All posts in category Diary

Postscript – After May Hill – Died 18th November 1944
# RECALLING MAY’S LAST SIGHT OF RON
# RON’S DEMOB AND RETURN HOME IN 1945
# VILLAGE WAR MEMORIAL – FOUR HILL FAMILY LOSSES
# MAY’S FAMILY – CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN
# DIARY AND POETRY PUBLICATIONS

Sadly, May’s war ended without the longed-for reunion with Ron, but not in the way she had feared most when she wrote, on 25th October 1943:

‘It is over a year since we saw Ron. I can still see the train pulling out with Ron waving from a carriage window, and how I felt as if he was taking a part of me with him, feeling as if I must strain my eyes for as long as I could see him, knowing it might be that it was the last sight of him we should ever have.’

With his mother defeated by her own ‘old enemy’, and his father gone not long before her, Ron’s war continued. He served with the RAF abroad for almost a year after May’s death, with no compassionate leave granted to attend either of his parents’ funerals. The pain of losing both parents, as well as their brother’s enforced absence, was hard for Jean and Rene to bear. Their grief was softened when Jean moved to live with Rene and Tom in their bungalow in the village. They kept in close touch with Emmie, Ron’s wife. In the summer of 1945 Emmie and Jean shared a holiday in the Lake District. Shortly afterwards Ron was demobbed, safely returning to England where he was joyfully reunited with his wife and sisters.

Ron and Emmie reunited, 1945

Emmie and Ron, together again at last,
after his return to England in 1945

The rejoicing at the end of hostilities was mixed with grief; the war had taken its toll on the family and the village. Of the four young men who had been lost in action, as recorded in the Diaries, three were May’s nephews, Tony Hill (RAF), Kenneth Hill (RAF) and Raymond Hill (Army). Along with that of Hugh Green (Merchant Navy) their names were added to the plinth of the village war memorial, located in the grounds of St Leonard’s Church. The memorial had previously been erected in memory of Will’s brother, Mark Hill (Army), the only man of the village to be killed in action during the First World War (see 16 Sep 1944 when May laid flowers on Mark’s grave). Their sacrifices have not been forgotten and the village memorial was re-dedicated, following refurbishment, in a service held in 2005 on the anniversary of Mark Hill’s death in on 13th September 1917.

Chapel St Leonards War Memorial

Chapel St Leonards War Memorial
with added WWII Inscription

War Memorial - Original Inscription

Original Inscription WWI

War Memorial - WWII Inscription

WWII Inscription

As for May and Will’s immediate family, life began to move on. The first grandchild, Rene’s son, was born barely a year after May’s death. Jean lived with Rene and Tom for a few more years until they re-settled in Louth. Jean then moved to live in Skegness, where she continued in local government employment and met her future husband, Alan. Ron and Emmie made their home in Yeadon, near Leeds, where Ron pursued his career as a carpenter/joiner. Each couple had two children who have great pride in the Poetry and Diaries. Although they never met her, May Hill’s grandchildren will never forget the grandmother whom, through the wonderful legacy of her writing, they have come to know so well.

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This Postscript is adapted from that in the book “The Casualties Were Small” (available on Amazon) which contains May Hill’s poems, selected diary extracts and many nostalgic photographs, including those above.

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The contents of May Hill’s Diaries, and her Poems, with illustrations, as published in this Blog ‘Seventy Years on’, are available as annual Kindle e-reader volumes. These have the main title ‘An RAF Mother’s WWII Diary Blog’ and subtitles as follows (the links are for the UK Amazon Kindle Store – Search using ‘RAF Mother WWII’ in Kindle Store in other countries):

Volume One, November 1940 to December 1941, ‘Anticipation and Alarms’
Published as Kindle Edition in April 2012

Volume Two, January 1942 to December 1942, ‘Weddings and Farewells’
Published as Kindle Edition in April 2013

Volume Three, January 1943 to December 1943, ‘Losses and Gains’
Published as Kindle Edition in December 2013

Volume Four, January 1944 to December 1944, ‘Sorrows and Salvation’
To be published as Kindle Edition in December 2014

