Have got behindhand with my diary lately. I write the biggest part of it when Father goes on watch at 8 o’clock, but these lovely evenings I sometimes go in the garden, and last week he patrolled the beach to Roy[al] Art[hur] and back, starting at dawn (5 a.m.) arriving back about 9 a.m. and then for about an hour in the evenings. His knee has not given him any more trouble but he caught Hallgarth’s bronchial cold, as indeed all the C.G.s did, and has been very seedy. He kept on patrol but was not really fit and planted potatoes too. Sat. he went up to Dr. M[enzies] for more medicine and rested. Seems better today and hopes to finish allotment tomorrow. Dr. M. is having his knee attended to. It seems that something is wrong with cartilage and he can’t golf or walk on rough ground and he is fed up with not being able to get about. He will be away from surgery about a month I think. Am pleased Norman writes home to say he is comfortable in new billets and likes it so far. Is Trooper or Driver? I think drives a lorry. He was very cheerful and enthusiastic so hope he continues to like it as he dreaded going.
Ron has not been home yet, since his leave it seems a long time since he went away with Emmie so early in the morning. A month on Wed. Yesterday we had a letter saying we were not to write again until we heard from him again. He expected going away for 3 weeks any-time. Is back in “A” flight again. He did not know if he would get to Yeadon this weekend. He wanted to go to make arrangements with registrar etc. Seems to be getting his wedding and work round his neck. Rene is writing a tactful letter to Emmie suggesting she makes the arrangements as Eva and Maisie did. Registrar says it is usual now for the bride to make the necessary arrangements then they need only give 3 days notice any time. I think they should manage that alright. We shall get the cake materials I think if only we can get a few currants. Rene got me 1lb sult[anas] from Miss Canning last week. Must get a little more g[round] alm[ond] sub[stitute].
The C.Gs have got their battle dress blouse and trousers, overcoat, boots and spats. They wear their old blue hats which look quite well with khaki. Father looks very well in his. They are a good fit. I have shortened trousers and Mrs Pimperton is making the blouse collar to fit. It is too large. The names, Coastguard and Aux[iliary] just underneath take a long time to stitch on just so. They are white letters on a N[avy] blue background. There are two sets, each sleeve of ov.co. and blouse. I flatter myself I have got Father’s on well. I also put stripes etc on R.A. sergeant’s tunic last week and shortened cook’s trousers. The new khaki smells abominably. Is treated with chemical and to my disgust when I pressed the hem of Fa’s trousers, where the warm iron and wet cloth went the khaki returned to its original deeper colour. I understand that it all does as chemical wears off.
CHAPEL ST LEONARDS COASTGUARDS, 1942 Back Row: Percy Maddison, Gilbert Paul, Arthur Graves, Joe Jackson, Bill Hallgarth. Front Row: Will Hill, Joe Kirk, Bert Parish. Photo © AE Wrate, Skegness
Rene and I met Jean in Sk[egness] on Wed. afternoon, got oatmeal flannel for Je’s coat, lovely material, 15/11 a yard. It won’t cost more than £2 when made up. I could not get a ready-made for under £3 so I tell her it has to last until she can buy her own clothes! She has rather more than two years to go to school yet but it should last 3 summers especially if she has it dyed. Rene has got a pair of “silver” sandals and Jean a pair of wht ones to wear with b maids’ dresses.
[Aside: Re’s shoes 7/6 Je’s 4/6 2 cou RW stock]
I keep watering the s[weet] pea plants – hope to have some fine ones ready for their bouquets. Don’t think Ron ought to be expected to buy those but suppose he will have to buy Emmie’s and Joan [Smithurst]‘s. Have sent Jean’s tweed costume to [sister] Emily’s for Rene [Emily’s daughter] also her blue silk taffeta dress. Have got Jean green cotton taffeta for her new school dress. Miss B[aker] has taken my costume skirt in and I must shorten jacket sleeves. Mrs J Hall says she will try to get me icing sugar for cake. Hope she does. Jean has got a tray from Bernard, 7/6 made by blind. It is ply-wood with cane-work border and picture on p.w lacquered. Is not supposed to mark with heat.
We have carried out severe raids in Ger. particularly on Cologne (over 1,000) bombers one night. Woolton talks of food being more severely rationed. We don’t know any hardship here yet but the big towns feel it. I don’t feel very comfortable over this expensive wedding really. Much as we grumble I thought today our meals were almost luxurious. Bacon and egg and tea and bread and butter for breakfast, Roast beef, bk potatoes and mashed and cabbage, rhubarb and date pie with custard also rice pudding for dinner. For tea we had prunes and orange salad (a large S.A. [South African] orange), date cake, sultana cake, tho’ we did not cut it. Wht bread and fresh farm butter, cream from top of the milk to prunes. For supper, Father will probably have meat as he goes on watch at 2 a.m. and we have date rolls and remains of fruit pies and rice pudding. No scarcity there. I hope we hear from Ron tomorrow. I hate not to be in touch with him tho’ we must not grumble, he has been near us so long and is in robust health he says and feels very fit.
Mrs Pimperton was the wife of Wilf and mother of Jean’s friend Colleen (see 24 Mar. 1941).
Miss Baker, a dressmaker, lived with her niece Kathleen Moore (see 11 Jan. 1942).
Bernard, Daisy’s husband was himself blind. As a member of St Dunstan’s Association he made and traded in basketry items at ‘Glenholme’, a bungalow in South Road (near ‘Redcott’ – see Village Map) to which the family moved in 1942.
The first thousand bomber raid of the war took place on the night of 30/31 May 1942 with Cologne as the target.
Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?