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 fiancé, 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. 

World War ll London Blitz: 7-1-44 to 7-31-44 Last night at eight-ten p.m. a pilotless plane fell on Eastern Road, and part of it across the tracks, between the houses, on Victoria Road. The blast was terrific.

Purchase Diary's

July 1, 1944

Last night at eight-ten p.m. a pilot less plane fell on Eastern Road and part of it across the tracks, between the houses, on Victoria Road. The blast was terrific. These planes carry one thousand pound bombs; their blast carries across an area about a mile wide and the whole circumference round. Ted was in church, and plaster fell from the roof. Windows were broken and doors blown in all up Park End Road and into Parkway. This road, and Eastern and Victoria and Junction Roads, and South Street, have suffered severely. This dining room window was blown out, also the kitchen window and the frames were wrenched from the walls of the upstairs windows, though no glass was broken up there.

Number forty-two Eastern Road, where the thing hit, was rented by a man named Bruen (known as Brown) who filled it with American soldiers on leave. He charged for bed and breakfast and could accommodate twenty to thirty men. As it was early evening nobody was in the top of the house, so luckily no body was killed, though there were many injuries from the flying glass. Bruen is suspected of being a German, so there is no sympathy for him. Instead the towns’ feeling is that he has suffered an act of justice! Anyhow, he isn’t hurt, so what does his house matter? Eastern Road is still closed to traffic, so must be pretty well devastated. Nothing down on this road though practically all the windows are broken.

When the laundry man came today he said, If there is any dirt on the top of the basket, Mrs. Thompson, it is from the blast, so please excuse it. The explosion was right beside us. The roof is off the laundry and the walls are down, but the machinery is still standing. I don’t know what we will do next week, but I expect we will be able to carry on.

This is an instance of the impenetrability of the British. Here is another: As soon as I realized I wasn’t hurt I went out into the garden to look around. Mr. Holloway was in his garden, next door, and a young girl who is staying with Miss Owlett and of course we all talked together. Mr. Holloway had been gardening, the young woman hanging up clothes to dry. I saw it falling, she said, so I just threw myself on the ground.

Yes, I saw it coming, said Mr. Holloway, but before I could do anything it was down. It’s broken my windows, I see. What a nuisance!

We then went out to the front, to see the ambulances rushing by and crowds of people streaming up the road. All the neighbors had the same idea; we were all in our front gardens, counting our broken windows.

Oh, well, said Miss Owlett’s young visitor, this won’t do. I must go and finish my washing.”And she went back into the house. I don’t think everybody is so calm. The laundryman told me things are much worse in the city and people are getting very angry there. Mr. Morrison will be getting a deputation soon, I think. The folk’s want to know what he’s going to do about it. They are getting a bit tired of this. This isn’t war, this is just plain murder.

The B.B.C. gives out extremely little information on the air, but people know how very bad the raids are. London is getting the bombs day and night, almost without pause. The laundryman said last night the Mansion House got them, the Air Ministry, and the Strand Hotel.
It is now five p.m. and the green grocer is at the back door; his call coinciding with another passing pilotless plane interrupted me. He, too, saw the bomb fall last night, and he says it must have been one of the very heaviest because the surrounding and extending damage is the worst and the largest he has yet seen.

Those planes are rousing great anger. They are aimed blind and the German’s can’t possibly select their objective so this is just simple terrifying murder of civilians. Actually there is nothing Hitler could have done to have so aroused the national temper to defeat him. All those who were weary of the war and beginning to suggest that statesmen might arrange a negotiated peace, are now all for the continued prosecution of the war until Hitler is utterly defeated. These bombing outrages the British sense of fair play, and the fact that the planes are pilot-less seems to make them even more inhuman than the others and infuriates us. Until we can check them, extremely hard to do right now because of the very bad weather, so much constant cloud and twenty-four hour poor visibility, no doubt they will continue to rain death and destruction on us, the civilians, but they won’t make us stop fighting. This war is hellish, hellish, but we have got to win it and we shall. Nothing will stop us, and certainly not their terror bombs.

Another plane fell very near about two a.m. this morning. I had fallen asleep when the explosion woke me. It was terrific and the whole house shook. To my dismay I was attacked with cramp in both my thighs and could not get off the sofa. It was acute. I suppose the muscles were in tension, as well as the mind. I am always afraid of cramp in the night, it is an agonizing affliction, but to suffer it in both legs at once is a bit too much. My legs are sore today from the pain. I feel as though I had been trampled.

July 2,1944

Officials began calling at breakfast time to investigate our war damage; one man inspecting walls, another the roof, a third the windows, and soon gangs of men appeared on the street and began temporary repairs. Every house on this street has suffered blast damage. Two men came in mid morning and put up black felt on our broken windows to keep the weather out until glass can be obtained, and two others came in the afternoon to hammer the window frames back into their walls. The town council does this. One of the men told us that a great company of them had been called up from the South End to assist in the Romford repairs, and they would keep on working until the job was done. It will take several days. These are only temporary repairs of course. Happily our roof is intact, but many roofs are lifted completely off. Mrs. Fitzgerald’s house, the first one on Junction Road, and consequently which lies across the foot of our garden, looks fantastic; the binding tiles along her roof ridge have been lifted up like a garden rake, a picot edge.
Rita Pullan telephoned just before lunch to inquire how we were. She said she arrived at Romford Station soon after the pilot less plane fell and saw the confusion of the immediate destruction. She said it thoroughly frightened her, she got a taxi for home, as for some reason the train wasn’t going to Gidea Park. She quaked as to what she might find at home. However, their house was all right. Her people had been scared by the noise, and the house shook, but luckily they must have been outside the area of the blast. No damage was done to them, not even a windowpane cracked.