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

Sun. Nov 5 6.20 P.M. [1944]
# REMEMBRANCE SERVICE AND PARADE
# RENE VISITS BUT NOT FULLY WELL
# BEATING ‘SPELLING BEE’ TEAM ON WIRELESS
# TOY SALES CONTRIBUTE TO DOCTOR’S FEE
# LAST WORDS ON BELOVED FLOWERS

Jean did not parade to Hogsthorpe Church for Remembrance Service this afternoon as it came a squall of wind and rain and sleet between 12 o’c and 1 and still rained at ¼ to 2 o’c. She has gone to Chapel tonight, expect she is on Parade. Rene came while we were having tea about 5, rather late for Sun. but Jean put the water in the pot without any tea, and it seemed to take so long to boil up again. Rene looks pale and seedy yet but decidedly better than Thursday. Says she still feels wobbly inside. I thought it rather risky coming on her cycle so far, as it was still rather windy. Says she is coming tomorrow but rather not wash! It should be our big wash week. I must try to do some of them on the QT before she gets here. I have just written a Xmas AirGraph to Jock Brown. Have not written to him since the Spring. Ciss went to Church Parade with Red + this morning. Con came home with her for dinner. I would have liked to go to Chapel tonight but there is still a good bit of wind, tho’ it is not so cold. Have a touch of asthma too, tho’ not bad. If Father had been here we would have gone perhaps. I am afraid my chrysanths will have suffered in the wind and rain. It seems to blow all round these houses. Think Ciss’s must be preparing to go out, there seems a lot of tramping to and fro and switching scullery light on and off. I wouldn’t mind a visitor myself tonight.

Later. Listened to the spelling bee and beat them. Spelled most words correctly. Rene brought me 10/0 for Golly from Mrs Hutton. So with Elsie’s 11/0 for rabbits and 10/6 for dog my Dr bill of £1.15.6. is nearly paid. If I can only get more toys made I could put a little more away for a rainy day. Jean took flowers to churchyard today, chrysanths and the last gladiola unless the coloured ones come out, I have two in water in the house. My snap-dragons and marigolds are still blooming but wind and frost have nearly spoiled the asters. My anemones are coming up well, I am so pleased.

The golly for Mrs Hutton, in the village, and dog for a friend of Ron’s Emmie, were soft toys which May had made. Elsie Grantham, daughter of the Anderby Road farmer, had bought live rabbits from May.

May died on November 18th 1944, about two weeks after this, her final Diary entry. It was fitting that she concluded it with a mention of her beloved garden flowers.

This Blog will contain two further items within the next two weeks – one more of May’s poems (which was probably the last one she wrote) and a short Postscript relating to Ron and the rest of May’s family.

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

Sat 8.50 pm Nov. 4. [1944]
# GIRL GUIDE GWEN’S GOOD DEED
# JEAN MAKES BONFIRE NIGHT TOFFEE
# RENE ALMOST RECOVERED FROM ILLNESS
# DIFFICULTY IN CONCENTRATING – FEELING DIZZY

Guy Fawkes Day tomorrow (Sun). It has been very cold to-day but wind not my side of house so could get in and out alright. I am tired again to-night as I have had a busy day. Gwen took Rene an apple-pie for dinner. Jean took cakes and tarts for tea. I was going to give Gw. 3D but Cis said it was her good deed for the day, she was enrolled as a Girl Guide last night and must do at least one good deed a day. So I said “Very well Gwen that’s your good deed done”, but Gw. said rather dubiously Well Rene gave me 6D!

Jean is very tired tonight and has not gone to Toc. H. Her photos have come, they are very good indeed. She has made some toffee, her personal points are all spent with still a week of this period to run. She spent the last of mine to-day for 2oz sweets. Have written to Emmie and sent her one of Jean’s photo’s. News on, Switz. asked to renew relations with Russ. Russ. refuses. What’s on now?

Jean, October 1944 © AE Wrate, Skegness

Jean, October 1944
© AE Wrate, Skegness

Jean says Rene much better and wanted to come home but Tom said not. I had sent word too that she was not to come. The weather wasn’t fit, after being in a few days tho’ not in bed. I must go tomorrow if possible. Elsie fetched the 4 rabbits on Wed. To-day she came and paid for them 2/9 each. That is 10/6 from Emmie for green dog and 11/0 from Elsie, a nice little addition to our small income. Jean’s hand still has a bump but not so painful. She has not complained of gnat bites.

