All posts for the month March | 1942 |

Fri 9.50 P.M. Mar 27 [1942]

Tomorrow Rene hopes to come home for tea. They are going to Crows for Supper.

We cleaned and papered the kit[chen] Mon and Tuesday and Ron came on Wed. His name has been in the hat again but did not come out I am pleased to say, but I wonder how long it will be before he is sent abroad. I cannot think of it. He is looking very fit again and hopes to be home again Tue or Wed. He won’t get to Yea[don] for Eas[ter] week-end as leave is stopped between 2nd and 7th to keep the Rly lines free.

Harriet came Wed afternoon but told us no “special” news of Eva, only that she was moving. Ivy has been called up and is being sent as kitchen maid to Alford Hospital. What a farce.

Gladys Jackson came about 7 o’ clock to see if Father would take a man to Anderby. He had been to the chemists on a cycle and could not get back. He has bronical asthma he says. It was foolish to try to cycle all that way and then back meeting a north-east wind He got to Jackson’s by degrees then waited until Father took car to fetch him. G. went to watch box to get her father to stay until Father got back in case he was late. It was a man he knew, Ada Peel’s [? unclear] bro-in-law. He was pretty bad I think by the look of him. Father gave him 2 Eph[edrine] tabs, hope they would relieve him a little. It’s a rotten complaint, I could tell just how he felt. He could not sit still so guess the pain was bad. G.J. says baby nephew is still very poorly and has only 4 teeth yet. One Dr says he won’t be better until he cuts his teeth and the other says his teeth won’t come until he’s better! I was laundering Ron’s socks when she came, asked how Jim fared with his. She said he washed his own, bought a box of Persil read the directions which said, put in water with P. and boil. Says he did and G. said they had faded white but had not shrunk like Ron’s. Now are his socks cotton? Or are you pulling their legs Jim?

Jean is nearly asleep so we had better go to bed. I may read a little if not too tired, but have had a busy week. Washed yesterday and ironed this morning.

Gladys Jackson was the daughter of coastguard Joe Jackson; Jim was a relative.


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

Mar 22 Sun. 7.30 P.M. [1942]

A dull cold spring day but it is drying up a little at last. I have started to spring-clean. Last Tuesday Rene and I cleaned porch and the cupboard on the landing. Thursday the pantry and Friday the “scullery”. Very pleased to get all of these done. Tomorrow I hope to clean the kitchen, am expecting Mr Faulkner to sweep the chimney in the morning, but he says that he went to the fire without breakfast this morning and had to go to bed this afternoon. The fire started about 8 a.m. at Miller’s garage and burnt his car and amusement place also burnt out the NAAFI but was got under control and did not hurt Canning’s shops tho’ they took out a lot of stock some of which was damaged by water. It being Sun. morning we saw nothing of it and did not know until Jean came from Chapel at dinner-time. Miss Moore did not know until she came in this afternoon to practise or rather to watch Rene practise bandaging on Jean. Je got her new watch from Meadow’s yesterday, an Ingersoll wrist watch, Swiss made 32/6. She had been saving up a long time and had got 30/0. Rene gave her the 2/6. Samuel’s were unable to supply one under £3.10.0 owing to the war. She is very thrilled with it. Let’s hope it wears well.

Father has another wretched cold. Wish he could get free of them. He is missing a watch tonight. Ron hopes to get home again on Wed. Says his cold is better. Roy was home Tue. to Fri. He is to be married at Sk[egness] on April 19th if all is well. Maisie is to be married at the R.C. Church Skegness on April 13th. I should like just a peep at the marriage “lines”. She is having white dress and veil and Con is bridesmaid and the “reception” is at Lily’s Café. R[oy] and J[oan] are going straight away to Matlock and having no reception. Don’t know when Eva is going to be married, officially I don’t even know she is going to be married, but the registrar sent her a message by Maisie. I should think this was quite out of order. I am sure H’s [Harnesses] would rather anyone else had known about it than Ransons. Ralph Faulkner is home and has brought a girl. Grace has to register next week and Dotty Raynor and Dor[een] Johnson with the next lot. Think V[era] Rob[inson] will be registering Saturday. Oh dear this weary war. Jean has started copying Nipper cartoons out of Daily Mail. Does them well. Hope it will improve her art.

