All posts for the month April | 1941 |

April 28 Mon 9.45 p.m. [1941]

Bedroom finished off with Eff’s help Friday and Saturday morning. Am much better but shaky still. My soldier’s wife has arrived, she is a bonnie girl and I think she will be alright. She has brought enough food for a siege. Can see she means having Frank [Adams] here to as many meals as possible, which was hardly the bargain. Proposed giving him tea before he went in the morning but think that will drop thro’ safely.

Keith brought his Welsh girl down on Sunday. She is a lovely girl and he is very proud of her. They wanted Father to take them to catch the 6.30 train at Sk. this morning but he was on watch so they were going for Mrs. Ashton. Father took Miss R to Alford to-day, she asked Jean to go with them. Father got 100 onion plants, hope they will do well.

The soldier and his wife have gone to post postcards, hope they will soon be back and go to bed. She does not seem at all tired tho’ he does. He is used to being in bed at 9 o’c so hope they are not too late. Jean’s cough still troublesome. Father is at watchbox until 2 a.m. One or two mines have been washed up, also some wreckage and a baby’s body at Hollands Gap.

Soldier, Frank Adams, billeted nearby, and his wife, Sybil, became long-term friends of the family.
The girlfriend of Keith Hill (see 16 Dec. 1940) was Marion Griffiths (often spelt as Marian by May).
Mrs Ashton, a hairdresser and shopkeeper, near Herbert Raynor’s garage on Sea Road, provided a ‘private-hire’ car service. (See Village Map.)
‘Hollands Gap’ was an area close to the seashore, alongside ‘Short’s Pullover’, at the end of Trunch Lane, south of the village.

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April 24 Thurs 9.15 pm [1941]

Miss R and Mrs M went to Ulceby and Alford on Tues. Father got me two boxes Kelloggs Corn Flakes and Rene 2 lb porridge oats as we could not get them here. Halls have flakes again now. Miss R went to Mablethorpe to see Miss Bryant to-day and took Mrs Hip[kin] with her. I did a big wash Tues. and yesterday cleaned Jean’s bedroom. That is Jean and I turned it out and brought the beds down then I started to white wash ceiling and frieze after sweeping walls, ceiling and floor. Rene came and helped me finish and Eff came and papered it in the afternoon and between us we have scrubbed out and washed and polished. Floor still needs polishing but I am crocked up with asthma today. Rene and I ironed, Jean papered round the part of the pantry under the stairs which is our air raid shelter as the whitewash comes off on our clothes. She made a very good job of it too. She also papered a box quite nicely.

Had a tin of Symington’s soup (oxtail) for dinner and cold bacon with mashed potato. All our week’s meat ration finished yesterday and don’t want to open tins in case we can’t replace them. We might have to depend on them sometime. It came heavy hail squalls this morning and has been very cold all day tho’ the sun shone after dinner. Have a fire in room today. Have blacked-out temporarily. No very good war news again tonight.

Wrote to Ron after dinner, had a letter from him this morning. He had got settled down again, said he felt rather blue Monday night. Father bought me some Cass[ell’s] tablets yesterday. There are a lot of planes tonight. I can’t tell whether they are going out or coming in but they sound a bit like “wuffers”. Must fill kettle for bottles, it is cold enough to need them tonight. Father is on watch until 2 a.m. Think I shall have a cup of tea too, getting up so much phlegm seems to dry one up. Rene has bought me a bottle of “Lucozade” today. It is a tonic and most refreshing. E.L [electricity/ electric light] keeps “dipping”, was told the other day that it was when the sirens were sounded in our district. We have no siren here I am pleased to say.

Miss (believed actually Mrs) Bryant was a relative of Mrs Mason (see 8 Jan. 1941).
Mrs Hipkin (see 16 Dec. 1940) was meant here.
Cassell’s tablets are believed to have been yeast-based, probably taken as a vitamin or tonic.

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April 21 Mon 9 pm [1941]

Moles have tunnelled under my flower seeds and also under some of Father’s peas, they are a nuisance. I have weeded the carrots I put in last Autumn and the weather being showery they have grown. I have a blue anemone in flower.