Greece cleared of enemy. I keep losing what I want to write, and have kept feeling slightly dizzy all day. I often seem to get this dizzy feeling. Think perhaps I have done a bit too much this week after being so poorly up to Wed. Have not heard from Sybil yet. I think it must be a month since I wrote to her, I hardly like to write again at least yet. Anything may have happened in these sad days.

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

Nov. 3 Fri 9.20 p.m. [1944]
# LIBERATION OF BELGIUM REPORTED
# FIRST SNOWFALL ON WESTERN FRONT
# SURPRISE VISIT FROM RON’S EMMIE
# FEARS OF V-2 ROCKET BOMBS

The whole of Belgium is liberated. These poor occupied countries seem to think their troubles are all over when “liberated”, but I am afraid quickly find they are still a long way from real peace and prosperity. The first snow has fallen on the Western Front and there has been a fore-cast by meteorolog. experts of a hard winter. I wonder if they and the “cat haws” are right or if old Traves idea of a mild winter if thunder occurred after the equinox is right. “Time will prove” I suppose. The war seems to be going satisfactorily but hopes of a finish in Europe this year do not seem quite so rosy. Indeed W.C. [Winston Churchill] thinks it possible it may not finish until spring or early summer 1945.

Keith and Marion came last Thurs. ev. I had finished dog and they admired it very much. Rene took it to post Friday. At tea-time Emmie dropped on us (Friday) off 4.15 bus’. Was delighted to take us by surprise. I was pleased I had a hot beef pie waiting for Jean’s tea and I quickly put pot. and veg. in oven to warm (It was hot after baking.) and got her a meal very quickly. Then she went down to see Rene on “Sara”, and back before Jean was home. She stayed until Mon. and Rene went with her to Sk[egness]. Elsie came Sun ev. She bought my four young rabbits, Eff is having the other Mon. Emmie and Jean went to Chapel Sun. morn. It rained when they left. Rene went too and got very wet and took a chill. She had not been too well for some days. She has not been since Tue. I went on Thurs. 10.20 bus’ and came back at 5 o’c. She was feeling better and more like food.

Emmie on Rene’s bicycle ‘Sara’ at ‘Lenton Lodge’

I have had a busy day at home to-day and when Jean had gone to G.L.B. [Girls’ Life Brigade] fell fast asleep in my chair. I don’t know when I have felt as tired. Had a letter from Emmie and 10/6 for Dog to-day, I also sent her a Teddy and rabbit. She did not return Father’s bag, I do hope she doesn’t lose it. Expect she will return it with Jean’s wool. Jean banged her hand at the office, it is swollen and painful tonight. She has had her legs bitten by gnats and they irritate too. One or two explosions have just rattled doors slightly. I am rather nervous in case Hitler sends any of the V2 rocket bombs. Because we have destroyed one nest doesn’t say he has no more. May we be spared from the next war. Sent Ron’s parcel to-day. Wonder how Rene is, must find out tomorrow. Wish I was able to get about better. Eva came when I was out yesterday, stayed at Ciss’s a while then walked home. I was sorry to be out when she came. It has been very wet again to-day tho’ it cleared this afternoon.

‘Cat haws’ are the fruit of the hawthorn. (See ‘A Glossary or Collection of Words, Phrases, Place Names, Superstitions Current in East Lincolnshire’, Jabez Good, Long Sutton, c1900.)

William Robert Traves, who had died in 1938, was probably the ‘Old Traves’ referred to. He was the father of John Hadwick Traves who owned Croft Farm on Bradshaws Lane in Hogsthorpe, not far from Milsons’ farm (see Village Map).

‘Sara’ was the name given to Rene’s bicycle. This was also the name of a rabbit that had been kept at ‘Lenton Lodge’.

