All posts for the month February | 1941 |

Fri Feb 21 10. PM [1941]

Ron’s tin arrived, also cap badge for Jean. She is very pleased with it. Sent Ron chocs, biscuits (crackers 4D qr) cake and ½ doz mince pies with an apple and envelopes to fill up. Rene wrote him two labels in case he returns tin again. He put in his dirty pyjamas. Poor kid they are nearly black. He ought to get leave in a fortnight now. The ground was covered with snow again this morning, most of it gone tonight. Father went to G[rims]by. Roads not bad. Got piece of shoulder mutton from Taylor 3/3 (my ration 3/6) he had not much meat and not much choice. Am afraid there will be a lot of bone in mine. It is English.

Am reading “By Soochow Waters” by Louise Jordan Miln. It is about China. No more gloves wanted at present so am knitting socks, khaki ones. Rene did not come to dinner, Mr A not at business. I had made a nice, fry stew as I call it with her little bit of last Sunday’s beef (she had my dinner yesterday).

Recipe: I fried an onion, parsnip, and 2 potatoes in a little dripping, added flour gravy salt and pepper, let it bubble well then added hot water and stirred thorou’, then added meat cut small and covered with enamel plate and left to cook veg. over low light.

It was delicious. Jean finished it for tea as Rene did not come until later. We had pig’s fry from Mrs Browns for late tea when Father got home, very good. He went on Watch at 8 pm. It is his 24 hr day. Watch at 2. a.m. then Gby then watch 8 pm till 2 am. It is too long a day. Mr Bailey shaved himself today and talks of getting up. These new tabs for pneumonia seem to have robbed it of its terrors, he has only had it about 10 days now and is a bad subject being so full of asthma and a very short neck.

My violets are in bud both blue and white. The garden sadly wants attention but the weather is not fit.

Motto in to-day’s D[aily] M[ail] suggested by Lady Ed. Spencer-Churchill for those helping in the war effort, and who isn’t? one way or another:

Plan for more than you can do – and do it
Bite off more than you can chew – and chew it
Hitch your wagon to a star,
Take your place and there you are – go to it.

It is Jean’s half-term hol. Mon and Tue. Am pleased, it will give her a little break. She is very pleased because she got 9/10 marks for her Art H.Work, Mounties or Cow boys Crossing the Ford, as she is no artist. It was because of “good action”. She is not at all bad at making things look “alive”. Rene bought me some wheaten choc. bis. 1/0 lb and Father got some, rich tea at Hall’s. 11D lb not at all bad. Well I will put the kettle on for bottles and soon go to bed, things very quiet so far, not even many cars or mo. bikes to-night, no wind and the tide out. Must leave some fire and the kettle near for Father a cup of cocoa and bottle when he comes in.

Louise Jordan Miln wrote several novels on Chinese life having travelled to Australia, New Zealand and the Far East with her actor husband. “By Soochow Waters” was published by Hodder and Stoughton, 1929. (See website )
Lady Edward Spencer-Churchill was a great-aunt of Winston Churchill.

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

Thur Feb. 20 8.15 am [1941]

Had a letter from Ron yesterday. He may get sent to Canada or the near East. Out of the last batch of 180, 120 went abroad he says. I should not mind Canada so much once he was safely there, but hope we may have him nearer home for a while yet. He has put down for Manby, but you are allowed to state a preference, that doesn’t say you’ll get there. He is getting about fed up with his course I think. If it was practical work he could do it, but it is the head-work, so much crammed into so short a time. I think as Winston says of German armaments “they are full to saturation point”. However his total marks are over 50% so far which I think extremely good as he has been left school 6 years. He went to Devizes on Sat. Of course it rained.

It is a mixture of rain and snow here this morning, very wet and nasty. I shall have to dry my clothes indoors if it does not clear in an hour or so. Have got a few dry. I can hear the wind sighing a bit so hope it clears. We have not had so much snow this winter but I think we have had fewer bright days than last year. The birds sing in the mornings and snowdrops are blooming and a few polyanthus but it does not seem very spring like yet. My primrose indoors is flourishing. Rene got on ok at W.V.S. She liked the change, Rosa and Connie were with her. They are to have an orderly from the Camp to help now there are so many soldiers. Father brought me a cannon-shell case from Grantham’s (Lone Farm the soldiers call it), they had picked up a lot after Sunday morning’s gunfire. Scared their horses a lot. Jean has taken it to school to show her pals. Jessie approves of my gloves, doesn’t know yet if they are continuing to make them. Rene finished another pair of socks, at least she did one and E Crow the other. That is 3 pairs between them. Jean and I wrote to Ron last night and are sending him parcel to-day, hope we get his tin to-day, they do not treat parcels very kindly in the post. Father not very great this morning, he is very nervy, not war nerves but after the flu.

