Letter: Exhilaration - the Blitz mentality

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am sure many of those who experienced bombing as civilians in the Second World War will recognise the excitement and stimulation Matthew Maxwell reports he felt during the Los Angeles earthquake (letter, 21 January).

When our house in London received a direct hit during the Blitz, I recall emerging from the debris and choking dust into the cool, fresh air, conscious that the guns that had been firing when I went to sleep at about 10pm were silent, while the planes continued their droning procession across the sky. But my most vivid memory is of the exhilaration and euphoria I felt, although I was soaked with my critically injured mother's blood.

I remained on this 'high' for about three weeks, until I was sobered up by the presence of the dismembered corpses of a dozen firemen, killed by a direct hit, deposited in sacks in the building next to the one I was firewatching in. I have read that my reaction was common in such circumstances, especially among young people - I was rising 18.



London, SW6

21 January