All posts for the month January | 1941 |

9. am Fri Jan. 31 [1941]

Haven’t heard of Hitler’s arrival so far. Jean said they had two warnings at Sk. yesterday and went in shelters. The new baby (Cootes) died on Wed and was buried Thursday. Poor little mite of two days. I must try to see Mrs C. on Sun can’t get before, because we are killing pig to-day. It is rather a disappointment as it has not done well lately, but will be better than nothing. The young one is doing well so far but I expect the feeding stuffs are not good enough.
Father has gone to G[rims]by. Mr Lucas and Rob. going with him and Mr Hallg[arth] to Louth probably. F Green called to Rene to say he wanted to go but did not get off his bike to say when, so if it was to-day he would be disappointed. They have sold the house and land and are living in one of Cannings houses.

Steve Lucas of ‘The Dell’, Sea Bank Road, and youngest son Robin, were probably meant here. Steve’s brother, Hedley Lucas, also lived in the vicinity.
Bill Hallgarth, coastguard, was probably meant here. A freelance builder, he lived in ‘Frenchfield’ near the corner of St Leonards Drive and South Crescent.
Fred Green previously had a small-holding ‘Rosegarth’ on South Road, towards Trunch Lane.
John Henry Canning built several houses from the late 1920s. This probably refers to those in Sea Road between Tylers Bridge and the village, although there were also bungalows at the village end of Sea Bank Road. His son, Malcolm, was in the local group of the Royal Observer Corps.
Maps of the village and surrounding area are now available to view or print for future reference.

We sent Ron his blue cuffs yesterday and a cigar from Mr A. Also his other pyjamas tho’ he had not asked for them, but as he was washing some out thought he needed them. We put in a few cakes but forgot Jean’s sweets. Must put them in next week with some “pig cheer”. It was icily cold yesterday but kept fair except for a few spots rain at teatime. It is dull but fair this morning. Think we must get some more cold rain or snow. Hope it isn’t snow. Rene is calling for small thalms as she comes home so shall get them done by daylight if all’s well. Hope to cut the kell up to-night. As they are not cutting out until 10am to-morrow morning it is going to make us late and Sat at that. Rene can’t come but Eff will. Mrs B. is having chittlings as they call them. Jean is greatly thrilled, we have not had a pig since she was very small.

‘Pig cheer’, alternatively known as ‘Pig’s fry or fries’, consisted of freely-given products of a home-killed pig. A selection of meat, which could include brains, heart, offal (such as sweetbreads, kidneys and liver) and small pieces of pork, was presented on a plate covered by part of the ‘apron’ or ‘caul’ (the frilly fatty lining of the pig’s stomach, like a net with threads running through, which held internal organs in place). Traditionally, the plate was returned unwashed, to avoid bad luck. (For an account of keeping and processing a pig in Lincolnshire see chapter 5 of ‘Nobbut a Yellerbelly!’, Alan Stennett, Countryside Books, 2006.)
‘Tharms’ (spelling corrected) were the small intestines of a pig. These were washed and cleaned out to make natural sausage skin. (See ‘A Glossary or Collection of Words, Phrases, Place Names, Superstitions Current in East Lincolnshire’, Jabez Good, Long Sutton, c1900.)
May and Rene were embarking on ‘Getting the pig out of the way’ which was the expression for the kitchen activity of sorting and preparing all the different parts for products such as lard, sausages, brawn and pies.
The ‘kell’ was a large mass of fat, from the back of the pig’s stomach, used to make lard by rendering (melting), leaving edible ‘scraps’ or ‘scratchings’ (small dry pieces with or without a little fat attached).
‘Chittlings’ or ‘Chitterlings’ were very small intestines of the pig – cleaned then cooked as they were and eaten.
Mrs B, here, was probably Rose Brown, an elderly friend, who lived with her husband, Eardley Brown, at ‘Ash Cottage’ on Sea Road, near Tylers Bridge.

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

Maps of May’s Village and the Surrounding Area

The following sketch maps are available to view and/or download for printing – for future reference. (You will first need to download free Adobe Reader software if you do not already have it.)