Ron has been for the day. We only had his letter at 9 o’ c and as Father had been on watch until 2.00 am he wasn’t up. However he was soon up and after a plate of porridge and cup of tea he went to Willoughby to meet him. He went Sloothby way and Ron got a short lift Cumberworth way but as Father returned Cumberworth way he soon overtook him. I had got water ready for washing but gave up except that I washed Ron’s things for him. They got dry so I ironed them and as he says he could finish airing them on the hot pipes he took them back. I hope he does air them, boys don’t seem to think it matters. He brought Rene a lovely little R.A.F. brooch. She was very pleased with it. She is not very brisk yet. I want her to see Dr M.

We took Ron back to catch the 7.20 at Willoughby. It was 20 mins late, the porter said, so we could not wait to see him off as Father was at Watch at 8 o’ c. It is nice to have him come but a wrench going back. He may go to Yeadon next time. Jean made him some coconut cakes to take back with him and she and Rene bought him some sweets.

I have Spring cleaned the pantry and Ron’s bedroom. I am expecting a soldier’s wife next Monday for a week or two so want to get as much done as possible. Eff says she will come and paper Jean’s bedroom on Wed. if it is ready. Jessie’s bronchitis bad again Mavis says. Have got new black-out curtains for the bay and got B[illy] Balding to fix them. They are not a success yet. Ron says they wanted a pelmet fixing. I knew it wanted wood but thought B. would put it up properly. Shall have to fix a valance over it somehow. I have enough material left. I am very disappointed as it has cost a lot.

Find I am very nervous in the car still. Father is taking Mrs M[ason] and Miss R[iggall] to Ulceby and Alford to-morrow morning.

Billy Balding was a carpenter/joiner who lived at ‘Elder House’ in Anderby Road, about half a mile further north of the village than ‘Lenton Lodge’ (see Village Map). He had been employed locally by Joe Jackson (see 27 Nov. 1940) but at this time undertook work out of the area, at various locations, for the War Ministry. He was a member of the village group of the Royal Observer Corps.
Mrs Mason (see 8 Jan. 1941) and Miss Riggall, who had together lived in half of ‘Ashleigh Villa’, near Tylers Bridge were regular ‘taxi’ customers.

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April 16 Wed 9.15 pm [1941]

Father is at the W Box and Jean is asleep on the couch, I think she has caught a cold. I think there is a pretty regular hum of aircraft, I don’t know whether they are coming or going. There were a lot of “bumps” last night which shook doors and windows. Jean and I did not go to bed until 11 o’ c and there were so many planes over and bombs in the distance that we got up at 1.30 am. Father was home at 2 so I went back to bed, Jean said she was staying up but when Father was ready for bed she came and got in my bed and Father went in hers. She was soon asleep. Lots of bombs shook us after getting to bed. The raids were widespread the heaviest over Merseyside and Belfast. We brought 8 planes down.

Rene had the last of her teeth out today. Jean and I went to Sk. with her. She would not come home but felt alright so Jean and I came home to dinner and Jean went to see her after dinner. Father picked us up down the new road. I was glad of a lift. Rene was in bed when Jean went but not too bad. I wish she was at home for a few days. I got a bottle of medicine from Dr. Menzies to see if it will cure this awful depression and irritability. I must treat myself to a new fountain pen soon, this one of Rene’s is not at all good. It was a lovely morning, quite hot in the bus’ and all the gardens are beginning to look gay. There is such a lot of aubretia this year. A lot of Butlins blue paint is gone now so the aubretia there does not look quite so terrible as it used to. Its purply red against that crude blue of theirs was always enough to set my teeth on edge, false ones at that.

Rene had a letter from Emmie this morning. I had an Easter card from her and also one from Uncle T[om] and Aunt J[et]. Had a letter from Emily on Monday, they have gone to live at Tathwell. Sent Ron his washing on Tuesday, hope he will be home again next week. He is coming to Willoughby station next time, arrives 9.30 am and goes back at 7.20, so that would give him a nice time at home.

Mr A has sent a nice frame for Ron’s photo. I put it in this morning and it looks very nice. Mr A said it once contained a photo of Mr. Rathmell as a baby (Vic I presume) and as he had looked at it 20 years or more, he grew tired of it and turned it out into the “shed” a year or two ago from where he rescued it for me. It is poker work and really rather nice. Planes are still moaning in the distance. I think I will stay up a little longer.

Frank and Jessie and Mavis came in after tea Sunday night. Father had gone to Chapel. His new suit is a good fit and looked very nice. I did not feel able to walk as I was “puffed up” all day. Frank is looking better, Jessie is thin. Mavis said Roy and Jo[an] had gone to Spilsby on Monday (Easter Monday). I hope not to the Registry Office, one never knows. Jean wore her new blouse on Sunday, it is very nice.

