All posts for the month April | 1942 |

[Thursday] Ap 30 9.15 p.m [1942]

The last day of April and we have not heard the cuckoo or seen a swallow yet. To-night is a full moon (the second this month) so they may cross as the wind is about East and the gale of bitter NE wind which lasted 7 days last Thur to Wed night, has calmed down at last and altho’ it has been cold to-day it has been much pleasanter. Indoors it was so quiet I kept thinking the clock had stopped. The E.L is off so shall soon have to go to bed. I ironed after tea and when Jean switched on light? a few minutes since it did not come on so I inserted 1/0 but still no result. I wonder if there is a raid so early. Jerry’s reprisal raids on our old and famous buildings and towns these last few nights are heartbreaking. The lives lost are chiefly non-combatants. First Bath 2 nights, Norwich, York and Norwich again.

There may be thunder about tonight. I am feeling “nervy” not having got over my “bad about” of asthma yet. Shall be pleased when Father gets home at 2 a.m. Next week he will be patrolling and get all his nights in bed. We have cleaned Ron’s bedroom today, at least Rene has. It is three weeks tomorrow since we did Jean’s and I have been struggling with this tiresome asthma ever since and am still shaky though I hope the worst of it is over. Roy and Joan were married on Sat. Ap. 18 at Sk[egness] Church. Joan in blue and Mav[is] in pale pink summer dresses. We gave them a cut glass salad bowl. They spent the honeymoon at Buxton, or was it Matlock? They came down to thank us for bowl last Sat. Joan called me Aunt and kissed me so we are formally adopted I suppose.

Well it’s nearly dark though only 9.40 D.S.T. but very cloudy, so I’d better go to bed as E.L is still off. Am taking a candle up and leaving Father’s on table.

Mavis, here, was the sister of May’s nephew Roy.

D.S.T. Double Summer Time – clocks advanced 2 hours beyond Greenwich Mean Time – was intended to make more economical use of natural daylight hours.

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

Thur. Ap. 16 /42

I have just read “But there are still the two spirits in man —- the spirit of building and the spirit of destruction. And when the second drives the faster horse, then the night comes on.” Agathocles in “The Last of the Legions” by Stephen Vincent Benet. (Short Story.)

The Artillery have been practising and this afternoon the Point Gun has been firing. Bang! Bang! Bang! sewish sh – Bong! when it explodes in the sea. I am having a day in bed and every time it is fired I start tho’ I am quite aware of it. I can still hear firing in the distance tho’ the Point practice is over. We get little vibration from the gun, tho’ so near it is only noise, but the far away ones shake the house rattling doors and windows.

It has been a lovely day again, it was yesterday, just like on our wedding day 30 years since. Mon. Ap. 15 /12. The spring was much earlier that year though. I remember the hedges were green and the blackthorns a mass of snowy blossom.

Rene made egg and lettuce sandwiches for tea before she went home. “Bill” found me this afternoon. Rene said he had missed me. He came up later to say goodbye and share my cake. We have sent Ron some ginger cakes Jean made. Rene put some sweets and choc in for him. Also the 2 pairs of socks I have refooted using up a third pair that were past renewal. It is a great waste spoiling them in the laundry. Indeed this seems to be a war of waste up to now, and now they are frantically collecting paper, rags, old iron, rubber etc to make over. It is rather difficult to believe that we are going to win back on made over goods what we have lost on new stock. We are getting frugal minded, it is quite painful now to burn even a scrap of paper except letters or anything like that, and I suppose we shall save rubber bands and stoppers just as conscientiously now. Tins and bones we do save and metal tubes. We squandered petrol right and left early in the war. Now they are cutting it down to less and less and if the Japs get to the Burma oil wells, which they look like doing, I don’t know what will happen. I hope we have sense to make them unusable for some time. Perhaps all these tests for oil in our own country (or were we making hidden reservoirs?) may turn out useful.