Chapel St Leonards in 1940s

East Lincolnshire Towns, Villages and RAF Airfields mentioned in May’s Diaries

Note: The on-screen maps can be searched by entering a place or street name in the Adobe Reader search box.

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

Thurs 8.30 am Jan 30 [1941]

Jean has gone to school the first time this week. A plane or two have gone over reminding us that today is another of Hitler’s “invasion” dates. Rene said yesterday that the new Coote baby wasn’t taking food well and they fear it may not survive. Don’t know whether it is the soldiers lumbering next door or bombs in the far distance. Yesterday I washed, Rene came and helped and when all the clothes were on the line the chimney next door caught fire. The wind was of course just right (or wrong) and being dampish the smoke just clapped down on the clothes and enveloped them. As they did not appear to have gathered any loose soot I left them out until dark and the smell was all gone off when I fetched them in. I may discover smuts in the daylight tho’. Cookie was most apologetic (the poor boy is a bad talker and shy) he did not know how it had happened as his fire was banked down, but I expect their chimney wants sweeping. Mrs L[eivers] had it done very frequently. Father did not get home from watch until 2.40. Joe K[irk] was late again, woke early and could not keep the light on, as he did not know that the black-out was safe. He had had no hot drink nor had anything to eat, nor had he brought any drink with him (they have no flask). Think with two women in the house, 3 when Phoebe is at home, they might do a bit better for him. Expect [Mr] Paul would give him hot tea but why should he? Mr And[rews] is still away but better than he was. Father starts 5 days holiday (with pay) tomorrow. I only got ¼ lard this week, some people have got none. Taylor hasn’t been since Fri.

No reference has been found to planned ‘invasion dates’ in 1941. It is now generally believed that no further specific plans were made following the ‘Battle of Britain’ and Hitler’s abandonment in September 1940 of the invasion plan named Operation Sea Lion.
Cookie, here, was an Army cook based nearby at that time, probably not the one mentioned by name (Jock Brown) in later Diaries.
Gilbert Paul was a joiner and coastguard.

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

Tue Jan 28 8.30 am [1941]

I had written so far on Sunday morning when a knock came to the front door. F Coote was there with his little Austin to see if I would go an hour or two. Another little son had arrived two months before he was expected. Only the Dr and Ivy Jinks were there, but F had fetched Nurse Shaw and then come for me. I called Jean who got up in a hurry not knowing, as she said, whether it was an unexploded bomb or mine or what. Fortunately Father had gone on watch at 8 or we should all have been in bed, it was only about 8.20. We were soon there and things were naturally in a bit of a mess. The event was to have been away from home, and she had arranged to go to Nurse S’s house on Sat. but had seemed better so went to bed Sat night alright but it all happened so quickly there was no getting her away. Anyway she and the child were alright, but she seemed to have made no preparation for emergencies and had to send out to borrow bed-linen. The nurse is a “just so” person and wanted to have the Amb[ulance] and take Pattie to her own home where she is fitted up for everything. Naturally as it was over F. did not want the expense and the Dr said she was quite comfortable and no need to move her at all. That was later in the day. Ivy is a good girl and we soon cleared up, Mr C. senior was in bed thro’ it all. He has been ill. F arranged to take him to Thom Coote’s for a few days. I did not see the baby, I just looked in at poor Pattie, she looked so helpless. The house is so shabby everything wants renewing. Our shabby room looked quite bright and comfortable after theirs. The big boiler in the new grate is cracked so all the water has to be heated in kettles. I am sorry she has let herself go so as she is really quite capable. Jean took herself off to Rene at Mr A’s. as she thought she would be up. As she said “The nurse looked at her as if she didn’t ought to be there”. I was rather sorry for Nurse too having to leave her comfortable home to come to such a mess, but she is capable and Ivy is strong and willing, they could soon be comfortable the only thing is there is never anything there to do anything with. No dolly-tub, so I could not put clothes to soak, as I would have done. Don’t know what they’d do. It was lent to someone. After I had helped clear up and done veg. for dinner, I only seemed in the way so came home to get dinner and clear up at home. Brought Paddy he is such a good boy, 17 months but well on his feet and a mouthful of teeth, but I was really shocked to find he has had no training in clean habits and poor mite was packed up with a thick Turkish nappy rubber knicks (I am afraid I shocked Jean. I called them inventions of the devil for lazy mothers) wool knicks and then a complete wool suit, and wool isn’t very sweet. Besides he can’t walk properly. I do hope Nurse S. will introduce a little reform there. The thing is Pattie is not ignorant, she was nurse to children before she was married, and it doesn’t save work it makes it. What she will do with two I don’t know, perhaps settle down at last to making a home. I was to go for an hour or two Monday but Jean crocked up and could not go to school, so could not go. F said they had got things going alright and Nurse settled down to it.

