World War ll London Blitz: 5-2-1945 to 5-9-1945 Tonight’s news: Ten forty-five p.m. is of the unconditional surrender of all the German Armies in North Italy, about a million men.


May 2, 1945

Another of Joan’s surprise visits. She arrived about seven-fifty a.m. and had only heard of Hitler’s death on her way here. As she listened to the eight a.m. news she began to cry. I was at the gas stove, making the breakfast toast; poor Joan came and threw herself into my arms, and had a weeping fit. She was thinking of George, of course.

Tonight’s news: Ten forty-five p.m. is of the unconditional surrender of all the German Armies in North Italy, about a million men.

May 3, 1945

Berlin has fallen. The Russians are in complete possession of the city. Many high officers and Party men have been taken prisoners. One of them, a propagandist minister, second to Goebbels, says that Hitler committed suicide, and Goebbels also. This may or may not be true, but it would account for why Goebbels did not announce the death of Hitler. These Germans say Hitler has been dead for some days, but that the Nazi’s had been trying to build up a legend of him as the hero; now, as the beloved leader, fighting to the death against Bolshevism. Admiral Domitz says, “The fight will go on”, but does not say exactly how! Today he has declared Prague a “hospital city”, so that will not be assaulted, this also looks as though he will not continue the fight long, no matter what he says. Amongst others, Rundstedt has been taken prisoner. Ribbentrop has been deposed as Foreign Minister, but is unheard from. Laval and Deat have landed from a plane in Barcelona. France ordered them to depart again, but they refused to go, so they have been interned; at least, that’s the story.

It is now three-thirty p.m. and a nasty day, cold and dreary. This is our fortieth wedding anniversary. No celebrations, Ted asked me if I would like to go to the movies, but I said no thank-you. It is three years since I have been to the movies, and I have lost all inclination to go. Then, besides, all cinemas this week are showing pictures of the German concentration camps, and I certainly don’t want to look at these. Joan had seen them, and she says they are awful, absolutely horrifying. Yet she thinks people should see them. Perhaps; but not me, I can't do anything about the horrors, now or ever, so I cant see any use in making myself sick looking at them.

May 6, 1945

I wrote to Charlie and Marjorie. As usual, this has made me very homesick for New Jersey. The end of the war is in sight. The Germans are surrendering wholesale, Northern Italy, North West Germany, and Holland, Denmark.

Eire! DeValera, accompanied by J.P. Walshe, Secretary to the Department of External affairs, called on the German Minister in Dublin last evening to express condolence on Hitler’s death. Beautiful darling Irish again! Blast them!

May 7, 1945

We received a letter from Cuthie, written on May 3, 1945 “Somewhere in Germany.” I cannot transcribe it because Ted has taken possession of it, but it was to tell us that he and a few hundred others had been relieved by the British Army on the previous day; that they were still “quite dazed”, but they hoped to get to Lunaberg the following day for a bath, and to be home soon. He signed it with all his official numbers, etc, and ex-P.O.W. I noticed the “ex” Ted noticed that he still signed as Sergeant, so could not have had mail for a long time past as evidently he was unaware of his promotion.

Today came the news of the final capitulation of all Germany. The “new “ Foreign Minister, Count Schwem Von Krogik, has broadcast to his German people announcing the unconditional surrender of all fighting German troops. Grand Admiral Donitz, the new Fuhrer, has ordered the unconditional surrender of all German fighting forces including his own navy of course.

So the war in Europe is over.

This news was given us on the B.B.C. just before eight tonight. Tomorrow is to be observed as official VE Day. Churchill will broadcast the official proclamation at three p.m., and the King is to broadcast at nine o’clock in the evening both tomorrow and Wednesday are to be holidays in the United Kingdom.

There is a feeling of anti-climax. I feel too sad for words.

May 8, 1945 Wednesday 

May 9, 1945 VE Days. Holiday. 

World War ll London Blitz: 4-9-1945 to 4-30-1945 How much longer must we wait for the last utter final collapse?


April 9, 1945

The news. In Italy our troops are within thirty kilometers of Spezia. In Austria, the Russians have taken five of the city districts of Vienna, including the center of the city. Stalin has tonight announced the capture of Konigsberg, and the taking of twenty seven thousand prisoners there. The best news of all, the American Ninth Army has taken Krupp’s, at Essen. The works were handed over to the Americans by a mere employee, who told the American officer to whom he surrendered the place, that not a wheel had turned in the works since March 1, when the R.A.F. bombed them. He also said the Krupp’s-Essen Railway was also destroyed by the R.A.F. Further; the Germans are flocking into Denmark as refugee. One Hundred and Ninety Thousand German refugees are in Copenhagen alone. How much longer must we wait for the last utter final collapse?

April 13, 1945

I was deeply shocked on the first news to hear of the sudden death of President Roosevelt. He died at Warm Springs, Georgia at ten-thirty last night, of a cerebral hemorrhage, very suddenly.

April 17, 1945

I listened this morning to a Memorial Service for Roosevelt, broadcast from St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was beautiful; also it made me know again where my spiritual home is. When I hear the beautiful words of the English service, I know I belong in the English Church. Roosevelt belonged to the Protestant Episcopalian Church of America, the church I was married in. When the congregation began to sing The Battle Hymn of the Republic I began to weep; and when the last post was sounded I felt my heart would break.

Early this morning Reta telephoned to tell me that in this morning’s Daily Telegraph, the number of Cuthie’s camp, number three hundred fifty-seven, was given as one of the prisoners camps liberated yesterday by our armies. I have not seen the Times yet, nor has it been mentioned on the wireless, but I expect it’s true. Thank God.

I got letters from Charlie and Marjorie this morning, for my birthday, also a card from Chic.

April 18, 1945

It is my sixty first birthday. I feel anything but gay and happy; in fact I awoke in one of my moods of sadness and depression.

April 19, 1945

Today all our papers show photos of the various Labor and Concentration Camps in Germany, awful beyond words. The German’s who did these frightful horrible deeds are worse than the fiends of Hell. In Parliament Mr. Churchill has said that he received a telegram from General Eisenhower recommending that we send a delegation of some responsible men to see these things for themselves, and then make their own report to the Government; he said he thought eight men form the Commons and two from the Lords should go, and go tomorrow, and asked for volunteers. I am not going to detail the atrocities here, they are frightful and inhuman. What I want to note is this, touching the problem of suffering. In this gratuitous brutality inflicted upon scores of thousands of innocent men, women and children, by other human beings (the Herrenvolk!), where does God and His Righteousness come in? What about the responsibility of God? These victims were innocent and defenseless, and their sufferings were arbitrarily imposed upon them for years, or until death released them, by the Germans. They did not suffer for their guilt or their sins; they did not suffer as a sacrifice for others. They suffered for nothing. Nothing. How can they be recompensed? Since God permitted everything, and foresaw it all, how can God be excused?

This is a problem. I can’t understand it. It is insoluble. The only way I can come near a solution is to reject the idea of a Personal God.

Ted says it isn’t a problem, and he can easily understand it. There has always been suffering in the world, and this is only a part of it. It is the Law of Suffering, brought about by the sin of Adam. I am appalled at this silly talk. “But you don’t suffer this.” I said. “No,” he said; “but that’s only accidental.” Suffering, yes, some physical and perhaps good even, indicating where the body must cure itself of disease; a great deal of it our own seeking; a great deal of it avoidable; some of it even deliberately sought, inverted pleasure. This deliberate infliction of cruel suffering upon masses of human beings by other human beings, for it’s own sake, and for delight, no, there is nothing good in that suffering. Why did God permit it?

So that the inherent goodness of other better men can show itself in deeds of heroic rescue? What of those who died before rescue? What of the suffering endured which will still remain as having happened? No, that is no answer.

There is no answer. Ted’s theological farrago is simple nonsense. The Christian argument answers nothing. Christianity is a dead horse. By the way I notice Roosevelt spoke always of “God”, and Churchill and Montgomery speak of God but never of Jesus, any of them. Jesus is inadequate for our days. But what of God? Well, God is the sum of goodness, I think. That’s all I can think today.

