats were used, and thousands of paratroopers were dropped from the skies.

Fierce fighting continues in Normandy. The flying bombs have been coming over all day, all last night too. Several have crashed near by since six this evening. I should say at least thirty have passed over since six, but I have lost count. The last one, about twenty minutes ago, seemed to go right over the roof, and looked to be headed straight for Chigwell. These bombs can’t affect the outcome of the war in any way at all, but I suppose Hitler can talk about them to his Germans and make them think maybe they are doing something to down us. They do not down us; they only deepen our anger against their inventions and uses. They are devilish things; they kill some of us, and destroy our houses and buildings; we suffer our individual fears from them, but as a people conquer us they never will.

It is a beautiful evening, I should love to go for a stroll, but I don’t dare. How strange it will be when this hellish war ends and we can walk the world without fear again. To have the war end, what bliss that will be!

August 16, 1944

A few bombs fell around midnight, and then no more until five-thirty this morning. An all clear was given at six, but another warning came at seven-ten, just as Ted was leaving for church. I heard a big crump before he could have gotten there and have heard since that one fell on Hare Street. They started coming again about nine, and have continued on and off all day, sometimes a dozen together, sometimes one or two an hour apart.

Mrs. Cannon came this afternoon, and we did a little more work on my paisley dress. She told me her sister in Leytonstone has had her home blitzed twice; the house next door was completely demolished. The sister sleeps in a shelter. One morning recently when she returned for breakfast she found all of her windows blown out and the frames couldn’t even be found, doors off, and all her floor boards cracked, and all lino in ribbons; and the house next door, well, you would never have known there had ever been a house there, just a mound of rubbish, nothing else.

Another friend of Mrs. Cannon at Forest Gate had a lucky escape. She had been shopping, with her young son and another woman friend. Usually they take the bus home, but this day, one day last week, was hot, and the bus crowded, so the boy said, Oh mum, what a crush! Let’s walk!

The mother agreed but the friend said she would have to take the bus anyhow as she must hurry home to get the husbands tea. But she never did get it. She’s never been seen since. The bus, containing seventy passengers, received a direct hit, and nothing remains of it but the wheels. That was in Danes Road, Forest Gate. The sight was so dreadful; a corrugated iron screen has been put around the wreckage until it can be cleared up.

This evening Mrs. Capes, who brought us in a basket of plums, was in a state of distress about their old friend Bob (don’t know his surname, have never heard of it.) He lodges with the Capes, and is an inspector of Milk Rounds men, dairy work, etc, at East Ham.
These bombs are getting Bob down, she said. They are always over East Ham. Today he had to throw himself down in the gutter and he’s grazed his arm ever so bad. Yesterday it was the same. One went right over his head. He thought; now I am in for it as he heard it cut out. It glided on and fell on Waustead Flats. It hit direct on a gun site and everybody was killed, A.T.S. girls. Isn’t it awful! It is awful.

Of course I think it is awful to put the girls on the guns anyhow, a dreadful thing to do. Really. I think they that take the sword shall perish by the sword. Women firing guns, it’s awful.

August 17, 1944

We had a fairly quiet night, some bombs between midnight and one-thirty a.m. and then the all clear until six-thirty. Ever since then we have had warnings continuously. It’s been a fiendish day.
It is now six-thirty p.m. and we have had news that the Americans have taken Orleans and have entered Chartres. Our armies in the South of France are penetrating inland almost without opposition. The Russians are reaching the boundaries of East Prussia.

August 18, 1944

Ted is at church. It is the first day without bombs. A few fell late last night, and then none until six o’clock this morning, several then until seven, but none since. They will probably begin again as soon as darkness falls, but anyhow thank God for a quite day. Only confused news coming out of France. There is a rumor that the Americans have reached Versailles's, but this seems impossible. The German Seventh Army is trying to pull out of Normandy, and we are trying to prevent their succeeding. All bridges over the Seine are destroyed, the work of our Air Forces; and since last night our guns have been heard in Paris. Will the Germans in Paris fight or run?
Artie was in this afternoon for a half hour. The baby is not born yet. It’s a week overdue today.

August 19, 1944

Bombs began coming over at three-fifteen this morning and kept on sporadically until half past seven. I am most devastatingly tired; cooking the dinner I had all I could do not to cry from sheer tiredness. I am past this work. I don’t want to keep house any longer. I shall have to. There is no retirement possible for me.
About four o’clock this afternoon Artie telephoned to say he had a son: Frederick Harold Victor; weight nine pounds. Hilda is feeling fine. The baby was born between the alert we had at two-thirty p.m. and the all clear at three-fifty p.m. Soon after the bomb crashed, said Artie.

