All posts for the month November | 1940 |

Nov 30 Sat 10.30 pm. [1940]

St Andrews day. Mrs Hallgarth had no butter for me today and I was left after making a cake for the Fellowship parcels, with about 2 oz “Special mar. (with Vits. [vitamins] at 9D lb) and 2oz of Standard mar. 5D lb without Vits. This is a sickly greeny yellow and reminds me of the thick treacly oil they use for motor cars. However Father went to Halls, where he gets his supply of Mar. and returned with 1 lb “Special”. He said I could have had ½ lb “shop” butter instead but thought the mar would go further. Milk is 4½D pt from tomorrow Dec 1st. [Aside added later: Milk 4D not 4½ in rural areas.] Tea seems plentiful still and I sent for ½ lb rashers to-day, bacon not tea and they sent ¾ lb. I am allowed ¾ lb but it is dear 1S/4D this week but had to pay 1S/8D last. So Rene and Mr A will have to eat mar. if they come to tea tomorrow. Rene hasn’t been home to-day, wonder if her cold is worse. Mr. A is very seedy too. They are no doubt both feeling the reaction after Mrs. A’s long illness and death. Jean’s cold a bit better today, she has been at home since Wed.

Mrs Hallgarth here probably meant the wife of William, a local farmer.
Rene had been Mrs A’s living-in carer and Mr A continued to employ her as housekeeper after his wife’s death.


We had two pigeons from Granthams for dinner. They made a lovely pie. Jean had a little mutton chop. Grace came to fetch a rabbit for H[arriet]. It was a beauty, I charged her 1/6. She sent me a bot. of milk and some eating apples. I must try to save some to send to Ron. I wonder how he is, if his cold is better? It is not much being ill away from home. Must write again tomorrow to cheer him up. Think I had better go to bed, Father is at the box until 2 am. I have finished my wool coat at last, sewn it up and put the buttons, it is very nice indeed. Have started a sleeve of Jean’s cardigan. She has started a pair of yellow bedsocks for Rene’s Xmas box. Everything seems quiet so we will go to bed. Poor old Jean, it is a shame to wake her and she is still dressed. She had a bath this afternoon.

Granthams’ farm was off Anderby Road, towards Anderby Creek, further north from May’s home.
Grace was a daughter of Will’s sister Harriet.
The Coastguard ‘lookout’ or ‘watch box’, reached by many steep steps, was on the sandhills, north of, and within sight of May’s home, ‘Lenton Lodge’.

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

Thurs Nov 28 8. o’c am [1940]

“We may be puppets dancing on a string
Pulled by some Master Hand that knows the Game
And yet, within our sawdust bodies burns a secret flame”

Marjorie Stewart

These lines were at the beginning of a book “Some Master Hand” by Marjorie Stewart that I have read this week. It was “like the curate’s egg, good in parts”. Jean is at home with a cold. Harriet came yesterday afternoon to tell me they were sending a parcel to all the boys on active service, so I am making a cake. They (they being The Fellowship) are sending cake, chocs and cigs and apples and posting them on Tuesday, so Ron ought to get his before he moves, he may move on the 13 Dec. Had a letter from Emmie yesterday with her photo. She says Ron was very seedy over his inoculation. He never told us that. Rene came home yesterday afternoon too but got no talk to her as H[arriet] was here and of course Flora had to come and little Dennis F. He is a fine little boy and so good. He came to me and went to sleep and slept over an hour.

Marjorie Stewart is believed to have been a pseudonym for the prolific author Marjorie Huxtable whose work ‘Some Master Hand’ was published in 1934. Most of her books were published under the pseudonym Simon Dare, between 1927 and 1950. (See website
Harriet, Will’s eldest sister, was a farmer’s wife.
The Women’s Fellowship was an organisation of St Leonard’s Church.
Emmie Russell, Ron’s Yorkshire girlfriend whom he had met on a Methodist youth holiday in Scarborough, was steadily becoming accepted into the family.
Flora was the schoolgirl daughter of local storekeeper Jim Hall.
Dennis F was a baby whose grandparents lived in the village.

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

Wed Nov 27 10.30 PM. 1940

A new fair page. What grim dark days
shall pass ‘ere every vacant page
is covered with the record of our simple ways?
Alas! We know not, that it ‘ere shall be complete.


Yesterday was Ron’s birthday, he was 20, born 2 years after the war that was to end war. Now he is training to join in this still greater war. I am tired to-night so think I will write another time, I am already in bed.

May’s son Ron had begun an apprenticeship with Joe Jackson, a local carpenter/joiner in the village but had left early to join the RAF in mid November 1940. His initial training was at Padgate, Lancashire.
May’s Diary entry on this day was unusually short. Please return tomorrow or soon – or sign up for RSS delivery or e-mail notifications.

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