Walter Miller’s amusement arcade (closed for the winter season with his car stored inside) was in the village centre, near ‘The Pullover’ (see Village Map). (Walter was a Royal Observer Corps member and daughter, June, was in the Girls’ Life Brigade with Jean.) Mr ‘Bert’ (Thomas Herbert) Faulkner (see 2 Apr. 1941) was at the fire as a part-time fireman.

The NAAFI – Navy, Army and Air Force Institution – provided shopping and social facilities for servicemen.

‘Canning’s shops’ refers to several built by John Henry Canning, near ‘The Pullover’.

Miss Kathleen Moore was meant here (see 11 Jan. 1942)

Mr Meadows owned the Chemist shop near ‘The Pullover’.

H Samuels jewellery chain store had a branch in Skegness.

Maizie Hill, about to marry Bernard (‘Ben’) McGuigan, was the granddaughter of Rose Hill (see 2 Feb. 1941) who had brought her up as a daughter. Maizie (her own chosen spelling since a teenager) had been born to Rose’s daughter Ciss Hill, who was later the wife of Percy Ranson. Ciss and Connie were sisters.

Lily, née Boddice, Monk’s café and dress shop were near Stow’s stores, near ‘The Pullover’. Her husband was George Monk. Lily and her brother, George, had attended the village school with Rene.

Dorothy (‘Dotty’) Raynor, the daughter of Herbert, was meant here (see 9 Dec. 1941).

Doreen Johnson, farmer’s daughter, was previously mentioned 8 Feb. 1942.

Vera Robinson was the sister of Malcolm, Mansel and Mabel (see 18 May 1941). She had been a senior pupil at Jean’s school.

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

Mar 21 Sat. 10.00. P.M.

First day of spring, now nature is reborn.
Greeted by children and poets pensive.
Birds tune their notes to sweeter songs each morn,
While sinful man doth plan – a new offensive.

A new offensive! Doth not the old offences rise?
A dreadful stench among the prayers and tears
Of those who send their cries
To God, these weary warring years.

Lord purge the hearts of all mankind,
And let the old offences out
Let all be born anew in heart and mind
And peaceful aims put all our foes to rout.

Turn all our enemies to friends,
We are thy children, so are they.
On all of us Thy rain descends
Thy sun doth cheer us with its ray.

With puny hands we fight and strive
Trying to grasp beyond our reach
Only Thy patience lets us live
Thy mercy Lord extend to each.

This poem was used to begin a new Diary book on the first day of spring 1942. It is listed as a Diary entry and has also been added to the poems collection on this site. (Unusually it does not appear in the book The Casualties Were Small which contains most of May’s poems.)

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

Mar 16 Mon. 8.15 P.M. [1942]

Father went to Sloothby this morning to look at car we had seen advertised, but as they wanted £40 for a 1933 model there was nothing doing. Think with the basic ration being altogether cut there may be several cars for sale as it will eliminate pleasure riding altogether, unless there is a supp. rat. too and then it will have to be accounted for. Our wireless is not able to be fitted up with the old part and it is not worth spending 50/0 or £3 over, so we are without for the present.

We have been very shocked by the sudden illness on Sat. of Doris Hall. She was taken to Louth Hos. Sat night with meningitis and died to-day. She was a very bonny girl and Jean’s first school-friend. She was not quite 14. Jean was very upset to-night when she heard. She asked after her as soon as she came in and was very distressed to hear she had passed away. We are very sorry indeed for her parents and brothers and sisters. Her father is in the Navy and not at home unless he has lately come.
[Aside: Tues. 17th. This is an error. I am pleased to hear Doris is a little better. It was a mistake over the phone!]

Have washed to-day and got dried. Rene did not come until after dinner as Mr A has another bad cold. Expect the mist which came as the sun rose would make it worse. It made me rather wheezy. Last night I went to Chapel with Jean but it is still blacked-out and all the ven[ts] were shut and stove lit, so I soon began to sweat and then to gently whistle so slipped out in the second hymn for fear I should be whistling a tune when they stopped singing. Stayed at’s until Jean left Chapel. She would make me a cup of tea tho’ I am sure I was better able than her. It seemed a long way home. Mrs Faulkner still looks ill and says she does not seem to gain strength very fast. She is very stooped. Jean has washed her hair tonight. Rene trimmed mine for me this afternoon. I am very tired either with walking yesterday or washing to-day, or both.