April 20, 1945

Ted is spieling about “Free Will”, the regular argybargy. I agree the Germans used their free will to work wickedness, but this still doesn’t account for the sufferings of their victims, who did not enter the Labor and Concentration Camps of their own free will, nor accept their sufferings willingly. Ted is hopelessly sunk in his orthodox explanations, which actually explain nothing. It is a waste of time to listen to him. He has the completely closed Catholic mind, and it is worthless.

April 23, 1945

The Russians are fighting in the suburbs of Berlin. I am reading Martha Dodd’s book, “My Years in Germany”, which I missed when it came out in nineteen thirty-nine, though I did send for her father’s book, which was an account of his years in Germany as the American Ambassador. Reading this book today, which ends before the outbreak of the war, I am surprised at the vice, horrors, crimes and madness it reports. One can see that war was the inevitable outcome of it all. What fools of statesmen we kept in office! Martha Dodd scorns Chamberlin and Daladier. In her closing paragraphs she writes: “We have witnessed the rape of Austria, the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, the wholesale and unparallel murder of the Jews, the vicious and destructive class action by unprincipled if hard driven Judases like Chamberlain and Daladier. We have seen even America participate inadvertently in the capitulation to Hitler and his war mongers… if we do not urge a support of international peace and democracies whatever they remain; we do not realize that cooperation with England and France can be effected only when Daladier, Chamberlain and their ilk either change their policies or are removed from office if we do not recognize that the French and English leaders are in desperate straits with their own people because of their betrayal of their nations before, at and after Munich, we cannot possibly understand their pursuit everywhere and especially in our own powerful democracy for support, and appreciate our potentially constructive influence in remolding European affairs. If we do not conclude once and for all, as an American nation, that there is no such thing as isolation when the nations of the world are on our doorstep, we will discover too late that we are fighting the destructive and international Fascist spirit almost single handed, aided surely, only by Russia.”

April 23, 1945 St. George’s Day

General Saunts, is already in San Francisco for the coming conference, is reported as having said last night, that not only must the delegates draw up plans for the establishing of future peace in the world, but that they should also draw up a plain statement of what we aim to live for, a sort of new Declaration of Liberty, I take it. He also said something to the effect that the world must know what it is to live for, because society has suffered such a psychological shock, it could not possible survive another one.

April 26, 1945

Berlin is entirely surrounded by the Russian’s, who also occupy two-thirds of the city. Hitler is reported to be in the city, personally directing the defense.

April 27, 1945

This evening the B.B.C. read an announcement, just given out from 10 Downing Street, to this effect:

General Eisenhower reports that firm contact has been established between his ground forces and those of our Soviet Allies. The commanders of a United States division and of a Russian Guards division met at Torgan on April 26, at four p.m.

So the Russians and the Americans have linked at last, on the Elbe, and Germany has been cut in two. Torgan, unheard of until tonight, is, we are told, northeast of Leipzig.

Moscow announces that Russian forces fighting for the conquest of Berlin have captured Potsdam, Spandau, and Rathenow. Farther west, Regensburg (old time Ratisbon) has fallen to the Americans, the Third Army, today, the Twenty-Seventh of April. Bremen is now virtually in British possession. General Dittmar, radio commentator of the German High Command, has given himself up to us in Magdeburg. He has declared that it is true Hitler is in Berlin, and his own opinion that Hitler would die there. Also he expressed his own belief that the war would be over in a few days. Goring has asked Hitler to allow him to resign from the Command of the Luftwaffe, for reasons of health! He is supposed to be suffering from a bad heart. Maybe is his, but more likely Himmler chose to demote him.

April 30, 1945

Mussolini is dead. The story is he was caught in Como yesterday whilst trying to escape, and was hanged there, with his mistress also, and that today the dead bodies were brought to Milan and exposed there. Hitler is reported dying. He has suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in Berlin. I suppose, in one of his rages, he has literally burst a blood vessel.

Himmler, through Count Bernadette, has offered unconditional surrender, but to the British and Americans only. This news comes via San Francisco. Our governments decline to accept such an offer; they maintain that unconditional surrender must be made to all the allies, particularly inclusive of Russia. Of course.

It is now eleven p.m. and the German radio, at ten-twenty p.m., announced the death of Hitler, “fallen at the head of his army, in the depths of his Capitol.” Admiral Donitz made the announcement, and added that he was now the Fuehrer, by designation of Hitler. Who knows? Why didn’t Goebbels do the announcing?

World War ll London Blitz: 3-1-45 to 3-31-1945 After four o’clock yesterday morning we had no bombs all day, but Gerry made up for his remissness last night all right; beginning at one-thirty he lobbed them over regularly every hour.


March 1, 1945

We had a rough night and a cold morning. After four o’clock yesterday morning we had no bombs all day, but Gerry made up for his remissness last night all right; beginning at one-thirty he lobbed them over regularly every hour. Then we had four between seven-thirty and eight-thirty, and no more until three-thirty this afternoon, since then, silence: and it is now eleven p.m. There is news tonight that President Roosevelt is safely back in Washington.

March 4, 1945

Since Friday Gerry has been sending his doodlebugs over again, night and day, as well as his rockets. Last night he sent piloted planes to bomb us, as well; these were the first he had sent since last July. The B.B.C. reports our defenses shot down six of them, and two more over the Continent. I have been writing letters most of the day. I wrote to Marjorie this afternoon. Now I am going to write a letter to Charlie, to go in the same envelope. The last news I had of Charlie was that his 2A deferment was up on February 7, and he thought it most likely he would be drafted. “But” wrote Marjorie, “it is hard to tell just what will happen; there is much talk, even official, which means nothing and leaves much to the discretion of the local draft boards.” Well, I hope Charlie won’t be drafted. Now I will write to him. So, Au-Revoir.

March 5, 1945

Between thirty and forty piloted German planes are now known to have been over here on Saturday night. We have had two alerts this morning, one at eleven and one at twelve twenty-five p.m. I heard the Gerry’s going over but nothing was dropped in this neighborhood. The Americans have entered Cologne.

March 6, 1945

News on the wireless is that the fall of Cologne is imminent. Several rockets fell nearby during the night but we had no alert for doodles or planes. I cannot concentrate not on anything, apparently. It’s this damn war getting me down. There was an alert just before I went out today, around half past two, and several Gerry planes went over. How can one concentrate on anything? Now it is time to get Ted’s tea, so au-revoir.

March 7, 1945

It was a terrible night, rockets falling every half hour. Ted can sleep through most of the explosions, but I cant. He’s lucky he can take them so callously.

March 8, 1945

It is evening now and at teatime Ted brought in the news of an “accident” to Mrs. Arendzen. As he expressed it “She has caught a packet.” She was in a bus, on her way to Stamford Hill to visit her son, when a rocket fell directly in their path. She is very badly cut about the head and has a deep wound in her breast. In her face they have put twenty-seven stitches! Awful. So it goes; scarcely a day passes that we don’t hear of this sort of thing happening to those we know. Any day it may be our turn. God preserve us, and only God can.

March 9, 1945

On the continent the Americans have crossed the Rhine below Cologne, and, we are told, have firmly established themselves on the eastern bank. Hitler promises to annihilate us with a Death Ray after March 15 He is supposed to have visited Berlin today, which we have bombed now for seventeen nights in succession. Oh, this war! Who will survive it!

March 12, 1945

I expect everybody is catching up on lost sleep, for last night was a nasty night for rockets. Beginning soon after eleven o’clock the damned things dropped over regularly every half hour or so all through the night. Several of them were alarmingly near. I have heard this morning that bad ones fell in Highlands Park and in Upminister. None have fallen since seven fifteen, just before breakfast, but all day planes and gliders have been going out, very noisy. Fierce battles are raging along the Rhine, especially where the Americans crossed last week at Remagen. People begin to say now that they think the war will end by Easter. It could, but I don’t think it will.