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

Wed 8.45 am Oct. 25. [1944]
# MANY SMALL TASKS TAKING TIME
# JEAN’S BREAKFAST AND PACKED LUNCH
# HANGING OUT CLOTHES
# TAKING SHOES TO COBBLER
# MORE APPLES PICKED WITH RENE’S HELP
# MORE SOFT TOY MAKING

I cannot seem to find time for my diary these days. There always seems a job in spite of Rene coming every day. Perhaps I am slow too. I cannot hurry or seem to put any weight behind anything and the multitude of little jobs seems to fill the day and I can’t get down to a really long job of sewing or gardening. Also after dinner I often seem so tired and have to rest so long. Yesterday I got up at 7.15. put kettle on stove, made the fire, took Jean’s water and put it on the stairs for her, (It is nice having warm soft water in the boiler) cleaned her shoes, I do not usually do this but, cleaned them and rubbed Dubbin well into them and incidentally, found they needed new rubbers on heels, her blue ones were at the cobblers, so as she got them home last night she has taken brown ones to-day. I got breakfast for her but had to get some for myself before packing her dinner as I felt sick and rather faint and dizzy. After she had gone I fed rabbits, cleared away, washed up, and put out clothes line and clothes, folded the few that dried Monday. Cleared up kitchen and partly dusted. Washed myself and Jean’s stockings (She changes them every day as her feet sweat.) caught 10.30 bus’ to Stow’s and managed to catch it on its return from Point or should have had to wait for 11 o’c. Sat next to Mrs. Lindley, she was full of talk and I nearly forgot to get off bus at C[ouncil] Houses. Went to see how clothes were drying and to unwind one or two off line. Made and had a cup of Allenburys, pulled a basket of apples from lower branches of tree, picked up the fallen ones (a basketful) threw all the little potatoes together and picked some up. Then Rene came. I made a steamed marmalade pudding and cooked bacon and eggs for dinner. Rene dusted and pulled a few more baskets of apples. We had dinner then Rene made beds etc. The clothes were all dry then so while I rested she folded and mangled them and then I washed up and changed my blouse. I did a little knitting in between times.

After Rene went at 4.15. I fed rabbits, shut them up, had tea, not much as I have a meal when Jean comes at 6.40. knitted a little more, blacked-out all over and peeled pot[atoes] for Jean’s meal and steamed her marm[alade] pud. Tom came for tea for Rene. Then I mixed pot. cheese, marg and egg and fried it in hot fat for Jean. After tea had been cleared I stuffed the green vel. dog I had made Mon. I had to put feet squares in first. Finished it except for eyes, tongue etc, and a little more knitting of Jean’s cap. It is almost done. Then I washed tea-things and we had a drink, I of Allenb. F[ood?] and Jean tea, read a little and went to bed. I seem to have had a full day yet nothing much to show for it. It is a nice bright morning but as Father would have said everywhere is sodden. I think it has been a dry night, possibly a frost.

‘Dubbin’ is a branded protective shoe/boot cleaner.

Mrs Emily Lindley was a sister of Edith, Alice, Ada and Clara (also May) Crow. She had previously been housekeeper for Mr Lindley, originally from Nottingham, whose first wife had died. Their home was ‘Rosedene’, on the corner of St Leonards Drive and South Crescent (see Village Map).

‘Allenburys’ was a ‘food-drink’ manufactured by the Allen and Hanbury company.

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

Oct 15 Sunday 8.30 p.m [1944]
# ASTHMA FOR MOST OF WEEK
# HUGE COOKING APPLE CROP
# RENE’S TOM PREACHING AT CHAPEL
# BUSY IN GARDEN AGAIN

Another Sunday, I must try to write up my diary oftener. I have been glancing thro’ old ones to-day and they are very interesting to me. It has been a lovely autumn day fine and cold but not so windy as of late. I felt as if I ought to have gone for a walk but do not feel very great yet after asthma most of the week and diarrhoea on Thursday. Yesterday Jean and I picked several stones of Bramleys, a clothes basket, the big brown basket and the small bath full, and the jam-pan full of fallen ones. They are good apples and there must be still as many more left on the tree. If fine Rene and I will pick them tomorrow.

Have written to Ron, Emmie and Aunt Fanny. Have not had a reply from Sybil yet. Hope all is well. Jean bought herself a pair of new blue suede shoes yesterday at Cooper’s 23/6 quite nice, the first she ever bought with own money.

