I don't usually do pathos for the sake of pathos, but while reading Juliet Gardiner's The Blitz: The British Under Attack (London: Harper Press, 2010), 316, I came across an account of loss which I've read before, and which I still find as moving as I did the first time. The speaker is an elderly air raid warden from Hull.
The street was as flat as this 'ere wharfside -- there was just my 'ouse like -- well, part of my 'ouse. My missus was just making me a cup of tea when I come 'ome. She were in the passage between the kitchen and the wash 'ouse where it blowed 'er. She were burnt right up to her waist, 'er legs were just two cinders. And 'er face -- the only thing I could recognise 'er by was one of 'er boots -- I'd have lost fifteen homes if I could 'ave kept my missus. We used to read together. I can't read mesen. She used to read to me like. We'd have our armchairs on either side o' the fire, and she read me bits out o' the paper. We'd a paper every evening. Every evening.
The original source -- via Angus Calder's The People's War: Britain 1939-1945 (London: Pimlico, 1992 ), 226-7 -- is Mass-Observation report 844, Hull, 23 August 1941, 5.
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