All posts for the month December | 1942 |

Dec 30. Wed 9 pm [1942]

Christmas has come and gone, likewise Emmie. Grandma gave us a lovely chicken and Rene brought theirs. We had ours on X[mas] Day with sausage meat balls and parsley stuffing, bread sauce and bacon and a Xmas Pudding very brown if not so full of fruit as usual. I put prunes in, first soaked in warm water and cut up. Very good. The cake is beautiful too and we had a trifle for supper made with sponge fingers and a jelly, Rene’s and probably the last as no more are to be made during the war, egg custard poured over it. We had a bottle of Lime Juice Cordial too and drank Ron’s health.

On X. Eve we had a letter from Ron written on ship-board. He was only sea-sick once on the first day at sea and spent a lot of time on deck. X.Day we had two more written 27 and 29 Nov. We were quite cheered as they told us he had arrived in N. Africa and was fit and well and in good spirits. He really sounded so too. It is an immense relief to know he is off the dangerous seas. Emmie was a bit upset which was only natural. She left home before the post came on X. Eve but on X. Day a telegram from her mother came saying there was a letter for her. It was very nice to have her here and she said she had enjoyed her visit.


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

Sat 9.p.m. Dec.19 / 42

A wet evening. I am alone until Jean and Mavis come from B.B [Boys’ Brigade] and L[ife] Girls party. Jean could have slept at Jessie’s but Father is on watch until 2 a.m. and I don’t like being alone.

Cook was asleep until Father went but woke then and departed to spend the rest of the evening with Cpl. Bray and wife. He has been to Sk[egness] ostensibly to see the registrar but he never went, is going on Monday now, he says. He wired to his nephew to see if he was getting leave early in Jan. as he wants him to be best man. No reply yet. He is a helpless thing, don’t think he’d do anything about the wedding if the girl could make all arrangements though he is very keen on being married the beginning of Jan. I don’t know how long notice has to be given but he wants a spec[ial] licence now, though he wants to be married in church. He has bought a pair of brown shoes for 15/0 and no coupons at Sk. Don’t know how he managed it. He begged a bottle of dye to black them. After debating whether brown or black looked best he asked us all our opinion and decided on blacking them, then started debating all over again, so I said “You are blacking them, so don’t argue it all backwards and forwards again.” He had got blk laces. He gave it up then and went to sleep. Have had wireless on. Gert and Daisy were on Music Hall. A long time since I heard them. Needless to say Cookie left his shoes here. I wouldn’t be surprised if Father blacks them for him yet.

Rene came after tea for a while. It poured with rain then and still rained a little when she went. T[om] came to meet her, got all the way but would not stop. Mary has heard from Ray. Don’t know where letter was written but he had not had a letter from home since May, when he wrote that. I felt quite upset and sincerely hope he is getting them long before now. It is worse even, for the boys so far from home than it is for us. I could wait patiently, if I was sure Ron was getting our letters. Rene went to Amy’s yesterday. She brought us both some “pig cheer”. It is a very nice change. I did not buy any meat from Peter T[aylor] for the weekend.

My asthma is very troublesome again nights and mornings and I get very depressed. The weather is so dull and damp and I can’t get out much, walking seems to make me worse. I wonder if I went a walk every day if I should improve but it seems such an effort and we always seem to be at it all day, though I don’t get much done. Have written a few Xmas letters, must finish tomorrow, have posted some odds and ends for Emily’s not Xmas things. I really can’t afford presents this year. We are making Emmie 2 kapok down cushions.

Can came to-day and immunised pigs against “Purples” 2/6 each but it is worth it. As we haven’t claimed from Club one is still in benefit. The Pig one of course. Father says it is mending and the little ones are growing. Haven’t heard from Mrs Denman, do hope rabbits have arrived. She has let “Brookdene”. Father took the bridegroom and best man from Mr Cousins’, also Mrs C. to Church to-day, to be married to Edith Bell, then took the bri. and groo. to Skegness. A good thing it kept fine until after then. They are staying the night at Sk. and going to Birmingham tomorrow as the groom’s father who lives there is ill. A lot of infantry have come to Chapel. The R.A’s think they might be sent to Scotland in about 3 weeks time and perhaps abroad after that. I think that is why Brownie is in such a “pother”. I don’t think he is very strong, he is so short of wind.

Rene made Xmas cakes on Wed, they baked beautifully. We made 3. No currants, only raisins and sultanas but we had real butter and potted eggs. My potted eggs have been most useful. I got my bed-room curtains washed and up again. Also I washed pictures upstairs on Fri and took down cobwebs here and there. Rene had done the usual weekly clean. Have put double feather-bed back on bed-stead in big room for Mav[is] and Jean tonight. It has been by the hot tank to keep aired. It will be ready for Emmie now and I can get Jean’s room straight in case T and Rene have to stay the night at Christmas.