Had a letter from Ron Sat. (my birthday) he had to go on to Bin[brook] as the others had gone on his arrival at Waltham. Eva went back to Sleaford yesterday. It was mild yesterday and is very close indoors to-night. I have a root of primroses in bloom and snowdrops in the house, the first flowers we have gathered for weeks. Well, as this is the end of my book, I will end for tonight.

Mar. 16. 1942

Thro’ winter to the gate of spring
Pure snowdrops bloom, and birds begin to sing
Primroses, sweet yellow stars, shine on the earth
And buds swell slowly towards the trees rebirth.

Early this month I launched a little paper boat.
I wonder what will happen to it?


Doris Hall was a daughter of Albert Hall, a Navy chief petty officer, who lived on Skegness Road (see Village Map).

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

Thur. Mar. 12 9 p.m. [1942]

It was a very big rime frost this morning. When I got up at 7.15 everywhere was like a Xmas Card, roofs and fences and fields all lay sparkling in the sunshine before 8. o’clock and the shadows of our houses reached half across Ashley’s field. The rime went very quickly also the sunshine and I thought it would rain, but a bitter east wind sprang up which did not dry as much as one would have thought. I washed the “woollies” I had left from wash-day and it took them until dark to get dry in spite of the wind. Father went to allotment and chopped down elder-bush which was in the way of ploughing, also burned the dry grass round plot instead of mowing it. He put paraffin on to light it and singed his eyebrows and also his hair one side. Rene’s cold a little better to-day I think. Little “bookie” came to-day, said his feet were so bad last week or he would have come in spite of snow. I am so sorry for him. He never had chilblains until the last year or two.

Had a letter from Frank Adams this morning. He is in R.A.s [Royal Artillery] now, also George, they are together and are gunners. At present stationed in out-of-way place where they can’t buy stamps. It is near Melton Mowbray. Asked after “Lady Sybil” [rabbit] and said his Lady Sybil is expecting a baby in June. He sounded very pleased too. So are we, it will, I think, complete the happiness of their very happy marriage. I must write to both of them and wish them joy. He writes so nicely and says he will never forget Chapel and always sounds so genuine. Jean will be thrilled when she knows. She is in bed, seems to have got over her nervousness tho’ it is a very blustery night. Fire puffs smoke into room now and then, and it is bitterly cold. Father is on watch until 2 a.m. Shall be pleased when it is 2 as I don’t think I shall be very warm until he comes to bed in spite of H.W. bots [hot-water bottles] and plenty of blankets. Must try to make a flannel shirt for Father tomorrow. Have got 4 yds. wht. flannel from Keightley’s at 4/4 yd and 2½ cou[pons] yd. It is all wool. I thought perhaps if I did not make sure of it now, I might not get any next winter and Father’s undershirts won’t last more than the summer, or would be too thin if they did. Snowdrops are out and the primroses are growing every day in spite of weather. Maisie Stow had stocks and w[all] flowers yesterday, she did not get them last autumn as the weather was so wet.

“Lady Sybil” was a rabbit named after soldier Frank Adams’ wife.

‘Keightleys’ was a popular clothing store in Skegness.

Maisie Stow was the wife of Jack, son of Stores owner George Stow. They lived in a bungalow ‘The Rosary’ on Sandy Lane, nearer to the village centre than ‘The Delves’ (see Village Map).