RAF Manby, near the market town of Louth, about 20 miles from the village, was one of the nearest RAF bases to which Ron could have been moved (see East Lincolnshire map).
Rosa was the daughter of retired farmer Charles Harness who lived at ‘Beecholme’ on Sea Road, near Ship Bridge (see village map). This Charles Harness was the brother of farmer Jack Harness, the husband of Will’s sister Harriet (whose son was also a Charles Harness) (See 28 Nov. 1940.)
Jessie, May’s brother’s wife (see 6 Dec. 1940), was a leading organiser of the local WVS (see 16 Dec. 1940).

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

Wed Feb. 19 [1941]

Tin hats no longer hang in a row at the W. Bx and Father has room to hang up his coat. Mond. was wet early so I did not wash. Just before 12 o’c. Rene came in and we heard a plane. Before she got her things off we heard machine guns and of course went out. It was in Roy. Art direction, was there in fact, then the plane came back right around the village firing his guns and cannons. We ran in as, tho’ we could not see it, we heard it coming. Bullets hit J Kirk’s Wash H[ouse] window and broke tiles in his barn roof. I saw a silver shower of bullets, some aflame, coming in the field, only just over the garden fence. Thought it time to leave the window then. It would have been too late, I am thinking, if they were going to hit us. Were going into the pantry, at least Rene had to drag me there, then we heard it over the hills and I ran to look if he was gunning the W Bx. I could not think whether Father was there or not. It was alright and Father was at home, he left the garage and went in building of Ashley’s close to house wall as garage was no protection. We saw the plane just going over the Point and Cookie and another R.A. [Royal Artillery soldier] coming down the Sand-Hills holding their hats on. M.Gs kept on then we heard the bombs go. It gave us an awful feeling. 3 were dropped on R. Art., one direct hit on Windsor House the rest on beach. One or two were killed and there were some injured but they were mostly in shelters as the machine gunning had given them time to take cover. Evidently the wind was nearly south as neither Jean at school or Mr A. heard the bombs heavy as they were.

12 P.M.
After raining all the morning great blobs of snow are falling now, perhaps it will bring the cold down. Rene just been, she is helping at the W.V.S canteen 12 to 3. Yesterday she baked for them, it doesn’t help my coal-heap much. Father gone egg-collecting, has to be on Wat. at 2 o’clock. Heavy thuds like bombs or gunfire. Am still jumpy. We think Corbie was struck by m.g. bullets, the wall is newly chipped.

Ashleys owned two houses, ‘Jesmond’ and ‘Perlthorpe’, used as billets, in Anderby Road (see village map). Will kept his car in a rented asbestos garage at the back of one, reached via a space between them.
‘Windsor House’ was Butlins’ name for one of their holiday camp buildings which became part of ‘HMS Royal Arthur’.
Egg-collecting was for Grandma’s business – eggs to be taken to Grimsby market on the Friday. (See 6 Dec. 1940)

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Mon Feb 17 [1941]

Have neglected my diary lately, last week I was knitting gloves for the W.V.S., have the fingers of one to finish. They say they want a lot, but I think it’s too late to be starting gloves now, they won’t want them much longer except on night guard. Ron has not been this week-end, the train service is so bad. I am pleased he did not, just for a few hours. I think it would have unsettled him and us too.

Father has gone on the box for an hour to let Mr Hallgarth help get his pigs off. 2 of those Father got for him at Alford, his have done fairly well considering food! We have coupons for pigs now, they allow 112 lbs per pig for 3 months, what idiots they are. We shall use up what they will eat (if we can get it) then sell the pig, I think may have it if we can wangle it, there is so much “red tape”. We shall all develop “wangling” minds if the war keeps on. When I last wrote in here Mr Bailey was struggling on with cold and asthma, he has carried on until a week ago, then could not come and now has developed pneumonia. I am so sorry, he is a bad subject, tho’ the new treatment has taken away the former horrors to a large extent. E got “pig cheer” the day after posting, so pleased it wasn’t long going. Ron’s was a little longer and some mince-pies broken in spite of tin. He was very pleased esp. with Pork Pie. Emmie has told him, Jean and I are to go there in case we are moved thro’ invasion. It is very kind of them. I hope we meet her people under happier circumstances.