Rene brought in some narcissi buds on Saturday, they are nearly all open now and are lovely. Pale yellow petals and a deep orange centre. We also have a flat dish with handle, which Jean bought with an Easter egg in. It is full of primroses, polyanths and violets and is lovely too. Nearly 10 o’ clock.

Father has put some peas in and I have sown radish and lettuce. The worst of this sandy garden is that when it comes a shower it uncovers all the little seeds like radishes. Have put a few flowers in too, Sw[eet] Sultan, verbena and tobacco.

10 o’ clock bugle.

Dr Fraser Menzies was the family doctor, in Skegness.
May’s Uncle Tom and Aunt Jet were living with Amy in Trusthorpe, as earlier (see 16 Dec. 1940).
Emily Lewis, May’s sister, and husband Jesse, moved house within Lincolnshire almost annually. It was traditional for farm-workers to take up new employment after completing a year’s contract. The usual ‘flitting days’ recalled by the Lewis family fell on April 6th (related to ‘Lady Day’- a Christian festival). Another ‘moving date’ was May 14th (‘Pag-Rag-Day’) which was more applicable to ‘farm servants’ whose board and lodging would have been provided by the farmer, and who would have been counted as members of the farmer’s household. Tathwell was near Louth but further from Manby (see East Lincolnshire Map).
The Rathmell family had formerly lived in Sunningdale Drive, in or near Mr A’s bungalow, ‘Beverley’ (see Village Map).
Joan Collison, who lived in the village, was the girlfriend of May’s nephew Roy Simpson (see 5 Jan. 1941).

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April 11 GOOD FRIDAY 9 pm [1941]

A cold damp day with a thin mist and occasional cold shower. A great change after yesterday’s lovely Spring sunshine. Rene came home for a few minutes and had a cup of tea and piece of bun. She had 8 teeth out on Tuesday and her face has been very swollen. Is much better today. Shall be pleased when she has had all of them out. I went to Sk. with her and we saw where the Roman Bank road had been bombed on Monday. No-one was hurt except very minor cuts and bruises. Business was going on as usual and as we did not go in by that road I did not know about it until we were in the bus’ ready for home.

Ron sent me a little cross for a pendant and bought me a R.A.F. badge. Blue enamel and silver mounted on mother of pearl. Very nice indeed. He was home for a few hours on Wednesday but went back in time to catch the 5.30 train to G[rims]by. It is not always safe to risk the 8.20 in case the London train is late. He is looking very fit and a little fatter I think. He brought his washing home again. I did it yesterday. I cleaned the top part of the kitchen cupboard too and then as there were so many planes and explosions we did not go to bed until 12 (Jean and I). Father was on watch. So I feel very tired tonight. Have had no planes so far tonight and as there is no wind it is very quiet.

I made some hot cross buns, sent Jessie and grandma one. Rene took two and I buttered or rather marged 6 and cut them in halves and Father took them to the R.A. at Red Tiles. They returned the plate with “Thanks from the boys, they were very nice.” Made them from my old “Home Chat” recipe which I have had since the last war, but had no currants so put sultanas in instead. Eva came last night for recipe for Mrs. D[andison] as she had lost it. Raymond came too, he has been on 7 days leave. He expects to go to Ireland via Scotland not the Scottish Highlands. Gordon must have got it mixed. He is blond with a ginger moustache. Like the rest of the boys he can talk. Poor boys, I should think they can’t get anyone to listen while they are away and naturally we are interested so they talk and talk. He was at Boston the day Ron was home so missed him. It is nice to see them all. The Colonel’s daughter was not badly hurt.

I must get Jean to fasten “Corbie” gate to-morrow. I hate to hear it bang, bang banging in the wind. 8 bombs fell at Huttoft Bank about 4.20 am Thursday, no casualties, several fell in the sea. Father was on watch, he says they saw the 8 flashes before they heard the first bomb. I sent Aunt Jet, the Russells and Ron an Easter card yesterday, Father went to Gby yesterday.