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

Wed Mar 11 8.40. PM. [1942]

Talking of starlings, Ron says Mr Russell was feeding one and as it strutted down the path, its mouth full of bread, a neighbour’s cat sprang at it and mauled it before they could rescue it. Emmie made it a bed and tried to restore it but it died. Emmie is out of love with cats and would like to destroy them all. Ron has been at Waltham since Mon. as their planes are operating from there whilst B.B. [Binbrook] is US [useless] owing to the snow. He arrived home last night at 10.10 pm. We had gone to bed but Father let him in and I came down in D.G. [dressing gown] and got him supper. The fire was still in and he slept on couch. He had a nice long day at home and I made pancakes as I had promised. I forgot them on Shrove Tuesday. Father likes them with currants in. Ron had Rasp[berry] Vin[egar] to his, Rene butter and sugar and I had Golden Syrup, various tastes in the absence of either oranges or lemons. Saved some batter and made Jean two for tea. She ate hers with butter (or rather marg.) and sugar. Was extravagant and put two eggs in. Had 4 from Eff. Rene brought one so Father and Ron had an egg each for tea. Jean ate 3 or 4 of those I had from Eff last week. She is better and started school on Tuesday. I shortened her blazer sleeves, it looks very nice.

We finished Ron’s socks and he went back in them as the feet of those he had on had shrunken so much that the heel was in the middle of his foot. The wool we get now is terrible, it is a pair that I refooted before Xmas. Have told him to bring any more that are like them. He has 6 or 7 pairs altogether. Hope this last pair won’t shrink as they were knitted from wool pulled down from a pullover so should be well shrunk. We took him to Will[oughby] St[ation] tonight, he might find his mates gone back to B.B. [Binbrook]. If so he would have to bus’ back to G[rimsb]y and catch a bus’ to Camp at B.B. but would have plenty of time. We did not wait at W. as Father was on watch at 8. p.m. Hallgarth has had a scheme for all the C.G.s to get a signed pass from Mil [itary] to go on beach at all times. A weird idea which Father thinks may get him in trouble. The Navy does not usually ask favours of the Army in her own domain. However they received them to-day.

Father put up the trellis yesterday that we had to take down to put up the Hut. He has planted a climbing rose and two ramblers by it, so hope they grow up and hide the hut a little from the road, tho’ it is quite respectable. Wrote to Edie and Amy on Sun. It is E’s birthday to-day. Rene has a bad cold again, Ron had a cold too. has had Dr. He has given her med. and is going to examine her on his next visit. She is very thin and weak, as she has been afraid to eat much because of indigestion. Have sent for my driving licence. Notice how faded the new stamps are now that they are using less dye in printing them. Points values are altered again. Salmon 1st Gra[de] now wants 32 pts, sardines 24, but dried fruit 6 instead of 8. So far I have had sufficient.
[Aside: It is an offence to have more than 1 week’s food in store.] It is an offence since Mon. to waste paper or cardboard, even bus’ tickets or cig. pkts. punishable by a £100 fine or 3 mths imprisonment or both. Eden disclosed Jap atrocities on Brit. prisoners in H-K [Hong Kong]. Rangoon fallen. Java too.

Eva passed her Med. Ex. but may not be called up for months as she is employed in necessary work. Weaving. Men keep being called up from farms and men in Forces take jobs in “Civvy St.” think they are aiming at training everyone. Ron’s Well[ington]s were amongst those that bombed Renaults. Said they laid it flat. One went down to 2,000 ft and dropped his bombs. One dive-bombed with a “Wimpy”. One was so low that the blast blew him wrong-side up but he was not damaged, in fact all the planes returned safely. There was no opposition whatever, either plane or A.A. So we must have caught them napping for once.

May occasionally drove locally, sometimes when Will was unwell.

Rangoon, the capital of Burma, fell to the Japanese on 8th March 1942. British forces escaped to the north. The Japanese invasion of Java had commenced on 1st March after overwhelmingly defeating British, Australian and Dutch naval forces in the Battle of Java Sea.

The reference to ‘Weaving’ is curious. Eva Harness had apparently already worked away, possibly ‘learning electrical engineering’ in Peterborough (see 31 Jan. 1942, 4 Feb. 1942) or an activity in Sleaford (‘going back’ – see later: 16 Mar. 1942). ‘Weaving’ may have referred to attempts to avoid being called up for work further from home or just possibly the word could have been meant as ‘Weaning’ as a reference to her work with Mrs Dandison which included looking after babies and young children (see 6 Mar. 1941).

The intensive very-low-level RAF bombing raid on March 3rd 1941, on the Renault factory at Boulogne-Billancourt, just west of Paris, was very successful in damaging production of vehicles for the German forces, though many French workers were killed. Only one out of more than 200 aircraft failed to return.