Then she told me a piece of bad news about a woman we both happen to know; Mrs. Richardson of Victoria Road. Mrs. Richardson was a neighbor to old Mrs. Barkham, and ran a boot-shop, nearly opposite to old Mr. King. When the bomb fell she was in her shelter, quite o.k. At the all clear she came out and found all her shop windows blown out. She set to work at once, cleaning up the broken glass, rescuing her stock, and so on. She completed the job, and then complained of feeling tired. Naturally. Then, however, she said she felt rather ill, and then she died. The doctor said she wasn’t hurt, and nobody belonging to her was hurt, but she had died from shock. Isn’t it awful! She was a middle-aged woman, healthy, and cheerful, not a bit the silly or hysterical type; yet she died just like that. That’s modern war; you’re here today, and then you’re not. Mrs. Richardson is another of Hitler’s victims.

July 3, 1944

It was a very bad night with real planes over as well as the pilot- less ones. Today the weather is still very bad. We had torrential rain in the night and again this morning, so it was lucky the demolition men had come and made us weather proof yesterday, otherwise our rooms would have gotten very wet. As well as rain today, we have had darkness, much like a November winter day with this dining room window blacked out with its “pane” of felt, this room has been gloomy as a dungeon. Of course we have had to burn a light all day, but it is still gloomy. Mrs. Cannon came for the afternoon and was quite a godsend. It is true, misery loves company; together we could forget our disagreeableness and give each other a little cheer. Alerts were on and off all day. Several p-planes were passing very near here whilst Mrs. Cannon was visiting; she seemed even more scared than I was. They certainly are devilish things.
I received a letter from Joan, written in the shelter yesterday. She writes she won’t come over here, as she feels it is necessary to stay and keep guard over her house. It was blitzed last week, in the front, and on Saturday again in the back!

She writes, I feel I want to stay and take care of my home, if there had been no one here when it was blasted over a week ago there would have been very little left of it by now. Last Friday men came and made the ceilings safe, yesterday I got the front room livable again and this morning at four forty-five a.m. I was blasted again, this
time at the back of the house. The window and ceiling came in and in the front room some bits more of this ceiling came down. We have had a rough time here. I will not tell you the details, except that four have dropped within blasting distance of Angel Walk. I go to the shelter and stay there until the all clear but three times I have been caught when I have been getting some shopping done and have had to throw myself down on the ground. I sleep every night now in the shelter, so you can guess how bad my legs and back are. Gladys wrote to me about coming to London. I told her not to think of doing so while the flying bombs are coming over. I hardly have time to wash or go to the W.C. between raids and I know my nerves are on edge so I don’t feel I could cope with Gladys. If I get bombed out I might be very glad to have a flat with Fred, but for the present I shall stay here because of the shelter which I feel safe in, and because it is so close at hand, its almost like having it in one’s garden.
So there it is. It’s true, you couldn’t get Mother out of that house, and now you can’t get Joan out either, yet neither of them needs ever live there!

July 4, 1944

At nine-twenty tonight another infernal flying bomb crashed dangerously nearby. It fell only a minute after passing over these housetops. Well, it might have fallen on us. It didn’t but it could have. So with death blowing in my face like that, I want to put it on record now that I know quite well that my husband is a good man. Only the trouble is that I don’t like good men. I prefer sinners to saints because I am a sinner, I suppose, and who finds the pursuit of perfection and sainthood too wearying to my spirit. I am content to be average decent, as good as is sufficient, but that’s all. Life with Ted is unending strain and he wears me out. I want him to be easier, careless about much, as I am. I want him to be kinder.
The pursuit of truth is all very well, but I have all the truth I want without pursuing it. I know what I know. What I want is not more exact knowledge, pedantic accuracy about trifles but more loving kindness. Loving- kindness. I am ready to give it, but he is not ready to receive it. Ted doesn’t want my love or affection; simply he only requires my services, and they don’t always suit. His corrections and reprimands ceaselessly annoy me. Who is he to hold himself above me? Why can’t he accept me as I am? He has gone up to his bed now in this usual way, quite amiable, yet quite self-contained. I feel he is quite callous. Why couldn’t he show me some sign of sympathy in this distressing night? Put his arm around my shoulder; hold my hand for a minute? No, he doesn’t, he only brags about how he isn’t going to let the bombs disturb him. Yes, he’s good, an estimable character and a good citizen, a patriotic Englishmen; yes, I know.

July 5, 1944

We had a terrible night with an awful near-by bomb explosion at two a.m. This, we heard today, was on Eastern Avenue. The one at nine-twenty last night was on Marlborough Road. I heard another bad one at three a.m. and various further away ones at intervals all night. They have been coming all day too, sometimes every hour, and sometimes every half hour. Mrs. Cannon was here this afternoon and several bad ones whilst she was here. There was another extra bad one near by again at exactly nine-twenty this evening, and three more before ten-fifteen. Well, goodnight, and I hope it will be “goodnight” though I don’t think it’s likely. Anyhow, Au-revoir.

