London Carries on – Spirit of the People

This news report featured in the Bromley & District Times in mid-October 1940 and gives an insight into how life carried on as normal for the residents of London during the Blitz of 1940.




The early morning train was crowded, and subsequent stops, and we were soon speeding along side by side with other trains, equally crowded with men and women, boys and girls, all headed for London. Surely not for London after the Blitzkrieg visitations of over a month? To London, to work and to business, and some had got up earlier than usual from a not too restful night to be on the job in good time. As a point where trained are exchanged a workman peered, and stepped into a compartment and exclaimed, “A seat. Blimey O’Reilly, I didn’t expect a seat,” and sat down amid the laughter of the other nine as they heard another fellow on the platform use the very identical expression about a situation with which he was evidently no so pleased.

The compartment was quickly filled with standing passengers and soon we reached journey’s end to join the throng of thousands more, all wending their way to work in London. Down in the tube there were three young girls who were not on their way to work; they were going home to Wales to convince the old folk that though their hospital had been bombed, they had survived the storm and the wreck. Changing trains, a fourth member of the party had got astray, and they had her ticker for the longer journey. What could they do, was the question which was answered by “Oh, we’ll find her at Paddington, for sure,” and off they went with “And we’ll be back soon, for sure.”

It seemed unnecessary to go any further for evidence that London was carrying on, but I am glad to have made a tour of London in the midst of its Blitzkrieg days, because, although feeling rather stunned, at the end of a 35 mile tour, by the impact of sight after sight of material damage, the spirit of the people, towering regnant above the havoc that bestrewed their homes, was an inspiration. That cross surmounting the globe still uplifted on the dome of St. Paul’s, is the real and only adequate symbol of this spirit which, fearing not they who kill the body and after that have nothing else that they can do, has nothing else to fear.


Bromley & District Times, 18th October 1940, page 2

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