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

Sat Mar. 7/42 8.45 pm

Snow and frost still persist tho’ it thawed a little during the day, a very little as the snow still coats the house walls and fences. Had a letter from Ron, says snow comes nearly to Well[ington boot] tops across the drome and there are drifts 3 feet deep. He is feeling better for his change back to Ins Rep [Instrument Repair] tho’ in spite of the cold. It is a good thing his week-end was not this week. Hope it will be better weather by Wed. Rene came this aft. She is looking much better. She had on her new blue jumper and her blue costume as she was going to Crow’s for supper. Father took Rol. Grantham to Sk[egness] station to-day and brought straw from Coote’s for pigs. Mrs Coote improving. Jean went out a little to-day, just to Halls and back. She is tired and irritable and seems very nervous. Don’t think she will go to school before Tue. unless she improves a lot and the weather is better. Father is out with preachers tomorrow so hope there is no more snow. He filled up with petrol as he was at Sk. Ship-wrecked Mariners wh[ist]-drive and dance realised £10 last night. Gil[bert] Paul is sec[retary].

Had 2 pts milk to-day as Jean likes bread and milk for breakfast and it is good for her. Brock’s milk is not bad. It is 4D pt. now. It was 4½ up to Feb. 1st. It seems a lot when we think of the old price of 1½D years ago. Jean had an egg for break[fast] and Father one for supper before he went on watch. 9 o’clock striking so think I had better soon go to bed, Jean doesn’t like going alone. She has just put the little cat out, it came in when Father went, he did not want it to follow him to the W.Bx [Watch Box]. Cooked a slice of bacon we had from butcher, for dinner, it was very nice.  Hope it isn’t so cold tonight. I never got warm last night in bed. Think I have a bit of cold as I have felt starved all day and as if I could not drag one foot before the other. Went to sleep in room after dinner and have never changed my frock. Did a bit of mending after tea (Rene brought usual cream buns) also a bit more of Ron’s sock, have nearly done ½ the foot.

D.M. [Daily Mail] says if Russ[ians] can hold out thro’1942 we may be able to decide war in our favour in 1943, 4 or 5. It has a depressing effect. Birds are ravenous again now. Gulls swooped down almost at my feet when I threw out bread for them. But in spite of the severe cold, one can hear quite a trill in the starlings’ voices, even when they are fighting over the food, and they are most quarrelsome. Father was amused by one sparrow perching on a starling’s back and pecking at a bone, as the st. would not let it perch on bone.

Roland (‘Roly’) Grantham was a farmer’s son, one of Elsie’s brothers (see 30 Nov. 1940 and 8 Jan. 1942).

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

Friday Mar 6 8.30 P.M. [1942]

Oh dear! Snow again and we hoped it had all gone. Those dykes full on the way to Skeg. must have attracted it. Wed. after dinner it started a nasty sleety rain which turned to snow later on. Thursday morning we had 2 or three inches of snow and it kept snowing on and off all day. It is the sticky sort from the East and all the east sides of houses posts and trees are covered with snow, very picturesque I own but so bitterly cold again. It has not come much more to-day, only a shower or two of “sago” but think it has frozen all day. Had a letter from Ron on Wed. he had 4 mins’ to catch last bus’ at G[rimsb]y so arrived in Camp on time. Enjoyed his stay and feels better for it, also likes being back in “A” flight again at his old job. It suits him better than the oxygen filling room. Emmie very pleased with “Wimp”.  Eva H[arness] is at home, has had gastric flu’. She came down for tea Tue. with the baby Mrs D[andison] is looking after. Thought she looked thin and ill and would have been better indoors. Dr says she is too shaky to go back to her work yet. She says she likes it very well. Has not been very fortunate with “digs” yet but is capable of looking out for herself I think. Jean has been at home all the week and is not very great yet. Seems to have had cold all over. She has been diverting herself over my diaries. Father and Rene seem to be getting better now. Re says her appetite is better. She came at tea-time to-day as Mr A. was working at home, so was in for dinner. I had baked this morning so she took some pastry and a balm cake back with her.