March 14, 1945

On the nine o’clock news this evening the B.B.C. told us that today a new heavy bomb has been dropped on Germany. Its weight is twenty-two thousand pounds, or about ten tons. This is horrifying. I’ve been crying about it. I hate the Germans, and I think they asked for trouble and deserve all they get; but this is truly awful. Germans, too are flesh and blood, and in Germany as elsewhere the civilian is destroyed, the innocent suffer because of the guilty. Twenty-Two Thousand pound bombs are too dreadful to think about. When will mankind return to sanity?

March 15, 1945

We had a dreadful night of bombs, which is not to be wondered at, and an alert for Doodles about five-thirty a.m. I did not come downstairs, I felt too tired to get up. Anyhow the bomb passed over and we were all right. Since then we have heard rockets dropping every half hour or so, not in this immediate neighborhood but I don’t know where. Anyhow they were sufficiently near to bang the doors and rattle the windows. On every news period the B.B.C reports the ten-ton bombs dropped in Germany. The reader seems to gloat about it. I feel ashamed for him. If we must wage war like this we shouldn’t boast about it. I am in an awful state today anyhow. I feel ill, and I wonder whether I may no be mentally ill also. The first is, I can’t stand marriage any longer. I just can’t stand it. In the night Ted loved me. At the very moment he turned me on my back a rocket crashed and shook the bed; but that didn’t make any difference to Ted, not a whit. All of this floods me with revulsion. I loathe the whole business and I loathe the man. Loathe him. This shouldn’t be written I know. If I didn’t spit out my venom in these pages I should go mad. Violently raving mad.

March 26, 1945

We had another bad night with rockets and doodlebugs. However, the war news is good. Montgomery’s Army is across the lower Rhine on a twenty-five to thirty mile front and to a depth of over seven miles. General Patton’s Third Army has made several crossings of the Rhine between Cobbling and Boppard. Churchill has crossed the Rhine, with Montgomery, and visited the troops in the newly won areas on the eastern bank. He also took a ride on the river. He’s seventy, yet acts like this, so Ted says, “What a boy!” To me he seems to enjoy the war, and I have a very disagreeable feeling about such sportiness.

March 27, 1945

Advances were reported last night in all the Rhine bridgeheads. The Canadians have cleared the town of Rees. The American first army in the Remagen sector yesterday advanced twenty-two miles through the German lines. General Patton’s tanks have entered the suburbs of Frankfurt. Lloyd-George has died. So has our neighbor Mr. Fitch. Lloyd-George was eighty-two, Mr. Fitch was eighty-four.

March 28, 1945

General Eisenhower has announced that the main German defense line has been broker in the crossing of the Rhine. The end must be near now.

Good Friday March 30, 1945

We had no bombs during the night, and none so far today. Maybe there will be no more; the whole German Army is reported on retreat in rout. No precise details yet, as “security silence” is being observed at Headquarters.

March 31, 1945

No definite news on the radio, this still being kept back “ for security reasons”, but at least we are told that Montgomery’s forces are fifty miles beyond the Rhine. I keep wondering about Cuthie. That is why I am so touchy today I expect, for to think of him and of what he must be enduring now, brings me to tears. We had no bombs last night.

It is now eleven p.m. and the B.B.C announces that General Eisenhower has broadcast in Germany, to the German troops, and to the Foreign workers in Western Germany, to this effect: Soldiers! Over great portions of your country, your government has ceased to have any effective control; therefore, in order to avoid further useless bloodshed and loss of life, I command you: Surrender! Then followed details how to do so. Then to the foreign workers in Germany he said: I advise you, keep out of the way of the allied armies. Do not work in any factories or go near any railroads, bridges, etc. Take no more orders from the Germans. Go into the country and take refuge there; after we have passed, send delegates to the nearest allied officers depot, and we will make arrangements to return you to your homes and families at the earliest possible moment. We are fully aware of your anxieties, but do not impede us. Keep off the roads. Germans, these orders take effect immediately.

World War ll London Blitz: 2-2-1945 to 2-27-1945 : We have had four close by rockets already this morning.


February 2, 1945

We have had four close by rockets already this morning. We usually get more on Fridays than any other day of the week, last Friday we had seventeen, so I suppose this locality is on the German program for Fridays. Berlin is preparing for battle. The Red Army is within forty miles of it. It is estimated that four and one half million Germans are on the roads, fleeing from the Russians. Good, they ought to suffer what they caused others to suffer; but who will be sorry for the Germans? No one. No one in the whole wide world will be sorry.

February 10, 1945

This has been another bad week with any rockets falling. One at Hornchurch, near Emerson Park Station, very bad; two in Ilford, one falling just behind the Super Cinema, on a shirt factory, killing many, and the other on the Cranham Road. One fell on the bottling plant of the co-op milk depot, killing forty-seven men; the building had a complete glass roof, so the casualties were many. One fell on Bethnal Green Hospital, two hundred patients had to be removed under murderous conditions, and so it goes, night and day. We get about fifteen every twenty-four hours in this neighborhood alone, that is, counting only those I can hear; but they are falling all over London; probably a couple of hundred are launched against us every day, but only the officials know what happens in its immediate locality. No information is ever given on the wireless beyond the base statement that “enemy action over Southern England caused casualties and damage during the period ending at seven a.m. this morning.” The allies have launched a new offensive in this West this week; the Russians daily get closer to Berlin; yet still the Germans fight. How much longer can they go on? The big three- Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin is meeting in conference, “somewhere in the Black Sea area.” In the Pacific the Americans have re-taken Manila. The Burma Road has been re-opened. Possibly this year will see the end of the war, but guessing is futile.

February 16, 1945

The war news is terrible. The collapse of Germany cannot be very far off now, but the daily battling is more than I can bear to think about. Death, death, death, all the time. Then when it is all over what is the living going to do? All these young men who have gloried in killing for so long, how are they going to resume normal peaceful lives? They wont be able to be Normal ordinary men, to live lives without excitement. The present can’t be thought about, nor can the future. I think nowhere in Europe is life going to be tolerable, even when the war ends. I hope to get out of it, to get away home to America. Meanwhile I think of the war as little as ever I can; that is the only way to stay sane, not to think about it. Instead I think about D.H.Lawrence, about Miriam Henderson, about Alice Searle, about Ruby Side…..

February 20, 1945

What I want to say, right here is that in case any grandchild of mine, forty or fifty years hence, should read this record of my life and thoughts; this is only a record of my life and thoughts, not a record of my times. I see, what I have written today, may be considered very trivial, and in face of events, very unfeeling. I tell you now; I have to turn my attention to these comparatively trivial things, to save my reason. To think about the war is to think about Hell. I wont do it. For the record of the history of these days you must look elsewhere. For instance, Churchill and Eden returned to this country yesterday from the Crimean Conference with Roosevelt and Stalin at Yalta, and a visit to Athens and Cairo in addition; and today both of them went to Parliament and spoke there. I don’t care. They are great politicians, but I am sick of politicians and all of their words I am sick to death of them. On the Continent the war is more hellish then ever; men destroy each other without ceasing. Over the air we are told of deeds of gallantry, which entail such suffering that simply to hear of them, is to shudder. Right here in town we suffer assault by the rocket bombs day and night without ceasing. Our absurd “rulers” daily devise plans for the future of our society, which if put into effect, will destroy the liberty of the ordinary free individual; we shall be planned into a very convenient servile state; and this I wouldn’t think about because it makes me angry; I feel that even when the war is over life isn’t going to be worth living. So I deliberately distract myself with thoughts and interests, which have nothing whatever to do with the war, and the present hour. Luckily I am practiced in living from my own vitals. More than most women I have had to live from my own roots.

