The War Illustrated No 33 Vol 2 April 19th 1940

ii The 1 V/tr Illustrated April VMli, 1940 ^¦o ttU iq ,5 p ti-a n f t l y . W x t A i i me. 9 a)x Ay, A NEWS item in the papers today promises improvement in the amenities of black­out (if such a phrase will pass). I should like to think that we may look forward less dismally to the long dark nights of our next War winter. Oh, yes, there will beat least another “winter of our dis­content,” I fear, and though it cannot be “made glorious summer ”by any miracle which the wit of man can imagine, nocturnal life in the streets of London and the big cities may well prove a little less terrifying— by the provision of more ingenious signal lighting at the crossings, for instance. ?It would be strange if the past winter’s experiences have not produced, on the prin­ciple that necessity, is the mother of invention, some ingenious new devices to enable us to overcoiTie the worst terrors of the black-out. Nature takes half a million years or soto enable a fish to changeover to life land,on or a land mammal to become a denizen of the deep, but man can get ahead of nature in the most surprising way when he sets his mind to adapting himself to new conditions of existence. ?One of the most uncanny effects of the black-out on me has been an occasional mental black-out! A momentary feeling of “black without and black within.” Asked one night in a solid blackness at the doorway of Temple Chambers by a young lady (at least, her voice suggested youth) if the thoroughfare was Bouverie Street, I could not for the life of me tell her, though I was sure that Bouverie Street ended at Tudor Street. “Where’s the Embankment ?”she asked, “for I was told togo to that end of it.” I had no sooner told her to carry on down the street, than I remem­bered that Temple Avenue wa? the name of the stretch in which we met. But she'd hurried into the murk before I could recall her, and I trust she didn't wait too long for “him ”at the Embankment corner. And yet unnumbered thousands of times I have trod these very pavements and actually spent years of my working life in Temple Chambers. ?The next night I was suddenly asked by a group of visitors outside the News Cinema at Charing Cross how to get to the Holborn Empire. My mental processes were momen.tarily struggling to accommodate themselves to the change from the brightness within to the blackness without, and I ’m sure I gave the inquirers the wrong direction, and fretted the rest of the evening at having misled them. Yet I believe that, blindfolded, I could do that journey in daylight. To have one’s eyes wide open in an encircling blackness produces -in me a state of obfuscation approaching mental paralysis. In which I trus: I am peculiar. ?But talking of improving street con­ditions during black-out, I have an idea that it would abe good thing to have the names of all principal streets printed on paper in white letters on a black ground and pasted about waist-high at the street corners. One may not turn a torchlight upwards to discover a street name in the customary first-storey position but it would be <ielpful to be able to verify the name, of the street by flashing a torch at the discreet height suggested. 'T'Ome one of the saddest bits of news in the papers today is the statement that in the first week or two of the War nearly one million pet aninjal^ were destroyed. As an animal lover, I can testify to the deep and abiding joy I have had in the companionship of a succession of half a dozen canine friends whose happy lives intertwined with my own through wellnigh half a .century. To the curmudgeonly ones who look upon dogs and cats as mere “beasts that perish ”—-wherein I fail to distinguish any tremendous shtx ^ess eulf between them and their fellow BY THE EDITOR creatures who have learned how to wear clothes and drive motor-cars— to all such the dog-lover is stupid, sentimental, sloppy why bother about them ??But to all who have had the good fortune to experience that companionship of our four- footed fellow mortals sung by Scott, by Byron, Burns, and innumerable men and women of feeling in all ages, it is a melancholy thought that one million were destroyed— needlessly, as it would now appear— under threat of wide­spread air-raiding, evacuation and food ration­ing. What an extinction of precious, human­izing affection !Let’s hold onto our pets as long as possible and only in the last resort contemplate extinguishing their little lives which, at best, are all too short. IN THIS NUMBER minimum Page Norway !s Invaded Allies Rush to Her Help 385-3S9 Denmark Submits to Nazis 390-91 Famous Regiments at the Front 392 A German Gun has just Spoken 393 Poland’s Cup of Wrong is Filled 394 Warsaw is abut Shadow of its Past 395 Tightening the Blockade 396-97 London in Wartime 398-99 Special Map of New War Areas 400-01 Historic Documents and Gazetteer 40?. Polish Submarines on Active Service 403 Has the U-boat Dons its Worst 1404 Salvage of H.M. Destroyer ‘Gipsy ’405 New French ‘Pocket ’Airship in Diagram 406 theA!! A.A. Men W antis a Target 407 Evil Things W e Fight—3. The New Slavery 408 Egypt is Proud of her Camel Corps 40? Britain’s ‘Flying Battleship *Routs the Junkers 410‘ I Was There’ Section 