Eff let me have 6 eggs to-day 1/3. Have not had any from her for a long time, they look so fresh and nice. Must give Jean one for breakfast. No beef to-day only Cant[erbury] lamb? Am rather tired of it but ought to be thankful we can get enough meat of some sort, got ½ lb. tinned beef too and two slices bacon, the first I have bought since we had our own. Was rather amused to see that in some restaurant, in London I believe, the clients rather like the two meatless days that have been instituted. The manager says they give them soup and the choice of two kinds of fish or curried chicken then cheese! If their meatless days get no worse they won’t starve. If I could get fish and could afford chicken I would gladly have meatless days. Not yet have we come within hailing distance of hunger. Mrs Coote still in bed, think the little “maid” is leaving on Sat. so don’t know how she will manage as Dr said she must do nothing for a week after she is up. Ivy Jinks (Tasker now) has been several days this week, but she really wants someone there all the time another week.

Our little librarian not been this week, expect weather is too bad. Rene calls him my little “bookie” which sounds very bad. I have only just started my book and have Father’s to read too so am alright, but think Fa has read them all. Jack H[arness] has been in for cup of tea once or twice lately while working at the sea and today brought ¼ tea from H[arriet]. Told him we had not got to where we could not spare cup of tea yet, whatever we might get to. He said “Oh well, you know what ma is.” He gave Father a little heap of firewood which heated my oven very nicely. E.L. bulbs dried out and light alright.

‘Wimp’ was short for ‘Wimpey’, the popular name for a Wellington bomber, and was referring to the model which Ron had made for Emmie (see 14 Feb. 1942).

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

Mon Mar. 2nd 42 9.15 P.M.

Very cold and raw to-day with mist hanging about all day in spite of a fresh E. wind. Clothes only about half dry. Jean’s cold developed more on chest than head, not been to school, seems very seedy. Rene and Father much better tho’ not too great yet. Hope I keep clear of it. Form from Air. Min. this morning. Ron is making an allowance of 10/6 a week, payable to me, to save for him. Signed the form and Father brought book from P.O. this afternoon. First payment due Mar. 5th Thursday. Must be drawn within 3 months of that date so I won’t have to trot down for it every week. Must consult Ron as to how it is to be banked. Perhaps he will put it in his own P.O. Sav[ings] Bk. I don’t really want it in mine, and don’t think I can hold two. Father could have a P.O book tho’ and put it in for him.

Father said tonight what a queer thing it is that if anyone is murdered in England, they go out with cars and guns and even armoured cars and soldiers as well as police, to seek for the one man who did it, yet in the fighting area the more “kills” a man makes, the better they think of him. At home he may have a reason to hate a man but must not kill but if he is in one of the Services he is taught to slay those who have done him no harm, and against whom he has no personal feeling.

D.M. corr. Ax. Clifford says: In Libya the German prisoners are saying the war will end this year, no one winning but by negotiation. Say that Gers and Eng. should not fight being of the same race and why should they have anything to do with Italians and spat when Japs were mentioned. It may of course be what they are told to say but Intell. Offic. says many Ger. prisoners talk so. How we wish there could be peace for all without loss of honour. What good is all this bloodshed going to do. See we are tightening up sporting events, betting etc, not before time. I see also in paper that Ger. R.A.F. are not allowed to associate with It. R.A.F. except on official duties. They do not agree.

Hope we have a letter from Ron tomorrow to let us know he is safely back in Camp. Looked out after Father went on watch at 8. pm and the moon had risen over the bank and it was a beautiful night. Wind practically gone.

Alexander Clifford was a respected war correspondent for the Daily Mail.

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

Sun Mar 1 /42 9 o.c. pm

March did not come in like a lion, however it may go out. It has been a very calm fair day, but not much sun tho’ not as bitterly cold as we have had it. Yesterday was fair but very cold. We went to Sk. in the morning as Father wanted to use Feb. petrol coupons, the basic ones. Jean drew £1 out of Trustee Sav. Bank. It is a new place where old P[ost] Off[ice] was, so bare and clean with new chairs upholstered in bluey-green rexine, set stiffly by the walls looking as if they dared anyone to soil their pristine poshness by sitting in them. Clerk or manager exceedingly gracious, we were the only clients? at the moment. Jean looked as bothered as if it were an overdraft she was negotiating instead of one of her own £1.s. Think Mr. Sp.lo [Spendlove] drills it so into them that they ought not to draw any out, that they feel it is wrong, instead of being their own money, for use if required. It was, this time as she wanted blazer, and 39/6 was more than I could afford for one garment. She is drawing her one S certificate too and will put savings into T.S.Bk now.

