In London, as in the rest of Britain, there had been much ‘war weariness’. For a long time there had been no end in sight to a war that was now approaching its fourth anniversary. There was still no sign of the much anticipated “Second Front”, which many people regarded as an essential development to support the Russians. Although London was rarely bombed now, the threat had not entirely gone away. The bomb sites from the Blitz remained as a constant reminder of the ever present war, as did the presence of so many uniforms on the street.
The gloom of constant war that been so hard to bear during the winter now began to lift. Evidence that there had been a genuine shift in fortunes for the Allies now seemed more certain. Vere Hodgson had kept her diary throughout the worst of the London Blitz. Her attitude to the bombing of Germany was very much influenced by that experience, although she, like so many other people were not aware of the scale of the devastation and the horror that Germans were experiencing:
Generally speaking the tide is still running in favour of the United Nations. At last! To open the paper and find constant good news . . . well, we are just not accustomed to it.
As I lay in bed the other night I heard the Deep Purr of our bombers winging their way to Hamburg…
This is a comfortable feeling. I turned lazily in bed and glowed at the thought, going back in my mind to those awful months when to hear that noise overhead was to know the Germans were going to pour death and destruction on us. It meant in those days a readjustment of the mind to the fact that this might be one’s last night on earth — or that by the morning one might be homeless and possessionless.
One cannot help feeling it is good for the Germans to know what it feels like. Perhaps they won’t put the machine in motion again so light-heartedly. Several nights this week an Armada of the Sky has passed over us.
I have recorded that we were forbidden to gather the mulberries in the garden next door.
Our caretaker is an Irishman. There is now an Irish policeman on duty round here. These two have met, and discovered they come from adjoining villages in Tipperary. They talked for hours in the drive – both losing account of time.
The upshot of this was that our caretaker took a ladder and gathered masses of mulberries! His wife does not like them, so they were all brought to me. Auntie Nell made them into jam with my sugar.
Each of us had a pot including caretaker and policeman!
It is wonderful to walk about at the Marble Arch. Very little traffic at any time, and less on Sunday. So we see each other plainly. Everyone strolling in and out of the Park. I wish I knew one quarter of the uniforms. Fascinating to see all these men who have come from every part of the world to help us.
One evening saw an armada of bombers going forth on the night’s work. They go so bravely forth, but one knows they will not all come back. It is a fine sight, and gives us a feeling of strength.