Jean hasn’t gone again to-day as it poured with rain and I don’t want her to get a chill. Lengthened her gym tunic last night, do hope it will last until summer frocks. It is not worn out but I can’t let it down any more she has grown so. Heard from Ron yesterday, he had been sent to do duty at the cook-house one night for omitting his hut number on his laundry parcel. Says it was “more nourishment than punishment”. Hot sausage supper and he scrounged a sandwich for his pal. Rene, Jean and I all wrote to him yesterday. Haven’t heard from Em. since Xmas, have written twice. Wish she would, I have that uneasy feeling that has often presaged trouble in that quarter before this. However I may be unduly anxious, she usually writes if in need of anything but not always. I have a bad pain between my shoulders, hope it isn’t the ‘black dog of asthma’ digging in his knees, I have eaten extra well lately.

Ivy Jinks, who was helping Mrs Coote, lived in Hogsthorpe. Her brother John was a member of the Home Guard.
Nurse Shaw was a local midwife.
Jack Coote, ‘Mr C senior’, the father of Frank Coote, lived with his son and family next door to ‘Sunny Side’.
Thomas (Tom) Coote, the brother of Jack, lived in Skegness Road.
‘Em’, here, almost certainly refers to May’s sister, Emily.

NOTE: Support for the full reproduction, in this blog, of the original Diary entries referring to his parents and family has kindly been given by Mr Paddy Coote, although he does not necessarily agree with the opinions expressed by May Hill.

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

8 am Sun Jan 26 [1941]

Nearly a month gone in 1941. It is over a year since I started to keep a diary. They are very interesting (to me) to read over. Had 2 letters from Ron, he sent £1 home 2/6 each for Rene and Jean. Rene’s for Xmas box evidently forgetting he had given her a basket before he went. Jean’s is for her birthday in Feb. 5/0 for my Xmas box and 10/0 for his cache. I want a polishing mop with mine if I can get one, Shepherds’ only had cheap ones and they are not much good. Father has got the spare part he needs for car at least he hopes so. F Coote let him have his car (Mrs Smith’s old Austin 7) yesterday. I hear that Mrs S. is really going to the Scilly Isles.

Shepherds’ hardware shop is believed to have been in Alford.
Frank Coote of the farmhouse adjoining ‘Sunny Side’ was meant here. (See 9th Dec. 1940)
Mrs Smith was the separated wife of a holiday caravan site owner. She and her twin daughters lived in a cottage near Cradle Bridge before moving to the Scilly Isles.
May’s writing on this day was interrupted with an ‘emergency’ request to help a former neighbour – an explanation will be given in the next Diary entry.

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

9.20 pm Mon. Jan 20 [1941]

The “Greyfriars” officials only went as far as Grimsby after all, perhaps it was as well as the car broke down on the hill coming home into Hogs[thorpe]. We are now waiting for a little wheel to get going again, and spare parts are not easy to come by, now. We have not had the cheque for £3.00 yet for the journey. Norman Swift took Father to Grimsby. He would not take more than 10/0. Phoebe Kirk went with them, she was going to an aunt for a fortnight, they had measles last year and she went down with them after she got home.