This is our nineteenth grandchild, born on the nineteenth of this month. I am glad Artie has the son he desired. I am also aware of the fact that I am glad; positively glad Hilda hasn’t got a daughter. Hilda remains to me, and to Ted, a very disagreeable and no-account young woman. She is so ignorant and so unmannerly, anything but a lady. She knows nothing, she can pass on nothing. She is such an unsatisfactory female herself her girl children are certain to be unsatisfactory also. A boy will be all right; her social and cultural defects won’t harm her sons. Artie will be able to see that his sons are properly educated and properly mannered. I never wanted any grandchildren from her at all. She is an inferior person. She is not good enough for Artie, or good enough for me. I hope she never has a daughter; a replica of her would be a disaster, absolutely. If this child had been a girl I should have been heart sick about it. I don’t think I could have borne the dismay it would have occasioned me. It isn’t a girl so it is all right. Where is my little girl to come from? Nobody knows what a disappointment it is to me never to have had a daughter. Every woman craves a woman child. There it is, my lack, another of the deep abiding disappointments of my life.

August 20, 1944

It is a rainy day. We had a few bombs in the night and some again throughout the morning. One fell very near about half past eight. It made me wonder how the people in church were feeling. Ted is playing all the services again today.

About five o’clock Artie telephoned and asked us to get a taxi and go and see the baby but we declined. His father explained that since he was playing Benediction at six-thirty, we had planned to have our evening meal after church, instead of before, and that I had some cooking to do, and it would be too late to go out afterwards. Artie said anytime up until ten o’clock would not be too late. Ted replied that I should be too tired, after cooking and dishes and so on. Some other time, he said, Some other time. When he came into me from the telephone he said “It won’t hurt these young folk to be left alone a bit. Let them find out they cannot indefinitely ignore people and then expect them to come at their calling. They’ve made it so obvious they want to be alone, well, let them be alone.

I said, I expect Artie has been looking for you all day. Oh, do you think so? said Ted.

Of course. Your first grandchild in England, he’d

naturally think you would be in a deuce of a hurry to see it.
Heavens! What an idea!
Well a baby is no novelty to us.
We laughed together. I should say not, said Ted, and then remarked that this

was the nineteenth grandchild, born on the nineteenth day of the month, an idea that occurred to me yesterday.

August 21, 1944

It is Gladys’s birthday. She must be fifty-five today. Last night Ted coaxed me to bed at ten o’clock, and we were natural and happy together for an hour or so, and then fell asleep. (There goes a warning! Damn the bombs.)

I was wakened after awhile by an alert, and came downstairs at once. The clock said two-thirty a.m. In a few minutes several bombs passed over and dropped in the distance and then a big fellow crumpled very near by. It sounded as close as Romford Station, but must have been further off then that. It shook the whole house and took my breath away. After the bomb had fallen everything was quiet until about five o’clock when they began to come again, until about eight then quietness until now.

On Saturday we were told that the government had evacuated about ten thousand hospital patients from London in special ambulance trains, taking them to the north for safety, even as far as Scotland. This seems rather ominous, for with the great battles now raging in France, and the Germans being steadily defeated there, we had hoped that the menace of these flying bombs would soon be eliminated. Once we can get the Pas De Calais area there will be an end of them. Ted says it is because the Government fears the worse and greater rocket bombs, which the Germans are threatening us with. They may never launch them, but then, they might, so the Government is playing for safety. (Explosions now, sound to be in Chadwell Heath.)

Sunday, September Third will be the fifth anniversary of the commencement of the war and the King has asked that we all make it a day of prayer and of dedication. Well, if the flying bombs are still flying I shouldn’t have the courage to go to church but if they aren’t, and I could go out, I should attend service in the Parish Church. I know I should. For it is the Parish Church, The Church of England, that I feel an Englishwoman, that I feel I belong to the community. In Catholic churches I have always felt a stranger, an outsider; but I feel it is the Catholics who are the foreigners, not myself. I am aware of all the people in the congregation as separate units, bodily there, but only bodily, not spiritually, mere on lookers, not participants. In the Catholic Church the priest does everything, the layperson nothing. In the English Church, priest and people together pray and praise, and in that togetherness I too feel to belong. That really is brotherhood, community, and the communion of the saints. So I shall go back to it, I am quite sure of that. (Another warning!) Oh, this is coming nearer. I must stop.

