All posts in category Diary

Wed July 5 10.30. p.m. [1944]
# LOVELY SEASONAL WEATHER AND BIRDSONG
# WATER PUMP PROBLEMS INVESTIGATED
# MANY BOMBERS OVERFLYING
# PLANTING GARDEN FLOWERS

A lovely day, not too scorchingly hot. Rene washed a few clothes got them dry, and I ironed after tea. T[om] Coote trimmed hedges, he has no mercy on flowers, think I shall trim inside front hedge before he starts on it next time. Had a card from Bailey to say my letter re [water] pump was receiving attention and during morning the rent collector came to look at it. Herbert came to-night and seems undecided as to whether it can be repaired or if a new one is necessary. Anyway they have moved at last. Mrs J. Short came to borrow hay fork. I have cleaned up some of the hedge trimmings and watered cauliflowers. Mrs Stewart sent me some antirrhinums with Mrs Hutton this morning so if they and the pansies Rene brought flower we shall have a little bloom soon. I have also set Virginian Stocks and planted out a few Aster seedlings. A lot of bombers have been over to-day. We have had no fire in kit. Still undecided about kitchen fender. It looks so nice when I can get it clean and matches grate. A thrush is singing beautifully in snatches and every morning, early, a lark goes singing up in opposite field. I think it must have a nest.

Tom Coote was the neighbour in Council House No. 2 (see 7 June 1944).

Mr Bill Bailey was the Surveyor for the Spilsby Rural District Council.

Herbert, here, was probably Herbert Raynor, garage-owner, brother of Frank Raynor (see 9 December 1941).

Mrs J Short, here, was Charlotte, the wife of Jarvis Short, whose small-holding ‘Elm Farm’ was close to the end Council house (No. 4) in Skegness Road and who was therefore a new neighbour. Two brothers of Jarvis, Randolph (‘Ran’) and Sam, had farms off Trunch Lane (see Village Map). Sam and sister, Hilda, had been at school with Rene. Sam’s son, Dave, was a Home Guard member (see photograph, 6 June 1944).

‘Mrs Stewart’, here, probably meant Mrs Steward who lived in a bungalow on Church Lane (across the Orby Drain from Skegness Road), near Cradle Bridge. Her friend, Mrs Hutton, of the evacuee family (see 5 March 1944) may have conveyed the plants by pony and trap, while on a milk round from Brock’s (see 3 June 1944).

The fender was probably that given by Mrs Fletcher (see 17 June 1944).

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

Tue July 4 10.30 P.M [1944]
# BACK-DATED PENSION SURPRISE
# BUSY IN GARDEN – WEEDING
# SHOPPING IN SKEGNESS
# NEWS FROM RON

To my surprise I received a Sup[plementary] Pen[sion] book on Tue 27 June with 3 weeks back money. £1.4 a week, far more than I expected. With the other Pension of 15/0 and Rene and Ron paying rent I am able to live I hope even if I can’t make toys. If I can, I may make up to 10/6 profit a week and still get same Pen. I still don’t much like the idea of it but feel easier now I have it to fall back on. One has to live and as the Widow’s Pension won’t keep me I have to accept help from somewhere until Jean earns a good bit or I can make a lot with toys. It is doubtful if I make a living with them.

The garden is rather a burden in spite of help. I hate to feel dependent on other people. Perhaps when it is once in order it won’t be such a worry. I still have the triangle in front to dig and weed and there is so much of that twitchy weed with a leaf almost like a sycamore. A lot of it grew in Mrs Leivers garden. It comes up time after time and grows under path pavings. They are not set close together and weeds came up between them and between them and the wall. We have finished digging the plot for lawn and rolled most of it and I have run the Dutch hoe over it tonight to uproot little “weedlings” to coin a word.

Went to Trusthorpe Monday last week as it was Jean’s half-term. Aunt J[et] gave me £3. Fred gave Jean 2/6! Went to Sk[egness] Sat morning, hate going on crowded bus! Did not get to Chapel Sun as it was so damp and close. Miss West came at tea-time and stayed almost 2 hours, very depressing. It has rained nearly every day for ten days and is serious for the seeds which were out before it rained. Hallgarth’s were turning theirs tonight and clouds of dust were going up. Mould I should think. I made a weather-glass today with a sauce bottle and Horlicks jar. Should have been June water, hope it’s not too late, June water keeps indefinitely.

