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Monday, January 29, 2018

Bombs and sympathy

from Arnold Bennett's War Diary
Saturday, September 11th  1915– During the day I got information as to the Zeppelin raid on Wednesday night. Davray on roof of the Waldorf [Hotel]. He said zeppelin was fairly low over roof. Searchlights on it. Star-lights. Fair-like. Shots at it. Then it rose and went northwards. Spectacle agreed to be superb. Noise of bombs agreed to be absolutely intimidating. And noise of our guns merely noise of popguns. One bomb in gardens of Queen’s Square had smashed windows and indented walls and smashed window frames on three sides. Two hospitals here. A lot of the glazing had already been repaired. Much damage at Wood Street, Cheapside. I didn’t see it. Two motor buses demolished with passengers. Rickards, who went out at 11.15 said it was very strange to see motor buses going along just as usual, and a man selling fruit at a corner just as usual. People spoke to each other in the streets. Waller said streets near bomb in City were two inches deep in glass etc. I didn’t see damage in Theobald’s Road. It appears there had been a raid over New Cross on Tuesday night. Queen’s Square was rather like the front – Arras, for example.

   Mrs T. to lunch. Her father, a bishop, has just lost his wife. A grand-nephew was told to write condolences to him. The boy, aged 11, wrote first: ‘Dear Grandad: I am very sorry Grannie is dead, but we must make the best of these things.’ Told this wouldn’t do, he tried again:  ‘I am very sorry Grannie is dead. But you may be sure she is much happier where she is.’ This also  being condemned, he wrote a conventional letter about Grannie having always been kind to them, etc.

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