February 21, 1945

At eight-thirty five p.m., a most terrific explosion occurred. The back door burst in, the fire was blown into the room, the house shook sickeningly. We thought we had received a direct hit. We hadn’t, but this was the nearest “fall” to us, which we have had yet. Ten minutes later a second bomb fell, but not quite so close. Ted laid his head down on the table and prayed. I couldn’t pray. I’m beyond that. Personal gods have ceased to be for me. Soon after nine o’clock Artie telephoned. He wanted to know if we were all right. He said the explosion had blown all their windows out, and in all the houses round about, and the street was full of people, looking for damage. He said he thought the thing had fallen in our direction, between his house and ours, and he was anxious to know if we were safe.

For the rest of the evening I sat and trembled, and I had trouble not to break out into weeping. I felt deathly sick. I was afraid to go to bed, but no more bombs fell, except one after we were abed, about eleven-thirty p.m. This one also was very close, but not quite so devastatingly near.

I have not heard yet exactly where the bomb did fall, last night on the nine o-clock news we were told that yesterday the Americans made a big raid over Germany. They attacked Nuremberg for the third time, and at noon nine hundred Flying Fortresses accompanied seven hundred fighters, dropped on the city eleven thousand high explosives, and three hundred thousand incendiaries. They also bombed Vienna and Trieste yesterday. It is no wonder the Germans sends their V2’s against us. War, insane, devilish, war. It fills me with fury. Fury at the stupidity of man. This loathsome crazy world, how I hate it!

This evening I have written to Eddie. When Death comes so close, it is Eddie I think of.

February 22, 1945

The death roll in Fairholme Avenue has now risen to thirteen. Maureen Garven was here this afternoon and told me that nineteen people were killed in Harold Wood last week, and were all buried together today. So it goes, death and destruction without ceasing. There were A few bombs falling today, but not too near.

February 27, 1945

Mr. Churchill made a statement in Parliament about the Yalta Conference, and emphatically defended the arrangements made for Poland. There is to be a three-day debate on all of this.

World War ll London Blitz: 1-6-1945 to 1-19-1945 - I am saying damn the war ! Damn the war! Damn the war!

