All posts for the month November | 1941 |

Sat Nov 29 9.15 P.M. 1941

“Thirty days hath September
April, June and dull November”
This is the last day but one of dull November,
I have known more fogs and gales I remember,
But short dark days we have had in plenty
And I’m thankful the date is at last 9 and twenty.

On Wed. Ron was 21. He came home, tho’, as he had to see the M.O. he missed his bus’ and “thumbed it” from Binbrook. He arrived home at 12.10. Father had been to Willoughby as we did not receive Ron’s letter to say he might not come. We were so disappointed as it was his “coming of age” and I had just decided to make my Xmas puddings, when he walked in. I was surprised and pleased too tho’ he was hot and tired and looked very white and seedy. It seemed he had a kind of sweat-rash and he had worried very much about it, but the other fellows told him it was nothing, and we looked it up in the Med. books and found it was something after the nature of fungus which causes ring-worms in children and sore toes in sweating-feet. We had cured Ron’s feet from that two or three years ago. Tinea was the name and some of them said it could be caught from blankets. Had a letter today saying he felt much better after his day at home. His cake with almond paste but not white icing was very good. We opened my last tin of Salmon (now we have points rationing I shall be able to get some more I expect) as it was an especial occasion. It was bright and windy and I took two snaps of him, hope they come out well. Rene was home for tea. We gave him a week-end case £1.1. Jean gave him a travelling ink-well and writing pad. Harriet a F.Pen and pencil. Aunt Amy 10/0, Uncle Frank 10/0, Ralph 5/0. Emmie and her people gave him a silver cig. case. I sent E. a ¼ of his cake.

We have sent for a permit to kill our pig on or about 15 Dec. Hope it weighs well. I had a small ½ leg of frozen lamb this week – it was very good, have put some haricot beans to soak so that they will be ready when I hash up the last remains. Got one small bone of sirloin for the week-end as we had some lamb left. I made mint sauce from dried mint by pouring boiling water over first then adding sug and vin, it was quite good. Yesterday and today have been miserable drizzles. Heard from Emily yesterday that Jaines might call for the organ today (I am lending it to her) so packed it up first thing (after daylight) this morning, then postman brought another letter to say she had forgotten to give her name, however she had given mine and I had already labelled it. Now it is all ready and they haven’t been for it so it is rather an eyesore for tomorrow. Rene went to her Decontamination Practise last night. Father says they have a lecture on Aeroplanes on Friday morning, think it will be in Hallgarth’s room this time. It is very still tonight and I have heard no planes so far. Cleaned best bedroom on Thursday and pantry-shelves to-day.

MO is an abbreviation for medical officer.

‘Tinea’ is the medical name for ringworm – fungal skin infection. ‘Tinea pedis’ is the name for ‘athlete’s foot’.

Jaines was a transport company based in Louth.

The small pedal organ was the first instrument used at home by Jean to practise piano pieces taught by Mrs Hipkin (see 16 Dec. 1940).


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

Monday November 24 9 p.m [1941]

It has been a nice day in a gloomy month, a fair amount of sunshine and a good breeze. My clothes all dry and most of them folded. It is nice to get them dried so easily in the week in winter time. Rene came after tea, Mr. A gets up again. It is only a matter of crossing the threshold into the sitting room so does not need much exertion. She came home a few minutes Sunday afternoon too. I have put almond paste on Ron’s cake and decorated it with a paper latch key cut from a card as I could get no other, and icing sugar flowers bought from Halls. The al. paste is substitute and ordinary sugar but tastes quite nice and I know the cake is good.

We got Ron’s case on Fri, had to have a brown one as they could not get a blue one, £1.1 and is very strong and well made. Hope nothing prevents him getting home for his birthday on Weds. He has grown up this year away from home and is much improved in many ways, tho’ he was never much trouble to us before. He is not shy now and very self reliant and broader minded as is to be expected with mixing with so many fresh people.

I bought a new hat, Tam, on Fri 7/11. It is not particularly charming but I disliked it less than the rest, and I go out so little that it does not matter a great deal as long as I have one and I was tired of the green one Jessie gave me and couldn’t wear my blue felt with my green coat. I am still rather “chesty”. Rene is asking Dr. to send me another bottle of medicine when he calls on Mr. A again.

The war seems to be going in our favour in Libya, it is very encouraging but I think a lot of the soldiers have thought the war would end without them going abroad. I am afraid a lot of them will have to go now. The whole division is moving from here. Frank Adams and George [Cutts] have not been any more, expect they will be going away this week perhaps not abroad yet. I must write to Sybil. Ron thinks he will almost certainly have to take another course in ins. rep [instrument repair], if he does he will not be sent abroad at present.

The end of another book.

