Don't Decry the Blitz Spirit -- It Saved Our Nation
I well remember the 1,000kg bomb (Mail) which fell right in front of St Paul's cathedral in September 1941. I was living in a flat in wren's View (long demolished) which used to face the cathedral in St Paul's churchyard. we emerged from our shelter under the building that morning to find a huge crater at the foot of the cathedral steps. we were told a landmine had penetrated deep into the earth and the entire area was to be evacuated in anticipation of a devastating explosion.
we took ourselves to my father's office at Queen Street Place, as all the roads in the area were cleared of traffic to make a clear run for the bomb-disposal vehicle from St Paul's back to Hackney Marsh.
I recall the relief felt when we saw the open-backed lorry racing along the deserted Cannon Street on its way to the marshes with its deadly cargo. It meant we could all go home.
It's fashionable now to repudiate the 'Blitz spirit' in favour of what's claimed to be a more 'realistic' picture of what life was like in Britain in world war II -- but as someone who lived through it, I feel a duty to uphold the traditional, wholly accurate view, that Britain was a country which suddenly found itself united in a common struggle to preserve its way of life.
Of course there was poverty and inequality -- but this was still a happy nation, a fact much remarked on by foreigners. Much needed to be changed, but we weren't prepared to entrust that work to Herr Hitler. …