It rains fast again this morning, shan’t wash unless it clears quickly. No more snow thank goodness, tho’ when we went to Alford Tue it was lurking under hedge-bottoms and shady bushes. Waiting for more we always say, but sincerely hope not. We have had one or two nice days, Sat it turned beautiful and sunny after a wet start, and the birds are beginning to sing. Chris took “Susan” to Rene on Friday after she had been at large a week. He caught her near the “Ideal Bung”. Expect dogs would not worry her as she was not afraid of them and would not run away. The soldiers’ fierce Alsatian set a land-mine off in the Marsh last week. His end was “pieces”, and very few mourners, he was a nuisance as he worried other people’s dogs.

‘Getting the pig off’ probably meant the same as ‘Getting the pig out of the way’ (See 31 Jan. 1941 )
Chris, one of Will’s nephews, was Peter’s younger brother. (See 5 Jan. 1941)
The ‘Ideal Bungalow’ was on Sea Bank Road almost opposite Coastguard Cottages, a little further from the village centre.
‘The Marsh’ was an area, north of ‘Lenton Lodge’, between Anderby Road and the seashore, extending from near the bungalow ‘Sandy Hollow’ to Anderby Creek (see village map).


We have had more air activity lately. Bombs were dropped in Algitha Rd Sk. on Sat night, have heard it damaged Chapel. Last night as Jean and I sat by the fire a plane went by and immediately after 2 or 3 bombs shook the house. They dropped between Huttoft and Sutton. On Sunday morning (16th) a plane machine gun was fired near us. Father had just got in from watch at 2 a.m. and Hallgarth had just got beyond Hall’s. He said it came between Kirk’s and us, and then between Hall’s and Point circled round and past Hall’s to Kirk’s gate, then back over the Point to sea, it was very low and had to rise to clear Point. Father asked if bullets were near him. He said “No, not near, about 10 ft away!” He lay flat on the ground, his tin hat was hanging in the W. box! Halg. says the plane had all its lights on and he is convinced in was a Blenheim manned by Jerrys.

The Methodist Church (or ‘Chapel’) in Algitha Road, Skegness, was severely damaged by one bomb and two large semi-detached houses in the same road rendered unsafe by two other bombs at around 2 a.m. on Sunday February 16th 1941. (See ‘Skegness at War’, Marjorie C Wilkinson, Cupit Press, Horncastle 2007, p 11.)
Huttoft was about 5 miles north of the village, just beyond Anderby and inland. Sutton-on-Sea was on the coast less than 10 miles north of the village and just before Trusthorpe and Mablethorpe. No further details of the bombs dropped in those locations have been determined. (See East Lincolnshire map.)
The aircraft seen by Mr Hallgarth was probably a German Junkers 88 which spotters found notoriously difficult to distinguish from a British Blenheim when approaching.

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

9.0 am Thur Feb. 6 [1941]

Up at 7.30 as Father said he had told Mr Bailey to call for a cup of tea when he left the box. It was a gale last night with snow piling up in wreaks. Mr B said there were drifts every few yards down the New Road and he is so asthmatic. He had had a job to get to the box. Of course he never called. I had made tea, cleared some of the snow out of the porch and dug a way thro’ the drift near the gate. It was an arctic or rather antarctic wind, as it was nearly south, yesterday, and froze the clothes as we put them on the line. It must have been the coldest day this winter. Think the snow will have brought it down a bit. It is fair so far this morning. Jean arrived home Mon. night with a severe cold, was very feverish, got her some of Streets bronchial mix from Hall’s. She will not get to school any more this week. She coughs a good bit night and morning.