November 24 1941

So ends another book of words,
And little walks of daily life
Are written here in calm and rest,
Tho’ round us surges war and strife.
Let not its tumult reach our shores
We daily pray, but what are we?
That we should be more favoured than
The other peoples of the world
Who strive upon their own loved soil
To conquer evil fighting hordes.

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

Thursday November 20 9.30 pm [1941]

Another wet Nov day. We have started an offensive in Africa, Libya and it is going according to plan says the wireless news today. Let us hope it is the beginning of a successful end. All the army heads are being retired at 60 now to let younger men who have learned more of the mechanised warfare take charge.

Ron was home again yesterday, the Selby camp won’t be ready before Feb and in any case he expects he will have to go on another course of instruction soon, probably to Aylesbury. He has changed his next leave with Vic so that he can get it in before moving so hopes to get home, at least to start his leave on 13 Dec. He does not think he will get the night of next Tues but hopes to get home Wed for his birthday. Jean has got him a Bakelite travel ink well and a writing pad and envelopes. We expect to go to Sk[egness] to-morrow to collect his case, if they have not got a blue one in he will have the brown one.

Have got some G[round] almond substitute but could not ice the cake today as I had no fresh egg! Rene did not get yesterday as Mr. A has pleurisy, Dr says several patients had bronchitis and then pleurisy as I had. My asthma is rather troublesome now I have got over the other. Expect it is all the wet we are having and some days it is quite mild and that does not suit me. The damp seems to settle on my chest. I am able to do my work much better tho’.

Rene has not been today again but it was so wet we hardly expected her. I am sure she is fed up with ailing people. She got a new hat last week when she went to Sk. I must have one too before long. Jean collected the “Blue Danube Waltzes” which Emmie had ordered for her and is practising them. They are rather difficult for her but she is getting on well with them. Skegness realised over [£]110,000 for battleship week Jean thinks, they aimed at [£]70,000.

Have started to read “Strategy of Suzanne” by Mabel Barnes and rather like the name for a house suggested by Suzanne. It is in Switzerland so don’t know if the language is Sw. French or what but it means Happy House Gailagia [? unclear]. Think I will read a little longer, have a cup of tea and one aspirin as I have taken 2 ephedrine tablets since tea and I find they make me wakeful. Then Jean and I will see us to bed. Father is on watch until 2 am. Have been taking tablets from Dr. this last week and never knew when he came to bed last night. They have made me sleep longer except last night I woke at 4a.m, but my asthma is as bad or worse than ever when I do wake. However they are done now and my medicine too. I got a new exercise book last week, 6d and not a very fat one either.

The Allied forces had taken an initiative in the North African Campaign with the launch of Operation Crusader on 18th November 1941. It achieved some success in what had become, and continued to be, a protracted backwards and forward struggle between the opposing sides.

Vic Morrall was Ron’s ‘pal’ within the RAF.

Mabel Sarah Barnes-Grundy (c 1880 – c1950) was a novelist whose work spanned first publication dates from 1902 to 1946. Strategy of Suzanne was published in 1929 (London: Hutchinson & Co.).

Ephedrine (‘eph’) tablets were prescribed for asthma and bronchitis.

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

Monday November 10 9.45 am [1941]

A wet stormy day. Mr. A did not go to Sk[egness]. Rene came after dinner. We were in room with a good fire as kitchen refused to get warm.

Two convoys were sunk in Mediterranean Sea by us yesterday, a great victory for us but what a lot of lives must have been lost. Capt Agnew who led the attack has been created a Comm. of the Bath which if it were not too serious a matter would be exceedingly funny. Not a case of the punishment fitting the crime but the reward fitting the exploits. Will Japan join in the war? It looks very much like it. I had been hoping that if peace had come between the Finns and Russia that it would be the first bit of leaven that would gradually grow to leaven the whole warring world and ultimately lead to peace for all.

Captain William Gladstone Agnew, of HMS Aurora, led Force ‘K”s successful action against an Italian convoy, in the Mediterranean, 9th November 1941. Years later (having been knighted) he was promoted to Vice Admiral.

Having fought each other during the winter of 1939-1940 there had been an uneasy period of ‘peace’ between the Finns and Russians. However following the German offensive against Russia in June 1941 (Operation Barbarossa) the Russians had massively air-raided targets in Finland and the so-called Continuation War began.

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

Sunday November 9 8.50 pm [1941]

A stormy Sunday evening, it has been very cold since dinner time. Father had to attend a lecture on aeroplanes and as the school was not “blacked-out” and it was a lantern lecture they adjourned to the Central hall. No fire of course and they were all very cold and not too pleased as they did not see much use in it. They have silhouettes of planes in C.G box and they were shown and told far too much to remember in one lecture. In any case the C.Gs are not so much concerned with planes as sea-watching. The R.O.C. was supposed to attend too but only two of them did so. Father just got warmed up and then had to go on duty at 8 p.m. He will be pretty tired by 2am as he was up at 1.30 am this morning on watch until 8 a.m.