The Budget was out yesterday, 6D oz on some tobaccos and 3 on 6½ [?] cigs. and heaps more taxes. The D.M. [Daily Mail] cartoonist pictures Morrison offering Savings Cert at the same price! If we only had a bit more encouragement about the way the war was going, we don’t mind going shorter than we have done yet, of clothes and luxuries. Rene went thro’ gas chamber last night in A.R.P. [air raid precautions] lectures on gas. She is in the decon[tamination?] squad.

Had a letter from Ron this morning, Vic has been made a corporal, very excited. Think Ron rather envies him, but only for the extra pay. Maisie married Mon. Very pretty wedding but I think extravagant in war time. White satin with veil and train and 4 bridesmaids and a “reception”. Father gave her away, Rene and Jean saw her married and Rene and Father went to the wedding breakfast. Father planted eshallots yesterday. We are gradually getting flower garden in shape. Rene brought me some aubrietia which is thriving. My own little plants grown from seed are almost in flower too. Anemones fine plants this year one in bloom and others coming on. Polyanthus a picture, very few daffs so far.

Stephen Vincent Benet’s short story ‘The Last of the Legions’ is based on a legionary’s account of happenings as the final Roman legion in Britain prepares for departure.

The low calibre gun near ‘The Point’ was used by the Home Guard for firing practice. The more distant high calibre guns were manned by the regular Army.

Herbert Morrison (Labour Party) was Home Secretary in Churchill’s wartime coalition government. The ‘Morrison shelter’ was named after him.

Maizie’s four bridesmaids were Connie Hill, Helen McGuigan (Ben’s sister), Gwen Ranson (Ciss’s daughter) and Pat Hill (Jack’s daughter).

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

Saturday April 11 8.30 pm [1942]

8.30 and the sun just setting behind Ashley’s bungalows. Can hardly realise that if the clocks were not altered it would be dark by 7.30. Ted Brown has been with Bessie today and he says he remembers clearly the first time the clocks were altered. Says it was during the last war. I did not think it so long ago. B. came in slacks today and dress cap, brown with green binding. She looks very smart as she is so tall and though very bonnie is of slim build. The uniforms are of better cloth and far better cut than the soldiers’ khaki. Rene came just before they went back. She looks quite small against B. She had got a tablecloth for Maisie. It was 6/6 and looked very nice but one cannot tell how things will wash in these days. However, it was quite sufficient money for a second cousin I think. I only gave 2/6 of it as they will be having the car. Mrs Kirk paid Father the 10s/0d owing for car, when John was last on leave, of course they want taking out again. He is on leave again. They have a neck. He has not promised yet to take them. I think it is far better to say yes or no and have done with it, no in this case I think, as we have to pay cash for petrol etc.

It has been a really lovely day with sunshine nearly all day. Ron will be enjoying it at Yeadon I expect. Jean went to Sk[egness] for ointment for psoriasis. Hope it cures her. We thought she had mumps earlier in the week and asked Dr. M[enzies] to call but it turned out to be a new tooth we think. However, I wanted to ask him about the psor. so it did not matter. He is getting stout again now. My hand still very painful – think I may have to see the bone-setter again. I paid the balance of my Dr’s bill, £2 today.

I have transplanted some Cant[erbury] bells and polyanthus today and Father some white stocks. Rene brought me 2 roots of aubrietia. She thought they were different colours but both have come the same. Perhaps some of mine will be different – it isn’t in bloom yet. My violets are in bloom now, I have just one little wild wht. one but Jean has some coming on I think too. The daffodil that used to come up in the midst of Mrs Leiver’s wild plot has come up again this year in spite of all the soldiers digging and traffic. It has 3 or 4 lovely blooms. “Fair daffodil, that comes before the swallow dares, And takes the winds of March with beauty.” Only it is April this year, all things are late. Father weeded the markery bed and it is beginning to grow. Sp[ring] cabb[age] coming along too.

