September 1940

Sep

10

September 1940

St Thomas’s Hospital bombed

Everybody who was near when the bomb exploded was absolutely covered in black dust – was quite unrecognisable. We found five nurses who were trapped and let them out by shifting some enormous piece of furniture and thus allowing a piece of wall to fall down. They seemed quite cheery.

All the while the bombs were falling round about – but we did not take much notice of them then. The amazing thing was that only five nurses were killed, and a lot of them had cuts and bruises but nothing serious. One was pinned under the ruins for hours before she died.

Sep

9

September 1940

Air Raids now hitting public morale

In the areas which have been most heavily raided there has been little sign of panic and none of defeatism, but rather of bitterness and increased determination to ‘see it through’. There is widespread and deeply felt apprehension, which is apparent mostly in the London Dock area, of a continuation of raids, and much anxiety about the chaos in domestic affairs which has resulted from the activities of the last few nights.

Sep

8

September 1940

Direct hit on shelter kills 78 people

The modern day memorial to the disaster at the Peabody Estate, Whitechapel, where whole families died together when a bomb hit the air raid shelter.

Sep

7

September 1940

“The Blitz” hits London

During the night of 7th/8th September, attacks extending over many hours covered a considerable area of London and were of an intense nature. Preliminary reports do not permit an accurate review of the full extent of the places hit or of the damage. Possibly the most serious effect has been in Silvertown which has been described as a ‘raging inferno’ and complete evacuation became necessary. Over 600 fire appliances were in use during the night.

Sep

6

September 1940

British ‘take the bombing in good heart’

An increasingly fatalistic attitude towards the effect of bombing is reported, and this appears to be coupled with a high state of morale. In the East End the searchlights rather than the sirens are now taken as a sign for going to the shelters. Cooperation and friendliness in public shelters are reported to be increasing …

Sep

4

September 1940

Hitler declares that he will bomb British cities

You will understand that we shall now give a reply, night for night, and with increasing force. And if the British Air Force drops two, three or four thousand kilos of bombs, then we will drop 150,000, 180,000, 230,000, 300,000 or 400,000 kilos, or more, in one night. If they declare that they will attack our cities on a large scale, we will erase theirs! We will put a stop to the game of these night-pirates, as God is our witness.

Sep

3

September 1940

Spitfire versus Messerschmitt

Then, just below me and to my left, I saw what I had been praying for – a Messerschmitt climbing and away from the sun. I closed in to 200 yards, and from slightly to one side gave him a two-second burst: fabric ripped off the wing and black smoke poured from the engine, but he did not go down. Like a fool, I did not break away, but put in another three-second burst. Red flames shot upwards and he spiralled out of sight.

Sep

2

September 1940

HMS Sturgeon torpedoes a troopship

We waited in dead silence, our eyes fixed on the minute hand of the control-room clock. It seemed to creep round the dial. One minute went by, then two, and my doubts and uncertainties began to grow agonizing. I strained my ears for a distant sound, but heard only the hum and tick-tock of the gyro near the helmsman, the faint noises of the sea outside the hull, and the glug- glug of the ballast tanks as we kept our depth.

Sep

1

September 1940

The ‘year of torments’ in Poland

The Kutno Ghetto 1940

In this year of torments, Polish Jewry has been destroyed. Its property and holdings were confiscated; all sources of income were blocked; its ancient communities were uprooted and exiled; its cemeteries are piles of rubble; its human rights have been erased and annulled; its lives are worthless. Imprisoned, subjugated, and mummified in the narrow confines of ghettos, it is declining to the lowest level of human survival.