A feature of the air raids is the extreme credulity of almost everyone about damage done to distant places. George M.[1] arrived recently from Newcastle, which is generally believed to have been seriously smashed about, and told us that the damage there was nothing to signify. On the other hand he arrived expecting to find London knocked to pieces and his first question on arrival was “whether we had had a very bad time”. It is easy to see how people as far away as America can believe that London is in flames, England starving, etc., etc. And at the same time all this raises the presumption that our own raids on western Germany are much less damaging than is reported.

[1] This is probably George Mason, a medical consultant and close friend of Laurence O’Shaughnessy. Eileen saw him professionally early in 1945, and in a letter remarked that he and her brother thought well of Harvey Evers, the surgeon who operated on her on 29 March 1945. Peter Davison

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3 Responses to 19.8.40

  1. Pingback: Airminded · Post-blogging 1940

  2. George~~

    Do you feel weird sitting alone down there in the tube while everybody else is outside looking up at the sky?

    Too bad that now that there’s news, it’s all lies.

  3. Barry Larking says:

    The authorities dissuaded people from using the Underground stations as shelters at this time and few did so. Only after the Battle of Britain when longer nights meant greater cover for air attacks (The Blitz proper) did people ignore this in such numbers that the prohibition was dropped. I don’t know, since my own family never seemed to have used them, if the Underground stations were ever made official Air Raid Shelters.

    Some interesting war time additions to the entrances to the ‘deep lines’ (e.g. Bakerloo) in central London have suggested to some that the authorities were planning to use these as shelters in the event of a German WMD attack; however, that was after 1940.

    Orwell, apart from an existing pulmonary condition, had a particular horror of body odour and the Underground stations crowded with people were rather smelly, as might be imagined.

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