Purchase Diary's

January 6, 1945
I am saying damn the war ! Damn the war! Damn the war!
Last night at ten twenty p.m. we had an alert, and the all clear was not sounded until eleven p.m. Many doodles went over, I lost count of them. One seemed to trundle exactly over our chimney pots. I held my breath, and then when it continued past, going on towards the city, I vomited. Ted had already retired for the night and did not bother to come downstairs. He thinks it’s funny to be callous about the bombs, so I stick this war alone. So here I am, an old woman alone in a little room, sick with terror and anger and exasperation. You live your life alone, that’s positive. Do churches and masses help me? Not a whit. Dogmas? Evangelicals? What use are any of them against the flying bombs, the rockets, Hitler and all his gang? Did Christ save the world? He did not.
Here I will transcribe a letter, which appears in this week’s Time and Tide. It is:
Sir: I cannot agree with Four Winds (a contributor) about our food allowances. Since we are so often told that these are “adequate” I hope you will allow me, in the interests of historical accuracy, to put another view.
I myself, for instance, am often hungry. Indeed, I am almost always a little hungry, with hunger not to be satisfied with bread and potatoes and dried eggs. (How much less palatable are these, than the dried eggs of 1914-1918!) I am a middle aged woman, no hearty eater, but I crave for more meat, more eggs, more butter, and for milk with ‘some body’. I would not exaggerate the value of school and works canteens, of the special allowances for young mothers and young children, but such as they are, my household gets none of these benefits. It is rarely possible or convenient for us to have meals in hotels or restaurants, and when we do, we find ourselves eating the same ersatz food and meager helpings.
At the same time, my husband and I, besides our daily tasks—his in the office, mine in the house—have throughout the war spent our energies in Home Guard, Civil Defense, and many other national jobs.
I have never grumbled about food rationing. I have never tried to get more than our share from the butcher or grocer. I am not grumbling now. I accept civilian hardships as the least that I can do for my part in this momentous fight. I know that we must win, and I know where the real burden falls.
I do get peeved when I am constantly told, and the world is told, that in spite of war, I am well fed and nourished. We have plenty to eat, certainly, but no one can say that the plenty is also good.
Now of all the nations engaged in this struggle the British are admittedly making the greatest, longest, most forceful effort, individually, and I for one am grateful for the Christmas extras, about which so much noise is made. (A little extra sugar and margarine, a little more meat, for which, in this district, we went short last week, and a turkey here and there.) For the first time in months, we shall eat cake in our house. Usually, I have enough fats to make cakes, which are mostly flour and soda, and hardly eatable; for a week, we can be almost lavish with the breakfast margarine. There are thousands and thousands like me in Great Britain. I cannot feel that we need begrudge ourselves, or be begrudged, this small stimulant.
I am, etc., S.M.
Except that I know nothing of the dried eggs of 1914-1918, I endorse every word of this letter. Our diet is horrible. Thousands and thousands of us are suffering from various forms of scurvy, sore mouths, sore eyes, sties, irritations in our private parts, etc., and perpetual fatigue. We do not and cannot thrive on endless starch. As for the dried eggs, they have become nauseous to us. People won’t buy them anymore, though they are urged at us from the papers every day. The only way we can tolerate them is disguised in a pudding. Where are the puddings to come from? For we have neither sugar, fat, milk, nor fruit, to make them with. “Right mental attitude” can do a lot for the body, but it doesn’t help much in wartime when the Ministry of Food doesn’t cooperate to supply it with the very necessary material proteins and vitamins. An ample supply of good fresh food is what we primarily require for good health, and that we simply have not got.
Monday, January 8, 1945
It is a dreadful day. It is very wintry weather, icy pavements, impossible for me to go out. There is very bad war news. I can’t bear to listen to the war reports; the sufferings of the troops are beyond words. Twelve rockets here today between ten forty this morning and ten thirty tonight. We may get a couple more before midnight. Several have fallen in Chadwell Heath, I hear, opposite The Plough. The damage and death is awful. The Americans have been informed that they may expect flying bombs or rockets on New York and Washington, as those can be fired from U-boats.
Wednesday, January 10, 1945
It is the twin’s birthday. They are twenty-six today. It is Cuth’s fifth birthday in prison. Poor Cuthie! Artie, I have not seen since Christmas Day. Since his marriage I have lost Artie indeed. If I could have my life over again, knowing what I know now, I would not have children, not one. If my life had been arranged differently, if we had remained in America in the midst of our family, I might have had some joy, some satisfaction, and some friendship with my sons. I might have lost them all to their wives, much as I have lost Artie. Who knows? What is certain is that I have had more continuing grief because of my children than any other reason in my life. If I hadn’t had children I shouldn’t have had to leave them. Nor should I feel, as I do, that if my children forget me that is, after all, merely my just due.
I have been in the most awful desolated mood all day. I long for someone to take me and hold me and love me and comfort me. Who have I, Oh Lord, on Earth? Who is there in Heaven? To whom can I go? I feel like a lost and frightened child, and I long, literally, for some kind being to find me, and pick me up in their arms, and soothe me. I want a bosom to cry on, a heart to lie against. Where? Whose? For me there is no one.
Thursday, January 11, 1945
Danny Hartnett has been in to see me. He is a nice boy. He told me that on Christmas Eve, he and Lily, Mary, John, and Tony went to London and heard the midnight mass in Westminster Cathedral. He said there were thousands of people there, and everybody went up for Communion. Somehow this pleases me quite a lot. I love the Cathedral. Talking to Danny like this, somehow I can contact a little faith from his faith. He doesn’t know what doubt is.
He said a queer thing about me. I inquired after his Aunt Rose. “Well she seems to be getting a lot older,” he said, “but she’s just as nice as ever. She’s like you. I always think of you and Aunt Rose together; you’re both so kind, so safe.” So safe! Here it comes again, this telling of a sense of reliability, which I convey to others. Yet could anyone in this world be more interiorly unreliable, unsteady, unsafe, than I am? How queer!
Friday, January 12, 1945
News today of the signing of an armistice in Athens between General Scobie and E.L.A.S. Well that is something.
Tuesday, January 16, 1945
We had two awful rockets in the night; one at eleven fifteen, just as I was going up to bed. The reverberations seemed to go on a very long time. I was on the staircase and every stair seemed to tremble. The concussion claps were deafening. The other was at three o’clock this morning. The last one, very close, seemed to lift the house from its sockets and then drop it back again.
I have just learnt via Mrs. Capes, via Mr. Harden who boards with Mrs. Capes, who is clerk of the works at the town hall, that the eleven o’clock one fell in Rainham, on a group of houses of a new estate, killing many; and the three o’clock one fell near Gallows’ Corner, Straight Road, in the direction of Noah Hill. This last, absolutely terrific, luckily killed no one, for it fell on open ground. A nearby farm had its roof taken off, and all windows blown out, but nobody or animal hurt. It could have destroyed scores, for it was an extra big one, but apart from damaging the farmhouse it has only caused two immense craters.
Wednesday, January 17, 1945
It is reported on the B.B.C. that just before five o’clock this afternoon Marshal Stalin broadcast from Moscow that the Red Army under Marshal Zhukov has taken Warsaw; and a little later the announcement was made of the capture of Czestochowa, a German defense base only fifteen miles from the Silesian Frontier, and of two other Polish towns. Rudomesko and Pryedbory.
Thursday, January 18, 1945
Late last night the Lublin wireless announced that Cracow, the second city in Poland, had been liberated. Five million Russians are moving on the Reich. Pray God this is at last the beginning of the end. In Parliament Mr. Churchill is making a statement on Greece, and on the general movement of the war. When the war is over I think nothing will ever trouble me again, nothing.
Friday, January 19, 1945
I received a letter from Eddie. After Ted went to bed last night I had a second reading through Eddie’s letter. I did not share it with Ted. It would only hurt him and what’s the good?
The letter was in reply to mine of November 5; it was posted in Washington, December 6, and took until yesterday to get here! He writes:
Have found out that Westwood is better fixed up, but you know Chilly and Marge. They’d drive me nuts. I hate good people. It was a saint who messed up my family and almost messed me up, only I didn’t let him. I hate virtue and piety and sanctity and seriousness. I want to be comfortable, and if being comfortable means being bad then G-D I want to be bad. As for Heaven, with the entire lily livered nincompoops going to Heaven, I want to go to Hell; it may be hot but it won’t be dull. Who wants to go to Heaven to meet his mother-in-law again? Or a twice-married man to meet both his wives? Or a divorcee to meet all her husbands? Woodrow Wilson will agree with Franklin Roosevelt!!! Priests and nuns, timid creatures, afraid of life, all of them. (It takes guts to live; any coward can run away!) Oh, I don’t blame them, I just feel sorry for them. To send me to a heaven littered up with such non-entities, that would indeed be Hell for me. It’s too bad, but to what some people is sublime, to me is just ridiculous. I don’t care if the world is going to Hell; I want to enjoy the ride while I am here. I’m shocking bad, mother mine, but my little family loves me and that’s all that matters. They don’t care what I think, only how I treat them.
However, if you want to come to our place you are welcome. It’s funny, now that I don’t worry about money anymore, it just seems to take care of itself; it comes in, and somehow there’s always enough. I’ll always make a good living, because I am happy and well cared for and I like my job, (and I have the best wife in the world.) I’m not afraid, no matter what I take on as extra obligations, bonds, insurance, etc. I always seem to have enough. I buy a lot of things I think are damned foolishness, but if it makes people happy, why not? You can’t take it with you. I struggled for the first half of my life, and now I’m enjoying the second half. I am too busy living this one to worry about the next one. You can’t frighten me; I am an adult now.
I wrote Dad a very long letter recently. I don’t believe it pleased him, but I have had so much of his truth and ethics for so many years that I thought I would dish out some of my own.
I much prefer silence and tolerance to truth. Truth is a nasty sharp weapon. You can cut a man’s heart and spirit out with truth. It has happened to me. So I finally come back with the same “nasty knife, truth!” Of course it really can’t hurt much because his faith is a perfect shield, the douser the faith the thicker the shield. For years I violated my own feelings so as not to hurt his, while he soothes his own feelings, at the expense of others. Finally the nasty “truth” came out. Truth I could swear at. The big lesson in life is to learn to keep your big mouth shut, that’s what I found out. I would never think of indulging the “truth” at home. I value my happiness and my family. Its love that people want, appreciation, attention, yes even flattery to a certain extent, especially the ladies fair, and it sure gets business from the men. I finally stood up for my own code of ethics. My heart, as well as my head, is just as good as the next mans. Judging a tree by its fruit, my accomplishments speak for themselves. I welcome comparison.
When you add it all up it is all so childish, what do I care what people think? As long as they can do me no harm? So I get a fresh grip on myself. Others forgive sin, but I have to go on forgiving virtue. A virtue to which a whole family has been sacrificed. Do you wonder I dislike England and the Catholic Church? My love to my children doesn’t diminish my love for my wife, and neither one diminish my very natural love for my mother. We’re all sacrificed to the Church and country. As much as he has hurt me I couldn’t begin to express my opinion of his opinions. Not really. I couldn’t bring myself to hurt anybody that much. After all, his intentions are good. You are the one who constantly reminded me of his goodness when he angered me. You taught me tolerance and forgiveness. He never boosted your stock to me, except to damn with faint praise. For years I feared him and believed I was really a foolish nincompoop, until I found out I am just as smart as he is, every bit of it. He has no right to impose his philosophy on you. You are doing frightful harm to yourself trying to be somebody you are not. There is one thing you must do. You must rejoin your own church. You belong in it. You can’t be a carbon copy of someone else. It certainly can’t really harm a saint; his egotistical skin is already far too thick. (It will only add another diamond to his crown.) You will feel better physically too, if your mind is at peace. I pray you go to the church you belong to.
Harold is a product of Dad’s romanticism, “marry early” “mind over matter” “don’t take women seriously, they’re not smart” somewhat of an ascetic; so he muffed his marriage, all theory, no practice, all logic, no brains, much talk, little action. I’ve been giving him hell hoping he might wake up. Let’s hope. I’ll help everybody up, but no one can drag me down.
Johnnie is much like Dad, really very self-centered, a complete ego inside a hard core, difficult to hurt. His marriage is a half-marriage, because Ruth is really no company for him, never can be a real partner. He likes his job, etc, and enjoys good company, and has many interests and hobbies. Like Dad, he never loses his temper, and I really believe Ruth is afraid of him, over awed, impressed.
Jimmie loses himself in his work, has a host of friends, but they don’t come to the house. I believe he is afraid to think, to analyze his real situation.
Chilly is a glorious fool. Because of his gust enthusiasm it’s more glory than foolishness. He can remake the world between “breakfast and lunch,” but that wears me out. I quit remaking the world years ago; I’m content to live. His family life is happy.
I don’t have time for reading much, but I do a lot of writing, educational matter for salesmen and mechanics. I’m going places in this company, mother mine, so never worry about my finances. They sent me to straighten out a mess in a shipyard in Maine last summer, and last week they sent me by plane to New Orleans to do a little more troubleshooting. I’m doing a lot of pioneering for the company.
Merry Christmas if I am not too late. I wish you would go to the hospital and get yourself fixed up. Getting back to our starting place, if you are at peace with yourself, in your own church. I think you would feel safer about it. Dad has no right whatsoever to expect you to violate your personality, and no right in any way shape or form to criticize your religion. I know he has a way of ruining people’s pleasure in their own taste. I always hid from him anything I liked, or he could make me dislike it with that Midas touch. Many many pleasures has he killed for me, until I finally made my “Declaration of Independence.” He has to sit back on his haunches, no compromise. When the camel gets his head in the tent you are out in the cold.
I could write a book, but you know the story. So do I.
In the name of common sense make your Declaration of Independence from this colossal tyranny; step down off the sacrificial altar. So I’m going to shut up. Please do what I say. I always found that your advice to me was always good. It always worked fine. Suppose you take a chance on me this time.
Lots of love, mother mine. Eddie.
Well, I didn’t sit down to transcribe so much of this letter, yet here it is. If Ted knew what his family thought of him he would have a fit. He does not know what sort of man he is, he hasn’t the faintest idea. How we hate his goodness! No, not his goodness, his mushy piety, his controversial theology, his self-righteousness, his damned churchliness, his crushing domination. Ted’s conversion on top of his very peculiar nature was a disaster for all of us.