Eva came down Wed afternoon for tea and paid for rabbit 5/0. She is looking better. Jean took three lovely white gladiolas to Churchyard also asters. Then she went to Chapel and to S.S. [Sunday School] after dinner. G.ma gave her 2/0. Tom and Rene walked down this morning. He is preaching to-night. Ron’s allowance for me 7/0 per week came thro’ this week, £4.4 back money in draft. So that is settled for the time anyway. It is for rent etc. Made a T. Bear and stuffed it with flocks. Looks very nice but is not so light as kapok. Perhaps more substantial for older child. Jean called at Mrs. B[rown]’s for piece of green velveteen. Hope it will make dog. It is lovely. Am to return Eardley’s chair when I like after Monday, they have lent it. I asked her if I could send it home.

Lawn growing well, think it will cover alright. Heaps of work wants doing in garden but Rene finished digging potatoes on Thurs. Must pick up the rest of seed and ……. [? thrash?] tomorrow if dry and get garden ready for blk.currants and rasps. Shall have a lot of chrys[anthemums] if pest and wind does not spoil them. Must do away with a lot after flowering, far too many. My anemones are beginning to peep thro’ I am relieved to find. Some of my seedling polyanthus are in bloom also wannias, wallflowers Mary gave me are growing well and all three roses are alive. I ought to move two of them as they seem to catch all the cutting winds at the corner of the house. Don’t suppose it would hurt to move them about Dec. or Jan. What a lot there is to do in a garden. When I am not well it all seems to get on top of me. I have never really got master of it yet. News time and Jean is tired so think we will have supp. and go to bed early. I can read in bed if not sleepy. Can hear a plane.

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

Sun. Oct 8 7.50 P.M. [1944]
# HEARTY BREAKFAST BEFORE CHAPEL
# GARDEN FLOWERS CONTINUE TO THRIVE
# SERVING NEPHEWS ON LOCAL LEAVE
# TRADITIONAL SUNDAY DINNER
# MORE SOFT TOY MAKING

Got out of bed at 7.40 to draw curtains, it was calm and looked like being a fine day so decided to get up. Put D[ressing] Gown on and collected clothes, went down and lit stove and put kettle on. Made fire and took cinders out then had a cup of tea and took Jean one. Water warm in boiler so had a good wash and changed clothes. Cooked bacon and the two eggs Mrs. B[rown] brought and Jean some bread. Mrs. B has one hen, it has laid so many eggs this summer she had to buy waterglass and put them down! Some hen! Before Jean got down to breakfast at 8.30 it was raining and has kept drizzling all day. Jean went to Chapel and to S.S. [Sunday School] then to Mary’s with apples for Annie, Colin came here from S.S. to fetch them! Jean went to Miss Wilcoxon’s to get Pitman’s she promised to lend her as Tom’s is out of date. Not at home but Mrs. W. promised to get it for tomorrow.

My gladioli are lovely, took one to churchyard last week, have another in house (white ones) but too wet to go to-day. Hope I have pink and mauve ones too, tho’ only white so far. Dahlia still in flower and asters too tho’ flowers are smaller now. Have written to [sister] Emily L[ewis] Emmie and Ron and a card to Amy.

Roy has been on leave, was flown with cycle to St[rubby] aero[drome] as he had to see a damaged boat there. Dennis is at E. Kirkby drome and has been home twice. Keith is expected in a week or two. Rene brought me some nice roses last night. Frank called this morning, he had been to Percy’s. Says my front door key doesn’t belong but will try to fit one for me. Per’s mother and fa. here today. Gwen at Willeys at Anderby. Em L. coming to Island House Croft to live this week. I think sometimes the people who put no roots deep down but sort of run on the surface, are perhaps the happiest. They seem to enjoy each new adventure of a fresh home. I am by no means “at home” here yet, tho’ perhaps can hardly expect it under the circumstances. Sometimes I wonder if anywhere will ever feel like “home” again. I suppose if you keep on moving you don’t get enough attached to any place to bother when you leave. I am afraid I send my roots down too far. It is a wrench to pull them up and I hate to leave my flowers and get my furniture bumped about tho’ it’s old but not valuable!