411-13 Czechoslovakian Army in France 414-15 Diary of the Week 416 imiimmimmmmmmmmmimmmmmmmmimimmmmi V\/rHEREVER I go I meet men— and women *—who tell me how greatly they admire my “World Digest.” Very gratifying to an editor. I even met a city financier today who has read every number of that little publica­tion, but assured hems had never heard of “The War Illustrated”— hadn’t seen a copy of it anywhere !But I was particularly pleased to be greeted by a famous political figure— his name has often been on everyone’s lips— who said that he had sat up till nearly two in the morning reading through the May number of “World Digest ”and couldn’t imagine any other means of acquiring so much useful information and entertainment in the same amount of time.? I think it is because, with my colleagues of “World Digest,” we work assiduously, first, to select all that seems most appealing in current literature and journalism and, then, to condense it with skill and patience so that the pith of the original is retained. There are no fewer than forty-two articles and featnres in the May number, now on sale, concerned mainly with topics for thought­ful people. The writers represented in the number include Arthur Greenwood, M.P., Sir Thomas Beecham, Hon. Harold Nicolson, Gen. Sir Hubert Gough, Miss Storm Jameson, Henry W. Neviison, Coulson Kernahan, Thomas Burke, and Martin Moore, the special correspondent of the “Daily Telegraph,” whose brilliant descriptive book on Mussolini’s “Amazing Experiment ”(as I call it) in Libya is here epitomized. Instruction and entertainment go hand in hand in “World Digest,” which, by the wav. is the only English magazine that is reproduced each month in Braille for blind readers, from whom I have had numerous grateful and gratifying letters. It costs only sevenpence.“ ]YjA IDS in uniform.” “Prudes on the prowl." What a fuss 1 How readily ‘the‘ unco guid ’’can get a hearing. Because the girls of theW .A.A.F. look so charming in their service dress and have even been seen talking to and— more dreadful still —walking with smartly uniformed airmen, the morals of the younger generation are in danger 1 It’s the same old intolerance that used to make Kirk Sessions in Scotland juicy centres of scandal and gave their lucky members some thrills of suppressed sexuality in dealing with offenders against the rigid code of morals that Calvin, via John Knox and others, “put across” Scotland," and Wales, and Puritan England. The way of a man with a maid is perhaps a mystery to the old maids and cloistered clergy and bigoted “Pussyfoots ”who form themselves into committees to suppress ‘*vice ’’and get a kick out of discussing it at their meetings.? There’s nothing the matter with our youths and maidens— especially the latter. But in the West End of London the foul, unnatural vice of homosexuality is flourishing today as blatantly as it ever did in Sodom and Gomorrah— in Athens and Carthage, for that matter, though they escaped the wrath of Heaven. If Oscar Wilde and other eminent perverts of the past could but return to London’s West End they would find thousands of hero worshippers awaiting them. What’s being done about that, I ask? By contrast, stage nudity seems tome a lesser menace to the morals of the rising generation. But I ’m no apologist for a cheap and nasty feature of popular entertainment which merely discloses the prevailing poverty of stage invention and artistic inspiration. ("JN E far-reaching financial effect of the^ large-scale evacuation so hastily under­taken by many large firms, insurance offices, binks and central organizations, at the beginning of the war is likely to abe reduced demand for London business premises after it is over. I know of one company which for many years has been paying a rental#of £2,503 for its London office that is now functioning quite satisfactorily from a country house in Surrey the rental of which is only £100. If firms are able to carry on their business from country addresses where rents and rates are absurdly low by com­parison with those paid in Central London, it is highly probable that they will endeavour to continue doing so when the war is over. After all, avast amount of the office work that is conducted in London could as easily be carried on in the heart of Surrey or Sussex, leaving only a skeleton staff to maintain the necessary London contacts. ?Skeleton staff, by the way, has become a byword in London these days, and only today I experienced the effect of it in a well-known City restaurant which has been running with half staff and half the premises closed for months. Suddenly, and for no accountable reason, there was a great influx of customers at lunch, and rooms which had been curtained off to half their normal dimensions had to be cpened up to accommodate those who were clamouring for food, but the “skeleton ’’staff had to rattle its bones in double-quick measure in order to cope with the overflow. This is one of the great difficulties always besetting the caterer, and I often marvel at the ability of a restaurateur to serve sixty people one day and two hundred and fifty the next with no warning whatever of the increased demand.
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