Flying-bomb menace gets no better I fear tho’ we bring a lot down. Rumours of evacuating London but think this is an exaggeration. It seems Govt. knew of them a year ago. They don’t seem to have made much prep. for them. War going well on all fronts in Allies favour. Letter from Ron last week, he had been very sick one day but said he was better. His letter seemed rather bleak. He said not to worry if we did not get money for a while. I fear he is moving.

On 5th June 1944 Ron’s RAF Squadron (93) had moved from Lago, their base in Italy for nearly 5 months, to Trecancelli, the first of a series of moves within Italy during June and July. See 93 Squadron History.

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Sun June 25 10.40 P.M. [1944]
# BLACKOUTS AND LIGHTING PROBLEMS
# FLYING BOMBS SHOT DOWN AND LOCAL VICTIM
# SOFT TOY SALES ADMIN
# PENSION FORMS AGAIN

I am in bed, have put up Bl[ack].O[u]t Curtain and tied string to E[ectric].L[ight] switch. Usually I can switch off with it but sometimes the string comes off. Light is jumpy to-night, decidedly AC [alternating current] I think. I don’t often B.O now either up or down[stairs] as it is light most of the night and will be for a time while this moon lasts. Tonight’s news opened with “Germans say we have taken Cherbourg.” Why on earth couldn’t they say whether we have or haven’t, instead of Gers say. An Ingoldmells boy, Smalley, was killed by a “Robot Plane” in S.E. and brought home to be buried this week. Lily Monks has two brothers wounded in France. Rob. Pl. continue to come over in fairly large numbers I think. We shoot a lot down. A Lincs. boy, it was Nurse Musgrave’s nephew, shot the first down. Mrs Hutton’s baby born Friday.

Emmie sent me £2 Thursday, 15/0 of it was for toys and 25/0 for 5 weeks rent. After this she is sending me 7/6 week from her and Ron. She wants more toys. I am still in the throes of red tape and Form so and so about them. Have sent to Dutton’s for latest form, must fill it in when it comes and await answer. Man from Sup[plementary] Pen[sion] Office Boston came Thurs. Very nice, but oh! what a lot they want to know and proof of everything even wanting to see my Birth Cert. It seems I am quite eligible as I am receiving Pen. for child, tho’ it will be done I reckon before they ravel this out. I hope I shall find I can do without it soon.

Smalley was a local (Ingoldmells) boy killed by a V-1, one of the early victims.

Lily Monk’s brothers, wounded in France were Reg (Green Howards) and George Boddice (Royal Engineers), both of whom recovered (see 22 March 1942).

Nurse Musgrave was the District Nurse based in Willoughby, whose working area, covered by bicycle, included the village.

Mrs Hutton, here, may have been Valerie’s mother (see 9 Feb 1943). She was NOT Mrs Hutton of the evacuee family (see 5 March 1944) but was probably the one meant with reference to toys, later.

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Mon June 19 8.20 a.m. [1944]
# SUNDAY DINNER WITH RELATIVES
# HAPPENINGS AT THE CHAPEL
# FEELING LOSS OF HUSBAND WILL
# ADVANCES IN FRANCE REPORTED

I have just heard the bus’ [for Skegness] stop for Jean and Geo[rge Ranson] and Dor[is Hall]. It is cold and very dull again, wind still N. I think not a bit like June. We went to Mary’s to dinner and G’ma’s to tea yesterday. Jean went to S.S. Sun. 3 times but I did not go in the morning. Wind was not so strong or I should not have gone. We had a huge dinner of boiled fowl, ham, new potatoes and gooseberry pie with cus[tard] and cream. Mary is used to piling up the plates for great boys. I could have done with less. The play by G. L. [Girls’ Life] Brigade was very good tho’ Ken [Raynor] insisted that it was not suitable as it was not a religious play. I rather agreed with him tho’ it was quite a good moral play. It was in fact Brigade Propaganda. Ken recited very well, tho’ once he mixed up the quantities of the loaves and fishes. Dor[othy] and Frank Raynor sang Rock of Ages in the afternoon and Eff and Frank sang it at night. Mr Scan preached morn. and ev. Comm. Storer presided in the aft. My opinion of him is rather like Ken’s of the play. At night the Toc. H. attended. I had never been to a “light ceremony” before. It is rather a draw-back to have a sense of the ridiculous at times, but to see those men, a lot of whom never go to church except for these occasions, seriously taking a candle out of a box and lighting it then repeating “They shall grow not old” rather savoured to me of ancestor worship. Still I suppose they do do a lot of good in some places, but I think the original meaning is getting distorted. Like my mirror which was a very good one 30 years ago but now gives a more and more distorted reflection as time passes. I must have been in a critical mood I think.

Girls' Life Brigade - Chapel St Leonards c.1944

Girls’ Life Brigade – Chapel St Leonards c.1944
Back row:
Beryl Ingoldmells, Mrs Ford, Daphne Ward,
Audrey Ingoldmells, June Miller, Olive Hall, Freda Short, Betty Johnson, Jean Hill (Flag Bearer), Edith North.
Middle row:
Joan Jackson, Eva Brown, Mabel Robinson,
Mrs Dandison (Captain), Grace Harness.
Front row (kneeling):
Flora Hall, Rita Clarke, Lilian Stapleton, Irene North.

Wrote to Ron later. I wonder if it will be easier next year. Everything now is strange. All I do I think, “last year we did this together” or “went there together”, and all the time I talk and smile and try to keep a calm front, while underneath is a fierce pain or dreary emptiness. How little we think, until we know by experience, of the sorrow there is around us, covered by smiling faces. We are across the Cherbourg Pen[insula] with approx. 25,000 Gers. cut off. They continue to send Robot planes, we are careful not to broadcast damage done. I fear it is considerable.

Doris Hall (whose ‘death’ was mistakenly reported on 16th March 1942), daughter of neighbours Albert and Emily, worked in Skegness. As well as brothers Ted and Albert, she had sisters Ethel, Emily and Olive (who, like Jean, was a Girls Life Brigade member and is in the photograph).

Dorothy Raynor was Frank Raynor’s niece, Ken’s cousin.

‘Mr Scan’, was probably a visiting preacher, whose name had been abbreviated.

The Girls’ Life Brigade photograph was believed taken by AE Wrate, Skegness. Permission for publication has been kindly agreed by Martin Wrate of Wrates Scholastic Photographs Ltd, Prince George St, Skegness.

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

Sat. 17 June. 9 o’c. a.m. [1944]
# VISIT FROM FORMER LANDLADY
# KING GEORGE MEETS TROOPS IN NORMANDY
# FIRST V-1 FLYING BOMBS REPORTED
# GARDENING HELP

Rough again this morning with a North wind. Not a bit like June. “Flaming June”. Last night Mrs Fletcher called. She looks very much older and is thinner. She is very grey (hair) and has the colourless face of the really elderly woman. She looks years older than Will did but is the same age. She has another tiresome young dog, a great black mongrel which if properly trained would be a fine companion, but being entirely untrained is a nuisance. She was very pleased to find house all ready to put her things in and is giving me her curb for the room here. If it is nice I must write to tell Emmie. Says she hoped it didn’t bother us getting out of the house as she never expected we should be able to move! “After all the worry we gave ourselves about it.” Well we had to move anyway. It’s wonderful how very nice everybody thinks these houses are! I must be hard to please as I am not particularly thrilled yet, but don’t think I should be very “thrilled” anywhere yet, tho’ I do think some of the little bungalows look cosy. There is certainly a lot of room for the money here and if only I could do it, I could make the rent with visitors. But I can’t so that’s that.

King went to Normandy yesterday. Fierce fighting. Yesterday we had news on wireless of a new secret weapon of Gers. It seems it is a Robot plane directed by wireless which explodes over its target. We gather considerable damage was done on its first trial here on Thurs. night. They were over S. Coast again last night. Don’t suppose they will waste them over country areas like this. Old Gerry’s wicked cleverness is not exhausted yet. What a waste of clever brains! If they were used for good the world might be heaven surely.

10. o’c. Evening same day.
Jean has washed her hair and is finishing drying it by the fire. She went with Mavis flag-selling after dinner (Aid to China) as Mav. is under 16 and could not go alone. (She is 15 tomorrow.) Rene came during the evening altho’ it was very windy. Cis and Gw[en] have been to Sk[egness] to the Circus. Said there were few there as “Salute the Soldier” week has drawn the crowds. I have done various mending jobs and cut out 3 more toys. Also crocheted a good part of a slipper sole in string for Cis. Rene brought us a bar of choc. Also a 3/6 bot. of Horlicks and the 4 p[ost]-cards of Will. Must take G.ma one. Have taken fur off green coat. Think I shall make collar reveres less and have it dyed black. It will be so useful and save my costume. Frank came and sized landing paper this morning and hilled the 3 rows of potatoes he had planted for me. I polished lino in kit. and boards in room, also piano. Jean polished spoons. I noticed one had a particularly brilliant shine, when I was putting the spoons away at dinner and found it was Dad’s old Army spoon with his number 283959, 25 years ago but I still know it by heart even as I know Ron’s 1128072 now. We have had no letter from him this week, nor from Emmie. Norman’s wife has heard from him.

