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

Purchase Diary's:

August 1, 1944

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

August 2, 1944

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

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

August 3, 1944

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

August 4, 1944

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

August 5, 1944

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

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

August 7, 1944

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

August 8, 1944

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

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

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

August 10, 1944

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

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

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

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

August 11, 1944

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

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

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

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

August 12, 1944

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

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

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

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

August 14, 1944

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

August 15, 1944

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

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

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

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

August 16, 1944

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 17, 1944

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

August 18, 1944

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

August 19, 1944

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

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

August 20, 1944

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 21, 1944

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

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

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

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

August 22, 1944

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

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

August 23, 1944

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

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

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

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

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

August 24, 1944

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

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

August 25, 1944

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

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

August 27, 1944

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

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

August 28, 1944

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

August 29, 1944

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

August 30, 1944

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

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

August 31, 1944

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

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

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

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