30 December 2010

Monday 30th December 1940: fireman's ginger wine

Very mild for season - 51 degrees. Very dull; humid. Poor old Chas came in mid-day. He had just some off duty after a heavy night of fire fighting as a result of intense incendiary bombing of the City of London by the Nazis: he was exhausted and had a seat by the fire: gave him some ginger wine. Many fine old City buildings were destroyed. To South Wimbledon to buy plywood for a baffle to fit the new louspeaker to, which I did last night: tried it on the gramophone but not quite satisfied.
Winston Churchill
'Apart from the Tubes there were no really safe places. There were very few basements or cellars which could withstand a direct hit. Virtually the whole mass of the London population lived and slept in their homes or in their Anderson shelters under the fire of the enemy, taking their chance with British phlegm after a hard day's work. Not one in a thousand had any protection against blast and splinters... if the bombs of 1943 had been applied to the London of 1940, we should have passed into conditions which would have pulverised all human organisation.' - Winston Churchill The Second World War, Cassell, 1959                                    

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