After 3 days of icy wind and frost W. T. Fri. on Sat afternoon it started to snow and drifted a lot. Jean went skating Sat got a knock and fell on her nose. Went to Rene, (she was sk. at the delves) got it bathed, had 2 cups of tea and biscuits, then came home. Rene started with her but it snowed so fast she went back, she also started Sunday but it snowed again so she did not get until to-day. We did not expect her then, tho’ it had cleared a lot. It has been thawing all day and I think it keeps raining to-night. Jean walked to the bus’ this morning but as it came on to snow so badly Mr Elston got Jessie to ring up to school to ask for the Chapel scholars to be sent home at dinner-time. He, Mr Sp[endlove] sent them all from this direction Cha[pel], Hog[sthorpe] and Mablethorpe. It cleared later but I was very pleased Jean came home.

Hogsthorpe and Chapel St Leonards villages were effectively joined together.
‘The Delves’ was the popular name for a dug-out patch of land alongside Sandy Lane, easily reached from the family’s former home, ‘Sunny Side’ on South Road, and not far from Mr A’s bungalow ‘Beverley’ where Rene was. Water had gathered in the hollow and frozen, ideal for skating.
‘Get’, in the expression ‘She (Rene) did not get’, and frequently used colloquially elsewhere in the Diaries, meant ‘get here’.
Mr Elston, a travelling insurance agent, lived at ‘Morfields’ next door to ‘Rosedale’, Frank and Jessie’s home.
Mr Spendlove, headmaster of Skegness Grammar School, was nicknamed ‘The Boss’ and sometimes ‘The Neck’, after his very long neck.


On Sat afternoon a Ger plane dropped 13 (approx) bombs at the sea end of Lum[ley] Road. One fell on the Tower Cinema staircase but did not cause many casualties. I have heard one or two people were killed. Butlins House and Frearson’s Office were hit and a Bank demolished. The relief bus for Chapel was hit, empty, fortunately the full bus was behind. I think debris from the Tow Cin fell on it. [Aside added later: It had not left bus’ station after all. Some of the bombs were dropped in the roadway and Jean thinks there is one unexploded. She has heard too that Mr Charles of Charles’ Café has died of shock tho’ not hurt. His café was damaged. Another aside added later: Mr C was pierced with glass.]
It was about 4.15 p.m. Jean and I were by the fire after she had got home from skating. We heard the bombs very distinctly. Father was on watch. They thought it was someone running up the steps. It passed over Ch. on its way. I am very nervous with Jean going to school but do not want to upset her. Had 3 or 4 letters from Ron last week and sent him a little parcel. It does not do to worry over him this bad weather, it is best to pray that he may be strong to endure all that comes, weather or anything else, not that he may be protected so much that he may be able to protect himself or do without it. This always we pray, that he may be in God’s keeping.

The “austere” Sgt is back next door.

Have got my machine going again and done a good lot of one of Jean’s nighties. Finished putting a new hand and fingers on an old glove and started the other. Have been reading “Young Anarchy” by Philip Gibbs not at all bad. I read “The Citadel” by Cronin last week and was rather disappointed in it, but it caused a lot of stir when first written so has perhaps fulfilled its purpose. Got a piece of beef Friday, only brisket but a change from mutton. I steam-roasted it and we had kidney beans (salted) they have come in useful again this year when it’s too icy to get brussels. Jean went to Chapel yesterday aft. A sailor from R. Art preached. Rene is getting quite witty, when there was an alarming rumble one day, Mr A said “Rene, that sounds ominous” and Rene replied “Never mind, so long as they’re not bombin’ us”.

Lumley Road was the main shopping street in Skegness.
The Tower Cinema was hit by one bomb, but three hundred children at a matinee escaped injury. (See ‘Skegness at War’, Marjorie C Wilkinson, Cupit Press, Horncastle 2007, p 11.)
Frearson’s was a long-established firm of solicitors in Skegness.
The National Westminster Bank, on the corner of Rutland Road/ Lumley Road was badly damaged but not demolished. The manager’s wife and daughter were killed.
Charles Abraham Hershberg (of ‘Charles Café’) died on 18th January 1941.
Owen Kenrick Morgan was injured at nearby Rutland Road on the same day and died in hospital on 24th January. Both names are recorded on the Skegness War Memorial in the grounds of St Matthew’s Church. (See website
Sir Philip Hamilton Gibbs was the author of ‘Young Anarchy’, fiction, published in 1926 by Hutchinson, London. (See website:
A J Cronin, a doctor, was an established author whose novel “The Citadel”, published in 1937, was critical of the medical system in Britain, and had caused a stir in the medical profession. Many believe it prompted the formation of the National Health Service. (See website