The village Boys’ Brigade captain was Jim Hall (of Halls’ Stores) and the bandleader was Frank Raynor. Regular meetings were at ‘Pamaco’ on Landseer Avenue. Joint social events with the Girls’ Life Brigade were usually at the Central Hall, where some of the GLB meetings were held. (See Village Map.)

Corporal Bray and his wife were friends of Royal Artillery cook, ‘Jock’ Brown, and his girlfriend.

Gert and Daisy were talkative characters created in 1930 by music hall singers, Elsie and Doris Waters. They were believed to have been related to Grace Hill (see 1 Mar. 1942).

‘Can’ was previously mentioned as selling a pig and thought to refer to Mr Capron (see 25 Dec. 1941). As a pig breeder it is likely that he would have been equipped to carry out the routine injections for ‘purples’. (However the name could possibly have referred to Mr Kochan, the veterinarian.)

The Pig Club ‘benefit’ referred to eligibility for a share of surplus funds due to be divided amongst members (see 16 Dec. 1940).

Edith Bell, who married a soldier, was the vicar’s daughter (see 11 Dec. 1940).

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

Tue. Dec. 15. 8.30. a.m. [1942]

Only 8.30. Father and Jean have departed and the breakfast things are actually off the table. It is not often we are so early. I am heating soft water for washing up. It is so much easier on the hands and soap too. It is not light enough to take down the blk-out tho’ it is time for it. It must be very dull this morning. We got washed yesterday, and a few things dry. The rest can be finished off indoors unless it dries well outside. The green table-cloth is washed and partly dry. I have spread it over the table to finish. Have been up and taken down the blk-out upstairs but it is still rather too dark to take it down in the kitchen as I should have to have a light. Father killed two young rabbits, does, yesterday, for Mrs Denman. They were the last except for the one we are keeping. They were not cold when some boys came to buy one. We have had them all this time and not had a chance so as they were cross bred, tho’ as big as the true-bred, we thought we would keep the true-bred bucks. Sara only had 2 does, hoping to sell some of them as well. We may yet. Anyhow they are useful for food for us. I put them in a small attaché case that had once held a T[able] Tennis set and Rene posted them yesterday. Must write and tell Mrs D, hadn’t time yesterday. I wrote to Edie last night so we have got it off to-day. Sent her a card, I am sending very few this year. Calendars are a big price 1/6 up. Boiled Xmas puds 4 hours yesterday. We are going to make Xmas Cake this week, Rene and I altogether.

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

Mon. Dec. 14. 8.15.a.m. [1942]

Jean has gone to school, she has to have lights now in the morning. Batteries are not very good to get either. “The Sprogg” is busily washing his white? chest and paws. He is a lazy little fellow so I put butter on his chest and paws to see if he would wash it off. It seems to be having the desired effect. Jean is 5th in term marks, only 5 marks less than top. Hope she does as well in exams. Mavis and Ken are top of their respective classes. George, as usual, is top of Jean’s [class] IV.A. The wireless is going well. Went to Skegness last Tuesday. Rene is to carry on as she is, they don’t think she will be called up. I wrote to Emily last night, also to Edie. She sent me the usual P.O. for 5/0 and Jean 2/6 and a book which I shall read first as E. has some peculiar views sometimes and has had various new beliefs. She sent me a wee booklet of prayers which are really very good, so good I copied one out for Ron. Then I wrote a good long letter to Ron and sent him Rene’s wedding snaps tho’ the reprints are even worse than the first lot developed. They are dire, but Cook says the film was probably thin, or did he say negative?

Father is not up yet as he did not come off duty until 2.a.m. and is on again at 2.p.m. It has been pouring with rain again but was fair when Jean went so hope I can wash. We are not doing any big ones until after Xmas, but must wash my bed-room curtains. Emmie is coming from Xmas Eve to Sunday. We are so pleased tho’ it isn’t long. There was a concert at C[entral] Hall on Saturday night for Xmas Fund for R.A. [Royal Artillery] a good show, £12 clear so very good. Mrs. Hall was congratulated on doing what the war hasn’t done in Chapel. There was a long queue at the door. No entry except by ticket. Jean, Rene and Tom went, and Aunt Eff and Grandma.