Saw Grace [Hill] in M&S [Marks and Spencer], she was quite chatty. Ken and Bill in Middle East, wonder if they will meet. Les. Chief acc[ountant] in Air Min[istry]. Kat of course in the W.R.N.S. at Roy[al] Art[hur]. Eva is at home with gastric flu’. Very nice being able to get home when she is ill. It is not very nice in lodgings when ill. Bought a child’s book 1/0 at M&S. Rud. Kip. Animal Stories, think it’s too old for Flora. One of the stories is “The cat who walks by himself”. Father got a bot. of med. from Dr. also a tonic for Rene, at least from Boots as they are panel pat[ient]s. Fa took bot. which was not big enough. They charge 2½D on bots. They are returnable. Shops were full of tins of fruit but the number of pts and prices will ration them I think. 4½O[?] [ounces?] tins of pine.ap. are 8 pts and 1S/3½D per tin. Pears (large) 16 pts and 1/9 tin. I have got a pineapple but don’t think I shall bother with more.

Called to see Patty Coote, coming home, she has pleurisy and was in bed, but hoped to get up to-day. Took her a cod steak 9D (1S/4D lb.) as there was plenty of fish at Sk. Sat. Three or 4 cats were on the copper-top in scull[ery] when I went in and one or two more on the floor and Jill the dog. They were licking up the plates from the meat course. Mr C and Paddy were at the table having cus[tard] and fruit and F[rank] had taken Pat. hers. She was in sit-room which is being used as bed-room. Don’t know if they are always in it now. She is very thin and looked ill. Everything is desperately shabby and wants renewing. New style wooden bedstead but looked as if there were only the thinnest of overlays on spring and bed linen very grubby. Should have thought it could have been changed even though there is only a young girl there. F had cleaned up the room. Paddy is a lovable little boy. Mr C. looks very old and thin, he had been ill. Am afraid P. has nearly given up.

Flowers are very dear. We have none, only snow-drops and primroses in bud. Daffs 4/0 doz and little narcissi 3/6. Clarks and Charles H. have little lambs, but I have not seen them yet. Saw some of the havoc Ger. had done at R. Art. It was a wonder more were not killed. See our paratroops have made a succ. raid in N. France on a radiograph station and most of them got safely off by the Navy. Very dangerous, but must be very thrilling. Ron should be nearing camp again by this, he is due in at 11.39 pm. Do hope he is not delayed this time or he may get leave stopped. 10. pm. so will prepare for bed. Jean already gone. Our patch of snow has really gone off the lawn, but ditches and hollows were still full yesterday.

Mr Spendlove, Skegness Grammar School headmaster was mentioned earlier (see 20 Jan. 1941).

Grace Hill, widow of Will’s brother Jim, was meant here. Kenneth Hill (see 3 Feb. 1941) was one of their sons and Bill Smith (see 11 Dec. 1940) was the husband of their elder daughter, Olive.
Leslie (Eede) Hill was Grace’s son by an earlier marriage. As a widow Grace married Jim, who adopted Leslie.
Kathleen (‘Kath’) Hill, the younger of Grace and Jim’s two daughters, was a ‘Wren’– member of the Women’s Royal Naval Service, based at ‘HMS Royal Arthur’.

Rudyard Kipling’s book was ‘Just So Stories’, first published in 1902.

The superscript in the reference to tins of pineapple was unclear – either D or O. If D it could have referred to the old price, rather than the assumed O which could have meant weight in ounces.

Mr C probably meant Jack Coote, Frank’s father (see 28 Jan. 1941). 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.

Walter Clarke farmed at ‘Tower Farm’, north of ‘The Grange’ on Sea Bank Road (see Village Map)

The British 1st Parachute Brigade, with RAF and Navy support, captured German anti-aircraft radar equipment at Bruneval, near Le Havre, France on 27th -28th February 1942.

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