Rene came Monday and we made mincemeat and Rene made pastry for m[ince] pies and s[ausage] rolls. I made a bone pie crust. Am very fond of bone-pie (pork). Sent Ron parcel with Pork Pie, s rolls and m pies on Tue and put in the sweets we forgot last time. Sent Emily a chine, brawn and mincemeat. Hope it got there yesterday or it may be delayed as they often get more snow than us. Ron has another week end leave on Feb 15. He would like to get home but am afraid could not get back in time. It doesn’t seem worth 35/0 or £2 for a few hours and so much travelling, especially if he gets 7 days leave about 3 weeks after which he should do. He has saved up enough money so his careful habits continue.

Hallgarth (farmer) bought Mrs Plant’s property. Rene and Mr A were going to the Crows to supper last night. When C’s have a “boiler” they generally ask them in to help finish it up. Very nice too. Of course they go other times. It would be bleak turning out twice last night, tho’ it is so near. E.M.D’s “Silver Wedding” turned out fairly well after all.

Mr Bailey, a coastguard, was believed to have been employed by Joe Jackson, Ron’s former employer.
‘Reak’ (spelt ‘Wreak’ by May) was a word in local use for ‘Snow drifted into a heap’. (See ‘A Glossary or Collection of Words, Phrases, Place Names, Superstitions Current in East Lincolnshire’, Jabez Good, Long Sutton, c1900.)
The ‘New Road’ was Ancaster Avenue, constructed around 1935, between ‘The Point’ and the village centre. The existing Sea Bank Road became known as the ‘Old Road’. (See village map.)
Streets bronchial mix may have been produced locally. There was a pharmacist named Street in Louth.
Farmer William Hallgarth and presumably Mrs Plant who had died were meant here. (See 30 Nov. 1940 and 6 Dec. 1940.)
Edith and Alice Crow were meant here. (See 2 Jan. 1941.)
A ‘boiler’ was a chicken considered too old to roast.

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

Mon Feb 3 [1941]

Jean just set off walking to catch the bus’ for school. It has been snowing but fair now. She put Ron’s old mac. over her own up to Auntie Jessie’s and her Pixie hood over her hat so with Wellingtons she will be alright. Her Wells. are only just big enough tho’ they were new in the storm last year. Our black Win. has come in and is washing herself by the fire. The wind howls in the E.L. wires. Wonder if Rene will get to-day, she did not come yesterday it was so cold and snowed gently most of the day. Mr A was at Chapel Jean said but not Rene. Jean and I wrote to Ron last night. Am reading a book by Phillip Gibbs “The Golden Years”. Very good so far. Started one of E.M. Dell’s “Silver Wedding” but not very interesting so far so have left it. E.L. dimmed and nearly went out then. Looked out about 7.15 and the soldiers next door had left their back door open and a broad beam of light shining out. They are very careless. Ron’s W.V.S parcel was never sent after all. They have just discovered there are 4 Hills instead of 3. Ray, Keith, Ron and Ken so Ron was the one who got missed. Still that is better than it getting lost. Miss Scarbro’ sent me a few apples for mincemeat. Mrs S not very well, she wants some sprats. She is a good age. I am going to make a piece of toast. Strange, when there is plenty of meat about you do not want it half as much as if there were not enough to go round. Jean had scraps.

‘Win’ (short for Winter) was the name given to the cat found apparently abandoned and the subject of May’s poem To Win which has been added to the poems collection on this site. It also appears in the book The Casualties Were Small.
Ethel M Dell was a prolific British author of popular romantic novels. “The Silver Wedding” was published by Hutchinson & Co, 1933. (See website:
Kenneth (Ken) Hill was the son of Will’s brother James (Jim). His widowed mother Grace Hill was living at ‘Bannerdale’, beyond Ship Bridge at that time. (See 16th Dec. 1940 for Raymond (Ray) and Keith.)
Miss Elsie Scarborough, and sister, Eva, lived with their mother Mrs Jinny Scarborough near the ‘Vine Hotel’ in the village centre.

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

Undated (~Feb. 1941).
To Win.

Oh Win! Thy name is Winter,
Because of thy dark coat.
And also for the snowflake,
That lies upon thy throat.

Thy name is also Winter,
Because t’was then thou came.
Out of the stormy weather,
To our hearth’s bright flame.

Thy coat has felt full many a scrap,
Thy ears are ragged left and right.
Thy poor left paw has felt a trap,
But thine eyes still are clear and bright.

They left thee on the doorstep Win,
And went away to other parts.
They did not guess it was a sin,
But hoped the neighbours had kind hearts.