Eff had pig killed last week but Wilkinson forgot scales so did not weigh it. She sent me sausage and chine fry and scraps and on Sat about 1 lb of pork pie meat as she had so much. The weather is not very good for keeping, so I made a raised pie yesterday (Sunday) which I would not usually do, but on Sat. afternoon I polished all the staircase and was too whacked to do pie as well. If I had done pie I should not have cleaned staircase on Sunday tho’ I don’t know that pie making was any less heinous. It baked beautifully but I put it in a tin as it would not seem to stand alone. Don’t know if it is the brown flour or if it was not cold enough. It must be light by now so will unblack and get washpot on.


The schoolchildren mentioned were niece Mavis Simpson, nephew Ken Raynor and George Ranson the son of niece Ciss (see 11 Dec. 1941).

Edie, here was May’s stepmother (see 16 Dec. 1940).

Herbert Wilkinson was a butcher in Hogsthorpe.

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

Mon. Dec. 7. 9. 15. p.m. [1942]

All the frost went out of the ground and the thick ice in the soft water butts thawed on Fri. My flowers in water in bucket seem alright, I let them thaw out. They are in the hall now. The growing ones in the shed were nearly all caught. I have pulled the buds that were nearest out and shall have to wait and see how the others go on. Mrs Brown sent me a lovely bunch of bronzy yellow chrysants to-day ready for Xmas. I do hope they last. I wrote to Frank Adams, Ron and Vic last night.

Father went to fetch Mrs G Dawson from Sk[egness] station today then took the “dead” wireless back to Evison’s and brought the £10 set. It really is worth the extra money tho’ I hate taking it from my savings. Do hope it is a success. Rene and I have washed today. Most of them are dry. It has been milder and breezy tho’ it did not dry much until afternoon. Father got Rene a new tyre and tube at Ev[isons] 8/3 I think. Tomorrow she has to go for another interview at the Labour Office. I want to go to Sk. too and do some shopping.

Rene on bicycle with Mr A's dog Bill

Rene on bicycle with Mr A’s dog Bill


Mrs Ena Dawson, living in London, was visiting her husband George’s parents, William and Florence Dawson, whose family farm, ‘The Willows’, was off Ancaster Avenue (see Village Map). George had been at school with Rene in the 1920s.

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

Fri. Dec. 4. 8.30. a.m. [1942]

It is a big frost again this morning but the air seems damp not crisp as it was Wed and Thurs so I think there is a change coming. 3 rime frosts then rain, Mr Coote used to say. Wind is S.W. tho’ there is not much. Rene came yesterday and we did a small wash, had to hang clothes up in kit[chen] last night but most were dry this morning. Father went to Anderby for his aeroplane recog[nition] Test last night. He and Mad[dison] and Par[ish]. Out of 31 planes Father only made one mistake and the others none. Very good. As they passed that they will probably have to take another Test later. It is not easy for men over 50. He has taken this morning’s watch for Mad. as he is having his peas thrashed at Kirk’s. Father fetched bags for Kirk from Mby [Mumby] Rd St. on Wed. and Joe owes for a watch 7/6 so Father said he would have some tic beans for pig. Hope he gets them. He won’t get money I guess. Phoebe came in yesterday as she was going to get a bucket of water (soft) from Ashley’s. She is a strapping girl and looks so well. Being a W.R.N. suits her.

Phoebe Kirk, Wren at HMS Royal Arthur

Phoebe Kirk, Wren at HMS Royal Arthur

Rene has to go for another interview on Monday. I wonder what will come of it. Pontings sent Jean’s money back as they can’t get the gloves she ordered. We must try to get her some in Sk[egness] on Tue. if we go. The cheque for pig has not come yet, wish it would. We have not got wireless back yet either. My chrysants in pots in shed were ice plants yesterday. I have pulled all the buds I could. Am afraid the late ones will not survive. The cut flowers were frozen in bucket. I have brought them in. Don’t know if it will have killed them.


Jack Coote, the father of Frank, was probably meant here (see 1 Mar. 1942).

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

Dec. 3 Thur. 8.30. a.m. [1942]

Yesterday we had a short letter from Ron, much sooner than I had expected. I think he is on board ship and must have written it before they sailed as he says he thinks the mess table on which he is writing will be his bed for a time, so he has evidently not had a night there. There was no date on his letter, a most unusual omission for him. He writes cheerfully and says he is in good spirits. Bless him for a brave white lie. “Contentment is the only good in life whose counterfeit can greater goodness show.” I hope he soon gets letters from home and Emmie, they will be a help. I expect he will have got settled down a bit by now tho’. It was less than 3 weeks since his last letter and so nice to have, as if he had got to a turn on the road and looked round for one last wave of his hand. He seems so near this morning even tho’ I know he is further away each day. Let’s hope he feels us all near him too. I have written to him and also to Emmie in case her letter hasn’t arrived.

