All posts for the month May | 1942 |

Wed May 27 8.30. p.m. [1942]

Poor Daisy, she has had a hard life. She will be grieving over Norman going [into Army]. Jean very seedy until after tea, but face gone down considerably and she is feeling better. If I am better she will go to school tomorrow. Have been fit for nothing all day. Don’t think med. agrees with me. Took 3 Eph tabs at 6 p.m. and am a little better.

Letter from Ron this morning, so many men have been posted and others on M.G. course that leave was stopped, hopes to get next week. Have not seen Ke[ith] and Mar[ion] so shall have to post towel and spoons. Rene came again tonight, also Eff for a few minutes. She wants a rabbit but no place for it yet. Rene was too late for Father to pick her two out. Have cut out a tray cloth for Jean to work. It is cream linen, she is hem stitching it. It is coming a few spots of rain again after a fair but windy day. Looks very showery. We have done no washing yet this week so hope I am better and that it is fine tomorrow. Jean is going to bed. I shall not be very long I think if I do not get more wheezy. Had several hours sleep last night.

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

Tue May 26. 9.30. p.m. [1942]

It was a fine morning but rained heavily some hours this evening. It has cleared now and the clouds are rolling away and the sun is shining thro’ the kitchen window. The wolds show up so clearly we could count the trees standing on the highest ridge. The sun gets round so far west that it shines on this side of them in the late evenings for a few weeks now. Another month and it will set a little nearer each night until the pendulum swings back to the South of Kirk’s farm in December. We had expected Ron today but he phoned to J Hall’s last night to say he could not get but was writing. He said all was well so no doubt we shall hear from him tomorrow, he had finished his m.gun course and been before the board and is quite confident he has passed. Enjoyed the course though he had to make 33 pages of notes and remember them when examined.

Father’s cold still pretty bad, he went to Dr M[enzies] this morning and got a bot. of medicine also one for me. It is the yellow mixture though not quite the same as before. I don’t think it is as effective as the brown Miss Sweeten used to mix. Jean has had a badly swollen face again this week-end but all 4 of her last teeth are thro’ now so hope she may soon be better now. The Browns came for tea on Sunday, he is a very old man now. She is thinner than she was.

We are teasing Rene about the soldier next door (R.A.s) whose girl has just jilted him. He was mowing the lawn in front of Leivers to-day when he came and started to talk to her and asked if she was going to the dance this evening. Soon after he came round to the door to ask the time and said he would bring cabbage leaves for rabbits later. She is very amused (he is much younger than her) but thinks he is rather simple. She saw Eva on Sunday, she has had such a bother getting her new name on identity card, ration books etc that she says if she had known she would have stopped single!

Keith and Marian are home this week. Ralph went on Sunday. Daisy was taking Peter to Nott[ingha]m Hospital yesterday if no change in plans. Norman is called up and goes on Thursday. Edna Raynor was home on Sunday in her WAAF uniform. There were several people about tho’ it is nothing like Peace time Whitsun. Chris has given his verdict about Emmie, he says “Well, anyway Ronnie’s girl is not a “glamour girl”. His mother thinks it was meant as a compliment. It was he who remarked, when Peter was rigged out in uniform as a Home Guard complete with rifle, “Almost a soldier” and said when Frank was taken ill, that he “capsized” on the road-side. Jean has gone to bed and it is looking very stormy again so think I will go too. The rain will probably make our allotment fit to plant potatoes in at last.

The edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds was just visible, under favourable conditions, through the west-facing kitchen window (see Village Map).

Miss Sweeten used to dispense medicines at the surgery of her father, Dr Benjamin Sweeten, in Skegness.

Edna Raynor and sister, Freda, were daughters of George Raynor (brother of builder Frank and garage-owner Herbert) who lived in Sunningdale Drive. (George and Frank were ROC members.)

Peter, Norman and Chris (see 14 Oct. 1941), were the three sons of Will’s sister Daisy. Frank, mentioned by Chris probably meant May’s brother.

The Home Guard contingent included members from Chapel St Leonards, Hogsthorpe and Anderby. Many of the early younger members moved on to join the forces as the war progressed.

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

Thurs. May 21 10 p.m. [1942]

Ron and Emmie were here from Friday May 8 until Wed 13. They have decided to be married on his next leave, probably August. He is not 22 until Nov. so I wish they had waited a little longer but Mr and Mrs R[ussell] are agreeable and they are of age. It is to be a “white” wedding and Joan [Smithurst] (Emmie’s friend) Rene and Jean are to be in long dresses, green. It is going to be an expensive time. I saved a few pounds last year, have found it increasingly difficult this year and look like spending what I have saved. The fares to Yeadon will be a big item and they want us to stop a few days. I am pleased I have my costume, must contrive a hat somehow. They are from 15/11 up at Skegness so don’t know what will be done yet. Rene’s hat is as good as new and they are wearing Juliet caps for the wedding. We have got our new clothing coupons ready to use in June. 60 to last until Aug 1943. Only Jean has 10 extra in Oct. We have also got a sheet of coupons for personal use, sweets for one thing. Don’t know if we shall ever get fruit for Emmie’s cake. We are making it here if we can get fruit amongst us. Can get almond substitute and make almond icing but no icing sugar at Stow’s. Wish I knew who can make fondant icing. At Stow’s today I had to give 2 pts [points] for 2 b[oxes] of Qk [Quaker] Corn Flakes, 4 pts for 1 lb. rice and 4 for ½ lb of prunes. Rene says we shall have to stuff the cake with prunes. Ron is enjoying the Mac[hine] Gun Course for a change. Won’t get home this week but hope he will next.