July 6, 1944

No, it wasn’t a good night. Bombs on Marlborough Road and on Eastern Avenue. However, the weather has improved, today has been really beautiful, the first real summer day since D-Day, a month ago.
Mr. Churchill has made a statement in Parliament about the flying bombs and has given the casualties, which he says are about one death for one bomb. Up until six a.m. this morning in the three weeks since they began, two thousand seven hundred and fifty-four bombs have been launched against us, chiefly London, whose area is eighteen miles by twenty miles, and the deaths are two thousand seven hundred and fifty-two. The seriously wounded, detained in the hospital are roughly eight thousand and about another three thousand slightly wounded, but not detained in the hospital. These he accounts “light”; adding that because of the comparatively lightweight of the bombs, one thousand pounds, their penetrating power is not great, but the damage they make by the blast is great. They destroy or damage more property than lives. He gives no hope of checking them until we can land on the soil of Calais. He says they have a hundred launching points between Calais and LeHavre. We have been attacking them since last September, but we cannot destroy them from the air, though we do put some out of action, though they are later repaired.

In short, he says we must simply continue to endure them, as the greater war effort will not be diminished so as to deal with these. He says everyone must continue to carry on with their work, whatever it is. There will be no evacuation of London, although arrangements have been made to evacuate those children and mothers and pregnant women who wish to be evacuated. He adds that these flying bombs, launched indiscriminately against London, will not make the slightest difference to the continuation of the war and to our winning it. So that’s that.

The news tonight of the dismissal of the German General In Chief in France, Von Rundstedt. The reason is, that he has resigned because of ill health, and it is announced that Hitler has written him, in his own handwriting (my! my!) a letter of thanks, for his valuable services to Germany. Yes, we know all about that too. Very soon we shall hear about the death of this famous general. Like Dietl, in Finland, who died last week “in an air-accident” unexplained? Hitler is quite slick at removing his friends when they no longer please him. Von Rundstedt who had been in charge of The Atlantic Wall and the “impregnable” defenses of the French coast has lasted only thirty days since the allies succeeded in landing in Normandy. He has failed to hold the enemy, so he has been kicked out of his command. He was supposed to be the best general Germany had; he was supposed to also be an anti-Nazi. Any how he has had to resign right now, because, we are told, of reasons of health.

July 7, 1944

We had another terrible night. At twelve-twenty p.m. a p-plane passed directly over our roof and exploded a couple of minutes later, falling on Hainault Golf Course. Another fell into the lake at Ilford, killing an American soldier and girl who were in a boat on the lake. The weather is as bad as ever again today, the clouds as dark and gloomy as November. It was a full moon yesterday and we hoped the weather had definitely changed for the better; but no, except that it isn’t raining it couldn’t be worse.

The Lift Up Your Heart talks this week please me. A soldier gives them. He is hammering away on the topic that the the Spirit means God within man; the spiritual means everything godlike, the spirit in which a life is lived is the only really important thing in that life; and the spiritual part of you is the only real part. Thence he goes on to the design for living, God’s design and law for us, which must be, brotherhood, and that therefore now, in the climax of the war, all people of good will in all nations have now to choose to follow God’s design and keep God’s laws. He is stressing individualism and personal responsibility, arguing that a single individual can and does influence the whole. “To forward God’s plan for man, which is Brotherhood, to prepare ourselves, the first step is in absolute honesty and real determination to resolve to walk in the light of God’s laws: in the light of goodwill, service to others, good sense, justice, happiness, and to overcome the obstacle of the outer self.”

Poor chap, he can’t say much in only five minutes each morning; but he is saying something, not the usual platitudinous and feeble drivel which is handed out on most mornings of the year.

July 8, 1944

It is eleven a.m. and I am cooking the dinner. The sun is shining again this morning but only intermittently. We had a terrible time again last night, especially from just before midnight until about one-thirty a.m. Bombs were coming over every five minutes some frighteningly near. Even Ted couldn’t stay upstairs! He could see them approaching from the bedroom window, appearing to be coming straight for us. One which almost scraped the roof top exploded a minute later. We guessed it could hardly have reached the end of the street, perhaps gotten as far as the convent, but we have heard this morning it reached as far as the Rainham Road and exploded there; casualties not known yet but the butcher boy says there maybe scores as the ambulances were up and down the road until four o’clock this morning. Another close one fell in Collier Row. Collier Row gets them nearly everyday; that spot must just make an end of one of their drives.

We are only on the outskirts. London is getting the great brunt of the attack, It must be simply frightful up there. The B.B.C. told us that fifteen thousand children were evacuated from London yesterday, and forty thousand people are sleeping in the Tube stations. Hell, Hitler made hell. Today the B.B.C. tells us that it is known that Rundstedt was dismissed by Hitler because he told Hitler the war was lost and an armistice should be asked for, as it was criminal to uselessly sacrifice more German lives. It is also known, according to the B.B.C. that Rundstedt was “violently angry” about the use of the flying bomb, and told Hitler so. Maybe. Anyhow Rundstedt has been removed from his command.

Now a personal word, something to laugh about. It is a word about the nature of man. Mrs. Highman used to say, All men want only one thing, and all men are the same; there are no exceptions. That was her main reason for being anti Catholic, she simply could not believe in the celibacy of the priesthood. You can’t tell me! She used to say.

I must say that in Bayonne the “foreign” priests did not lead lives of edification; the Italian priests and the Polish priests being the worst offenders. One of the priests at the Polish church on Avenue E was once shot whilst saying mass because he has seduced a sister of one of the Pollack's in his congregation. It was notoriously “not safe” for a woman to go as housekeeper to the Italian priest.
However, well, last night, about two a.m. when things quieted down, Ted became amorous. How could he!