We had beef pie on Wednesday as I did not want to give Ron stew, resurrected beef but good. Yesterday Jean and I had bacon, eggs, and fried potato. Today I opened a tin of beef stew with veg 1s 4½d, not bad but nothing special. Rene wasn’t here but there would have been enough for her tho’ the meat was not plentiful. I did brussels and potatoes to have with it. It is nothing like as good value as the “Casserole” beef steak at 1/9. Father killed a young tame black rabbit today so we shall have it tomorrow or Sun. My ration (mutton) this week is exactly 3/0, don’t know how it is going to last until next Saturday. Of course we have bacon but don’t want to use it too quickly and tinned stuff soon palls. Still we are not short of food so far.

It is 10 o’ clock and all is quiet so think I will put the kettle on for bottles and go to bed soon. Can hear the bugle 10 pm, think lights out is at 10.30.

Jessie Simpson, the wife of May’s brother, Frank (see 11 Dec. 1940), was meant here.
‘Red Tiles’ was the nearby house, used as a billet (at that time by Royal Artillery), on Anderby Road, past ‘Corbie’ towards ‘The Point’. (See Village map.)
Eva Harness (see 26 Dec. 1940) was meant here.
Mrs Dandison (widow of Fred who had been a farmer), who employed Eva Harness, was meant here. (See 6 Mar. 1941.) She was the leader of the Girls’ Life Brigade.
Gordon Hill, nephew, was a younger brother of Raymond (see 16 Dec. 1940).
The Russell family comprised Ron’s girlfriend Emmie and her parents Mr James (Jim) Russell and Mrs Emily Russell, in Yeadon near Leeds.
“Casserole” brand stewed steak, imported from Eire, was specifically mentioned in Parliament in May 1941, in relation to a planned Maximum Price Order for imported canned meats.

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April 1941.
Sweet the Voice that Tells of Victory.

Oh sweet the voice that tells of victory won at last,
That strife between the nations now is passed.
That we may rest in safety and in quietness,
Thro’out the hours of holy darkness calm and still.
No noise of guns or sirens blast to warn,
Only sweet sleep until the peaceful morn.
When waking to our work with happy thankfulness,
We sing our praise to God and his salvation bless.

How blest to hear the Storms of God’s creation,
The roar of winds wild exultation.
We revel in the rolling drums of thunder,
and brave the shining of the lightning’s sword.
We fear no earthly foe now God is near,
but worship him with love and holy fear.
To shape anew our lives oh grant us grace,
and knit the hearts of all in their embrace …

The exact date of the poem ‘Sweet the Voice that Tells of Victory’ is not known. It is possible that May wrote it, in a thoughtful but somewhat optimistic mood as Easter 1941 approached, following reports of Yugoslavia and Greece’s position on the Allied side and of USA sending help (see 6 Apr. 1941). The poem 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’?

April 6 Sun 9.15 pm [1941]

Father brought suit home Friday. Very nice, dark blue serge with white stripe and fits O.K. Bought two pigs Saturday, one for us and one for Eff. Black Essex about 14 weeks, £2.5s each. Hope we are able to feed them for bacon. The other is very useful tho’ I think with skimping that it is a bit stringy. Rene expects to have some teeth out on Tuesday.

Yugoslavia is at war with Germany and Italy. And Greece is attacked by Germany too. Hope it will bring the end of the war nearer. U.S. is sending speedy help. I wonder if the fighting will ever come to this country. It does not seem possible but I suppose it is. I hope it never does tho’.

Have written to Ron tonight. Wonder if he’ll be here tomorrow. It already seems like a long time since he was here tho’ not two weeks yet. Ray[mond] came on Friday for 7 days leave, is leaving Sig. now, expects to go to Scottish Highlands when he goes back. The soldier who used to pass up and down with two white pack horses has been killed by bombs we hear. The Colonel’s daughter had a nasty spill at Halls’ corner today. Her horse fell with her. Hope Maddison who is on watch with Father will have news of her. They are staying at Madds.

Rene and Con came this afternoon and stayed tea. Mr. A was having a nap after gardening! then he was going to Chapel. Rene went this morning but was expecting Edie Crow in tonight. I have not been, the wind is very cold and the preacher tonight not very special. Jean is on couch, she says don’t go to bed yet as a few planes have been about. They were not ours. Think Hitler is getting a lot of irons in the fire and may get burnt with some of them.