Sara [rabbit] has a family, born on Thursday or Friday. All we can see is a lovely bed of soft grey fur which occasionally heaves as if breathing. Had a letter from Emmie this morning. They have got their new house. Thinks Ron won’t get these holidays as they are busy cleaning. Tea rationing is strictly enforced now. 8oz per head a month and we are asked to take the whole month’s supply at once, and the coupons are not only cancelled but removed. Tea can still be purchased at any shop. I have had 1lb this week and shall get the other ½ lb next. It turns out at 6oz a week. We use about 10 oz so shall have to use coffee for Father’s flask and let Jean have cocoa for breakfast and supper and am afraid we shall have to do without our afternoon cup before Rene goes home and all the other odd cups during the day. If we have any raids I expect we shall have to indulge. Rene brought me a bot. of Horlicks today so I shall be alright for supper while it lasts. I don’t like either coff. or coc.

We have had more thunder this week, and on Tuesday night bombs shook us up a bit. I was very nervous somehow and we got up. Bombs were a good way off though. Theddlethorpe I think. One German was brought down, think we heard it. It is a beautiful night and our planes seem to have started going out again. Lots went last night and we heard a lot come back.

In addition to their two houses in Anderby Road, Ashleys’ two semi-detached bungalows were across a small field behind (west of) ‘Lenton Lodge’(see Village Map).

Bessie Brown’s uniform was that of a gunner in the ATS (see 6 Jul. 1941).

Mrs Kirk, here, was the wife of farmer and coastguard Joe (senior). Son, John, was last mentioned (as on leave) in the diary entry of 11 Jan. 1942.

Mrs Leivers’ wild plot was at ‘Corbie’, next door to ‘Lenton Lodge’ (see 6 Dec. 1940).

The ‘daffodil’ quote is based on that in William Shakespeare’s ‘The Winter’s Tale, Act IV.

‘Markery’ – mercury or Good King Henry – a vegetable also known locally as ‘markberry’ or ‘Lincolnshire spinach’.

‘Ron won’t get…’ – meant ‘Ron won’t get there…’

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

Ap. 5 Easter Day 8 o’ clo. [1942]

Easter Sunday and the clocks were put on another hour this morning. Father came off watch at 8 o’c so Jean rose at 7.30. (5.30 by sun) and got his breakfast ready. I stayed in bed until 10.00 for once and Jean brought my breakfast up. She went to chapel. Mr A. preached. She said they had a very nice service with Easter hymns that went very well. Laurence played the organ. Rene was there, also the cross-eyed R.A. from next door and several more soldiers. Maisie came this aft. to ask Father to give her away as Jack can’t get. Don’t think he is thrilled. They all know where we live when they want a car cheap. Rene is invited to the wedding and M. said would I be able to go, if I was they would be pleased, but it sounded so much as if they felt they had to that I declined. I don’t like weddings much either and don’t want to go to the R.C. Church, anyway, not enough to go by bus. M has been past again today with a soldier, think she is rather foolish when she is to be married so soon.

Have written to Ron. He will be going to Yeadon next weekend. Had a nice Easter card from Emmie. It hardly seems as if the world were much better than it was the first Easter, though in those days Britain was only partly civilised I suppose. Yet we cannot think that Christ died for the sins of the world in vain, or that He who conquered death cannot bring all this war and destruction to an ordered existence again, if we all humble ourselves before God and walk in paths of righteousness. But we do not as a nation seem to be turning to God so far as I can see at present. If only He would start the little leaven of Peace working that would grow to leaven all the world, and that we might live in peace and happiness with all nations.

Out of this chaos Lord we pray
Bring order, light and peace.
Pierce the dark clouds with lightning’s ray
And bid the weary tumult cease.
Oh may we all with humble hearts
Fall down before Thy face
Forgive our sins, restore our faith
And bless us with Thy heavenly Grace.

