What Readers have said about
‘The Casualties Were Small’

Leave a comment


  1. … Dad thoroughly enjoyed it and found it fascinating. In fact we both did and couldn’t tear ourselves away once we’d started reading it. After reading it himself he passed it on to me and I have to say that I was strangely impacted by the whole thing. It’s truly a living history, life of the times as it unfolded. May was someone I’d love to have met and discussed life and faith with… Reading her diaries has been a very emotional journey for me personally, and I imagine it will have touched many a heart.

    Janet M, Helensville, New Zealand

  2. I enjoyed the book immensely. This book (order) is for my brother (in Kansas, USA)…

    Gabrielle P, Tywardreath, UK

  3. Received your most excellent book … I’m sure I certainly won’t be the first to congratulate you along with all your helpers on a superb piece of work. What long hours you must have spent on research and organising the results into some order. Bravo! The sharp irony implicit in the title becomes all the more poignant when reading the main poem so beautifully put together.

    Robert T, Bishop Auckland, UK

  4. It is absolutely charming and wonderful, all your hard work was worth it. I shed quite a few tears as old memories were stirred … May was very eloquent, and the love she had for her son just jumps off the page … The book will sit amongst my treasures.

    Eileen T, Mijas Pueblo, Spain

  5. Received the books today thanks. It is a triumph, so professional. I look forward to reading it all. You must be very proud of your achievement.

    Patricia R, Towcester, UK

  6. Thoroughly enjoying reading, it has brought back so many memories. I find myself becoming quite emotional at times…

    Gwen C, Formby, UK

  7. … As I began I thought it was just another diary but as I read on I began to get a picture of a remarkable woman, very brave and sensitive. I can’t imagine many people in the midst of the war being able to think that the war was awful for the Germans too … My mum would have loved it, especially as she was a great lover of poetry … I particularly like the title poem but also “The Lessons We Learn” and “Council Houses”. It is a book I will treasure and read many times.

    Patricia R, Towcester, UK (again)

  8. … I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it. Not only are the day to day personal accounts extraordinary in their own right, but the emotive way they related what the feelings and the “ordinary doings during the days of war” of so many people must have been like. It really does bring history alive. In my view this makes it historically significant … I found it’s the type of book you can leave for a while and then go back to with renewed interest.

    Thomas Z, Buffalo, New York State, USA

  9. … Congratulations on a very fine piece of historical work which will become an important document in the local history of Lincolnshire… It will also have much wider interest well beyond people who live and lived in Lincolnshire … A wonderful little book.

    Howard Leader, BBC Radio Lincolnshire, UK

  10. What a splendid job you’ve both made of it! A good job, very well done, you should all feel very proud.

    Margaret Gaskin, London, UK - author of 'Blitz: The Story of December 29, 1940'

  11. Congratulations … for devoted labours to share with a wider public May Hill’s poetry and diaries … I found the diaries a valuable and deeply compassionate portrayal of what the war meant to a Lincolnshire family. Of the five names on the village war memorial for World Wars I and II, four of them Hills!

    John Corsellis, UK - author (with Marcus Ferrar) of ‘Slovenia 1945: Memories of Death and Survival after World War II'

  12. … We are delighted to add [this book of] your grandmother’s wonderful diary and poems to our collection …

    Department of Printed Books, Imperial War Museum, London, UK

  13. … It looks terrific and is a most enjoyable and moving read … I lent it to my mother (93 now) and she not only enjoyed it enormously but took it upon herself to pass it around the sheltered flats to her contemporaries. So it has been much appreciated.

    Joan J, Wickham Market, UK

  14. Your grandmother’s experience interests me greatly, as part of the picture I am trying to build up, for myself and my students, of the war mindset. At last, we are beginning to clear away some of the mists of patriotic propaganda, and to listen to what ordinary people were saying…
    … What a wonderfully researched labour of love. I found it completely engrossing and have to admit to shedding a tear when I came to the end. I was really pleased to see that the interleaving of the social history with the prose diary and poetry really worked. It is something I have long argued for, but it has been so seldom done that I have found it difficult to prove my case. Now I can…

    Helen G, Professor, Toulouse, France

  15. … A most charming book … A delightful reminder of a world long-disappeared, not just for the impact of the war and its hardships and sacrifices, but simply of a life before the true impact of 20th Century technology and values.

    Steve Bonde, Editor of ‘Legion Lincs’, County Newsletter of the Royal British Legion in Lincolnshire

  16. … I found it a delightful collection of writing … extremely poignant, how she battled her ‘old enemy’ whilst creating meals during rationing and ‘making do’. Her tone epitomises the wartime spirit of women, keeping a home life going whilst at the same time worrying about family, friends and even strangers suffering the effects of war… A tribute to a strong woman. It is so important to keep alive the ‘voices’ from the past to ensure we learn and remember the horrors of war and how it affected everyone … I did enjoy reading the poetry and prose very much and May’s pride in her garden flowers in her final entry moved me to tears.

    Maéve T, Head of English Faculty, High School, Suffolk

  17. Isobel (aged 8, our daughter) and Jessica (aged 6, niece) have used the book for History homework, (I think the teachers were rather impressed!) and my brother, a teacher, lent his copy out to a colleague in the English department of his school in Sussex, only to have to beg for it back three months later!!

    Zoe and Colin B, Louth, UK

  18. A charming book, I shall treasure it … May’s poems are touching, nostalgic, angry at times. Her diary gives us an insight into the constant worry of family serving in the forces and the heartbreak when they are lost. She tells of the resourcefulness of the country housewife during the war years – make do and mend, and her deep faith shines through in all her writing. A very strong and sensitive lady, you must be very proud of her… Congratulations on producing this lovely little book.

    Joyce A, Grimsby, UK

  19. The mixture of diary entries interspersed with poems written during the wartime period covered in the title gives a valuable flavour of how the trauma of war affected those left behind … Well produced and illustrated, this forms a local insight into wartime lives in the county.

    Raymond Carroll, Reviews Editor, in ‘Lincolnshire Past and Present’, Magazine of the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology

  20. Very personal insight into local life … A great letter writer. Revealing comments on relations, and the way the war crept into daily life … An eloquent record, and a simple effective way with words in the poems which also reflect her Christian faith … This little book is highly recommended reading.

    David Robinson OBE, Historian and Consultant, in 'Lincolnshire Life'

  21. Read this online and could not stop. I am ashamed of our waste today. I can’t stop thinking how hard working they all were, even while being sick. What happened after Nov. 1943? I need to know the rest of the story! Did Ron come home?

    April T.

If you would like to add your own comments on ‘The Casualties Were Small’ please write them here...

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *