All posts in category Diary

Thurs. Feb. 10. 9.5. a.m. [1944]
# POPULAR BOOK CRITICISED
# COAL SUPPLEMENT APPRECIATED
# QUILT MAKING COMPLETED
# NEWS FROM RON’S FRIEND VIC

Have just finished reading “Crusade” by Rupert Croft-Cooke. Am very disappointed as I have wanted to read it ever since it was D.M. [Daily Mail] Book of the Month. I think it rather an impossible tale of a man gradually going insane and even then he is left by the wayside after a year with nothing to show what came of his crusade except charact[er] who had many fine qualities but nothing alters the fact that he was a lazy tramp. After all Harry’s heroics one is inclined to say at the end “The dog it was that died.” No doubt I miss a lot of the characters good points but that is how it looks to me.

It is very cold this morning with showers of snowy sleet. Father is on Patrol. He finishes to-morrow. He will not be sorry if this weather continues. His coal has been very welcome, 5 bags a month is not enough this time of the year. Must order some more coke, it helps.

Finished my quilt last night button-holes and all. It will be useful even if far from perfect. Rene’s belt got 7 points. That is two of my needle-work jobs finished this week. Quilt and Rene’s gloves. Eff wishes she could make Fr[ank] a pair of slippers like Father’s. She has a pattern and went to the slipper lessons so I think she could if she tried. I wish I could get a pattern and instructions, as I think it would be easier to make them and they would look more professional. It’s a good thing I did not go to W.I. as asthma is rather troublesome and I might have blamed going out in the wind. Have finished last part of pattern in cardigan so all plain work now. Will endeavour to make an end of it soon. Had a letter from Vic yesterday.

Rupert Croft-Cooke was a well-known English writer and broadcaster who served in the British Army during WWII but later became a controversial figure.

Vic Morrall was one of Ron’s early RAF chums and best-man at his wedding (see 1 Aug 1942).

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

Wed Feb. 9. 8.40. a.m. [1944]
# FAMOUS SPEAKER AT WOMEN’S INSTITUTE
# APRICOT JAM MAKING
# HOME-CURED BACON SAMPLED
# MORE ALLIED SUCCESSES
# SISTER’S FAMILY MOVING AGAIN

Cold and fine, no wind this morning, tho’ there was so much yesterday, I did not go to W.I. I would have risked it but am such a nuisance to the others if I am ill that I gave in and stayed at home. I think after all, it would have been better not to have joined. It is so disappointing not to go, and yesterday Mrs Wintringham was speaking. It was also the month for the “something new, out of something old” comp[etition] and I wanted to take my toy Scottie, made from velvet from an old dress and kapok from my large tea-cosy that I made smaller. Rene took belt made from scarlet leaves cut from an old felt hat, with old red buckle. It looks very nice and is a good idea for Xmas presents. Am looking forward to hearing about it to-day. Father got more coal yesterday, we save it for evening in room, it makes a lovely hot fire and lasts so long. I did not finish my quilt as I had not quite enough Kapok in the house, but have only an hour’s work on it now. It will be almost better than I hoped, when it is done, but do wish I had got something darker than gold for the front panels. The all blue side is very nice indeed and I am quite proud of it. It is costing about 12/0 in material. I had the other bits. It would have cost 16/0 if I had had all to buy.

[Aside: Apricot Jam recipe] Made nearly 4lbs jam yesterday. ½ lb dried apricots soaked in 1½ pints water all night (24 hours) boiled until fruit was soft, then added two lbs sugar and boiled until set when tested. Cost 1SD. To buy it is 1/1 lb so a great saving, I am getting 2 lbs sugar or perhaps 3 lbs, with my preserve ration for the month to make my marmalade.

Have started bacon, fried some and it is very good tho’ it seems rather salt after “bought” bacon, mild cured. Must boil some to-day. Have almost eaten pickled onions so must do more. Russians have captured manganese mines which Gers. have been holding so tenaciously. It will be a great blow to them to lose them, tho’ no doubt they will have got a good stock out. Marshall Is. are in Allies hands. I have an anemone in bloom and several more buds. Had a letter from [sister Emily] Em L. yesterday, says they have violets and Polly Aunts [polyanthus] in bloom, should think it is a bit milder in Newark than by the sea. The farm they are on is to be offered for sale so Jess has taken another place as tractor driver on a large farm in Lincs. They have been to look at the house, it is all freshly done up inside (what a change!) and they move in about a month. I wish “flitting” did not bother me more than it does them, tho’ I have made up my mind not to worry over it. I would not mind so much if I were well and strong.