The ‘curb’given by former landlady, Mrs Fletcher, meant fireplace fender or kerb.

The ‘Robot plane’ was the V-1 ‘flying-bomb’, later nicknamed ‘doodle-bug’ or ‘buzz-bomb’. The attacks began on 13th June 1944, soon reaching around fifty a day on London, and, although almost half were brought down, over 3000 struck.

Gwen Ranson was Percy and Ciss’s daughter, George’s younger sister (see 7 May 1944).

Probably Frank who was helping with papering and gardening was Frank Simpson (brother) but was possibly Frank Raynor (brother in law).

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

Fri June 16. 8.35 a.m. [1944]
# ACTION AND POLITICS IN FRANCE
# GRANDMA GIVES SUPPORT
# BUREAUCRACY REGARDING TOY TRADE
# GRAMMAR SCHOOL SPORTS DAY

A week since I wrote my diary last. I think I must try to write every day as the old ones are quite interesting to the immediate family and perhaps I may enjoy reading them all sometime. The war is well started, all our landing parties joined up. But it will be a hard struggle. Every day they bring the wounded home. It is a pity there are these strained relations between De Gaulle and some of the French and our own country and U.S.A. It is a pity I think that we do not come out straight and open either all for him and give him his due share in the Conferences or openly turn him down. U.S.A. don’t seem to like him and it must make his way doubly hard for him, having to fight for every step of his way against criticism from Allies and the open antagonism of part of his own country!

It was rough and cold last Sun but Jean and I walked down to Grandma’s intending to go to Chapel but I stayed with G.ma. She seemed fairly well and cheerful. Gave me 10/0 as she wondered how we would manage. Told her I was applying for Sup[plementary] Pen[sion]. My P. book came back yesterday with new address. 15/0 to 25 July then 10/0.

I must get on with Toy trade. Have made a dog out of red checked gingham, very nice for pram toy. Yesterday I finished Teddy Bear. Very good. On Mon I went to C. S. Bureau to ask about selling them. I have had to write to B[oard] of Trade. The tabbies in C.S.B are very kind and amusing, Mrs B[arratt] especially. They chatter and shuffle their papers and try to recollect what they know of the subject, but as they could not find anything definite gave me the address of B o.T. They would have written for me but I thought I would save them the bother. Afterwards Tom said they might have answered the C.S.B quicker, but we hadn’t thought of that. I thought writing direct and being answered might be quicker. We must wait a few days and see. Dr M syringed both of Jean’s ears, but her deafness had been better all day. Still a lot of wax came out so I’m pleased she went. He also mixed more ointment for psoriasis which up to now she has forgotten to call for. I made her put a knot in handkerchief to-day to remember.

Yesterday I went to G S [Grammar School] Sports as Jean begged me to go and see the school. It would be last opport[unity] while she was there. It was the best day of the week but I did find it very tiring especially as I had been to Rene’s the day before. Ciss wants me to crochet a pair of string soles for her slippers (they are lovely) and Eff says will I turn a sock heel for her one night. I have plenty of work to keep me occupied at present. Hope I shall hear from Emmie to-day. Expect it is too soon to hear from B. of T yet.

General Charles de Gaulle, although formally recognised by Churchill as leader of the ‘Free French’ since 1940, had faced various challenges which raised doubts about his authority. However, about a week after the D-Day landings, de Gaulle arrived in Normandy where his popular support was immediately apparent and he was able to gain a major influence on the strategy for the liberation of France. His entry into Paris, on 25th August 1944, and the liberation parade next day where he was accompanied by Resistance leaders, met with great acclaim and secured his own position of leadership. Early in the War he was known to have visited a unit of French sailors stationed at Ingoldmells, near May’s village – as seemingly referred to in the poem ‘Ye Cannot See’.

‘C. S. Bureau’ probably meant ‘Civic or Council Services Bureau’.