Ethel ‘Eff’ Raynor, Will’s sister (see 9 Dec. 1940), was meant here.
Raymond Hill, son of Charles and Mary (see 16 Dec. 1940), was meant here.
‘Sig.’ probably refers to the Army Royal Corps of Signals.
Halls’ Stores (see 28 Nov. 1940 and Village map) occupied a corner site near ‘The Point’, at that time.
Percy Maddison, a coastguard, lived at ‘Sunny Lodge’, near ‘the basin’, south of ‘The Point’. (See Village map.)
Connie (‘Con’) Hill, daughter of George and Rose (see 2 Feb. 1941), was meant here.

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

April 2 Wed. 9 p.m. [1941]

The announcer is just asking if we have been carrying our gas masks today. We must really practise wearing our gas masks more. It is just striking 9 on Big Ben. 12 nights London has had no raid. We seem to be doing pretty well against Italy now and Yugoslavia’s gallant stand has cheered all of the allies.

Ron came home for the day last Wed, he hopes to get home most weeks, for a time. It is nice having him so near tho’ we don’t know for how long. Sent his washing today and a bit of cake and chocolate. No more milk chocolate is to be made.

The wind is S.E., a cold drying wind which seems to have shrivelled us up the last few days. Tonight it keeps coming showers of cold rain. I hope it takes the wind and cold down. Hallgarth has not ploughed our allotment yet, doesn’t know if he will have time. Rather a blow as he agreed long ago to do it and has in fact nearly been paid for it. Of course everybody else is busy too now. Joe Kirk has got another horse, think they have sold their car. They won’t be so well off now that he is finishing at the Coastguard box. Still he ought to be able to find a living off his land in war time. Phoebe has started at Royal Arthur today as a Wren. We are having milk from Parishes now as Kirks was not fit to drink. I told them to let me know when another cow calved but she said they might give up taking it out now she was not going to be at home. Also that they might give over keeping cows as they could not sell the calves. The butchers were putting new born calves into sausages! No more sausages for me.

We had a boiled fowl today. Charles [Harness] had a lamb drowned and they had already killed the fowl so Grace brought it to see if I would like it. I would. It was small but only 2/6 and we are making it last 2 days with bacon and the soup and veg, potatoes, swede, carrots and parsnip and shallots to flavour it and the two pork bones from the weekend joint. There are the 4 of us as Jean broke up for a month today and came home for dinner and Rene was here. Jean and Mavis went to look for wild violets this afternoon but there hasn’t been sun enough yet tho’ the garden violets are in full bloom, some almost over.

William Hallgarth, farmer (see 30 Nov. 1940), was meant here.
‘Bert’ Parish (see 2 Jan. 1941) had a milk distribution round.
‘Taking it out’ refers to Kirks’ milk-distribution round.
Charles ‘Chuck’ Harness, nephew, was a son of Will’s sister Harriet and her husband Jack (see 20 Feb. 1941). Charles assisted his father in managing the family farm on Wigg Lane, where several of Charles’ sisters, including Grace, also lived.
Mavis Simpson, Frank and Jessie’s daughter (see 21 Dec. 1940), was meant here.

Rene’s paper from Nat[ional] Dep[osit] has come so she can arrange to go have her teeth out anytime. It is so cold so she is not making a start until next week. Mr. Faulkner came yesterday and swept the kitchen chimney. I white washed ceiling and frieze after and Rene helped me when she arrived to wash paint and polish etc. Still have a bit to do but glad to have “got the dirt out”. Ceiling looks O.K. Was pleased I washed on Monday and got clothes dry. Haven’t ironed yet so expect they are very dry now.

Mr Bailey started work today but had nearly enough by dinner time, not so strong as he thought. I have written to Ron tonight as Rene had written a letter which went in the parcel. We have to count our stamps now they are 2½d. We had a cheque from Commander Vine last Wednesday. What on earth did he want to make all that bother for? Have sold one pig to Charles for £5.0.0 so now want another. Don’t know if it has paid much but anyway we have 5.0.0 which we might not have had without. Father is having his new suit this week, blue with white stripe he says. £3.15, they have gone up a lot already. He is having it from Montague Burtons and it is a ready made one.

‘National Deposit’ is an insurance company.
Thomas Herbert (‘Bert’) Faulkner, father of Maurice, Herbert and Ralph (see 16 Dec. 1940), was meant here. The family home was ‘Sunny View’, on St Leonards Drive, near Chapel Bridge (see Village map).
Mr Bailey (see 6 Feb. 1941), former coastguard, was meant here.
Charles Hill (see 16 Dec. 1940) was probably meant here.

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