Mrs Margaret Wintringham, WI guest speaker, had already been a leading figure in the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NWFI) within Lincolnshire before she became a heroine as a champion of women’s causes upon her election as Member of Parliament for Louth, Lincolnshire, in 1921. This was in a by-election following the death of her husband, Tom, and she was only the second woman MP after Nancy, Lady Astor, whose election was in 1919. Although failing to retain or regain her seat in subsequent general elections she had continued to be a high-profile campaigner for the rights of women and children.

The Marshall Islands, in the Pacific, were the first Japanese pre-war territories captured by U.S. forces.

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

Tue. Feb. 8. 44. 8.40 a.m.
# COAL FROM BEACH
# WAR NEWS GOOD – CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM

Much lighter this morning, clear and cold and windy. After raining a little yesterday morning it cleared and all the clothes dried. I finished Rene’s gloves at night, being too tired to finish quilt. Washed Jean’s hair, it dries quicker now it has been cut. Father got about 4 st. coal in big lumps yest. morn. and his handkerchief and pockets full at night as he forgot his bag. He wonders if the lighter which was blown up and sunk last year has started to break up. It was loaded with coal.

Russians have trapped several Div[isions] of Gers and all efforts to rescue them seem to have stopped. Pacific war pace increases and in Italy things appear to be going well. Altho’ we are warned not to be too optimistic, nothing can quite subdue the feeling that the end cannot be very far off. Not in a month or two perhaps but this year we hope.

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

Mon. Feb. 7. 44. 8.30. a.m.
# JEAN’S BIRTHDAY VISITORS
# COASTGUARDS’ AIRCRAFT RECOGNITION TEST
# ORANGES FOR MARMALADE

It is very dull but not so bitterly cold this morning. We had sleet on Sat and yesterday was icily cold. I did not get to Chapel at night as the cold wind took my breath just to go outside. Rene came in afternoon. Tom was preaching at night so she was going. Jean had a lot of home-work to do as she got none done on Sat. It was her birthday. Joyce, Mavis, Ken [R] and David came for tea. Joy[ce] had to go home on 8.30 bus’ so they all went then. Joy. brought her a bottle of Yard[ley] Lav[ender] scent, very nice. Mav. “The Fluter’s Ball” and Ken two handkerchiefs. Had a letter from Vamplew. Military have his bungalow. Father has an aeroplane test today. He does not like that part of his duties. For one thing the test is not carried out fairly and another is he finds it difficult to remember names and numbers. Also it does not seem to be of any use to them, so long as they know enemy planes from our own it should be enough and leave the rest to the R.O.C. [Royal Observer Corps].

I have got wash-pot on for small wash. (I do not intend to take another house without a copper if I can help it.) We did a large one last week and I don’t intend doing many today as the weather doesn’t look too good. We got 5lb oranges on Sat. I hope to make some marmalade.

David Sparling was the son of a naval petty officer, based at ‘Royal Arthur’, whose family lodged with Herbert and Annie Faulkner (see 9 Feb 1942).

The present of ‘The Fluter’s Ball’ may have been sheet music (for piano) with lyrics from the original ‘Phil the Fluther’s Ball’ by Percy French.

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

Fri. Feb. 4 8.30 a.m [1944]
# LETTERS FROM RON IN ITALY
# MORE SHOPPING IN SKEGNESS
# LANDLADY WANTING TO MOVE BACK IN

Father set off on Patrol at 8.15 and I took down the black-out at once. It is a clear cold morning, more like winter weather than it has been for some time. It blew half a gale when Jean started for school at 8 o’c but the wind dropped suddenly and there is very little now. Think it took the darkness with it as it is the lightest morning we have had, that is, light the earliest. It is almost north tho’ so we may get it dry or we may get some snow. We had a letter from Ron on Wed and 2 more yesterday, one Jean’s. Rene also had one, but they were all written in Dec. He has got “Mr Chips” and read it, was very pleased with it. He had a very nice Xmas. Slippers for Father finished, they are not at all bad and will do until he gets more coupons. Much better than having to wear his boots at night by the fire. They are rather large but he says they are comfortable.