Well, he could all right. He coaxed me to go upstairs to bed, for a little while. We loved, and in my head came a phrase Upon the brink of hell I’ll sing the song of love. The previous hours had been hellish. They couldn’t have been worse without actual destruction. Yes, hell, and here was my funny husband being loving. I surrendered. That’s not my idea of love, but what can a woman do? Maybe I should take it as a compliment. I don’t know. Anyhow, you are apt to think any female would do. I think an old wife gives her body to her man much as she gave her breast to her infant, you give the fellow what he wants; you appease him. You think: Oh, anything for peace and quiet! You get recompense; you do get the peace and quiet, a deep assuagement of the flesh. Also, I think, you get sort of a rejuvenation. I think that as long as physical loving can go on it keeps the body from ossification and petrifaction; when all the secret juices and secretions of the body are kept acting you can’t possibly dry up like a mummy.

This morning I feel fine, especially as the sun is shining and there is no alert on at present. However, before I could fall asleep last night I heard another flying bomb in the distance, and had to come downstairs again, to finish the night on the sofa although Ted remained up in bed.

There is one final thing to note: I am sure that matrimony is the death of religion in women; that is, orthodox religion, Christianity. No old wife can possibly believe in a masculine personal God; and as for priests and parsons, well, she just laughs at them. Men are so silly. What man can teach a woman anything? It is we who have to teach and bamboozle them. Silly fool men. I cannot believe in the masculine god, whether he is Jehovah or Jesus. Male gods are preposterous to the minds of women. God as spirit, yes. The queen of heaven, a female symbol of divinity, yes; but God as man, no, never.

It is now eight-thirty p.m. and so far through this day without a bomb or warning. The B.B.C. has reported heavy bombing by the Americans today on their launching platforms, and a large storage place in caves, thirty-six miles north of Paris. Maybe we have given them enough damage to hold them for a few days. Further reports of where the bombs fell in this neighborhood last night: Birch Road, Mawney Road, Lindley Crescent, and much destruction. This afternoon a man with a loud speaker went through the streets, calling out information for those people who wished to be evacuated; where to go to inquire for tickets, billetts, etc. Many people have already left. Everything is quiet now, but we are all keyed up, listening for the warning, and the racket of the blasted things. Although this day has been mercifully free of them, we expect them to come again as soon as it is dark.

It is impossible to settle to anything. Ted is playing Bach, but I can’t do anything. I have read the papers, but cannot read a book, impossible to concentrate any attention. So there is nothing to do until its time to listen to the nine o’clock news. I think I will turn on the radio and listen to the silly Music Hall. By the way, the B.B.C. has announced that the seasons Promenade Concerts, of Sir Henry Woods, have ceased for the time being and gives notice that to all the people who bought tickets for them, their money will be returned. This means The Royal Albert Hall has been bombed. Poor Sir Henry! His Queen’s Hall was blitzed in 1941. Well Au-Revoir.

July 9, 1944

We had a bad night and a bad day. At twelve-twenty a bomb fell very close. It blew my plaster down again and smashed many more windows along the street. It is almost funny how regularly our worst bombs descend hereabouts at twenty minutes past the hour. Gerry’s methodical send offs, I suppose. Smoke ascended again from the neighborhood of the station we found out later that the bomb had dropped along the Hornchurch Road, just before you come to the waterworks and Romeo Corner. Two people were killed. Later another fell in Gorseway, knocking down the houses, though nobody was killed. For the entire afternoon bombs kept falling. It is hateful.

July 10, 1944

If this war doesn’t stop soon, I shall stop. These flying bombs are absolutely fiendish. No wonder Hitler thought he would win the war with them; and no doubt he would have done so, had we not heard about their imminence in time; and blasted his sites out of order. Since what he is doing to us now he is doing with a diminished power, it is simply paralyzing to think what he could have done to us if we had left him unmolested. It is seven-fifteen p.m. now, and bombs have been coming over steadily all day. The weather is still all in his favor, very thick low clouds. It was a bad day. Last night too was awful, and I expect tonight will be the same. What one longs for is sleep; rest. I made a dash to the library between alerts this morning to pick up, The Antigone, which I was notified on Saturday was being held for me. Ah! There starts another warning, so I’ll shut up. Au-revoir.

July 11, 1944

Something has happened to me, something totally unexpected, and as sudden, and as devastating as the explosion of a bomb. I have lost my God. For a long time now I have been asking myself what had happened to Christianity? What good was it in this war? What earthy connection was there between the Christian story and the war? All the time I still believed in God, and the goodness of God; at the root of my mind was the image of the Heavenly Father, the Almighty Creator, creator of heaven and earth, willing good to his creatures. It was the image of God built up in my mind mainly by Charles Voysey, and his Theism. God must be a Being at least as good as we are and wish to be, and as good as the highest we can imagine, and he must be loving and reasonable and true, because he has made us that way. For a long time I have thought of Christianity as much too simple and too naïve for any adult mind to “believe” but now I think Theism also is too simple and naïve to be believed. My thought of God as Being, and as exterior Power, has collapsed; that conception no longer has any credibility whatever. For years I have been listening to the platitudinous drivel from assorted ministers, parsons and priests, which the B.B.C. puts on the air at seven fifty-five a.m. every morning. Very very occasionally somebody has really said something like “the soldier” of last week, but mostly it has just been stuff for children.

