October 14th 1939
Saturday Oct 14
Several days of inaction, which has led almost to an impression that there is no war on at all, has been rudely shattered for us by the announcement at 1.00 pm today that HMS Royal Oak* has been sunk. We have to content ourselves with the knowledge that 3 U-boats were dealt with yesterday.
Every day “new widows cry, new orphans howl”*, but the horror of it is that one is rapidly growing used to it.
Finland is menaced by Russia, but until some definite statement is issued concerning the negotiations now in progress, it is useless to speculate upon what will transpire there.
Six weeks tomorrow! What a lifetime, and what a hell we have lived through since then!
*The Royal Oak was torpedoed in Scapa Flow, Orkney. The BBC has marked the anniversary today with images of the damage to the ship.
**Macbeth, IV iii 4-5