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

10.30 pm Tue Jan.14 [1941]

Paid £3.8.0 rates yesterday and £2.15.0 car licence to-day. Ron sent his Xmas tin back and we had a letter yesterday and to-day. Seems to have settled down nicely. Rene and I posted letters to him yesterday including a long one from Jean. More mutton to-day, Father and Jean like it cold but I don’t. Perhaps I may get to like it. Noticed Libby’s corned mutton in tins on sale at Alford to-day. Wish I had bought a tin, did not fancy it at the time but might be glad of it sometime. Ron says they had corned beef for dinner and bets we can’t get it. We can’t but I have two tins in my little store. No, it’s not a hoard, there isn’t enough. Rene and I did not go to “The Black Cat” to-day, we went to Westcott’s and had fish and chips for 6D each. It was very good too, if the service and room was not so nice. Afterwards we had tea from the flask we took and a biscuit. The tea was hot and warmed us nicely. The streets were slushy and wet, but it did not rain. Brom. charged us 1/0 each for telling us he had made a good job of our guiders (ligaments I suppose). Rene bought corsets as they are probably going to be scarce. (I have a new pair.) The girl in the shop said it was because of the metal used in their construction not the shortage of material. Even our corset clasps and bones? needed for guns.

Think Father will be tired by the time he is able to rest. He went on the box at 2 a.m. off at 8 am. Then to Alford, then Skeg. with a Naval man and then to Mablethorpe with the Salvage Officer. Mr Graves carried on until 10 p.m. at the box and Father is there until 2 a.m. He has to be at Sk. again in the morning at 9.15 to fetch the N. man back and take him on to Mablethorpe, pick up the Sal. man and take them to Grimsby and Immingham. The S. man jumped out of the boat too soon and got wet, he has a pair of Ron’s socks, hope he returns them. Two tugs got the bombed vessel off to-night, hope they get it safe to Immingham. It has turned very stormy and the wind has come N. or N.E. It keeps raining too. Father was in two minds about getting petrol at Alford, but it was a good thing he did. There were 5 bodies on the “Greyfriars”. The Captain and the rest of the crew have arrived home. Great shortage of meat in Alford during the last week. Mountain the butch. sold fish in his shop two days we heard. Now it is chiefly rabbits and mutton (frozen). Had a parcel from Mrs Den[man] to-day, she says meat short in Nott[ingha]m, rabbits 4/6, chickens 10/0 to 11/6. She sent Jean a good tweed coat that only wants shortening and of course cleaning. It will be very useful, the other things too. Ron says their bread is rationed now only 2 slices a day, don’t know if it’s just temporary. He passed his second test 60%, a lot of them did not get that. I got him razor blades in Alford to-day 2 at one shop 2½D no more allowed and 7 for 6D at another, no more at that price when present stock exhausted. Oranges 5½D lb about 3 or rather less to the lb. Think Jean and I will go to bed when I have filled the [hot water] bottles. She has been asleep a long time. My cold still lingers and I have a tiresome cough.

Westcott’s fish and chip café was in Alford.
Arthur Graves, one of the coastguards, lived in a small cottage, formerly the ‘Pig and Whistle’ public house, near ‘The Point’. His daughter, Violet, was in the Red Cross.
Close to the major fishing port of Grimsby, Immingham was a dock area for other vessels, including Royal Navy warships.
Mr Mountain was a butcher in Alford market place.