August 22, 1944

Ted has gone off to a committee meeting of his “knights.” It is still rainy weather, with very low cloud, so we are getting many flying bombs. They came continuously all day yesterday, and throughout most of last night. We have not had so many through this day as yesterday, but still too many. They are most wearing; they twist my insides with fear. The beastly noise they make is alone enough to frighten you.

There is a “secrecy silence” being maintained on the war news. We are told the Americans have crossed the Seine both on the east and on the west of Paris and that the roads on the east from Paris are blocked with German transport. We are told that the Parisians’ are rising, have risen, and there is street fighting going on in Paris, that the Boulevards are crowded, and the churches full. There is a rumor that we are at Versailles. Nothing is officially known. The guess is that we are surrounding and attacking Paris and that we shall be given no authentic news until the allies can announce the fall of Paris. Yesterday General Montgomery made a broadcast to all officers and men, telling them the Battle of Normandy was won, the Battle of Germany was about to begin, and the end of the war was in sight; So let us finish quickly, he said. Yes, let us.

August 23, 1944

It is nine-thirty a.m. and an all clear has just sounded, the third since seven o’clock this morning. It was another nasty night. The weather today is still deeply overcast, so I expect we shall receive bombs all day long. What weariness! I am in a state of exasperation bordering on tears. Just as Ted was retiring last night he told me he had arranged for the sweep to come today and clean the parlor chimney; he did not know what time, and perhaps he wouldn’t come at all, but some other day, for he told Mrs. Frosdick it didn’t matter when Frosdick came, because I was always at home.

Now this makes me cross. Having the sweep is a nasty dirty job, and one certainly needs time to prepare for him, and to clean up after him. Moreover I hate it when I don’t know exactly when to expect anyone, uncertainty ties one so. I look at the parlor and groan. It is chock-a- block with furniture, books, pictures, ornaments, a nasty ugly overcrowded Victorian room. I can’t cope with it. It is a room I never use. I never sit in it, and only go into it when I need to telephone. It is Ted’s room. I haven’t time to empty it, even if there was anywhere to empty it to, and the job of cleaning it after the sweep departs appalls me. Ted wants the chimney swept, so there you are! Not even a time given to me! So here I must hang about, doing nothing, waiting for the sweep. Oh, by heavens I am sick of the house and of housekeeping!

I am so sick of Romford. I hear old Ernest next door hacking and coughing and spitting in his garden, and I could scream. I hear Miss Owlett chatting, chatting, and I think, Oh what a twittering old maid! Oh God, deliver me from the neighbors! I hate neighbors. I hate living on a street. I hate a husband coming in for a mid day dinner. Gosh, now I hate the Sweep! I want to walk away from everything and everybody.

It is now evening and the sweep came, in mid morning, and I have survived him! I have partially cleaned the room after him, washed windows and mirrors and mantelpiece and hearth, and swept the floor; the dusting and polishing I will do tomorrow.

We were thrilled at mid-day by news of the liberation of Paris. Ever since Saturday there has been news that the Parisians were fighting in the streets, and today we are told that the city has fallen to the people of Paris and fifty-thousand men of French Forces of the Interior who entered the city yesterday. Casualties are not told, nor what was the severity of the fighting, but we gather whatever Germans can, are in full retreat to the east. Anyhow, the Germans have pulled out of Paris and Paris is once more free again.

August 24, 1944

We had bombs again throughout the night and early this morning. The Germans are leaving France as soon as they can go, so we suppose Hitler is going to bomb us up until the last minute, until we have driven him out of the coastal regions. Late last night we received further good news; the French have captured Marseilles, and Romania is out of the war. The young King Michael has broadcast a proclamation from Bucharest, which in effect says that the Russian Peace terms will be accepted, a new National Government will be formed, and Roumania will be an ally of the United Nations. It is another jackal looking to pick the bones of Europe.

In Rome Mr. Churchill has received the Greek Prime Minister. The Greeks are making up their interior quarrels, and so are the Yugoslavs. Now it remains for the Poles to compose their differences. All this excitement about France, it makes me weep.

August 25, 1944

Ted has gone out to play benediction and tells me he has “a meeting” afterwards, so will not be home until sometime around ten. It is a quiet evening and fine. Yesterday was very rainy with two heavy thunderstorms. About eight-thirty Wilf Pullan called in. He had been having a session with Mr. Lunt, the dentist, and had left his fiancĂ©, Pat, in there for a treatment. They had come form Gidea Park on bicycles, but it had become too wet to cycle home, so Wilf wanted to phone for a taxi, and to leave the cycles in our shed. A little later Pat came in, and they remained until after the nine o’clock news. Wilf told us Artie called on them on Monday night and told them about the birth of the baby. I was glad to hear this, for Artie has neglected the Pullan's disgracefully this past year. I think this is Hilda’s doing. I guess she is afraid that, as Glasgow people they, the Pullan’s, will know too much about her, where she comes from, and all that she isn’t.