Well, today I have heard something on the radio, which has simply blasted my Theism, (my belief in any sort of a personal God) to pieces. It came in a war report. It was given by an American war correspondent that had been a prisoner of the Germans for fourteen days in Yugoslavia, and then escaped. His name was something like Stoyan Stepanovich, not that, but something like that, I couldn’t catch it. Presumably he was an American, born of Yugoslavia parents. He said five of them, American correspondents and photographers had been taken prisoners by the Germans, but he was the only one of them that could speak German, so he could talk to his captors, and moreover he could hear and understand much which he wasn’t meant to hear. He told what the Germans said to him, and what they asked him. He told how they all believed implicitly all Goebbel’s propaganda.

He told how they thought him to be a fool to be in the war voluntarily. It was what he told of what he saw which underpinned me. He told of the brutal kicking and shooting of prisoners, of hostages, of women and children, of the innocent. He told this; at one place he saw the Germans massacre a group of missionaries, men, women and children. He saw them kill one family; a father, mother, and two children. The man was torn away and trampled, a little girl of three years old was shot, the baby in the mother’s arms was bayoneted, and the mother then shot. This is true, said Stoyan. I saw it.

When he said this my soul reeled. I have heard of other atrocities, yet nevertheless my faith in God remained uncracked. In fact, I thought instead; this is the work of the devil; these are the powers of darkness, these Germans are fiends; these Germans are crazy. The world is crazy. I have thought Germany will never be forgiven, never and I will never forgive the Germans as long as I live. I have thought of the stupidity of statesmen and the lunacy of war. I have prayed, day and night, for everybody, as well as for myself. Today, all at once, I thought: No, it is God who will never be forgiven. I have believed in free will. I suppose I still do believe in it, and I have said, God cannot be blamed for the war War is because men will have it.

The fury does not descend only upon the wicked, and those who willed it. “They that take the sword shall perish by the sword.” Yes, some of them do, but some of them don’t. What about those who don’t take the sword, and yet perish by the sword? What about that missionary mother’s baby being bayoneted in her arms?

What was God doing for her? Hadn’t she praised God and prayed all her life? I’m sure she had. Was she in the Everlasting Arms? I don’t think so, else why was she permitted to fall into the hands of the Germans? Was the Providence for her? What about the little three- year-old girl shot on sight? Is that the love of God for little children? I simply cannot think so. “Believe: only believe.” No, I cannot. Belief is stupid, belief is useless. “God protects his own.” How? “Such innocent victims will go straight to heaven?” How do you know? Who says so? What is the guaranty? Even if so, what can undo their anguish? God himself cannot undo the past; nor can heaven recompense for it. “The innocent must suffer for the guilty.” That doesn’t make sense. Even supposing the innocent willingly and knowingly and deliberately undertook to suffer for the guilty, vicarious punishment, vicarious suffering, as theology has it; yet what of the innocent who suffer and die for nothing? For no reason whatsoever that baby was murdered in his mother’s arms, that little child shot down before her eyes, how can such an act possibly resound to the glory of God? Write the killers off as devils from hell, and still nothing is explained. Where is the love and mercy of God in this sort of an incident? It’s nowhere; you know it is nowhere, and why? Because God is nowhere, there is no God. Theology is defunct.

So what is left? Spirit, I think. The spirit in me, and the spirit in all my moral equals; goodness in the good, those of good-will; mind in the intelligent, knowledge in the well instructed, reason, beauty, mysterious beauty, God in my soul. My mind and soul, my God within.

I must think about this. I expect I must regard myself as one of those peculiar “inside” people that Laura Riding talks about, and, as Adela Curtis said, God is my Principle. It is certain I am no Christian, not any kind of a Christian.

July 12, 1944

Ted was collecting in Ilford yesterday. He said the damage was much greater there than here, and the laundryman told me this morning that one night last week Ilford had thirty bombs fall in two hours. He also told me that Croydon is stripped to the ground, and Stratham nearly as bad. He said the A.R.P. reports that at least twenty five thousand people are homeless from those two places alone. The greatest damage is in all those places south of the Thames. Still the bombs fall. Every day we are told the R.A.F. goes out and bombs their launching sites, and storage depots, and yet still the bombs come over. Last night in this neighborhood was quieter, but Southern England reports damage and casualties this morning. On Monday I spoke to somebody in Romford Market who had come up from Southend. I asked if the doodle-bugs fell there. She replied, No, we don’t have any fall in Scotland, but we can’t sleep for the noise of the shooting, our boys go up and shoot them down into the sea.

Heavens! Yes, about seventy an hour.
Seventy an hour! Then one thinks of the day’s war

report, as given out by the B.B.C.; carefully, ambiguously, trickily worded so as to convey the impression that not so very many came across the Channel anyhow. Our war reports are absurd. The information department seems to work on the scheme: Fool the people; don’t tell a thing; the public’s an idiot anyhow.

This war is run by the few. Whilst the public has the privilege of dying and of paying the bills. As for Churchill, he enjoys himself; any picture of him will show you that. He is a naturally bellicose man. War is good sport for him. The laundryman told me a tale about Churchill this morning. He said Churchill went out to Croydon to look at the mess, and got hissed. People say, It’s all very well for him; he’s got four or five houses.” and one bystander called out to him swearing, You! You! You so-and-so! You go back to your dear daughter Mary and watch the bombs drop down. We don’t want you here!
Certainly Churchill’s popularity is waning and if the government can’t find a way soon to stop these awful flying bombs, he will become downright hated. The people have had about all the war they can stand, and there certainly is a feeling, a suspicion, now growing that Churchill is responsible for the prolongation of it. I think it is likely that if our bombers can’t blast the flying bomb sites out of existence within the next week or two, this Government will fall.