World War ll London Blitz: 12-2-44 - 12-29-44 We had no rockets during the night, though seven fell in this neighborhood yesterday.


December 2, 1944

We had no rockets during the night, though seven fell in this neighborhood yesterday. The one o’clock bomb fell at Lyndhurst Drive, Harrow Drive, and Osborne Road, rather near to Arties place. He told his father Hilda was extremely upset, and the baby too had a screaming fit. Just after eleven this morning another one fell near here. It was a most terrific crack and shook me pretty considerably. It must have been in this town somewhere.

December 17, 1944

The war news is bad, especially the news from Greece. I have not noted this before, but Civil War has been going on in Greece these past two weeks, and our troops firing on the “rebels”. It is a shameful story. I will leave it for the history books.

December 21, 1944

The compulsion of men over women; how we hate it! Another instance was given out on the B.B.C. on the one o’clock news. Mr. Bevin, it seems, has decided, that women in the A.T.S. will now be compelled to serve over-seas, though they will not be sent to Burma or West Africa, and they may “volunteer” for India. It was bad enough to conscript our girls into the Services at all, but to compel them to go overseas is an absolute tyranny. The conscription of British women in this war has been one of the very worst things about it. Women as soldiers, women with guns, what blasphemy. That’s how men run the world. No wonder women hate men. If men will have wars, women can’t stop them; but that women should be dragged into the atrocities of wars is positively devilish. Women suffer and feel no compensating glories; but that they should be compelled into fighting them, that’s fiendish. It is Mr. Bevin’s bright idea. Another comfortable old man who allows the young fight and die for him. God curse Bevin.

The war is going very badly anyhow. Civil War in Greece, and we, the English, fighting the Greeks! In Belgium, the Germans are achieving victories over the First American Army. Rundstedt has thrown in fifteen divisions against us, though today’s news reports the Americans are holding their positions. Losses on both sides are very heavy. This lunacy! When, oh when, will it end?

December 23, 1944

We received today a card from Cuthie, dated the Twentieth of October. It reads:

Dear Folks, Just a card to wish you a good Christmas and New Year. I would not be surprised to get home before then but I send this in case I shall still be here. (Then there are three lines blacked out. When we can decipher again, he goes on) I am now reading “Dombey and Son” and have just finished “Barnaby Rudge.”


That’s all. The poor prisoner boys are still in prison.

December 26, 1944 Boxing Day

I was surprised at midday to hear on the news that Mr. Churchill and Mr. Eden are in Athens. They flew there yesterday. They are convening a conference, with all parties, to try and settle the troubles, the Archbishop to preside.

December 29, 1944

The B.B.C. reports that an earthquake was felt last night in Northern England. The tremors lasted nearly three minutes. One man was thrown out of bed, but nobody hurt anywhere. It was the severest in Manchester to Leeds area, but was felt as far north as Darlington. What’s an earthquake these days, when men themselves are blasting the world to pieces?

It is three-thirty p.m. and the B.B.C. has just announced that on the advice of Mr. Churchill the King of Greece has agreed to permit Regency in Greece, and has signified his sanction by cable to the Archbishop of Athens, Damashinos, whom he has appointed as Regent. So yet another King has stepped down, perhaps only temporarily, perhaps permanently.

World War ll London Blitz: 11-1-44 to 11-26-44 Of course someday the war will end, but I begin to be afraid I may end before the war does.

November 1, 1944

I was very agreeably surprised yesterday afternoon by the arrival of Hilda and the baby. This is the first time she has been to this house since leaving it last May. We telephoned Artie and told him to come to tea. They stayed until nearly eight o’clock, and everything was happy and pleasant. The baby is thriving and is a beautiful child, and Hilda was very agreeable, actually smiling for once. Two rocket bombs fell whilst they were here, but not too close. The baby was lovely. I should like her to bring it here occasionally, if only she would. I have asked them to come next Monday, when Joan will be here. They have agreed to come, but will let me know later whether they will come to lunch or to tea.

In the course of a speech in the House yesterday Mr. Churchill said that militarily we couldn’t look for the end of the war before Christmas, or perhaps before Easter.
Of course someday the war will end, but I begin to be afraid I may end before the war does. Au-Revoir.

November 3, 1944

We had an awful explosion in the night at one a.m. with a second, not quite so bad, following at two a.m. I have heard this afternoon that the one a.m. rocket fell in the Elan Park Rainham neighborhood. At ten-thirty this morning the first daylight one fell; then they came along at eleven a.m.; twelve-fifteen p.m., twelve-thirty, twelve forty-five, one-twenty and two-twenty p.m. We have had none since then. It is awful.

November 4, 1944

I went out shopping this morning, which was unusual for me on a Saturday morning; but I simply could not stay in the house and cook. I loathe the house and the housekeeping. Just as I reached our gate on my return a most terrific explosion went off. The air quivered; the whole street seemed to shake. It was exactly eleven o’clock. Two minutes later a second occurred, not quite so bad. I don’t know where the bomb or bombs fell, but evidently not in Romford. When Ted came in for lunch it was still not known where the devilish thing fell, perhaps we shall know by tonight. It might be anywhere within a radius of six to ten miles. This infernal war. I’m restless, terribly restless. I want to go roaming. Where can we roam? The war is everywhere. Damn the war.

This morning’s bomb fell on the golf course. Nobody was hurt, though one bungalow was completely destroyed, and several other houses severely damaged. We had another rocket at five-thirty p.m. and another at nine forty-five p.m.

November 5, 1944 Guy Fawkes’s Day.

A gale was blowing all day. This has been a dreadful day with the flying missiles. A rocket nearly shook the house down about midnight, but after that we had quietness until seven-fifty this morning, when the first bomb of the day fell and then followed by many others. At seven-thirty this evening an alert sounded for doodles, and a second alert was given at seven fifty-five. The all clear came at eight-thirty. Since then all has been quiet. The rockets were all near by, but the doodles were further off. I spent most of the clear time writing letters to Eddie and to Chic.

November 6, 1944

It was a foggy morning with fog signals going off intermittently. Joan arrived about eight-fifteen, for breakfast. Hilda arrived with the baby just before one o’clock and Artie very soon after. In the afternoon Miss Cannon came and also Miss Coppen. A rocket went off with a great bang exactly at three o’clock. Joan says they had ten in one day in Hammersmith, and on that same day a warden told her there had been seventeen in London. The theory as to why they are never publicly mentioned, or written of in the press, is, that silence prevents Hitler knowing whether he has got the range or not; the idea being that he may think they drop in the sea! Also if he fires off twenty a day, perhaps ten fall on Germany itself, five in the sea, and only five reach England; so hush hush! Don’t say a word. Isn’t it silly? Of course he knows they reach us. Joan says that in the city there is great dissatisfaction with the government over them because we do nothing, and say nothing. Naturally. Our Ministry of Information certainly treats the public as one big ass. How silly men are!

Joan left about four o’clock, as she wanted to be home before dark, and Hilda, with the baby left with her. Hilda was quite smiling and cheerful today. I think the baby has humanized her. She was really pleasant to Mrs. Cannon and Miss Coppen, so much so that both of them remarked upon it after she had gone. Good. I hope she will now stay friendly and pleasant. It is so silly to be dour. The baby is beautiful.

