Thursday, 15 September 2011

Letter, to Mary Platt in Giffnock, Glasgow from Tom Critchley 11.9.1940

37 Lonsdale Drive, Enfield

Dear Mary,

As you see we are all fit and well and still able to write, but like many other people we yawn now and then. We have had an inordinate number of raid warnings, as many as 6 in a day, but it's not so bad as it sounds. We have reached the stage where the sirens wail means very little, 'cause oftener than not we hear and see nothing. Last week the works (Johnson Matthey) only went in shelter for 14 or 15 daytime warnings. I can't count the number of warnings here at meal times have not interrupted the feeding. Three times in one day I was either going to or coming from the works when the wailings started.
The night ones are worse. Sometimes one lies in bed listening to bangs more or less distant, sleeping & waking & the beastly drone of Jerry overhead keep up an intermittent row.
Last Saturday was a nasty do. I'd just got into the bath when the wail went up to the sky. I decided to carry on but noises started which were too near for my liking so I hopped out quick & partly dried & partly dressed, hastened down. There was terrific gun fire & the noise of crashing bombs which soon died down, so, as tea was ready, we went to have tea. Hardly had we sat down when the uproar started again, so out into the garden to see the show... & what a show. The planes were just visible & so were the fires of the East End, We saw one formation of 6 bombers come away from the attack when out of nowhere dropped a Spitfire - then there was 5 & a trail of smoke falling to earth & the white flash of the Spitfire diving clear. We saw a balloon being lowered with a parachutist on top of it & then, when it was all over a Hurricane came & did some marvelous aerobics just by us. I think the pilot was drunk with victory, he did impossible things with that plane.
Of course we are daft to stand outside and watch!

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