July 13, 1944

There were flying bombs over this country during the night, the first time for a month. However we had plenty yesterday. They began at three o’clock in the afternoon, and kept it up until ten p.m. Several exploded in this neighborhood, one on Rainham Road again, rattling this house and blowing in windows along the street, though this house only got dust and plaster blown in and down. Elizabeth Coppen arrived just before the first one fell. She stayed an hour and a half and was very panicky all the time. One traveling north seemed to be headed for Parkway, but I guess exploded beyond, as I have not heard from her that she found any damage on her return home. Well I’m blessed! There’s the warning sounding. Oh this infernal war!

It is eleven p.m. and the all clear came about a half hour ago. The damned bombs have been coming over all day, particularly close and frequently during the afternoon. It’s fiendish. We got a letter from Johnnie today; he says he is waiting to be called up.

July 14, 1944

There were no bombs on London during the night, but I hear they were catapulted on to Bath. This evening we heard that a trainload of evacuating mothers and children, ready to leave London was bombed this morning, children and many of the mothers killed. The rest were dispersed and sent back to where they came from. You see, you can’t escape your fate, your death is appointed to you and it awaits you somewhere, and at an hour you cannot evade. You can’t run away from your destiny. You can’t even run away from danger, if you run away from it, you may only run into another.

Children from our St. Edward’s Church School were evacuated this morning. This evacuation has many evils to it. One mother told Ted this morning that she knows a case where a child, on returning from evacuation said to her mother, No, I don’t want to come back. No. I want to learn to live like a lady, not like you! Gives you a shock doesn’t it?

Ted has gone to church and I hope we don’t get another bomb while he is at devotions. The first alert was given at eight a.m. today, but not so many bombs have come this way today as yesterday. It is quite enough to go on with though! The worst come regularly in the afternoons, between three and four p.m. In the House Mr. Morrison has said we cannot hope to stop the flying bombs yet, so we must continue to endure them. Many members asked for a secret session about them (as they have done before) but this was obstinately refused. They are bad, very bad, but the government isn’t going to admit it, so “so we must continue to endure them!” Folks are
getting angry. We’ve had enough of this war and we’ve had enough of this Parliament. If the war doesn’t end this summer I think there’ll be a big bust up.

July 15, 1944

The all clear sounded about five minutes ago. We had a quiet morning, but the bombs began coming in about two o’clock; and as usual the worst of all at three-twenty p.m. It went directly over this roof, and exploded about three minutes later. I don’t know where, Collier Row or Rainham Road, most likely. As these things travel on a direct-catapulted line they frequently fall repeatedly on practically the same spots. We have had several others since the three-twenty one, but no other quite so near. They make me feel very ill.

The weather is atrocious, more like late October than mid summer. Oh this English climate, what a depressing one it is! Gloom, steady gloom. Ted has gone out to get some organ practice. I am frightfully restless, very moody, Oh God! Let the war end soon!
It is now evening. At four o’clock today a flying bomb fell in Broad Street just outside Liverpool Street Station. The station crowded with the Saturday afternoon crowd returning home, but it is said there were not very many people actually in Broad Street. The casualties are not yet known.

July 16, 1944

The weather is better today, with the sun actually shining. They flying bombs come over steadily all day long. This morning I heard on the wireless a “Church Parade” service broadcast from a field in Normandy. General Montgomery read the lesson, which was the story of the good Samaritan in Luke. The men sang the hymns, recited the General Confession, The Creed, and the Our Father. An English Canon gave an address. It was most moving, and it was beautiful. I wept, but not from grief. All the while in the background could be heard distant guns, planes overhead, a church bell tolling, and birds singing. It was impressively beautiful.

July 17, 1944

It is Ted’s birthday. He is sixty-five today. Mrs. Cannon came visiting this afternoon, and gave me news from Woodford, where she has a sister living. One day last week the flying bombs hit and demolished a mental home there; one hundred imbeciles were buried, but all dug out without loss of life; another bomb hit a maternity home near-by, and several of the mothers and babies were killed. Mysterious, isn’t it? She also told me that a bomb hit a goods-train at Bethnal Green at five-thirty p.m. yesterday; nobody hurt. Another bomb fell on Moorgate Street Station, and the station had to be shut.

Today we had fine weather; this is two days running and how very much better we feel for it! I went to the library this morning and returned, The Antigone, which had not given me the pleasure I had expected from it; but probably I am too distracted to read properly; the worry of these bombs is constant, and it takes detachment indeed to detach your mind from that.

July 18, 1944

We had a rainy cloudy morning again, but a clearance into good weather this afternoon. I have been to the library again. I took a chance on going out in mid-after- noon, because as the sky had cleared I guessed there would be no bombs sent over. I got there and back without any incident, but an alert was given about half an hour ago, and the all clear is now sounding.

I am feeling particularly kindly towards Ted. That awful feeling of having to endure him has shifted, instead I feel I want to love him, to give him my love. Oh, if that could only last!