Have just written to Emmie. Rene came down this afternoon in spite of cold wind. Mr A has another cold, we have decided not to wash tomorrow in case she does not get. My hands are so tender I skinned my fingers on Friday with doing a little washing and had to do my wash on Sat with gloves on as I could not bear them in water. Rather like washing ones feet with stockings on I think. Expect the cold winds have dried them up too. Hope they will soon get hardened to work again. I am feeling much stronger and better able to work now but not as well as I should like to be. My asthma troubles me from about 4 a.m to getting up time at 7.15 or perhaps it stops about 6.45 and I get a few minutes of warm comforting sleep. When the asthma eases it is almost worth a little of it for the delicious feeling of relief and comfort that seems to wrap one around.

Father went to the box in his blue pin stripe suit, C.G. cap, white collar and black tie and Ron’s blue mac. I told him he looked as if he were attending an admiral’s funeral, he looked very smart and said his cap badge was the cleanest. By my advice he washes it with warm water and a little ammonia, it cleans it without removing the lacquer so only wants doing occasionally. Jean is on the couch, think we may go to bed soon as I have heard no planes lately, but the fire is nice yet and it is too cold to read in bed.

Had a letter from Ron yester-day, they are talking of being moved again possibly to Selby this time. I hope not before his Xmas leave. It would be nice if he were here for Xmas day but think that is hardly likely tho’ it is on a Weds but expect there would be no trains even if he got leave and no buses run on Xmas day the one day in the year I think. We have had 1lb (2) oranges this week, very nice and juicy. To-morrow or Tues we get our new pink ration books for tinned meat, salmon etc. and beans so many points a lb. I am getting completely muddled with the ration scheme since being ill, I seem to have lost my grasp on things. How old people manage I don’t know, they must be at the mercy of the shopkeepers. I must try to get all the things thought out and make a note of them to save this bewildered feeling. There is no shortage of food about here at present.

This is warships week at Skegness. The school children, about 1,000, parade thro’ town and go to a free cinema show on Wed if the parents send permission. There are parades and processions all the week in spite of notices that people should not collect in crowds. I wish Wed were over as Jean naturally wants to join in. It would be terrible if anything happened. Grace brought a pen and pencil for Ron’s birthday on Saturday.

Father has written to Gavin, he wants to exchange this car a Singer 8 for a 10 hp if possible as this is hardly up to the size and weight of 5 men on Preachers Sundays and he does not want to lose the work. Jean has made a timetable of Father’s duties until Dec 31 if no alteration so that we can see at a glance if he is on duty when he is wanted elsewhere. He will have to get a substitute for next Sun afternoon as he will be out with locals. Hope Joe K[irk] can do it as he owes Father a watch.

Had 3 eggs from Halls this week-end with a MF [Ministry of Food] stamp on them. They seem beautifully fresh but I seem to have a great aversion to them. Expect we will get used to them in time. I wonder if our trade will ever be able to be worked up again, I doubt it now the packers of eggs have got it all in their hands. Made 2 water bottle covers and two kettle holders out of bits of old blankets and an old scarf, 1 each for Rene and I. Jean is having my bottle cover as she has an aluminium bottle now, having put a knitting needle thro’ her rubber one. I am hoping to get it vulcanised as it is nearly new. Must remember to get a new exercise book, this is nearly full.

The Central Hall, used for community activities, was almost opposite the Methodist chapel on St Leonards Drive (see Village Map).

ROC – Royal Observer Corps – The local group included several relatives, including Frank Raynor (see 9 Dec. 1940).

‘Warship Weeks’ were organised by the National War Savings Committee, with the support of the Admiralty, and were intended to stimulate public loan investment by setting savings targets (usually exceeded) appropriate to the size of various communities and the type of ship which the targets represented.

Jimmy Gavin (pronounced gay-vin) was a second-hand car dealer who lived at ‘Tennyson Cottage’ in Tetford, near Somersby (Tennyson’s birthplace – see diary 9 Oct. 1941), where the cars for sale were lined up on the grass verge alongside a section of the road which encircled the village (see East Lincolnshire Map).

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

Wednesday November 5 9.20 pm [1941]

Nov 5th. Let’s hope we have no “fireworks” tonight. The “Sherwoods” at Corbie have fire buckets of water, bags of sand and a stirrup pump ranged on their lawn which makes one feel easier in case of incendiary bombs. We have taken Ron to Will[ough]by St. and Father has gone on watch. Jean is asleep on couch, we have eaten an orange sent me by Edie Crow, a rare treat. Jean also had a box of Dairy Chocs (plain) given her today by Mrs Paul for bringing med. from Dr. M[enzie]s. Rene brought mine on Thursday. Dr M is calling again one day if I do not go to Sk[egness]. I am very much better but feel far from strong yet.

