WW II, a British focus  



A Letter From England

contributed by Judy Cederholm

The errors are as found on the original letter.
4, Ascalon House,
Savona Estate,
Battersea, London, SW

Dearest Pal:
    Well I suppose youve heard all the news by now.  Isn't it terrible?  Well 
I must start from where I left offf before.
    I was in Hunwick when I wrote last but I have been back nearly two weeks 
now.  Russ had an accident last Friday fortnight on a motorcycle.  He was 
taking a dispatch to Scotland and a car ran into him and he went into the 
telephone pole. I was pleased I wad up there.  Johnny (that's Russ' pal) came 
and told me and the padre got an army lory and took me into the Hospital to 
see Russ.  He had concussions cuts on the right side of his face and shock.  
He looked a mess.  The padre took me in on the Sunday and told me Russ would 
by out on Monday as they were moving Wednesday.  Russ came out and on the 
Wednesday I came home and spent the night in the air raid shelter seven 
hours, we had of it, but not much action.
    The next day I got a Telegram from Russ saying he'd be home on the 
afternoon train.  I met several trains but no Russ.  I went home feeling fed 
up and miserable.  Russ arrived home Friday afternoon.  He had come to a 
different station and also the trains had all been late.  He was home for 8 
days sick leave and we thoroughly enjoyed it.  I slept through the air 
raidsand we had a lovely time.  He went back to Yorks last Friday and then 
Hitler started.  Saturday afternoon at about five the siren went.  We raced 
out in the shelter and gosh you should have seen the German planes overhead.  
There were about 200 of them.  They started a fire at some docks not very far 
form here and talk about blaze.  The sky was full of smoke and red glare.  
Amy, one of my friends, found in the shelter about 6:30.  The all clear went. 
 We had tea and talked and then Amy got ready to go home when the siren went 
again.  We decided not to go to the shelter, but gosh did we change our minds 
quick.  We heard the weirdest sound like a whistling whine growing louder and 
louder and suddenly a terrific thud and explosion.  Hell Peg, my stomach 
turned right over.  We grabbed our gas masks, knitting, books, coat & 
whatnot, and before we could get to the shelter two more screaming bombs 
fell, followed by an explosion, each one louder that the last.  I fell down 
the steps in my rush get tot he shelter and broke both heels off Rose's 
sandals.  Meanwhile the guns were booming nearby and we suddenly realized 
that there was a war on.  Gosh it was awful.  Bombs fell all around, the sky 
was a light as day with the fire and guns and planes.  It was frightful.  One 
of the bombs fell very, very close and the walls of the shelter shook.  The 
woman I was sitting next to fainted in my arms, and I felt as sick as a dog.  
Mum took me to the sink so I could be sick and then the dam lights went out 
very, very slowly.  What and experience.  The lights came onafter about half 
an hour.
    Anyway, bombs fall all around and the raid lasted until a quarter to five 
and we were sure glad to get back to bed.  It all seemed like a horrible 
    At half past seven I went with Amy to the station and we were told there 
were no trains running as four of the railway lines had been blown up, near 
    There's hardly a district in London that the Jerrys missed.  We are 
scared to move out of the house now.  Mum and I went to my cousin Doll;s for 
dinner and she asked me  to go to a road about 5 minutes walk from where she 
lives.  There wee four houses blown to bits and several others in a lovely 
mess.  All the windows were out and a warden told us that there were three 
women buried in the debris.  I felt really ill when we went back to Doll;s.
    There was an air raid warning at one o'clock Saturday afternoon, but 
nothing much happened, just a plane or two around.  We, Mum and I came home 
and then at eight o'clock the siren went as a bomb dropped, We rushed to the 
shelter.  A couple of bombs fell on the railway near here.  The marshall of 
our shelter told us to lie on our face as we heard a whistling bomb.  I 
pushed my fingers in my ears and the marshall held us down.  Gosh it was an 
awful feeling Peg waiting fro a bomb to blow you to bits.  I was tired as I 
had only one hour's sleep in 48 hours, so I lay down and about quarter to 
three fell asleep with bombs and the huge guns firing.  At 6 o'clock a lady 
woke me up and said, "There's the all clear".  Mum said I had missed a lot by 
going to sleep, thank goodness.  Mum and I went to bed and at 8 o'clock we 
were practically blown out of bed by a bomb explosion.  The siren hadn't gone 
but we rushed to the shelter.  It was a time bomb and had fallen two street 
away, demolishing two houses.  There were two women buried in the debris 
    There were five time bombs went off and we came indoors again, when 
somebody came and told us there was another bomb in the school about 100 
yards from here, so we went back to the shelter, but our air raid warden told 
us there wasn't much danger as it was far in the earth.
    And that's my adventure so far.  God we pray that they'd stay away but we 
know its silly as Hitler said he's blow London to bits.  I'M a darned coward 
now, but I am hoping if a bomb does fall that we will be blown to bits and 
not get buried alive in the debris.  Wouldn't it be terrible?
    I haven't heard from Russ today and I feel awfully worried as they are in 
tents and in an industrial area near Sheffield and tents aren't much 
protection against shrapnel.
    Well Peg, here I am again.  The siren went as I was writing and we had to 
rush to the shelter.  There were a lot of jerries overhead and a few 
spitfires.  When the all clear went, we came in and there was a letter from 
Russ.  He's moving again and maybe its to Egypt.  Gosh with the air raids and 
worry over Russ I'll be gray.
    We got our beds ready in the shelter and ow all were doing is waiting for 
the siren to go gosh Peg I can't describe the feeling it gives you.  You feel 
sick at the stomach and every time a bomb falls, your stomach turns over and 
your heart goes into your mouth.
    Considering everything, I think everyone is remarkably calm.  The kids go 
to sleep and most of them sleep through it all.  Poor little things.  Isn't 
it awful?  When poor, innocent, little babies have to go through this?  We 
have two darling little babies in our shelter and they help to take your mind 
off other things.
    Its getting near eight o'clock and I am really dreading tonight as one of 
the men saw one of the German planes dive on Battersea Power Station, 
apparently photographing it.  Its about two hundred yards from here, and its 
awful high.  It could do a lot of damage but I wish it had been blown up as 
it is a great worry to us.  Its a military objective, I suppose.  
    I wish I could be with Russ.  I shouldn't be frightened then.  Its not a 
bad feeling when you know you would at least be going together, but if 
anything did happen to me, I don't know what Russ would do, and I don't like 
the idea of leaving him.  Gosh aren't I morbid?  In a year or two I'll be out 
there telling you of all these horrors and may perhaps be able to forget all 
the terror that grips us when the bombs are falling, and then this war will 
be a thing of the past.
    Well I think I had better close and get ready to fly to the shelter.  
I'll write a better letter when the raid are over, and I can think of other 
things besides air raids.  I only wanted you to know we are still a live and 
    I hope you are all keeping well.  Lots of love to you Mum and Dad.  Love 
from all of us
This letter was contributed by Judy Cederholm. If you can identify when it might have been written, please let us know