November 7, 1944

It is Election Day in the States today. Also this is the twenty-seventh anniversary of the set-up of Soviet Russia. I suppose the Russian Revolution was the greatest historical event of my lifetime. After all a war is nothing new. This war is only bigger than other wars. The overthrow of Czarist Russia, the Russian Revolution, was a unique event. True, there had been the French Revolution, but great as that was; it was but an infant affair in comparison with the dreadful and terrific Russian Revolution. I’m afraid of Russia. It is Russia who is winning this war, first by her arms, and next by her ideas. I expect if I could live long enough I should see all Europe sovietized and communized. I should hate it. Dr. Alexis Carrel is dead, in Paris.

November 8, 1944

President Roosevelt has been re-elected for a fourth term. The commentator says this gives Roosevelt the green light, the go-ahead sign. Yes, I am glad. I think Roosevelt ought to be in office to help wind up the war. We have had no disturbance since half an hour of flying bombs, Monday evening. The Germans have been driven from their last posts on Walcheren. This means the approaches to the Port of Antwerp are now free for us. Clearance engineers and special mine sweepers are already on the job. Vienna has been bombed for the fifth night running. The Germans are giving ground in East Prussia.

Oh God let the war end soon!

Our planes are very active this morning; they are passing and re- passing incessantly, ever since early dawn, and it is a foggy day too. I think a big battle must be in progress somewhere.

November 9, 1944

For once the sun is shining and the sky a clear blue. Planes were going out ever since early morning, long before we got up. Today I am in a state of exasperation hard to bear. Ted gave me a beautiful lecture over breakfast, all because I asked him to change my Boot’s book this morning and he said he hadn’t had time. Then he launched forth about the rottenness of today’s literature, by which he meant novels. This is what Ted does with the books he brings home for me; before he will even let me touch them he opens them and reads pages on which cursory reading he passes judgment. If he finds one word about sex, love, or the body, the book is condemned. It is filthy he says, or degenerate, or immoral. To suit Ted all novels must be innocuous as the Dickens’s, where men and women only have faces, and live strictly by conscience and the Victorian Sunday. This morning I got his usual harangue, complete with his condemnation of modern women, and me in particular. I listened in silence. I have heard this song before. Inside I was groaning. This man is such an awful fool. In speech, in what may be said or written, Ted is as prudish as the Victorian spinster; but in action, in the bed, when he feels like it, he is as brutish and as sensual as the Victorian paterfamilias. Nothing may be uttered but everything may be done and must be done when the man is in the mood. I have never known Ted to desist when his inclination urged him, never. Last Sunday night I nearly went mad with him. Sunday had been a hectic day with bombs and raids and warnings all day long. I was a nervous wreck. In addition I was crampy. Ted wanted to love; I hadn’t an atom of feeling, except pain, and the expectation of pain. What did that matter to him? He turned me on my back and clambered upon me. Then I did get a cramp, a severe one in my left thigh, and he had to let me go. I walked the floor. I was in and out of bed several times with the damned cramp returning, and all the time I was in dread of another warning! Finally I became easy, but was I allowed to lie in peace and sleep? Perish the thought! Not until he had taken his satisfaction. I lay in bed full of hatred and loathing, I felt sick to death of him and of marriage. I am weary of him. I am dead weary.

November 10, 1944

We have had three rockets today so far. Churchill actually “told the House” about the rockets this morning. These are the V2’s. Apparently he had to mention them because the Germans were told about them on the eighth and all the damage they were doing to us. They fly through the sky at an altitude of from sixty to seventy miles, Churchill says. So that is why we can’t be warned of their approach. He minimized them of course. What humbuggery is talked in Parliament!

Last night we had two alerts for flying bombs. I counted at least seven explosions in the last attack. I was so frightened, and so ill. Planes are buzzing about right now, very low. I hate the sound of them, even our own. What an invention! Now man destroys himself with his own cleverness. How can one control fear? I am sure I don’t know. It is a physical malady, which assails you. With me it has nothing to do with my mind. I am not afraid of the Germans. I am not afraid of death, as death, yet I can sit and shake like a frightened dog. I simply can’t control my nerves. My animal body is aware of danger and that awareness pervades the whole of me. I hate the Germans and I loathe the fiendish stupidity of war. My mind remains in control of my reason. I do not scream or cry or become hysterical. Actually I try to divert my mind with a book. My body misbehaves. My stomach retch’s, sometimes I vomit. My limbs tremble and my hands shake. Sometimes when I am very frightened, pulses beat in my neck, my jaws quiver, my head trembles like a palsy. Nor can I do anything to stop these reactions; I just have to suffer them.

November 12, 1944

Last night we were awakened about four-thirty a.m. by a most awful explosion. It must have been fairly close, though so far today we have not heard where. It shook the house, shook the bed. It also shook my heart. I can easily understand how people can die of shock or of sheer fright. In the dead of the night these shocks are truly awful. It took me a long while to get to sleep again.

November 13, 1944

We had four rockets during the night: two between noon and one o’clock today, and doodles this evening between six and seven p.m. Miss Cannon and Miss Coppen were here this afternoon, bringing news of the various neighborhood fatalities. Two brothers who attend Liberty School, and their mother, were killed by a rocket in Brentwood, the father, who was out, escaped. One rocket fell on a shelter in Dagenham and killed the six people inside it. A falling fragment killed an A.T.S. girl walking by Gidea Park Station. So it goes on. We are told that these things are fired from The Hague, Holland.

The newspapers are full of comments on the supposed Hitler broadcast to the German people, read for him by Himmler. November Ninth was the first time in twenty-one years that Hitler has failed to broadcast to his Nazi’s on the anniversary of their Munich Beer Cellar Putsch. Why didn’t he speak on this occasion? The Germans have been told he was too busy; a very inadequate excuse, for since he found time to compose his speech (if it was his) surely he could have taken twenty minutes to broadcast it from his headquarters? Yet he didn’t. So the world is asking: Is Hitler sick? Or is he mad? Or is he dead? The last time his voice was heard was in July, at the time of his attempted assassination, when he went to the microphone to assure his dear Nazi’s that Providence had preserved his precious life.

November 14, 1944

This is one of the dreariest days for weather that I ever remember. Darkness covers the face of the earth. Not fog, darkness. I went to the cleaners to collect my dresses. Outside the cleaners a wedding-taxi all tied up with white ribbons was held up for traffic. All of us in the shop exclaimed Poor Bride! What an omen! This makes me think of the day in nineteen forty when France fell. An extraordinary and unaccountable thick darkness covered the world here about that day. If only this were an omen of the fall of Germany! Oh, how thankful we should be! One woman in the cleaners said: “Maybe Hitler’s dead. The Express says he is likely to be killed any day now by his own Germans.” “Yes,” said another, “I expect there are crowds of folk in Germany who would kill him if they could.”

We have had three rockets so far today; I have expected more in this darkness. However the day is not over yet. Last night we had none. I had a lovely sleep and also a good loving. For once our moods coincided. I feel serene today, in spite of our ominous darkness.

Mrs. Fitch has been in, and staying to drink a cup of tea. That’s how much free time I have got! We talked of the war of course; there is nothing else to talk of. She too had seen the held up bridal taxi; and felt sorry for the bride. We agreed together how queer it was to see all the South Street shops with lighted windows. “Like before the war, wasn’t it!” It was queer, and somehow it didn’t seem right. We have all been so habituated to the black out that to see lights shining out in the darkness somehow seem wrong and definitely unsafe.

November 15, 1944

We suffered a dreadful night. Very soon after midnight the alert sounded. I came downstairs at once and the all clear did not go until one-fifty a.m. I lost count of how many bombs flew over, seven or eight, perhaps more, some of them very close indeed. After I had fallen asleep we were awakened again abut two-thirty a.m. by the explosion of a rocket, two hours later came another, then at five twenty-five a.m. came a most terrific crash, shaking the bed and the house and crashing in the dining room window. Ten minutes later an alert was sounded, and before I could get out of bed a flying bomb passed before our window, sailing over the back gardens down this street. It was most terrifying. I grabbed my petticoat and gown and hurried downstairs. Four others passed, practically in the same track, but the all clear came fairly quickly, being given at five-fifty five a.m. I went back to bed, very shaken. A text flashed into my mind: “ His mind is stayed on peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.” God. Yes it is God to whom I instinctively turn, God and no one else.