Went to Sk[egness] on Wed. Hat shop took Father’s to clean and reblock. They can only take them for an hour, first three days of week again now and as mine may have to be dyed and certainly re-shaped they dare not take it, we were too late on Wed. Father got round them however to reshape his. He got his fountain pen but it was only 9/2. They said they were reliable at that price. He bought two, one for my birthday. It is a very nice one and I am pleased to have it tho’ I should not have bothered about one so long as this would write. It is quite good since I had new nib and was only a cheap one to start with. Ron got it at Naffi [NAAFI] when he was at Binbrook. Rene got a very nice blouse and we paid 9/6 for year’s subs[cription] at Boots’ Library. Books can be changed at any time, and there is no restriction as to time of keeping them out. I got another writing-pad and envelopes at Dutt[on]‘s. I use a lot.

Had another letter from Mrs. Fletcher. She really wants to come back any time if we can get a suitable house, but quite realises we are not obliged to move. It makes us feel unsettled tho’. I have written to Mr Vamplew to see if he wants to let Bung[alow] next to Rodwell’s if suitable, but we shall not move yet unless we do find a suitable house. I would prefer to be nearer the Chapel if possible.

Mr Vamplew, a builder, of Friskney owned several adjacent bungalows, near ‘Point Farm’, including ‘Peacehaven’ and the one which had been occupied by Warners (see 2 Feb 1944).

Rodwell was a senior Navy officer, based at ‘Royal Arthur’. The bungalow was one of those owned by Mr Vamplew.

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

Wed Feb 2. 44. 8.30 a.m.
# MORE WARNINGS AGAINST OPTIMISM
# CIVIL DEFENCE DISCUSSED
# SHOPPING IN SKEGNESS

The warning against the wave of optimism, that has been sweeping over the country lately, was repeated in the news again this morning. I think most people have been feeling more hopeful lately and it comes as rather a damper, to be told it is vain optimism. I think tho’ a lot of it has been “wishful thinking” and that always at the bottom of our hearts, or far back in our minds, tucked away with those far off Japs, has been a fear of bitter struggles yet to come before Gers are subdued. I still think they will do their worst on our little isle before they give up. It is only reasonable to think so, I feel that it is exactly what we should do so why not they. I don’t think we should use gas but we should do and are doing terrible things to get the better of them or at least to inflict punishment. I do not think the Civil Def[ence] are serious enough over their work. There ought to be an immediate inspection of gas masks and everyone should be prepared for an attack. If they should come they will not warn us. In this village the decontam[ination] stn. is closed! I think all civilians over twelve should be compelled to receive instruction on the subject or if it comes hundreds of lives will be lost thro’ ignorance.

Enough of war for now, I must get to work. We are going into Sk[egness] with Father to get petrol and I want to take my hat to be dyed and reblocked and Father’s too to be cleaned. Rene wants to do a little shopping. Had 2 letters from Ron yesterday written just after Xmas. They had a good Xmas dinner and enjoyed it. He has got “Mr Chips” and read it and it was then going round room he said. Must send him more books now he can read a bit.

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

Tue Feb 1st 8.40. am [1944]
# MAKING SLIPPERS
# GLOOMY PROSPECTS AS WAR CONTINUES
# CONCERNS FOR PRISONERS OF JAPANESE

It did not rain after all but after dinner sun came out and it was fine and cold. Not very light yet but seems clear with breeze getting up. Rene did part of her collecting yest. morning but was so cold she did not finish. Father went to Redcott for an hour. I found some very stiff cardboard and have started on Father’s slippers. Have finished one. Covered board with tweed from Rene’s old coat (good coat that, she has already made a hat and skirt from it and we have had other slipper soles too) for the outside of sole. I have put leather from my old coat. The slipper top is from old railway upholst[ery] bound with silk, no less, from an old dress! Something new out of something old. The first one is quite successful. Its chief fault is that it is too large. I was so afraid of getting it small. However they are only for indoors so think a little kapok in the toes will remedy that. They look quite nice too. I lined them with a bit of sateen.