The poem ‘To Win’ has been added to the poems collection on this site. It also appears in the book The Casualties Were Small .

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

Sun 9.15 am Feb. 2 [1941]

Pig rather a disappointment. Butcher said it probably weighed as much at Xmas as now. Its feet were bad “faisy legs” he called it but pig was quite healthy and meat beautiful but a bit stringy I think. 12st 10lbs, it ought to have weighed 20st. Still it is better than none. Jean and I cut up fat and sorted meat, cutting it ready for mincing and washed the brawn meat etc. before dinner. Then Eff came and we made sausages, haslet, duck, and 5 small pork pies. I got them cooked too and the brawn simmered several hours so won’t take long on Mon. Boiled the pluck, heart, tongue and a piece of sticking piece for mince pies. Jean took Aunt D[aisy], Mrs [Rose] Brown and Aunt J[essie] a fry each, she thought it was fine taking frys out. We gave and Eff chine, sausage, tiny bit of sparerib, scraps and fry and shall send brawn. Must send Connie something. It was nice to have a pig again. Tomorrow I must make mincemeat and make saus rolls and m. pies also bone pie, have stewed the bones. Then we can send Ron a taste. The extra hour of daylight was handy last night as the sun shone into the kitchen and I got cleaned up before dark. It was an awkward day to have the pig but could not be arranged otherwise. C Carter killed it for us and salted it. Father would not take the risk of salting. Rene did not come, expect she will turn up to-day.

Eva came an hour or two in the evening. Says they can’t get dried fruit anywhere. I have always been able to get enough currants and sultanas so far but not small st. [stoned] raisins lately. I have about ½ lb large Val. R. to put in mincemeat tho’. Got a little extra tea this week it seems there are ample supplies at present (sub rosa) and Mrs H[all] let me have 1 lb sugar extra. I did not ask for it. Father has 5 days holiday ended Tue night or Wed morning. Think he is enjoying the few days relief.

‘Brawn meat’ comprised various parts of the pig, including from the head, hocks, feet and skin. The meat was boiled to make ‘brawn’, a meat jelly. (For this and other pig-related items, chapter 5 of ‘Nobbut a Yellerbelly!’, Alan Stennett, Countryside Books, 2006.)
‘Haslet’ was a meat-loaf made by encasing selected parts of the pig-meat (e.g. chopped pork, liver) in a piece of the ‘apron’ before cooking. ‘Duck’ was a small individual savoury haslet, a variation on the general recipe.
‘Pluck fat’ from around the pig’s heart added a suet-like flavour to mincemeat.
The ‘sticking piece’ was pork meat from the neck. ‘Sticking’ referred to making a cut for bleeding, as part of the slaughtering process.
Jean’s Aunt Daisy was Will’s sister. (See 5th Jan 1941.)
‘Pig’s fry’ was used here to mean the same as ‘Pig Cheer’ being given out. ‘Fry’ sometimes referred to a fully prepared and cooked dish, for which there were various recipes, made up from a selection of the items.
Chine, a traditional Lincolnshire dish, was pork meat taken from either side of the backbone (strictly with the bone retained), usually salted and stuffed with parsley. When stuffed it was wrapped in cotton sheeting and boiled in a ‘copper’. ‘Christening chine’ was the biggest and best cut from between the shoulders. Smaller pieces of chine were sometimes roasted without stuffing.
‘Copper’ refers to a ‘copper boiler’ which typically incorporated a metal cauldron (generally cast-iron) with a brick surround, over a fireplace, in a scullery. May missed this arrangement, which she had been used to at ‘Sunny Side’. (See ‘A Yellowbelly Childhood’, Frank Forster, Seacroft Press, 2007, p24.)
Connie (‘Con’) was a daughter of Will’s eldest brother, George and Rose. Like Rene, Connie was a Red Cross member.
Bone pie was made from small chopped pieces (1- 2 inches) of spare-rib (rib bones with some meat attached), stewed and cooled before making into pie. The bone pieces were removed while the pie was being eaten.
Charlie Carter was a butcher in Hogsthorpe. His son, Claude, was a farmer.
‘ Val R.’ – Valencia raisins, probably meant here, would typically have been large soft and juicy.
‘Sub rosa’ – ‘under the counter’ or ‘not strictly according to regulations’ – referred in this case to rationing.

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