Ron and Emmie on the Sandhills

Ron and Emmie on the Sandhills

I went to the G.S. [Grammar School] Speech Day on Tuesday. It was a very nice afternoon. Commodore Buckley from the R.A[rthur] was there and gave the children a speech. He is a fine speaker and convinces one that he is a good man and a gentleman. A bouquet of pink tulips and asparagus fern was presented to Mrs. B. Commander Storer was there too. The children sang Jerusalem, Kips Recess. to tune “Lest we forget” and “Land of our birth” also “God save the King”.

Joan Smithurst and Jean were to be Emmie’s bridesmaids.

Commodore Buckley was officer in command of the ‘Royal Arthur’.

Commander Storer was a senior ‘Royal Arthur’ officer who lived in ‘The Thatched Cottage’ (actually relatively new) near Tylers Bridge (see Village Map).

‘Kips Recess’ was ‘Rudyard Kipling’s Recessional’, a poem used as a hymn.

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

May 18. 1942.
The Lessons We Learn.

If the sun blazed always from cloudless skies,
And rain never fell on the earth,
No beautiful trees would give rest and shade,
No flowers would have new birth.

No grain would grow in the sun-baked soil,
No fruits form on the trees.
If the sun shone hot all over the world,
There would be no cooling breeze.

But the hot air rises on arid plains,
And the cool sea-breeze blows o’er,
The sun draws up and returns in rain,
The ocean’s exhaustless store.

If happiness filled our lives to the brim,
And we knew no sorrow or tears,
Our hearts would be hard, and our souls would grow dim,
If we had no trials or cares.

But the tears that fall when sorrow comes,
Soften our hearts hard core.
The trees of strength and endeavour grow high,
When the gales of adversity roar.

In our hearts grow the flowers of sympathy,
Of understanding and grace.
Our souls expand and look upon,
Our heavenly Father’s face.

Not alone in sorrow’s dark days,
But in joyful happy years,
We can share and help and sympathise,
After passing the Vale of Tears.

May’s poem ‘The Lessons We Learn’ is another expression of her beliefs and hopes for a better future. She had written in her Diary with these sentiments and a prayerful conclusion, at Easter time, a few weeks earlier (see 5 Apr. 1942). The poem has been added to the poems collection on this site. It also appears in the book The Casualties Were Small which contains over twenty of May’s poems as well as selected diary extracts, including those which suggest the background to each poem, accompanied by many nostalgic photographs.

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

Sat. May 16 9.25 p.m. [1942]

What a long time since I wrote my diary, and by a strange coincidence the E.L. has just gone off again. I was pressing Jean’s pink dress and heard the familiar “click” in the pantry where the meter is. I finished the pressing and inserted 1/0 wondering if we had really used the last shilling’s worth, but there was no light when I took off the iron and put the bulb in and none in any of the others either. There have been thunder-packs this afternoon but have not heard thunder, still the electricity in the air may have had something to do with it. (At 2 a.m. discovered I had not turned the meter knob.)

Tonight between 7 and 8 o’clock a heavy explosion shook the house. We wondered what it was and Father said perhaps a mine at sea. J. Kirk called as he came off W.B. (Fa went on at 8 ) to say there were 2 boat loads of men coming ashore off a blown up boat, British. He thought we might hear rumours. Later “Mr Brown”, cook from R.A.s told us it was the patrol boat that was blown up but that it sank slowly so all the men got off and most of their clothes etc. He said they were in the infantry billets there and the only comment was “What a life”. They have been very fortunate. It is no doubt all right, yet it makes one think how easily an enemy could enter. The sinking of the boat could be staged and the men land with suit cases of H.E. [high explosive] or radio transmitting sets. The E.L. is already off making all the E.L. Radio sets useless and causing endless confusion in the darkness. With the aid of a strong force of 5th columnists who knows what could happen?

Eva and Walter were married on Ap. 27th at the chapel. E in a very nice powder-blue 2 piece, Gladys and Gra[ce] in clover dresses. All of the H[arness] family were at home for the occasion. Rene was invited and went. I did not go to Chapel as I had my old enemy. Jean did though. We are giving her tea-spoons. Think Keith is at home this week so must give him a belated w.p. [wedding present]. Shall we ever catch up with them all? Raymond may be in Madagascar which we us The British have taken over. One of the straws blown by the wind that we hope has changed in our favour at last. York has been bombed by Gers.

‘Thunder-packs’ probably meant ‘packs’ or ‘gatherings’ of thunder-clouds.

The Army (Royal Artillery) cook “Mr Brown”, based next door at ‘Corbie’, was also referred to as Cookie or Jock or Brownie. (See photograph, diary post 20 Sep. 1941.)

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