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

Sun Jan. 12 1941

This morning it was almost like spring when I took down the black-out. The sun was shining and my pot of primroses on the window-sill is growing nicely tho’ the blooms are still small. The anemone buds Rene brought me are trying to blossom and may succeed. My anemones are some of them up in the garden so I am hoping for early blooms. Two or three polyanthus are in bloom. The sunshine has passed now but it is a calm and quiet day with occasional showers of light drizzle. A lot of people passing this afternoon, expect they are going to look at the ship which came ashore last night. It ran aground a little beyond the C.G. box round about 9 o’clock last night. (Father and Mr Parish were on watch.) It is the “Greyfriars” and had been badly bombed, two bodies are on board. The rest of the crew had been taken off. It is approx 10 to 11,00 tons. Norman Swift came on Fri night. He is in the Army now, is on sick leave having had tonsillitis. He is as thin as a lath and looked very shaky. He had a cup of milk and egg before going back to Harvey’s. Molly Harvey is working at Butlins now, a W.R.N. I expect. Should have thought she could have been better employed with all those greenhouses (she is trying to let those) and her two children. King Haakon of Norway is reported to be at Butlins, or I should say the “Roy. Arthur” to-day. Mavis came yesterday, she says Frank in much better lodgings this time but has had both eyes inflamed. See Peter Kirk is at home again, think it must cost him a lot from Gainsboro’ unless Rose’s bring him. John [Kirk] is home too on 7 days leave, we hear his divorce is going thro’ now. His marriage has soon come to grief. I have a cold again, I think someone at the C.G. box always has one and Father keeps getting one and I seem to get it from him. I have never had so many colds. My left eye is a little inflamed, do hope I am not having another stye, they seem to get me down. Jean has been to Chapel, she says Rene was there and will be coming after tea. Mr A. is preaching at Algitha Rd so he won’t be coming. Rene had her new hat on Jean says. I wonder if the ‘folk’ will get the “dialect” off as Mr P. calls it. The tide is coming in now, is full about 8 I think or a little before. The meat ration is 1/2 per head this week. Mr T[aylor] may not be round on Tue. Father brought me 1lb of butter this week, not farm. It may be unpatriotic but we haven’t had any for about 5 weeks so I think we have a bit due. I am longing for some good farm butter. I emptied a sugar bag into the basin yesterday and Jean said “Oh, it does look nice to see the sugar basin full”.

‘Bert’ Parish was Will’s coastguard colleague. He was Esther’s father (see 2nd Jan. 1941)
‘The British steamer “Greyfriars” (1142 gross registered tons) was damaged by German bombing one mile west of 59A Buoy, off Grimsby, Five crew were lost. The steamer drifted ashore near Chapel St Leonards during the night of 11/12th January. It was refloated on the 14th and was towed to Hull.’ (As recorded in Royal Navy Day-by-Day in World War 2 by Don Kindell, Naval Events, January 1941 (Part 1 of 2), see website
Norman Swift, who lived in Sunningdale Drive, had run the Ship Inn, near Ship Bridge, and worked for Tom Harvey, grower who owned greenhouses near the church.
Molly Harvey was the wife of the greenhouse owner Tom Harvey, who was probably serving in the forces at that time.
HMS (His Majesty’s Ship) Royal Arthur was a Royal Navy recruit training centre – in fact land-based using the Butlin’s Holiday Camp at Ingoldmells, near Skegness. It was occasionally claimed by the Germans (in radio broadcasts by ‘Lord Haw-Haw’) to have been sunk.
WRN or Wren – member of the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS).
King Haakon and the government of Norway had become exiled in Britain in June 1940. A fighting force of Norwegians in exile was subsequently established. The King was staying at Ingoldmells. (See ‘Skegness at War’, Marjorie C Wilkinson, Cupit Press, Horncastle 2007, p16.)
‘Royal Arthur’ was sometimes abbreviated to R. Art. It should not be confused with Royal Artillery (usually abbreviated to RA).
Peter Kirk, who joined the Navy, was a son of (coastguard) Joe and the brother of Phoebe (see 6th Dec. 1940) and John (see 11th Dec. 1940). John Kirk’s wife was not local to the area.
Rose Brothers, a long-established engineering company in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, was heavily committed to design and production of military equipment for the war effort, notably advanced gun-turrets for bomber aircraft. The Rose family had connections with Chapel St Leonards, having built for themselves, in the late 1920s, a private property ‘Gainsborough House’ on the sandhills overlooking ‘The Grange’.
Algitha Road Methodist Church was in Skegness. Mr A would have been preaching in his capacity as a Methodist ‘local Circuit preacher’.
The unclear word transcribed as ‘folk’ (referring to the church congregation) may have been written in a way to suggest a pronunciation like ‘fook’. The comment on “dialect” probably referred to the fact that Mr A (an educated Londoner) spoke in a way that was not familiar to the entire local congregation.
Wilf Pimperton, another ‘local preacher’, was probably ‘Mr P.’ here. He was a carpenter/joiner and member of the Royal Observer Corps. The family lived close to the sandhills at ‘The Point’.
Jack Taylor was the regular family butcher, whose shop, at that time, was in Hogsthorpe. As lieutenant, he was in charge of the Home Guard which covered Chapel St Leonards.