Frank is thinking of getting removed from Ob. Post as he has so much work. Is not very keen on new …… [? illegible], thinks it will be very exp. for him. Black kitten is sitting on oven rest, tried top of oven with his paws but decided it was too hot. We had a piece of sirloin for dinner, cut from top of ribs to trim it up I think. They cut the carcases up so queerly now. It was very good, all meat too. We had mashed and brown potatoes and Yor[kshire] pud. with it but no beans as I forgot them yesterday and it was too wet to-day. There will be brussels as soon as a frost has been on them. Rene’s have already had some. Have got my crock nearly full of salted beans, there were so many young fresh ones it seemed a pity not to use them. Wish I could sell rabbits, they take a lot of feeding. Made a toy rabbit yesterday stuffed with flocks and clippings. Quite successful tho’ large toys would be much heavier than kapok and it takes a long time to clip up the oddments of material.

Miss Veda Wilcox (written as Wilcoxon), lived near Parishes’ ‘Rose Cottage’ on Roman Bank which was close to the beach, near ‘The Point’ (see Village Map). She was a WRN at ‘Royal Arthur’, possibly on secretarial duties.

RAF Strubby (see East Lincolnshire Map), not far from RAF Manby, was where nephew Roy Simpson had been involved in Air Sea Rescue boat repairs, having been flown from his base at RAF Langham, Norfolk

Nephew Dennis Raynor was at RAF East Kirkby (later Lincolnshire’s Aviation Heritage Centre), a bomber airfield near Revesby.

Silas and Winifred (‘Winnie’) Willey had been Ransons’ neighbours and had moved to a farm in Anderby. Gwen and her parents would cycle to visit them and their daughters Mary and Joan. Silas Willey was a member of the Home Guard (see 6th June 1944 for photo).

‘Island House’ was a farm cottage at Croft.

Frank Simpson (brother) or possibly Frank Raynor, was probably meant regarding the Observer Post. Both had been local members of the Royal Observer Corps and the duties could have been an unwanted diversion from their usual work activities.

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

Thur. Oct. 5. 44 10.20 P.M.
# JEAN LEARNING SHORTHAND
# DEATH OF LONG-SERVING VICAR
# PLANES AND HEAVY EXPLOSIONS

Jean curling her hair, she washed it rather late and it is only just dry. Was very busy first with S.H. [shorthand] lesson, seems very interested at present. Had first lesson at Miss Cus[ack] on Wed. Says T[om]’s Pitman’s is about 40 years out of date! But it will do for Alphabet. Mrs Brown (Eardley) came for tea this afternoon. Rev. Watson was buried in vault to-day. He would have been 90 next Feb. Mrs … [Almond?] there. I did not know about it, but in any case had asthma too bad to go. Toe swollen again to-night and painful, wish it would decide to get better. Mrs. Seal’s baby to be Edith Anne. Geo[rge] home tonight, collected photo’s Jean had called for. Odd planes about, there have been heavy explosions in distance from 9 o’c at intervals, sound like gunfire.
[Note added later] Nov 4: We heard afterwards that it was a fly. bomb and gunfire but do not know if this is authentic.

Reverend Edwin Watson had served as curate or vicar of St Leonard’s Church for much of his life, from 1888 until retirement. He was remembered for Christmas parties held at the Vicarage for Sunday School children. Annie Harness had been employed as domestic help there bfore her marriage to Herbert Faulkner (see 9th February 1942).

Dr and Mrs Almond (probably meant, though writing unclear), the parents of May’s niece Mavis Simpson’s future husband, Thomas, had lived in the village. However it is not certain that Mrs Almond was living there at that time.