‘Tabbies’ meant tabby-cats – a term of endearment for the women in the Bureau.

Mrs Elsa Barratt was one of the C. S. Bureau ladies, probably in charge. She was also the local representative of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) in which capacity she had tried, vigorously but unsuccessfully, to arrange for Ron to be granted home leave after Will’s death. During the War she was also Billeting Officer for evacuees from Grimsby. She later became Chair of Skegness Town Council and several times Town Mayor.

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

Fri June 9. 6.o’c a.m. [1944]
# BIRDSONG LESS THAN AT HOME NEAR POINT
# PENSION FORMS FRUSTRATE
# SOFT TOY MAKING UNDERWAY
# CONCERN FOR LOCAL MEN ON ACTIVE SERVICE
# DIFFERING FORECASTS OF WHEN WAR WILL END

I slept until 5 o’c then woke with the old enemy asthma. I have taken down the black-out and opened the window as it is very close. It has been more rain and looks as if it may be drizzling now. It will do a lot of good. I can hear doves or pigeons cooing and every now and then a cuckoo. There seems to be a lot of cuckoos this year. In the back-ground is a chorus of smaller birds, but the black-birds and thrushes do not sing so much now. There does not seem so many birds here, I think the hills are a sanctuary for them at The Point. Yesterday I had notice that my Pension Book was at P.O. but they have put Lenton L[odge] for address tho’ I wrote some time since and informed them of the change. I went and got the necessary form W47 I think but found when I got home that I should have had an envelope with it and also Pension Bk. I must go again and draw Pension to the time we came here and post book with form. Oh, these forms!

I made the rabbit up yesterday that I cut out Wed. It is fine. Also I made up the grey horse I cut out some time since, so shall send all three to Emmie. I must really go to Sk[egness] and see about licence etc for selling them. If Jean is still deaf with one ear must go on Mon. We cleaned (Jean and I) the heap of rubbish left by Chriss [?] off the front garden last night. Rene dug a piece yesterday. It is nearly all done now and as I have got the roll[er] home I think I shall try to get seed in after the rain. If it doesn’t come properly I must do it again in autumn. Nurse says she doesn’t think Mrs C[oote] will last over to-day. It will be a relief if she goes, for herself and him. I heard him [Mr Coote] say yesterday, “I wish she could go, never mind what happens to me.” He does not believe in any life after this and will not have anyone to talk to Mrs C. but Ciss says she told her that she sung a bit sometimes and prayed too so I hope she has found the right way and that he may yet come to know different. How could I carry on at all but for the hope of a life to come, and meeting all those who have gone. One night Will seemed to come, and I wanted to go with him, but I thought of Jean and said, “I can’t leave Jean yet but wait for me.” I wonder where he is waiting, but he will be happy, not fretting as we do still.

Poor Mrs Hall has her two boys and her husband on the same ship. If it is lost she may lose all. I pray not. Almost every house has someone in the services they are anxious about. Poor Daisy, she expects Norman has gone. I felt so bad when I heard the tanks were going forward. He is in Tank Corps. Joan’s brother has gone too. Laurence [nephew] had orders to have all his kit ready, I wonder if he has gone. The wounded are already coming back, and alas, there are already many who will not come back. In Italy they are fighting hard too. Rome was taken without fighting. Gers said to save the city, but they went in such haste that they left a lot of equipment behind. Frank Adams has gone to Italy. Poor Sybil, I must write. I am pleased Ron is not back here now. If he had come home and then gone to France we should have been more worried than now. He seems safer there somehow.

Surely this year will see the end. Churchill has issued a warning against undue optimism at present. Ger has prepared for this and is not done yet. Perc[y] says it will be over in Sept. Let’s hope he is right. French have met our troops with cheers in Normandy, there was some doubt of their reception I think and no doubt all will not be so friendly. The Vichy Party have been told to fight against us. Even after the war I fear France will be torn between the two elements. “A country divided against itself cannot stand.” Turkey has disappointed us, but Spain and Portugal seem to be veering a little more to us under pressure tho’ I think Spain would defy us if she dared. Old scores are not forgotten. I think few planes were over last night as I did not wake.