We had a share of lard found by C[oast] G[uard]s today. 56 lb between the 6 of them, very little of it spoiled by sand. Just over 9lbs each. Very acceptable. Father has got several pieces of wood too, just lately. They (the C.G) have been salv[ag]ing rubber bales this week (50), don’t know if they will get anything for that. Rene has got her teeth but has to go again tomorrow to have them eased a bit. They will be a great improvement and look very natural.

Ron and Emmie were here Monday Oct 25 to Sat Nov 1 or at least E was. Ron’s leave was up on Thurs, was not able to go to station with him then. They are to be engaged on his Xmas leave. I am rather sorry as she is 4 years older but he is 21 this month, so have only gently hinted my views. She has evidently decided on the ring and broken the news to Fa[ther] R[ussell] already. I have advised him not to contemplate marriage at present and he quite agrees but tho “man may propose woman may dispose of him”. It only seems yesterday when he was a little boy. He is looking very fit after his cold and says they are being issued with “Wellingtons” so hopes he gets no more wet feet. He has been wearing his own W’s a week or two.

Rene has a new coat, tweed, very “swish”. 4½ guineas and 18 coupons. She bought a hat too, Scot Tam fashion 8/7 but decides she doesn’t like it so am having it for Jean. Have taken feather out and wire from crown making it a soft Tam and it looks OK. It is a pretty brown velvet. Bought Jean pair of lisle stockings 3/6 (2 coupons). Fed up with Blanchard calling when we get shut up for the evening so am making own bread. Think I shall make only a little at a time and have it fairly new.

10 o’clock.

Think I had better soon go to bed. I don’t like these cold mornings tho’ the hour at night is nice. It is only 6.15 when Jean and I have to be up. GMT. Have finished one pair of F. Raynor’s socks, have got wool for others. Mrs Faulkner sent Kevin [?] and Chris [?] to-night to see what date Ron’s birthday is, Ralph wanted to know. (Emmie has given him a silver cig. case very nice indeed.) Can hardly believe Xmas day is 7 weeks today. Not much longer to keep our black pig. We are to have extra fruit ration this month and, as Lord W[oolton] says on wireless, in addition to more sugar and meat we are to have more things like jam. That “things like jam” is a subtle touch, we get a lot of things like jam in our jars now. However we always have plenty of food of some sort, it would be very wicked to grumble. It has been a fair quiet day but very cold. Jean had 6d for a poppy today.

Mrs Moore (Vine) has taken “East View” from Mrs Lee. Don’t know if Mrs Lee will want to go on paying for gardens if she has tenants. Cousins are still in Granby. Have sent today a pair of towels to Kathie from Rene and us. Also a parcel to Emmie for Rene. I am going to clean supper things and put cloth on kitchen table for breakfast, fill our hot water bottle and go to bed. I may read a little if not too sleepy, have just read “White Rajah” by Owen Rutter. It is about the first white Rajah James Brook and very interesting in view of the fact that the third wht. Rajah Sir Charles Vyner Brook has just retired from the position. I don’t know the details but believe it was understood that when the Sarawaks were civilised they were to be allowed to rule themselves under our sovereign.

Brothers, Hugh and Harold Blanchard, were bakers from Hogsthorpe where the family were millers. The roundsman was probably Harold, as Hugh was in the forces during the war.

Mrs Martha Faulkner (Mrs Faulkner senior), wife of ‘Bert’ (last mentioned 2 Apr. 1941), was probably meant here. The names ‘Kevin’ and ‘Chris’ were uncertain and cannot be identified.

Lord Woolton, Minister of Food, has been mentioned earlier – see May’s draft letter to him. His appointment from the business community (notably as chairman of a group of department stores) had been made in 1940 by Conservative Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and he retained this position in Churchill’s coalition government.

Mr and Mrs Fred Moore managed the ‘Vine Hotel’ for the owners, the Hornby family. Part of the hotel was requisitioned by the Army, including for use as an officers’ mess, during wartime. At that time Mr Moore worked as a fireman in Skegness and a relief hotel manager was in place. Will had been maintaining the garden at Mrs Lee’s ‘East View’ (see 29 Dec. 1940).

Mr and Mrs Cousins were an elderly couple who lived in South Road, in the bungalow ‘Granby’ near ‘East View’, at that time (see Village Map).

Kathie Cook, niece, one of sister Emily’s daughters (and sister of Gladys and May Lewis), who had recently married, was probably meant here.

Historian, travel writer and novelist, Owen Rutter’s White Rajah was published in 1939 (London: Hutchinson and Co). The three ‘White Rajahs of Sarawak’ were successive members of an English family, the Brookes (spelling corrected).

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