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

Wed Jan 8 9.50 pm [1941]

A week already gone in the new year. Bardia has fallen and we are battling at Tobruk. Amy Johnson feared lost, indeed almost certainly lost, with male passenger who baled out with her over Thames Est. also the gallant Lt. Com. Fletcher who dived in and swam to try to help them, he died soon after being taken from the water (Sunday). Baden-Powell’s death announced on wireless to-night. He was 83 a good and great man. It is a pity perhaps that England has not always lived up to his Scouts’ motto “Be Prepared”.

Bardia, in Cyrenaica (eastern Libya) was captured on January 5 1941 by the British and Australian troops, under British General Wavell, taking thousands of Italian prisoners and large quantities of military material (although later re-taken by forces under German command).
Tobruk was a strategically important port in Cyrenaica, close to the border with Egypt. Initially in Italian hands, it became the site of important battles between the Allied and Axis forces throughout most of 1941 and 1942.
Amy Johnson, who was born in Hull, had achieved fame in 1930 as the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia. She served as a transport pilot in the war and was drowned in the Thames Estuary on 5th January 1941 after baling out from an aircraft she was delivering to an RAF aerodrome near Oxford.
Lt Commander Walter Fletcher of HMS Hazlemere died as a result of his unsuccessful attempt to save Amy Johnson from drowning.
Lord Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout Movement, died on 8th January 1941 in Nyeri, Kenya where he had been living for a few years in semi-retirement.


We all went to Alford yesterday. While waiting for Father at Mrs Mason’s we heard a plane and machine guns. Others heard gunfire at sea. To-night it was announced that an enemy plane was brought down off the East Coast Tue. morning. It was too foggy for us to see the plane but we all thought it was a German. I went to Alford to have my hand put right again, have had to poultice it this time with rock fullers earth made into paste with boiling water to reduce fluid. Rene had her foot attended to, Bromfield says her arches are very good, it was the guiders that were all wrong on top of her foot. We both have to go next week. It was very cold out and a huge fire in his room and when we got out Jean nearly fainted in the street, fortunately the cold air brought her round and she ate a good dinner. We went to the Black Cat Café. It is very nice, we had roast beef and two veg. a pot of tea (we all 3 had two cups) and a cake each for 1/9 each. Not so bad as we got well warmed up. I feel most extravagant, I bought a pair of gloves 9/11 but they are lovely and I had 10/0 given me at Xmas beside the 5/0 Father gave me for licence. Jean’s Gym Stockings were 3/11 but they look good. Rene bought wool suit and a tweed hat, both very nice. I bought a pair of photo frames for Ron’s and Emmie’s photos at Dunns, they were old stock, he brought several for us to choose from, they were reduced from 3/3 to 1/3 each and are rather nice. The shops will be able to clear out heaps of old stock now. Some they have given up hopes of selling. Dunn’s have a lot of very decent things quite reasonable. They are stationers. Jean bought Ron a pad of Basildon parchment and 2 pencils for his notes and drawings. She always thinks of him. We must send it next week. He has had a parcel from Emmie with handkerchiefs and cake and cigs as well as our parcel. He got 67% marks in a test the other day so did well.

Mrs Mason, in the village, was a regular ‘private hire’ customer. She was probably not related to ‘the Masons’ previously mentioned. (16th Dec. 1940)
No further details have been identified of an enemy plane brought down off the East Coast on January 7th 1941.
Mr Bromfield was the bone-setter in Alford.
Dunns were stationers in Alford.