10.20 p.m. To-day I drew the first 6 weeks of my widow’s pension. (I do not dare to let my thoughts dwell on it.) It is only 15/0 for Jean and I but what should I have done without it? Until 6 years or so ago when the Vol[untary] contributions came in we did not pay any Pension money. I drew the money up to 9th May, then as we came here on 10th address has to be altered, shall have about 4 more weeks to draw, back money, when it comes back, then there will just be 15/0 a week until July 25, then 10/0 until Jean is at work, unless I get Sup[plementary] Pension. I should get 10/0 for toys I sent to Emmie today, less 10D for postage. If I can get a sale for them and get a supply of kapok I shall be alright I think.

I drew £4.10. Pension and £3.16.1 from Will’s S[avings] Cert[ificate]. I gave Rene £1 to buy something. She is buying a cycle- basket. I think I had better have one too. I gave Jean 10/0 of it to put in Trustee [Savings Bank] for “Salute the Soldier” week at Sk. I made up my stamps to 30/0 to-day for a Cert. After this my savings will be less I expect.

I made a temporary “scraper” tonight as the soil here sticks, it is not like our old sandy garden. It is a very good job, except that the scraper part is not strong enough, must look out for a better piece somewhere. Percy set me some of his cabb[age] plants to-night. I think he’d like to plant the whole front garden, but I mean to have it grass.

The person named as ‘Chriss’, presumably connected with the previous occupant of Council House No. 3, has not been identified.

Joan, wife of Roy Simpson [nephew], had two brothers, Tony and John Collison. The reference here was probably to John, who was in the Tank Corps. Tony was in the Grenadier Guards.

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

Wed June 7. 10.15 p.m. [1944]
# NEWS OF ADVANCES IN FRANCE
# FORMER NEIGHBOUR CLOSE TO DEATH
# FAMILY VISITORS BRING CAKES
# PLANS FOR MORE SOFT TOY MAKING

News tonight says tanks are proceeding towards town of Caen where our troops are fighting. I wonder if [nephew] Norman [Lammiman] is there and if Peter Kirk took part in the great naval crossing. Mrs Hall will be thinking of husband and two sons. I went to see Mrs Coote this morning. She was only semi-conscious and seemed in great pain then. D[istrict] nurse came, she thinks she will not live much longer. Em L and Doris came on 12 bus’ from S[kegness]. Doris is looking well now, Em too. They brought a lot of cakes etc. I fancy I am the poor relation now. After the last two or three easier years it is going to take a little time to adjust things. I don’t see how the pension can possibly be enough to live on, I don’t even know how little it is yet. Jean’s ear still blocked, have syringed it tonight so hope it will unstop it or must go to the Drs. tomorrow as he does not take surgery Fri. and she is to go to [Margaret] Pickers on Sat to see about cycle.

I have cut out a rabbit ready to make for Emmie but have not sewn it as Ciss came in. I was not sorry as I was tired with Em and D coming. Must buckle to tomorrow as I want to make some money somehow. Sprogg has not returned. Snip brought another young rabbit to-day, not big enough to be taken from her. “Lady Jane” has a nest but don’t know how many are in it. Rene, Ciss etc were collecting for Flag Day, Red+ and St John’s this morning. It rained most of the morning. Rene did not get for dinner until 2 o’c. She had to go home to change.

Mrs Emily Hall’s family lived in semi-detached Council House No. 1, next door but one from May’s No. 3, on Skegness Road (see Village Map). Her sons, Ted and Albert (see 13 Jul 1943), had both joined their father Albert’s ship, following Navy training.

Mrs Coote, here, probably referred to Frank Coote’s elderly aunt (see 4 Dec 1942). She and her husband, Tom, were living in Council House No. 2 at that time.

Doris, here, was May’s sister Emily’s eldest daughter (see 19 Feb 1942).

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

Tues June 6 D-Day 9.30 pm [1944] SECOND FRONT
# D-DAY AT LAST – ‘AN ORDINARY DAY’
# FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT ON WIRELESS
# MONTGOMERY’S MESSAGE TO TROOPS
# CALL TO PRAYER BY KING GEORGE
# CHURCH SERVICE – ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
# THOUGHTS AT THE END OF DAY

So, at last the long-talked of Sec front has begun. I have not even given it a new page and that seems a fitting symbol of how it appears to me. What excitement there may be in towns or elsewhere, in the country, does not seem to have touched us here. It is just an ordinary day, after nearly 5 years of war it takes a lot to make us demonstrative. I went on with my ordinary work and made my first toy for sale, a white duck with green wings and yellow beak and feet. It is for Mrs Russell to give to a baby friend. I must make the rabbit for Emmie next and try to send an extra one too. Ciss cleaned her pantry and Rene washed. Jean went to school, indeed she had gone before the announcement:
4000 ships and a great many smaller craft crossed the channel. Great air-liners took air-borne troops behind the Ger. lines.

