There are now, believe it or not, three books coming out, the two books about the Jackson family and a book of short stories printed by a local writers group called CHINDI which contains one of my short stories. If you live in the area of Chichester and Bognor and can hear an odd buzzing noise, do not be alarmed, it’s just my head spinning!
And as a reward for being patient with me in my crazy mood, here is a taster from the new book Citizen Armies, it is the story of my heroine’s first night on the London streets during the Blitz. I chose it for two reasons, because it was as accurate as I could get it and because it gave me the chance to give the official figures about the very first raid, they make chilling reading, be warned, but they are true.
“A Major Incident”
Theirs was the third ambulance to arrive on site and more came soon after they did, and, even in the darkness, she could see that a quarter of the block had been blown away and that the debris had fallen into a huge mound almost as high as the flats. The heavy lifting team were already at work along with more wardens and helpers than Rosie had ever seen together in one place, and there were electricians there too, setting up spotlights, and gas men standing beside their vans. A major incident. The first casualty was eased gently out of the wreckage as she watched and carried off at once to the nearest ambulance. It was going to be a long job.
‘I shall be more use out there than sitting in here, so I shall,’ Sister Maloney said, and she wrapped her cloak warmly round her and was gone.
More helpers were arriving by the minute and, watching them, Rosie was full of admiration for them. They were all so calm and careful, doing what had to be done, but standing quite still and perfectly silent whenever the team leader held up his hand for quiet. There was no panic, no excitability, no fuss, just a group of hard working people doing what they could to rescue the injured. We’re a sturdy lot we British, she thought. Hitler can rant and roar all he likes but he needn’t think he can beat us. The thought sustained her through the rest of the night, even though it was full of suffering and revealed more grief than she cared to see. We do what we can, she told herself, as she carried the injured into her ambulance; we do what we can, as she cleaned and serviced her vehicle when the all clear finally sounded.
She and Jim didn’t get home until after half past five that morning and by then they were both totally exhausted. Jim arrived five minutes after she did and bought a copy of yesterday’s evening paper with him.
‘They had it hot off the press last night,’ he said. ‘After all that. You gotta hand it to ‘em.’
The headline was huge as befitted the news. ‘350 bombers in daylight raid in London,’ it said and went on to give the details. ‘It is estimated that 300 tonnes of bombs were dropped on the docks and the streets of the East End of London. There was considerable damage and many casualties. The RAF shot down 99 planes and lost 22 of their own.’