World War II, London Blitz Diary Volume 1 by Victoria Washuk
As war rages on all around you, it can be hard to cope with the pressures of warfare. “World War II: London Blitz Diary” is a diary of Ruby Side Thompson as she tells her story of living under the pressure that the Luftwaffe put on London during the countless bombings throughout the war, pushing England to the brink of destruction. A personal story of a mother trying to keep her life together along with simple survival, “World War II” is a choice pick, not to be overlooked.
Friday, September 1, 1939
War started today. After another week of lies and duplicity, Hitler launched into actual warfare early this morning. At five thirty this morning he announced the enclosure of Danzig in the Reich, and at five forty-five he bombed his first Polish town. Reports were that the Germans had already bombed eight Polish cities, and were attacking on all frontiers.
The BBC has just announced that King George held a Privy Council this noon, and has signed papers completing the mobilization of our Army, Navy, and Air Forces. Further news is to be broadcast at four p.m.
Sunday, September 3, 1939
At eleven fifteen today Mr. Chamberlain broadcast from number Ten Downing Street. He said: This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German government a final note stating that, unless we heard from them by eleven o’clock, that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us.
I have to tell you that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Germany. He ended his speech like this: “Now may God bless you all. May he defend the right. It is the evil things that we shall be fighting against, brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution, and against them I am certain that the right will prevail.”
He had scarcely finished speaking when the air raid signals sounded. Naturally we all took cover. About twelve o’clock the all-clear signal came. We thought it had been the Germans, of course, but in tonight’s news we were told, that it was a strange aircraft, which had been sighted over the Channel, and that when it had been identified, it was found to be a friendly plane, and allowed to pass. However, the warnings were a shock. It was such a beautiful day, sunny and with clear skies. At five o’clock the French government broadcast a similar statement to Mr. Chamberlain, saying they had no reply from Hitler and that as of five o’clock the French were at war with Germany.
So here is the war. We have been fending it off for years, but at last it is here. The folly of men is now going to destroy men. Force will fight force. Maybe the right will prevail. I don’t know. I can only hope so. God keep us all!
Monday, September 4, 1939
In the middle of the night we were wakened from sleep by the air raid sirens. We got up, closed all the windows, put on our robes and went downstairs. Here we remained in the passage by the staircase until the all-clear signal came, about four o’clock. The kitchen clock struck three whilst I was waking Artie. However, we were informed at nine this morning that this was again caused by the passage of unidentified aircraft over Essex and the midland counties; our fighters went up, identified the airplane and then returned to ground. We are not told exactly what planes they were or why they were flying over England at three in the morning.
Real news of war came early. The Atlantic Liner, Athena, was torpedoed off the west of the Hebrides, and sank at five o’clock this morning. She had fourteen hundred people aboard, most of them Americans returning home. She was from Glasgow, bound for Montreal. Now, noon, we are informed that a notice has been posted in Glasgow, signed, Cook, Master, stating that all passengers and crew, except those killed by the explosion, were got safely into the boats, and many of them had already been picked up by other vessels. President Roosevelt broadcast in the States last night that America would stay neutral. However, if the Germans attack the Americans on the seas, what then?
It is eight-thirty p.m. and I am in a blaze of anger. At seven o’clock Ted said, “I’m going down to Forest Gate, to see what traveling is like in the dark.” He went too! Now, all lights are forbidden, all cinemas closed, all gatherings, indoor, and outside, prohibited, because of the danger from bombs. No lights in the trains or the busses, no lights in automobiles. Ted has to go to Forest Gate to see his precious guild of course, his pious and adoring spinsters and oafs. Well, it may be fine Catholic piety, but its damned bad husbandry. All around many women are ill and hysterical, and very bad when the air raid signals sound. It is nerves and they can’t help it.
What does Ted care about me? It is night, the raiding signals may be heard at any moment but I am left alone in the house, to endure it as best I can. The Catholic Evidence Guild is of very great importance to Ted, but I am of no importance at all. This heartlessness at a time like this fills me with dismay. I cannot believe he would act so, yet he does. He goes off on his own pleasuring, danger or no danger, and I am left alone, danger or no danger. Anyhow I am in a fretful mood, and have been, all this time of gathering tension. I think of Cuthie, who is surely going to immediate death and of Artie who will follow him. I think of my boys in America, who I cannot reach and their children whom I have never seen. In my heart I am crying and crying.
About the Author
Victoria lives in Milford, CT with her husband of thirty years. She graduated Fairfield University with a degree in Psychology in 1979. She has worked in the financial services field for 30 years and has three interesting and successful daughters she is very proud of.
Granddaughter of Ruby Side Thompson, Victoria inherited Ruby’s forty-three diaries that span from 1909–1969.
For Victoria’s blog, visit World War ll London Blitz Diary Blog
To order London Blitz Diary, Volume 1, go to World War ll London Blitz Diary Volume 1 Paperback
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