Montgomery is speaking now, a message to the troops of which he is the head.
Now a service. Almost 10 o’ clock. The A.B. Cant. [Archbishop of Canterbury] has spoken and now they are singing “Oh God, our help in ages past”.
At nine o’clock the King broadcast a call to prayer, not just one day but all the days of crisis. In the news afterwards we heard that all was still going well in France. I fear the “little people” like us would not just go on with this ordinary work. However pleased they may be at the thought of deliverance, at present it means danger and hardship and war. Many will have to leave their homes and many I fear will lose their lives.
The service is over, a beautiful service, ending with the hymn, “Soldiers of Christ Arise”.

We are in bed. A motor cycle has just gone by and a swiftly moving plane. Per[cy] was with H[ome] Guards last night. I am pleased he is at home next door tonight. God be with us all those whose sons or husbands or other dear ones have already fallen in this new front. Be with the wounded and comfort the dying and those who are afraid. We had 12 letters from Ron to-day – a record. I had 6, the others 3 each. In the most recent one, only a week since he wrote it, an A.M. Letter, he says his hopes of return are practically nil. I am almost pleased much as I long to see him but somehow he seems safer there at present. I must try to sleep now. The longed for D-Day has arrived. Deliverance Day Jean says it means.

Chapel St Leonards, Anderby and Hogsthorpe Members of the Home Guard © AE Wrate, Skegness

Chapel St Leonards, Anderby and Hogsthorpe
Members of the Home Guard © AE Wrate, Skegness
Back row:
Dave Short, Bob Taylor, Harry Epton, Ray Sharpe, Stan Grantham, Len Ingoldmells, Sam Scott, Billy Willson, Alf Johnson, Tom Hill, Mervyn Clark, George Dennis, Fred Dennis.
Middle row:
Tobias Harriman, Bob Thorn, Ben Clark, Silas Willey, Fred Boulton, Horace Grantham, Percy Ranson, Bill Sylvester, Tom Wright, Harold Brough, Geoff Hallgarth, John Hill, Frank Brough.
Front row (seated):
Charlie Knight, Jos Simpson, John Jinks, George A Young, Harry Atkin, Steve Lucas, Jack ‘Poppa’ Taylor (Lieutenant) and dog, Edgar Brown, Hedley Lucas, Norman Richardson, Billy Turner.
Sitting on ground:
George Lyle, Jim Lenton, Arthur Bradley, Sid Perry, Len Short, George Barker, Norman Willson, Harold Wright, Vic Chapman, Archie Hancock.

 

Ron’s letters were from Italy where he had been based at Lago airfield since his RAF Squadron (93) had moved from Capodichino in Naples in January 1944 on a day when they witnessed the first lava flow heralding an eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

‘Deliverance-Day’ was an apt interpretation, but officially D-Day simply means the day of the start of an operation, so every military operation has its D-Day. However the one on 6th June 1944 (the start of Operation Overlord) is unique in its popular recognition.

The Home Guard photograph, believed taken by AE Wrate, Skegness, was loaned by George and Dorothy Barker (who supplied all names in the caption). Permission for publication has been kindly agreed by Martin Wrate of Wrates Scholastic Photographs Ltd, Prince George St, Skegness.

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

Sun. June 4 10.20 PM [1944]
# STAYING IN DUE TO ASTHMA
# GARDEN ADVICE RECEIVED

Drizzly early but brighter later. Strong S.W. wind but warm and soft. Asthma early, very short of breath all day. Too rough for me to venture out. Ciss’s went out for day after it cleared. Geo[rge Ranson] went out early perhaps to Church. Jean went to S.S. [Sunday School] to practise for Anniversary. Mav[is] came home with her. Rene came, had tea, then she and Tom came after tea again. Everybody advises some fresh treatment of piece of ground for lawn. Tom says he will give me Hiawatha rose when I get trellis up. Fra[nk], Jess[ie] and Mav. came after Rene and Tom went. I was pleased to have their company. Sundays are hard days, days of rest for the body but not of mind. Must go to bed now as Jean is tired.

Probably overwhelmed by the amount of well-intended advice she was receiving from neighbours and relatives, May was inspired to write the poem ‘Council Houses’.

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?