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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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!
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 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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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
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?
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.
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.
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
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.