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

Oct 1 Sun. 8.15 PM [1944]
# ECONOMISING ON ELECTRICITY USE
# CALAIS GUNS SILENCED AT LAST
# RECALLING INVASION FEARS
# GARDENING ADVICE UNWELCOME

I had just written the date when the light went out. I am afraid E.L. [electricity] is going to be an item in the winter tho’ the rebate will make it easier. Shall have to be very careful with wireless and do as little ironing as we can. I use a candle upstairs as I often need a light nights and early mornings. Cannot do with less than a 60 watt bulb in the kitchen for sewing and reading. It cost about 2/0 last week and it is a long time yet to the shortest day. It has been a lovely autumn day, cold and bright until tea time when the wind got worse and a storm blew up ending in rain and a lovely rainbow that seemed to be only at the bottom of the garden. Afterwards it thundered very heavily over the sea towards the North and came another heavy shower. We did not get to Chapel but Jean went this a.m. and to S.S. [Sunday School]. Rene came this afternoon. Ciss’s arrived home on 6.15 bus’ except George who is staying until Wed at Mary’s.

Mary sent us (not Mary Blythe) a nice little cockerel for dinner, it was very good, with beans and bread sauce. A little bit left for tomorrow. Mavis says Vic Hill died from the injuries received from flying bomb, the head injuries being worse than believed at first. My potatoes not turning out so well now, they don’t do well so near apple-trees. Ted and Albert Hall are on leave. They were digging potatoes on Fri and Saturday. Mrs. Ted Brown brought me some lovely roses on Thurs. They are lovely rich colour and named “Autumn”, sweet-scented too. Rene and I took some of them and a white gladiola and mauve, pink and white asters to the churchyard last night. We put a few asters in the memorial stone, vase.

Harriet fetched a young rabbit on Thursday. “Jimmy” is dead. Eva is at Mrs. D[andison]’s for a month. Calais has fallen to us at last, and the cross-channel guns are silenced at last too. Dover has been celebrating this week. What a relief it must be to them after 4 years. A few flying bombs, presumably launched from pick-a-back planes, continue to come over still. Planes go over us nearly all day sometimes and night too, but no enemy planes lately. My nerves seem fairly good tho’ I fear it would not take many “bumps” to unsettle them. How thankful we ought to be that we have lived in such a favoured area, tho I tremble to think of what would have happened had Ger. invaded Lincs. as he clearly intended by the plans found in Paris. How near the edge of a volcano we were unconsciously living at one time! We think and hope that time is past now.

John Short is able to cycle now tho’ he cannot walk without boots. Edith Bell (Mrs. Seal) had a daughter on Thurs. night or Fri morning. David is about 13 months old. Jean rolled new lawn on Sat. I took thistles and dandelions out first, I saw Coote looking over the hedge at it, with what I felt in my bones was a disapproving eye! Tom told Rene to tell me it wanted rolling when it was about three inches high, I am afraid I rather ungratefully told her I was tired of advice about the lawn. Jean and I are of the opinion that if we’d had as much help as advice about it, it would have been 6 feet high by now! I don’t profess to be a professional gardener, but as my father was so good in the garden and his father and grandfather were gardeners before him, I am not altogether dense, especially as we have always had a garden and have grown flowers and vegetables so long, even if I did not do the work on the veg. patch at least I was always there, and learnt most of the ropes. In one way at least I can beat them all. Dear Will had a tool for everything, so I do not have to borrow. One thing however I do lack and that is a light little barrow. It would be very useful. I sent George’s back to Con. before we came here and even if it had been ours it was too heavy.

George Ranson was probably staying with his aunt, Mary Blythe, in the Grimsby area (see 18th November 1943).

The other Mary (NOT Mary Blythe) here, was Charles Hill’s wife.

Vic Hill, killed by a flying bomb, has not been identified and may not have been a relative. The incident would have been in the south-east of England as flying bombs did not reach Lincolnshire.

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

Sep 27 Wed 8 o’c pm [1944]
# PARATROOPS RELIEVED FROM ARNHEM
# YOUTH PARADE IN SKEGNESS
# JEAN’S TYPING LESSONS ARRANGED
# MORE FLYING BOMBS REPORTED

At the beginning of my last entry I put the Invasion of Holland by Paratroops. Owing partly to the bad weather we were a long time linking up with them and only to-day have we heard the welcome news that they have been withdrawn to the south of the river and linked up with our other troops. I judge we were not strong enough to break thro’ the Gers to get to them, but we are all deeply thankful that they, or alas, all that are left of them, are relieved after 13 days. Owing to the weather conditions they had the ordeal of seeing food and ammunition being dropped into Ger. lines instead of to them. It will be one of the epic stories of the war, small comfort that to those at home who will have lost sons and husbands and brothers.