An ? [as written] says there are no signs of the war being over for a long time and urges people not to be optimistic about an early finish. Says Gers are not whacked yet, and will fight desperately to the finish. Then Japs must be completely conquered. In view of the terrible way they are treating our men and internees we must all agree with that however much we want to see the end. Whenever I feel inclined to fret over Ron, I remember the mothers and wives with boys in the hands of Japs and instead of fretting am thankful he is where he is instead of there. They have reason to fret and cannot help.

Will would have been carrying out lawn maintenance at ‘Redcott’, for absent owners, the Denmans (see 29 May 1945 and Village Map).

Where May wrote ‘An ?’ she may have started to write the first name of Aneurin Bevan and been unsure of the spelling. He was then an outspoken Labour MP and was later architect of the National Health Service as Minister of Health in Attlee’s post-war government.

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

Mon. Jan.31. 8.25 am. [1944]
# RENE COLLECTING FOR RED CROSS
# EMBARGO ON OIL FOR SPAIN
# SYMPATHY FOR GERMAN VICTIMS OF MASS BOMBING

It is much lighter this morning. Jean will soon be able to go without lights now. She and Father have gone and I have cleared breakfast away and put on soft water for washing up. We are not washing to-day as Rene wants to collect Red + [Red Cross] pennies if fine. She was very pleased with slippers and took them home with her, Sunday or no. I hope they wear long enough to pay for the trouble. Father’s are too small since they were resoled. They were good ones and worth it but the cobbler has sprigged them round instead of stitching or sprigging soles and it has taken the tops in. If I can get a pair of soles I will make him some as he can’t spare coupons to buy any. He would not like the soft soles I think. The parades went off successfully, it was a perfect day for the occasion, not enough wind to keep flags from drooping. Jean was very tired last night but did her home-work.

I have just taken down the “black-outs”. It is grey and misty, not at all like yesterday. We cannot expect every day to be like that tho’ in mid-winter. This is the last of Jan and whatever weather we may have now can’t last so long. Now that the short dark days are past, things dry up much more quickly and there is always the feel of spring in the air. This year too in spite of everything, there seems more hope and looking forward we hope it may not prove a “false dawn”.

Last week we stopped (that is America with our full approval) sending oil to Spain. None is to be sent until after Feb. and I suppose by then Spain will have mended her ways or it will not be resumed. Spain, calling herself neutral, is far too friendly with our enemies. In spite of denials that Spanish soldiers were fighting in Russ. they have lately captured some. She has apologised profusely for “orange bombs” and promised to keep a rigorous watch over her exports to England. I hope no more countries will be dragged in and so prolong the war. The Argentine has thrown in her lot with us i.e. the Allies.

The day and night bombing of Germany is terrible, we must be crippling all their factories. I feel somehow that we shall not escape punishment for all this wholesale murder. All is certainly not “fair in war”. Then how can we expect a complete victory over our enemies, we do not seem to try to conquer the “enemy within our gates”, indeed drinking and immorality seem to be encouraged by those who should set a better example. I think, until England repents and mourns for her sins as well as sons, that it is an affront to God to have days of prayer. Perhaps this is treason, but I think if the King was a stronger character and used his power for good, he could do a lot by leading the way. It is of no use in these days to simply be good, it is necessary to do good too. Christ when on earth “went about doing good”, he was not content to set a copy, he lived and taught it. Now I must start to work. It “blows like rain”.

Under General Franco, Spain during World War II was ‘non-belligerent’ but had divided loyalties between the Axis and Allied sides and there were volunteers serving on each side.

