Thomas Graham’s Diary – 29th August 1939

This long and thoughtful diary entry can be summed up by a quote from within the text: “I dare say you are thinking ‘Why does this old bore write down all this stuff?’ The answer is to keep his mind off what is soon coming; namely the declaration of that ‘greater’ war, which can hardly be delayed many more hours now.” The anxiety about coming war is clearly very strong at this point. Thomas’ reflections are probably typical of how many people were feeling in Britain on this day.

Thomas begins with a summary of what he believes are the current attitudes to the situation in countries across Europe. There is an interesting description of the Air Raid Patrol arrangements for the local area. Thomas was a Head Warden for his local area at this time. He then discusses what he feels is the likelihood of rural areas being bombed and voices his anxieties about the destruction that is likely to be caused by heavy air bombardment. Thomas then talks about fear and his own anxiety, comparing the feelings that he is experiencing with those that he felt when he was on active service in South Africa and France. Despite his fears, he is never less than positive about the need to go to war if Poland is invaded by Nazi Germany: “We said that if the independence of Poland is threatened by FORCE we will go to her aid. We shall certainly do so. We fight that is to say in order that NO Power on Earth may ever bully weaker powers and destroy their liberties without the assurance that if they can persuade us to promise our help they will get it. The bond will be honoured.”