It is still very stormy tho’ the wind has settled a bit again tonight. On Sunday, the Harvest Festival, it poured with rain all day and we neither of us got to Chapel. Jean should have paraded to Hogsthorpe in the afternoon. There is a big Youth Parade at Skegness to-night. Ciss says bus’ does not leave Sk. until 9.45 so there will be some sleepy-heads in the morning. Ciss and P[ercy] and Gw[en] have been to Boston and now Gw has gone to Sk. but she is on holiday. Jean stayed at Sk. Was going to get tea at Joyce’s if she could. Took them some apples. I went to Sk on 5 pm bus’ yesterday to see Miss Cusack. Jean is to commence Ty[ping] and S[hort] Hand lessons next Wed. £1.1 for 12 lessons. She will leave work early those days. It is at the far end of Grosvenor Rd so will mean a good walk to the bus’ if she is not cycling. Sat near Miss Eva Scarb[orough] coming home. Her hospital received direct hit from Flying Bomb.

I did a little baking this afternoon in case Mrs. T[ed] B[rown] comes tomorrow, expect she will as I have had no letters. Rene came after tea for a few minutes. Mrs. Y. goes home tomorrow. Rene thinks she is looking forward to going home to her husband after 3 weeks away. Rene will not be sorry to have the house to themselves I expect, tho’ Mrs Y is very pleasant. I have missed Rene very much, but am pleased to say I have not been really laid up tho’ very seedy at times. Mr. Marsh and Miss Robin married on Sat. Went away Mon. morning. T[om] Coote went to see niece at Sutton to-day, Mrs. Sh[ort] says. She brought me some pears, and parsley-tops for rabbits to-day. She was taking Mrs. Hall some tomatoes for chutney to-day. Flying bombs still come over most nights and Gers. still holding out at Dunkirk and Calais, expect they are dug in so deeply they will take some ousting. Shall be so pleased when we need no longer black-out. I have not proper ones as we hope the necessity will soon be over, and they are a nuisance doing every night. Have dug 2 rows of pot. to-day. Don’t think there will be a very big crop, so many are only seed size. Have pulled all apples except Brams. Red ones go bad very quickly. I sent a few apples to Harvest Sale also a “Saucy Rabbit”, it only made 4/0. Rene brought me some of the carrots she bought. Jean did not buy anything. J[im] Hall brought me ½ lb. nice biscuits today, Frear’s. I had not seen that name before but Rene knew it. Planes are droning all the time, it is a lovely night with a bright moon.

I thought it thundered this morning and the rain certainly seemed like a thunder-shower tho’ it was so cold. I have seldom seen it pour faster than it did Sun. and the wind was almost a gale. We were amused at the red-hot pokers in T Cootes garden, they are getting passé and the wind bent their heads over and as it caught first one and then the other they bobbed their red heads and long necks forward like a crowd of turkeys.

Had a cup of tea out of Ciss’s pot (I had kettle boiling when they got home on the 4.40 bus’) and did not have a sit-down tea, so think I’ll soon have supper. Have put a kaolin poultice on my foot as it is rather red and inflamed. C and P have gone down to Con’s. P. is having a week’s holiday, says he will have the other when Peace is declared! I cannot see that much before Xmas myself. Cleared up the shed a bit to-day. I wonder if it will ever be easy to go in and out and handle the tools without being so sore at heart.

9 o’c News
Some 2000 out of 8000 men withdrawn Mon night from Arnhem after 9 days, 1000 some hundreds left behind wounded. R.A.M.C. men stayed with them.

Operation Market Garden’ as previously mentioned (see 18th September 1944) proved to be a tragic venture. After suffering huge numbers of Allied casualties the operation ended with the evacuation of what remained of the 1st British Airborne Division from the Arnhem area.

Miss Eva Scarborough, a chiropodist, was the sister of Elsie (see 3rd February 1941).

Mr Marsh and Miss Robin, who married, have not been identified.

RAMC – Royal Army Medical Corps.

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