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

Sun Jan 30. 8.30 am [1944]
# YOUTH PARADES AT CHAPEL AND CHURCH
# MORNING VIEWS OF SEA BEYOND CHAPEL POINT
# HIGH TIDES CAUSE FLOODING
# MORE ‘MAKE DO AND MEND’

It is almost sunrise but still not very light. I have just taken Jean a cup of tea. She was at G.L.B [Girls' Life Brigade] party last night, and has a head-ache this morning, also her ear seems to be troubling her again, as it did when she had flu. There are two youth parades to-day, Chapel this morning and Church this afternoon. I shall try to persuade her not to go to the second. It is one of Jim Hall’s whims. I took the curtains down from my bedroom window, the window was open as it was not windy, and looked over the Point to the sea as I usually do every morning. It is a lovely morning, the air soft and spring like, no wind but gulls flying west so probably a W. wind later. Birds are trying their notes of spring songs. The patch of sea I can see over the Point has caught the dawn and is white and luminous almost bright. There have been high tides again this week and it has partly flooded the Marsh again. Bomb and sea damage to bungalows will be inextricably mixed I should think.

Last night I put the soles on Rene’s quilted slippers. They are quite satisfactory so long as the stitches don’t pull thro’ the rubber soles, they are very warm and comfortable. I have had them about a long time and am glad to get them done. I think that is one of my New Year Resolutions, to finish off all of my odd jobs which I have started. I prefer not to publish it tho’, knowing my failings in that direction! Have heated soft water for Jean to wash in, she has just fetched it and shown me a huge bruise on her hip which she acquired last night in a fall at the Party. It went off well I think and Jean enjoyed it. I made some raspberry tarts and Jean took a dozen of them. They had plenty of food and sold surplus for G.L.B funds. Boys were requested not to smoke in Hall and dutifully went outside, tho’ B.B [Boys' Brigade] boys are not supposed to smoke.

Jim Hall (of Hall’s Stores) was captain of the local Boys’ Brigade (see 19 Dec 1942).

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

Sat Jan 29. 44 8.15 a.m
# ANOTHER DIARY COMMENCED
# BLACKOUT CARELESSNESS NOTICED
# REPORTS OF ENEMY RAIDERS SHOT DOWN
# MILD WEATHER PROMPTS GARDENING

One month of this New Year has almost gone
We look for peace before the year is done
The talked of second front, will it begin?
And take a vicious toll of lives before we win?

Father has just started off to patrol the beach. He should really start about ¼ to 8 but even at 8.15 it is far from daylight. At 8.10 Mrs Lucas had taken her black-out down. (She is usually last to put it up and first to take it down.) It showed a bright square of light in what was still only twilight and our planes are pouring in, evidently from a raid. However at 8.15 when Father started, the light had gone or black-out had been put up again. Perhaps someone had complained. A few enemy planes were over last night. We heard, or rather felt one heavy explosion. Radio reports some casualties but don’t know where. When the 90 Gers came last week (21st) 16 planes were brought down. We do not know what casualties there were but I am afraid several as it has not been published.

Jean went to G.L.B [Girls’ Life Brigade] last night. It is their party to-night. I forgot, yesterday when baking, to make cake or pastry for it so shall have to do something to-day. It has been such a warm wind the last two days that I have done a little (very little) in the garden. Just trimmed one edge of little bed in front of kit. window and pulled a few weeds out of front border cut old chrys. stems down and pulled off dry leaves of montbretia, underneath the white points of snowdrops are bravely showing and one in the open is almost in bloom. There are not so many as when we came, flowers seem to get lost in this sandy soil especially bulbs. Anemones tho’ flourish as I do not disturb them except to weed on the surface. The three grown from seed are showing nice big leaves. I wish they would flower this year. I have a little row of new seedlings too now, their frilly leaves just to be discerned amongst the first plain leaves. If we have to move they will do to take with us. I dread the thought of “flitting”.

Eff came yesterday. She told us Norman’s wife has a daughter. So Daisy is a grandma! I expect she will be very proud of it too. It seems Freda is Gladys’s husband’s sister, we did not know until lately.

Mrs Hedley Lucas lived at ‘Delamere’ on St Leonards Drive, almost opposite the Parishes’ ‘Rose Cottage’, north of ‘the basin’ (see Village Map). Her light would have been just visible from ‘Lenton Lodge’.
Mrs Steve Lucas, her sister-in law, lived at ‘The Dell’, close to the shore, off Sea Bank Road, not very far from ‘The Point’ but her light is unlikely to have been visible. The Lucas brothers were Home Guard members.

Freda Lammiman, wife of nephew Norman, was the sister of Walter, husband of niece Gladys née Lewis (see 1 Jan 1944).

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