July 19, 1944

A bomb has just fallen not far off. They have been coming over all day, also all last night, which was the very worst night we have had yet. Today we can see the reason for it, for another terrific battle opened in France yesterday. We are told of an unprecedented air bombardment, one of the most concentrated air attacks ever made. In over three hours more than twenty-two hundred allied heavy, medium, and light bombers dropped between seven thousand and eight thousand tons of bombs in an area of little more than seventy square miles and as soon as the path had been cleared fighter bombers and fighters operated in great numbers just ahead of our advancing troops to harass and shake the enemy still further. No wonder he peppers London with his flying bombs all day and all night.

At different times during the dark hours last night we lay and listened to our bombers going out, crossing his p-planes coming in. The alerts go on and off all the time. It would be simpler to leave it on permanently, or until the battles wane. I am literally sick with sustained apprehension. You wait and wait to hear whether the bombs are passing over, or not, and then for the explosion, the suspense almost twists your guts, you feel as though your inside is being pulled out of you. Then the B.B.C. has the bright idea of broadcasting battlefield effects, straight from the front. They gave us an assortment of them after the one o’clock news, with running comments from reporters on the spot. War up to date, but it fills me with yet another agony. Why turn mortal combat into an after lunch entertainment? Possibly the

censor is trying to encourage the British public with sounds of victory, but to me it is the dreadful sound of death and destruction and to broadcast it a barbarous vulgarity. Men will fight; yes, and men must fight, but why degrade it to the level of show?
I am very tired and don’t think I slept more than an hour all night, but thank God I was able to pray. Of course, the problem of the baptized baby still remains, but somewhere in my own immediate distress I have been able to shunt it aside.

I think it is perhaps at last I have attained to a comprehension of sin. Of course I have heard about sin all of my life but I could never feel or think about it in the required responses. I was too respectful, I suppose, and led too sheltered a life to really know anything about sin. I couldn’t think of myself as a sinner, not ever. I was an educated Englishwoman, a lady; how could I be a sinner? Well, now I can see that the whole war is sin, and the result of sin. How sin came into the world I don’t know, but it is here. I know that all right. Sin is an affront against the good, against God. Sin is the cause of the misery of the world. How avoid it? By good will, by the right action of our free wills. Sin killed the baby, but that was only an infinestable part of the ferocious general German sin, the sin of the willful destruction of the innocent of which the whole German nation is guilty.

We are all fighting the Germans because of their unprovoked aggressions against their neighbors, their injustices, and their cruelties. We are fighting the Germans because we do stand for goodness and justice, for God. Why does God permit such sin? Because he gave us free will. Free will is the fact, which explains the possibility of sin. The Germans act as savages and demons because they choose to act that way. Certain German individuals chose to bayonet that baby in arms. God did not stop them, he left them in their will to be bad. What of the baby? I don’t know, but I have to trust it to God, and believe that he took it instantly into himself, back into Heaven. The mother too, for they were not against him. The murderers? They are already in the outer darkness, and they will be annihilated, because everything and everyone, which is against the good, cannot stand. Evil is powerful, but goodness is more powerful in the end. In the end God prevails. All evils are man made. Man makes the wrong choices, but does not forever. Sooner or later he sees he must make the right choices, and then he does so. The simplest can see, ultimately, that the good way, God’s way, is the only way. We are in war because man has insisted on war, but we shall come to an end of it. Then we must turn from chaos to order, and to the right ordering of society, and we must begin to do that in the right ordering of ourselves, our individual selves. Repent and begin again. I am rambling; I better close up now and set about getting the tea, so Au-revoir.

July 20, 1944

Existence is becoming well nigh intolerable. Last night was terrible. Nine bombs dropped in this vicinity, whilst scores and scores went over. They have been coming constantly all morning. Two big clumps have fallen near by since eleven, probably in Ilford. Mrs. Cannon came in a little while ago and brought me a cupful of black currants, enough to make a small plate pie. She said one bomb had fallen at Liverpool Street this morning. She was wondering about her husband, whether he got safely to work or not. The bombs are coming in from the East now and she says the morning papers say that Hitler has opened two fresh launching sites, and that’s the reason the bombs are taking a new direction. One fell on Berry-St. Edmond's, on a train full of children evacuees.

I felt this morning if this bombardment keeps up I should have to ask Ted not to go to Oxford next week, for I could not remain in the house alone. The nights are absolutely terrifying. I don’t think I could stay in this house by myself. I don’t want to spoil his holiday for him, but I really am very very frightened. Probably I will be quite alright by the end of next week, if still alive, but I am sick with fright today, I really am.

July 21, 1944

The sun is trying to break through. The morning has been very cloudy, so flying bombs coming over regularly, about three an hour. One fell near by whilst we were at dinner. We could hear it coming so close we felt impelled to leave the table. Ted laid on the sofa with his face to the wall. I stood in the doorway to the kitchen. It passed, so we resumed our meal. What a way to live! Another fell close by at one-forty p.m., the last so far.

Last evening was quiet, but they began again at eleven- thirty p.m. and kept on coming until nearly two o’clock; then we had quiet until eight-fifteen this morning, and they have been coming over ever since.

There is one piece of startling news today; a number of the highest German generals have rebelled against Hitler. Last night they tried to assassinate him and it is rumored civil war has broken out inside Germany. Hitler broadcast to the German people about one o’clock this morning, to “reassure” them of his safety and to condemn “the usurpers.” He has put Himmler in charge of the army in Germany and threatens to wipe out the revolt by force. So now what? The German generals know they have lost the war, but will Hitler’s fanaticism still have power to carry the people into further war and destruction?

