"They Are a Miracle"
Sir Christopher, whose greatest architectural monument is St. Paul's Cathedral, which so far has enjoyed a number of narrow escapes from Nazi bombs, laid plans to rebuild London as a city of broad avenues and noble vistas such as Paris and Washington are today. Sir Christopher's grandest ideas were ignored, but last week it seemed that no matter who wins the Battle of Britain, future years may see a vastly improved and reconstructed London rising out of much present ruin and debris. Economist John Maynard Keynes figures, perhaps optimistically, that up to this week German bombers had destroyed no more than Londoners have the means to rebuild in a year.
In the Express, owned by Aircraft Production Minister Baron Beaverbrook, slick Columnist John MacAdam shamefacedly wrote of the Auxiliary Fire Service that before the Blitzkrieg began "we used to smile a little at them sometimes. 'The spit and polish firemen,' some people called them and there were others who used to talk about 'three pounds ten a week for playing darts.' The A. F. S. took it all with a shrug—in much the same way as they now take the chorus of inner "Thank God for the A. F. S.' . . . There never was a force in the history of service that had a more terrible baptism of fire."
The A. F. S. consists of people of all classes, butchers and baronets, clerks and cooks, lawyers and liverymen. "I used to sell gramophone records," volunteered a fire-truck driver whom the Nazis have kept so busy that he has grown a beard for lack of time to shave. "Funny how a beard gives you a hand with the girls," he added. "I've a good mind to keep it as a permanent fixture."