Lying in bed, trying to warm up, trying to fall back into another hour of sleep, a certain peace of mind did come over me. I thought I am at peace with everybody. Ted and I are good friends. There is more amity between us during these latter awful war years than there ever was before. This war has drawn us closer together. Hilda no longer troubles me. As for Artie, well, I seem to have no feeling about him at all. He sundered himself from me completely about a year ago, when he stole away to Scotland. That was sort of death he gave me then, and death is death. Artie left me. I have gotten over it. He is not important to me anymore. I have no sore feelings about him now, nor even any disappointed ones. I have let him go. My angry feelings about Hilda have vanished too. He and she are not strangers to my regard, but they are not friends. Equally they are not children. They went off violently into their own life all right. As far as all deep feeling goes, I am finished with them. It doesn’t matter. As for the other boys, I lost them long ago. There remains only Cuthie. When he comes back, will he be like a son to me? Or will he be simply another stranger? I feel it is immaterial. If he wants me I am here. So I am for all of them. I am alone, always alone.

Thursday November 16, 1944

I dream a dream. I live in a nightmare. Night was quiet until five-thirty this morning, when a crashing rocket fell. Then it was quiet again until seven-thirty, when an even more deafening one fell nearer. We shook in our bed, and more windows cracked. I got up to prepare breakfast. Ted came into the room and bumped the door; more glass fell out of the window. I began to cry. I felt I could not stand any more of this life. I suppose why my thoughts are dwelling so persistently on the Novembers of my childhood is a way my mind is protecting itself. Memory is retreating into the far past, even when Novembers could hold happiness for a child when life was safe, and when the whole personality floated serene in the irresponsibility of protected childhood. I thought I could write it all down but that thought was a dream; I can’t write, my mind can only wander. It is impossible to concentrate on anything.

Joyce, the Radio girl, has just been in. She tells me that this morning’s seven-thirty rocket fell on Collier Row Lane, directly opposite the police station. “Roseland’s again!” she said. She had driven past. “It’s awful up there this morning,” she said. “People all over the road, running about with blood all over their faces. People screaming. There is glass all over the road. Houses down, I don’t know how many. Ambulances. Makes you fairly sick. So much blood.” The poor child shuddered. This girl had her eighteenth birthday last Saturday, yet here she is, carrying on with her job, driving her van through the desolation, continuing her rounds as usual, earning her living, keeping her nerve. God protect the poor child.

I am very distressed by this mornings “incident”. Havering School is down to the ground. Luckily there were no children in it. The rocket hit a bus, which turned completely over before exploding. It is not known yet which way it was traveling, but it would have been full of people going to work at that hour in the morning. Mrs. Copsey and her daughter were killed, and three children who lived next door to her. Total casualties are not known yet; digging for the bodies is still going on. The number must be large. Rosedale Road is quite gone. All of these people were alive at half past seven this morning. Their deaths do not help Hitler in the slightest. This is not war; this is murder. Wanton blind murder. God damn the Germans, now, and for all eternity. Oh, damn, damn the Germans!

Friday November 17, 1944

I have been in a passion of fury for hours. Two rockets have just fallen on each other’s heels, and a previous one fell at ten-fifty a.m. All through the night they fell, approximately every half hour until six a.m. how many poor unfortunates have been bombed into the streets in this, God knows. I am sitting here in the little dining room with the black out curtains still drawn, to keep out the weather. Rain is beating in at the broken window, and the curtains are soggy with it, but at least the curtains are holding it, so far.

All this week the members in Parliament have been debating White Papers on the demobilization of the services and the demobilization of the workers as soon as the war with Germany is ended. It isn’t ended! Yesterday they even passed a regulation permitting the manufacture of ice cream, as from today. Our politicians winning the war! Last weekend Mr. Churchill and Mr. Eden visited Paris, taking their wives with them, and Churchill his daughter Mary. They collected plaudits and all had a good time. Churchill is enjoying the war. He appears everywhere with his big cigar and his big paunch, a grinning Uncle Toby. His son, though in uniform, is carefully kept out of the firing line, another nice fat baby. Oh, I fume. This intolerable war drags on and on, whilst the old men keep on talking. When there is no more money for the top dogs to be made out of it, then it will stop I suppose. Are armaments made for nothing? I don’t think so.

The B.B.C. tells us this morning those six-allied armies are now attacking Germany in the West, over a front of six hundred kilometers, from Holland to the Swiss border, and that the Red Army has nearly cleared the Hungarian Plain. Well? I think of our poor boys, fighting in this weather, which is atrocious. Poor fellows! (The Germans are doing fine, it seems, in spite of the six allied armies. Oh my God, how are we going to endure?)

It is now evening and a rocket at seven thirty-five p.m. and another at nine forty-five p.m., very bad. Again tonight I am afraid to go to bed, an awful feeling.

Saturday November 18, 1944

Reta was at the door. She had been coming up the street as the bombs fell. This mornings bombs fell in Rush Green. Reta stayed until nearly nine o’clock. Another bomb fell at seven-fifty and another worse one just now at ten thirty-five p.m. A moment before it fell our light went out and at the explosion still more of our windows crashed in. Ted is starting the night in bed, but I cannot go to bed tonight. From the back windows I can see a fire on the horizon; looks at the back of the station a big blaze. I shall spend the night down here on the sofa.

Ted received a communication from the air ministry this morning, informing him that his son, P.O.W. A.C. Thompson, had been promoted as from May 1st, 1943, to Flight Sergeant, and as from May 2, 1943, to Warrant Officer. So the poor prisoners get allowed their promotions, so that is something to the good.

Sunday November 19, 1944

We suffered an awful night. We hardly slept at all. Cars were driving up and down for hours, and many trains whistling and passing on the line. A bad bomb fell around half past one, but no others followed. Our first daylight one fell at seven-fifty this morning. At breakfast Ted brought in the news that the ten-thirty bomb last night fell on Rush Green, and that’s where the fire was. Casualties are not known yet, but believed to be many. Wardens are still digging out the dead from the Collier Row incident. This has been a terrible week.

Monday November 20, 1944

I have written another letter to Eddie. Life is now more precarious than ever, I feel I must communicate with my children whilst I know I can. Last night I heard of the sudden death of Mr. Dumaresq. This was not due to bombs, but natural causes. He was taken ill at South Street last Tuesday, brought home in a taxi, and was dead by the time the taxi reached his house. He was buried on Saturday in Romford Cemetery. What a tragic way to die, alone in a taxicab. I received today a card from Cuth written July 2, 1944.

Saturday November 25, 1944

About twelve-thirty Reta Pullan came, and again a bomb was falling somewhere as she came up the path to our door. “I seem to be a Jonah,” she said. She came to tell us she received a card and a letter from Cuth this week, dates of July 2, and July 11 in these he expected to be home in a month. Poor boy! She did not stay to lunch. Miss Coppen told us the noon time bomb fell in the Thames, near Woolwich. Maurice was on the Woolwich Ferry and felt and saw it fall. It sunk a boat a little ahead of the ferryboat and then struck the riverbank on the Essex side. He said women and children on the ferry screamed “something awful.” He also said that there was nothing you could do about these rockets, there was simply no time at all for warnings or to take shelter; if you were hit, well, that was all about it.

Sunday November 26, 1944

A rocket fell early this morning on Longbridge Road, Barking; fifteen houses were down, casualties not yet known. Worse yesterday, for one fell on Woolworths’s store in New Cross, when it was filled with Saturday shoppers, mostly mothers and children, hundreds killed. Last night I found myself reciting the Hail Mary! Over and over.