All posts for the month August | 1941 |

Sunday August 31 9.30 pm [1941]

The last day of August and a lot of peas still not gathered in and most of the harvest still out, a lot uncut. Our politicians boasted about our “bumper harvest” but all this rain will have spoiled a lot of corn I am afraid.

We and the Russians have occupied Iran with little fighting but Russians have been fighting fiercely the last 4 days. Laval (French) is critically ill with a bullet wound in liver.

Roy was home when I wrote up my diary last time. Ron has had a leave since then. He went to Leeds, Wed. until Sat. and then he and Emmie came here until Wed. Emmie stayed until Saturday as her mother and father were at Morecambe until then. Ron was upset at leaving us all, the first time he has shown it, however he was home again on Wed. last week and settled down again.


I had visitors Mon to Fri. last week, my only ones this year. They were very nice but that little bit won’t pay the rent. We have 9 little rabbits 3 weeks old, 3 brown, 3 grey and 3 black. The father is a Flemish Giant so hope they will grow big ones. We may be glad of them. Father has a gun licence but no game so far. The ships fitting washed up has made a lovely book case. Frank repaired it and put in new glass for 30/0 and some oak boards. He also put me a  piece of wood up round the bay to make a pelmet. Think I have really got blacked-out in sit-room now. Can’t see the end of the war this year tho’ some people think it will soon be over. I am afraid we shall see more of it in our own country yet. I dare not dwell on the thought.


Rene has to register in October. She seems to feel confident that she will not have to go, but I am not so sure. After all an older woman could look after Mr A and I should have to manage. I have often been worse than now and we have had to manage without her, but I dread the idea of her going away.

Jean goes back to school tomorrow. Mr and Mrs Ted Brown and Eric came tonight. He is working on a farm now, is almost bald. They cycled from Huttoft and Mrs B must be much stronger or she could not have done it. She only looks frail now. I made a little cake this morning with 2½ oz. margarine. It is not bad, expect it would soon go dry if kept. Jean got 2 jars brambles Saturday so made a pie with them, pastry made with marg too. No lard this week. I have 1½ ounces marg to last the week for cooking! Got ½ lb figs this week, quite nice.

Crofts have no gym tunics, only to order and they don’t know when they would be delivered and then they would be 2s 7d or 2s 8d and I don’t feel able to afford that. Jean can’t have any more music lessons at present so she must wear her old tunic and practise alone. She is in bed and Father on watch until 2 a.m. I can keep hearing a growl as if planes here about, they must be very high or a distance off.

Car painted up maroon and grey, looks O.K. Grey wants another coat as Father stood tin where the running board was not and lost some. Went to see Grandma yesterday, she was well. Saw the pigs, they are doing well ‘spite of ration.

10 30 pm  Heavy explosions shake the house. Evidently Jerrys. Shall I get Jean down?

The occupation of Iran, neutral but considered at that time to be pro-German, was reportedly to secure oilfields and supply routes relied upon for the Russian war effort. The fierce fighting by the Russians would have been elsewhere and probably refers to engagements with German forces who were attacking Russia under ‘Operation Barbarossa which had begun in June 1941.

Pierre Laval, of the Vichy government in German-occupied France, survived the shooting by student Paul Collette and was re-instated as head of French government in April 1942, when he ordered the rounding up of Jews. Following Liberation, he was charged with aiding the enemy and violating state security, found guilty and was shot by firing squad in Paris on 15th October 1945.

Frank, here, was probably May’s brother, Frank Simpson, but might have been Eff’s husband, Frank Raynor.

Mr and Mrs Ted Brown and son, Eric, living in nearby Huttoft, were family friends.

‘Crofts’ was a clothing store in Skegness.

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

August 7 Thursday 9.40 pm [1941]

Another week gone, most of it very wet. It is getting serious for the crops. The hay not gathered is deteriorating and peas will soon rot in the ground if it does not dry and if it comes too hot pods will burst open and a lot of peas be lost. The heavy thunder-showers have laid the corn crops too in some places. It has been a little better today again with a cool north wind.

I have washed blankets at last. I like to do them in May but with Mrs Adams coming I did not get them done then, later I was short of water and since then seem to have had so many comings and goings. Ron and Emmie, Aunt Jet, Mrs Wakelam and Sybil A again, but am pleased to have got them done at last and dry. Two had not been washed before but I soaked them first in soft water and Carbosil then in two lots of suds and they came quite free from dressing and more fluffy I think than when new. I rinsed them in warm clear water and we shook them well from time to time. Jean helped at first then Rene.

Ron came yesterday, a nice surprise, we did not expect he would get before his leave which starts on 13 August. He is going to Leeds first then Emmie is coming here with him. Roy is on leave, he and Joan C came in the afternoon to see Ron. Roy and Ron talked and talked, even Jean and Mavis could not keep pace with them. Rene took a snap of them and Roy had a spoon and scraped out the cake bowl when Rene had finished making cake. “Bill” looking on with a very grieved expression, he likes cake. Father had six days holiday but had attack of rheumatism in neck and shoulders and it was very wet so not much holiday for him.


K.S.L.I.’s gone to Well and S. Lancs come here. Told a weasel faced Sgt I wasn’t used to having my house taken possession of when he tried to land me with his wife? for the evening. I had an idea he meant to leave the luggage and then come back and say they could not get other rooms, but I outed him. Had George Cutts over from Well on Sunday, said they were nearly flooded out. Brought “Connie” his girl, very nice she is too and bonny. Dark hair and rosy cheeks and a little shy. Said Frank A was fed up with boil on neck. Had a letter from F on Thurs. Said he was a little better, we hope he comes over on Sat. Had a letter from Sybil too, a very nice one thanking us for making them so comfortable, but we really like them, they seem to settle down as if they were at home.


Jean took Bimbo to Aunt H[arriet] on Saturday and kissed him goodbye. She is having “Percy” instead. Have parted the young ones today 3 in each cage and Mrs Grey by herself. I suggested Jean put “gone but not forgotten” over the cage Bimbo left but she said “abandon hope all ye who enter here” was more appropriate. They are all very tame and rubbed noses with “Bill” [dog] today.

I answered Frank A’s letter last night, must answer Sybil’s one day soon. Have not heard from Aunt J since she went back. Keith and Marion were married on Bank Holiday August 4. He is 19 and she 20 or 21. As I wrote the date August 4 I remembered that other 4th August 27 years ago and the sick feeling of dismay I felt when war was declared and now we are in the midst of a far worse war than that and the end not yet in sight.

Well village is near the market town of Alford. (See East Lincolnshire Map.)
Nephew Roy and his girlfriend Joan were previously mentioned on 16 Apr. 1941.
‘S. Lancs’ referred to  the South Lancashire Regiment of the Army.

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