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.

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