July 22, 1944

We had another very bad night. In fact, the bombs have been coming over without ceasing all day yesterday; all last night, and all today. One hundred and eighty- two thousand mothers and children have been evacuated from London; one day alone forty-one thousand left and one hundred and ten thousand school children have been evacuated, in addition. In spite of the split inside Germany the war still goes on.

Rita Pullan came into tea today, looking very pretty in a navy blue silk jumper dress. She expects to go to France very soon, probably within a month’s time.

The weather is abominable, couldn’t be worse. There is torrential rain in Normandy, slowing all action there. The weather has been consistently bad ever since D-Day.

July 23, 1944

It is another bleak, cold and over cast day. We had another bad night. The all clear was sounded at eight this morning, and at twenty past a fresh alert was given, and no all clear given yet. Nor is one likely, for every half hour or so along come fresh bombs. No fresh news from inside Germany, so general conjecture is, that matters are very bad there. Not bad enough to stop the war though, not yet.

It is eleven p.m. and Ted has gone up to bed, and I must now prepare this room for my nights sleep, what I can get of it. There have been no bombs since teatime, though I expect them to begin again any minute now.

July 24, 1944

We had another bad night. The alert sounded before I could get undressed and bombs began passing over almost at once; until half past one they were very frequent, after that they slowed off until four a.m., then none until six-thirty a.m. Ted sleeps but I cannot.
God! I am so tired!

July 26, 1944

Ted is out auditing some books. I have had workmen here all day doing war damage repairs, mending the walls around the back windows. The upstairs window was worse than we had supposed. When the bureau was moved a large tract of wall damage was disclosed. This is a dirty job, plaster and dust all over the place.

Last night was shockingly bad again. After a quiet day, no alerts, the bombs began coming over at eleven-thirty p.m., their usual night starting hour. Last night was worse than Tuesday’s a week ago. The all clear was given at eight a.m. and then at eight-twenty we had a fresh alarm and five heavies came over in a space of ten minutes. It was terribly frightening. Of course Jerry is trying to catch the people on their way to work. One morning last week a bomb fell outside Canon Street Station at twenty to nine one morning, and killed two hundred people leaving the trains. From nine this morning to three this afternoon was quiet, but an alert has been on ever since three. It is quiet now, but evidently not quiet enough for us to be given the all clear. The fiendish things are probably falling nearer the coast and south of the river. Happily the weather improved today, so I expect our boys have been able to shoot them down before they could reach far inland.

I received a letter from Gladys this afternoon. She says many trainloads of evacuees have arrived in Penzance. No recent news of Joan, so I presume she is still all right. Artie was in for a few minutes this afternoon. He is riding a bicycle, so that’s fine.

July 27, 1944

Ted has gone to see Mrs. Capes and arrange with her to do his rent collecting next Monday and Tuesday. It is a fine evening, by way of a change. Workmen were here all morning finishing repairs, and up on the roof fixing the gutters. Councilmen here also, were repairing the window. I did a lot of work myself, sweeping, scrubbing, washing windows, consequently I feel very virtuous, extremely so. I am also extremely tired. I hope I don’t get cramps tonight.

Bombs began coming over about three o’clock, and are still at it; several have fallen very close here. Towards five o’clock this morning Ted came downstairs and persuaded me to go up to bed with him for loving. It was sweet.

July 30, 1944

The weather is a bit better. The night was bad but I slept on in the morning until eight o’clock. I break- fasted at leisure since Ted is on holiday; bathed, and then cooked my solitary meal. I spent most of the rest of the day writing to Harold. Bombs were coming on and off all day. There is news of a rumor that Rommel is dead, killed in the battle in Normandy.

July 31, 1944

A very bad night, bombs started coming at a quarter to midnight and no all clear given until six o’clock this morning. This is very nerve racking, and it is eerie being the house alone.
I kept an appointment at Miss Young’s for ten this morning. I was in two minds about going, as the day was very overcast; just the kind of day for the flying bombs. However, I took a chance on Jerry and did go, as these appointments are hard to get, and so are my opportu
nities to take the attention. Miss Young was away so Peggy Smith did the job. I am very pleased with the job, too. I had the whole head done, hair tapered properly, and waved all over. I have decided on a plain conservative style, hair combed right off the face all around and set in a pompadour wave, with curls in the neck. I was there from ten until two thirty p.m. and no alerts all that time, but I had already been back in the house a quarter of an hour before an alert sounded, and within ten minutes two bombs had crashed somewhere near by. How relieved I was to be safe at home! I had intended to write to another of the boys, but my mind is too woozy to write a letter tonight. I am even too tired to read, so shall just drivel the evening away listening to the wireless.
Artie came in for a few minutes at teatime. He says Hilda is now so uncomfortable she cannot do anything. The baby is due August, Eleventh.

I received a short letter from Eddie posted in Washington on July Fifth. He writes:

The Germans in this country are already getting ready the whitewash brushes, all the propaganda, making preparations for the next war. They really are annoyingly clever, and there isn’t one I would trust any further than I can throw a piano. If we don’t absolutely ruin them this time, there will be another war twenty-five years hence. I firmly believe they are incapable of understanding kindness and they mistake kindness for weakness. I shall inculcate a strong dislike and distrust of them in the two young’uns.
A month since the p-plane crashed on Eastern Road, that fell on the last day of June, and here we are on the last day of July, still alive. How will things be on the last day of August, I wonder? Will the war be over then? Oh God! I hope so.