Whilst Pat and Wilf were here we had a bad hour of raid; several flying bombs came over and dropped quite close, one very much so, it was very nasty. However the all clear was given at ten o’clock, and the next warning didn’t sound until seven-fifteen this morning, so we had a free night, which was heavenly.

August 27, 1944

The flying bombs early this morning broke the longest lull since the attacks on London began. We had no more since Friday morning. I have had two consecutive nights in bed. This is wonderful!

Yesterday afternoon General DE Gaulle rode at the head of his troops from the Unknown Soldier’s Tomb at the Arc De Triomphe to the Cathedral of Notre Dame. As he was about to enter the Cathedral snipers opened fire on him and on the crowd. Also inside the church snipers fired on him and on the congregation. However, the service went on, and the Te Deum was sung. Public rejoicing and acts of violence seem to have gone on in Paris for the greater part of the day.

August 28, 1944

We had another quiet night and another night in bed. A warning was given at two-fifteen this afternoon, and no all clear has yet been sounded. In fact, a bomb is passing over right now. At least half a dozen have gone over since the alert. Another has just dropped!
This morning, because all was quiet, I called a taxi and went to see Artie and his family. The nurse was still at the house when I arrived there but on the point of departure. She comes in once a day and bathes Hilda and the baby but that is all she does. Artie has to do everything else, and very well he does it, too. Hilda is to be allowed to get up for a little while on Wednesday; her stitches, four of them, were removed yesterday. The baby is really a nice baby, though he does not look one scrap Thompson. Hilda was quite chatty and cheerful. I have never seen her so smiling and so amiable before. I hope she continues like that.

August 29, 1944

We had another night with out the flying bombs, so another lovely night in bed. However an alert was sounded just before eleven this morning, and they have been on and off all day ever since. The Allies are across the Marne.

August 30, 1944

It is pouring rain. It was a very nasty night, particularly between eleven p.m. and three this morning. The bombs came over continuously. Just before eight this morning the first alert of the day was given, and we have had several more since then, I have lost count. Our troops have at last crossed into the Pas De Calais area, so in a few days now these fiendish things may cease blasting us.
Last night I was praying, praying; to God, to Mary. If I haven’t been able to pray I couldn’t have survived this war. These awful nights we’ve suffered, they crack the brain or they would do unless the mind could turn itself to God. I stay myself with the Catholic prayers, the Memorare, the Salve Regina, the Rosary. I suppose I shall have to go to confession again someday. I am tired of skepticism, I am longing for conviction. I wanted to surrender everything, my cleverness, my rebellion. I wanted to be swamped with belief.

What is the value of belief, which believes only in times of great stress and fear? Can I believe when peace comes? Shall I be able then to keep hold of this yearning, this conviction, which floods me in the terrors of this war time nights? Shall I be able to remember faith? I don’t know. I am such a wishy washy person, such an everlasting Reuben. I’ll try to remember. Fear is real, terribly real. Love is real, most materialistically real. Can I continue to live by and in the Catholic Church, even though much in it irks me? Can I continue after the terror dies away? I don’t know.

August 31, 1944

It was a quiet night, but bombs began again before nine this morning, and kept up steadily until midday; quiet since then. The morning’s bombs sounded to be falling much nearer to Chadwell Heath, Collier Row, and us I should say. Last night I went out with Ted to church, and he and I stood as godparents to the baby. Artie brought him by taxi, and the baptism was at seven-thirty p.m. We were the only people in the church. I held the baby. He was baptized Frederick Harold Victor. Afterwards we rode back with Artie and visited for about half an hour with Hilda. Then we bussed it to the Cutting, and walked the rest of the way home, getting in just before dark. I have no time to write more now. Au-Revoir.

It is now ten-thirty p.m. I had hardly had time to close this book before a bomb crashed somewhere fairly close and they continued to come over until nearly eight o’clock, but since then we have had rest from them.

This has been a rainy day, and this evening we have had a couple of thunderstorms, but now the sky has cleared and the moon is shining, so I shall go upstairs to bed. The flying bombs are seldom launched against us when there is a clear sky. I hope to be able to spend the whole night in bed.