10.25 pm
I reckon I can hear a plane, hope it’s not a “wuffer”. I will have a cup of tea and if all is quiet go to bed as I must not be late up. Jean going to school. I have read 3 books. “Limitations” by E.F Benson, very good, “The Face of Clay” Horace Vachell, about a death mask, not too bad, and “Potter and Clay” by Mrs Stanley Wrench a good country tale but some of it what one of my nieces would call “far stretched”.

‘Wuffer’ – a German military aircraft – after Luftwaffe (German Air Force).
Lord Horace Annesley Vachell was an English novelist who introduced polo to Southern California when he moved there in 1882. (See website
The novelist Mollie Stanley-Wrench and her daughter Margaret Stanley-Wrench were known to Marie Stopes, the birth-control pioneer, who exchanged correspondence with them about her work and their writings. (See Letters, 1916-1958, Stopes, Marie Carmichael (1880-1958), website

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

Sun 9.30 PM Jan 5. 41

So Roy is 20 now, suppose he will be called in the next batch of 20s. He just missed the Jan. 11. call up. Had 2 boys round to borrow Ron’s skates to-day just as dinner was on the table so as I am not sure where they are I said I wouldn’t let my dinner get cold and look. Peter came later and I didn’t feel inclined either to look for them or lend him them so told Jean to tell him I didn’t know where they were. The snow is still about tho’ no more has fallen since Friday. It has thawed a bit to-day and the air is damp so it may mean more downfall. I have had a sore throat and have some cold, took a Beecham’s Pdr [powder] last night and aspirin to-day, trying to keep it from getting too bad. Rene came home Friday after dinner. I did some baking and made a few muffins. Rene and I had one each to a cup of tea. They are best straight out of the oven. Made a little bit of lemon curd too as I had a lemon and enough sugar and thought I had plenty of marg. but Father could not get any this week so all I have now is a wee bit on a plate. Things are gradually becoming scarcer but tho’ there is less variety there is plenty of food about so far. I was able to get a small ½ shoulder of frozen mutton 3S/4D. Bacon is down to bare ration now. Eggs were 3D cheaper this week 2/11½ wholesale. 2/8½ pullet eggs. We got some very good pullet eggs almost up to hen egg weight. Three bombs dropped in sea off Mablethorpe Thurs. aft rattled the doors and woke Father who was resting before a night watch. Jean was feeding rabbits but stopped to comfort them before coming in as she said they were frightened. Her own legs were shaking, she had heard the plane a few minutes before.

My hand still a lot of trouble, if weather at all fit shall have to go to Alford again Tuesday. It is very weak and I expect gets used too much being the right hand before it gets set. Have finished Jean’s cardigan for school but not wide enough, am having to knit pieces to put in under arms between back and front. If fine shall wash a few things tomorrow. Did a big wash last week so shall manage with less this. Have lent Eff my E iron, hers has gone for repairs. Soldiers next door were dyeing their equipment green in a large bath or cooking tin on Friday, over a fire built out of doors, looks a better idea than daubing them with the green mess they often use. On Sat I saw one of them scouring the pans inside and out. They do not need to go far for sand to scour with. Think the tide is coming in. I can hear it bump, bump, bumping on the beach. Father got a bit or two of wood off the beach this week, we miss the wood from seafaring this winter. After tea and Jean has gone to sleep on the couch so had better see about bed soon. The El. light flickers badly just now and does not give a very good light at times.

Roy, nephew, was the only son of May’s brother Frank. Roy, like his cousin Ron (May’s son), did not wait for ‘call-up’ but volunteered to join the RAF. His father had served in the Royal Flying Corps in WWI. Now living in New Zealand, Roy has just celebrated his 90th birthday (in 2011)!
Peter, nephew, was a son of Will’s youngest sibling Daisy and husband Bernard. They lived in a ‘Coastguard Cottage’ at that time.
The coastal town of Mablethorpe was about ten miles north of Chapel St Leonards. No record of the bomb ‘dumping’ has been identified.
The ‘modern’ electric iron was quite a novelty for May. Indeed, so was electric lighting as their previous home had not been supplied by mains electricity and they had used oil lamps.
‘Seafaring’ here meant beachcombing for useful washed-up material.

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