[Aside: Italy invaded SEP. 3. 43] We have invaded “toe” of Italy. Just 4 years since the war started. In England it is to be observed as a day of prayer (“Give us, O Lord, courage, gaiety, and a quiet mind” RLS [Robert Louis Stevenson]). My heart is heavy with the thought of all the lives still to be sacrificed. Bitter resistance and fighting is expected, we are getting nearer to Germany by land as well as air. Denmark is under Martial Law. Some Dan[ish] fishing boats were sighted off this coast yesterday. Strings of orders came through about them in case they tried to land.
It is a lovely morning, sunny and peaceful as it was on that Sunday morn. four years since. How much has happened since then of both loss and gain, lives sacrificed, cities and towns and villages bombed as well as ships and armies. Great progress in medicine and surgery and in aviation. Money is flung about in millions, even we with our small income are better off than we have ever been in money matters, taking the whole year round. I fear there will be want and poverty after this in spite of all the Utopian schemes and promises.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94) – words from his Prayer ‘For Success’, written in Samoa, re-published in Vailima Papers and a Footnote to History, p. 7 (1925). A much-quoted portion is ‘Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind. Spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies. Bless us, if it may be, in all our innocent endeavours. If it may not, give us the strength to encounter that which is to come, that we be brave in peril, constant in tribulation, temperate in wrath, and in all changes of fortune and down to the gates of death, loyal and loving one to another.’
The British Declaration of War with Germany was announced by Neville Chamberlain on 3rd September 1939.
Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?