Amy and Ken came yesterday. Ken as usual sat by the room fire and read all day, and only went outside to take Father’s tea to the Bx. so that he could have a look round. He is thinner but has grown a big boy now in long flannels. Aunt J[et] sent Rene her silver sugar-tongs and hoped there would soon be lump sugar to use them on. Amy brought me 6 eggs a great treat, new laid ones.

Yesterday Beveridge’s Plan for after the war came out. £2 a week pensions and £2 for out of work and a great many more schemes. If it is put into action I think everything will be dear. If an employer has to pay 2/3 a week insurance for each man and the man 4/3, higher wages and dearer goods must follow. It will not affect us older ones so much (the Benefits) as starting a complete year 1945 it will take 20 years to get into full running order. Women must work until 60 if able. I will preserve the paper to refer to later, have not read it all yet. We may win the war and go bankrupt in peace yet for all I know.

It was a big frost yesterday with ice and is again today, but yesterday was clear and cold and I was feeling better. We must wash a few oddments to-day. Rene had to do her monthly Red + collecting Mon. and yesterday she sold flags for Prisoners of War parcels. Arthur Barton would have given more if he had been sure the Gerrys wouldn’t get the parcels! Father on watch 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. now that Hallgarth has to take turns with the rest instead of just morning watch.


Sir William Beveridge’s Plan, for social security benefits funded by national insurance, began to be implemented in 1945 by the Labour government elected after the war ended. This formed the basis of the modern ‘Welfare State’.

Arthur Barton was a respected elderly farmer at ‘Bell Bank’, Trunch Lane (see Village Map).

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

Tuesday Dec. 1st. 8.15. p.m. [1942]

A wintry day for Dec. 1st, the darkest month. It has been several showers, one at dinner time very heavy. Rene got home just in time. She had been washing, had got some dry and left some out. It dried during afternoon so hope she found them all dry. We picked most of the chrys[anth] buds yesterday. I have a bucket-full in shed, hope some of them will keep until Xmas, less than a month away. I have a lot in vases and bowls indoors, they have never been so lovely as this year. The weather has been open so long and we have had no gales to lash them to pieces. Had a “fry” and some “scraps” from Mary’s, their pig weighs 26 st. Father fetched ours from Holmes today, that is the little one and Eff’s. [Aside: From Holmes we got 2 black little pigs £1 each.] Father killed 2 young rabbits today as Amy and Ken are coming and Wed. is rather awkward for meat. I shall stew them I think. They are nearly 4 months old. Have made a plum pie from plums bottled at home. I expect I shall make Ken his favourite rice pudding. Then with potatoes and turnip and swede we shall have quite a pre-war dinner. Rene will be selling “flags” for parcels for our war prisoners. Cookie has a cold. I keep telling him not to leave it here, perhaps it’s taken effect as he just looked in for his ink and departed for bed, or he may be taking care of his reputation! as Father is on watch.

I wish Jean would come, she went to Colleen’s for tea and it is very ground dark. Father lent her his torch. Aunt J[essie] was fetching Mavis at 8.30. So will see Jean and Flora on to the road. It is a little after that now so she should be here very soon. She has still some home-work to do. Rene has let her have her plaid dress. I shortened it this afternoon, it looks very nice. She is also bringing her 2 pairs pyjamas, must make her some return. It is very nice for some things being so comfortably fixed, tho’ I expect it is a doubtful blessing to Jean or at least she will think it so as she gets a bit tired of “second-hand” things. If all is well she will be able to earn her own in 2 years time. Still the others have been useful and some of them very good too. Kirks horse knocked another hole in asbestos garage today. It is past a joke. Hallgarth has got a star to wear on his [Coastguard] uniform at least one on each sleeve. He is very fussy and got them sewn on at once. Have just been to the gate to look for Jean. Mr Hall came along from garage and said he had rung thro’ just before he left home and they were still at party. He will bring her home, he is fetching them if they have not got to his shop before him. It is not too dark after being out a bit but I could not find the gate catch when I went out. Think I will have a bit more supper when Jean comes. I get faint in the night if I am awake a lot.


Holmes was probably the farmer at ‘Charity Farm’ in Hogsthorpe. The farm was so-named as it helped to finance ‘Goodwin’s Charity’ which provided grants, e.g. for tools or clothing, to school-leavers starting working life.

The asbestos garage was where Will kept his car, behind one of the nearby houses owned by Ashleys, adjoining Kirks’ land (see 11 Apr. 1942).

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