On Thursday I cleaned the bathroom. At least I had nearly finished distempering it when Rene came. She finished it off and scrubbed out and we polished it after dinner. It looks very nice though the dist. is not very professional. I can manage paper best. I had the dist. so don’t know what it costs now. I did not make Hot X [cross] Buns this year, but may do later. We can’t buy any more white bread now. Breakfast cereals and condensed tinned milk are included in points now but we are to get 24 points instead of 20 per month each. We can have 1 lb. of sugar in place of each lb. of jam or syrup the next 3 months if we like. That may be alright in the country but they do not promise much soft fruit in the shops. Expect the government will preserve most of it. Still, I think though we have no fruit I will risk getting some. The bought jam is not very great. Went to Trusthorpe Thursday for a few hours. Aunt Jet seemed fairly well. Ken leaving school to start work – he is not 14 until July, and not very big. Is very keen now but may get tired when he has to go to work every day. Amy should have less to do outside, but there is always a lot to do on a farm. Have finished renovating one pair of Ron’s socks and started on another.

Laurence Hill, nephew (see 21 Dec. 1941), was the organist.

Jack Hill was the eldest son of Will’s brother George and Rose, the grandparents who had brought up Maizie. A joiner, Jack lived with wife, Constance, and children in Nottingham. He may have been serving in the Royal Navy at that time.

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

Wed. April 1 ’42 8.30 P.M.

Washed, dried, mangled and ironed on Monday, it is a long time since I last did that. I had finished when Rene came, she helped me clear up before dinner. She washed before she came.

Yesterday morning it poured with rain so as it was not fit for cleaning, I baked and we went to Alford after dinner to get petrol and see the bonesetter, as my hand kept getting worse. Ligaments were crossed Bromfield said. Father had his hair cut and Rene and I went to Godsmarks to buy material for costume, but found a ready-made which just fit, so had it instead. 9S/11D (18 coupons). It is a plain tailored, black, with faint white line and looks very swish. Shall have to take in darts at waist of skirt, otherwise it needs no altering. Bought 3 cheese size plates 10½d each, they used to be 4d or 5d, also stockings for Jean 4/6. Jean broke up today for month, she stayed at Coulstons until 4.15 bus and brought Father’s medicine from Boots also 50 Eph. for me.

Ron phoned up to Hall’s about 6.o’c last evening from Willoughby so Father fetched him. He had afternoon off so thought he would come home. He got out with his old pass and will get in somehow, didn’t seem to worry as he had a pass for today’s leave. It was nice to have him home for the night and we hope he gets in alright, otherwise he may lose his week-end leave. He expects to go to Yeadon on the 11th. Won’t be home again until 29th I expect. He hopes his 7 days leave will commence early in May. He looks very fit and well. Got the iron, changed his trousers and pressed his blue ones after he had tea last night. We took him back to Willo’by to catch 7.24 train. Did not wait for it as Father was on watch at 8.p.m. J.J. [Joe Jackson] has been put on the staff for beach patrol. Rene was going to gas lecture tonight she said. She came home Sat for tea, did not stay long as they were going to Crows for supper. She came for dinner and tea Sunday as Mr A was preaching. Father was out too taking preachers, he went to Knotts for dinner. It was a day of National Prayer. Fa dug up and cleared part of garden near front fence on Monday but it has been too wet since to finish it. It has been heavy showers this afternoon and evening. I washed Ron’s socks, dried and darned them and Mavis brought him a new pair, an Easter present from W.V.S. she said. Very nice ones too.

The wind which was almost a gale when we went to Wby. seems to have all gone now. Hope it will be fine and warm a few days now and things will grow. Have a big bud on one of my anemones. The bulb I set in flowerpot in house is in flower now, a lovely scented, cream narcissus with orange centre. My hydrangea is putting out new shoots and looks very healthy. Took my bag of rags, old clothes etc. to Priestley’s at Alford, they paid 1/6 st [stone (weight)] for them so I got 2/3, quite good.

Ron says Emmie has got Roy’s wed present, a set of hand embroidered pillow slips and bolster case. 25/0. Things are a terrible price. Think Rene and I are giving Maisie towels. Jean’s school report very good. 76.2% marks and is 5th out of 27 in form.

Godsmarks’ was a small ‘department-store’ with branches in Alford and Louth.

Joyce Coulston, living in Skegness, was Jean’s school-friend.

Will was probably invited to dinner with Knotts as the family of the ‘last preacher home’.

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