All posts for the month February | 1943 |

Feb 15. Mon 8.45 [1943]

Another very windy day with a few showers. We washed but only put a few things out, wool jumpers etc. and my wool coat A.F. [Air Force] blue. It dried well, I put out stockings too, but dare not put sheets and tablecloths and thin things on line, it would have blown these “thin” and as the wind was not right for line, it twisted things round and round the line. Hope it’s not so rough tomorrow. Rene washed a few things at home before coming, her garden is shady so she left them out to dry. It has dried roads up well. Jean is busy lining her new dk. brown wool handbag. We have found a “zip” for it and it will be quite nice I think.

Had a letter from Ron on Sat. a nice long one. It was only finished writing on 21 Jan and P[ost]mark date was 28 Jan so it was not long on the way. Says the mountains are looking lovely with young grass and corn crops just coming up. It doesn’t look as if he is very near the battle zone which is a great comfort. Had a letter from Emmie too, she sent my clothing coupons back, she had used 10. Ron has sent word he doesn’t need pyjamas, at least not new thick ones out there. E has sent him a parcel, if it goes and he gets it we shall send one too. Answered both letters yesterday. Joan Smithurst’s young man has arrived in N. Africa. Don’t know what happened but he had to swim for it. I used to worry about Ron until he arrived on land and we got to know on Xmas Day. He does not like wash-days. They get one day in eight to do their washing. Says it is getting very hot in the middle of the day now, like our summer.

Ron, on right, with RAF chums in North Africa

Ron, on right, with RAF chums in North Africa

Had a letter from Em. L [sister – Emily Lewis] today, she was going to Kathies to help with pig, so I shall not send any. It is a risk sending and shall have to send Emmie some this year. We have got the “permit” for 23rd to 28th so hope we are able to kill it then. It is not fed up, but in good order so if all’s well shall have it killed tomorrow week. Shall be very pleased to get it in the house.

Rostov has fallen to the Russians and Gers seem to come over most days or nights on small raids, and we raid them very heavily. Father is on watch until 2. am. On Thurs. morn. he goes on patrol again. Hope it clears up his cold, which hangs on persistently. Rene is getting over hers but says she gets tired. Says rabbit which they fetched last week is quite settled down and happy. Think we shall have to kill one of ours to eat this week, may as well as we haven’t sold them for breeding purposes and they don’t make enough to bother about selling for food just now. Har[riet] may have one tho’. Jean has been getting things ready for cooking at school tomorrow, meat rolls no less. I had not much meat to spare, but it will make 2 or three. Jean says wind still blowing hard. We can’t hear it much in the front. Shall soon go to bed I think. Have finished one of Father’s socks (knitted from sleeves of blue pullover) and set the other up. Also done a bit of rug. Won’t take so long now, but must cut some more snips.

Hugh Green is missing, that is the second boy from Chapel. Tony was of course away before the war, but Eric [Brown] went from here, no news of him yet. Mr Collison made a Fellow of Roy[al] Coll[ege] of Arts.

Hugh Green died, aged 20, serving as a Merchant Navy deck boy, on 22nd January 1943. All 64 on board were lost when SS St Sunniva sank off Novia Scotia. The ship was reported to have overturned due to being top-heavy with extreme build-up of ice in severe conditions. His memorial is at Tower Hill and he is named on the village war memorial. (Some information from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Casualty Register. See also Tribute to the Merchant Seamen of World War Two – ‘S.S. St Sunniva’ item by Maureen Venzi – part of the Allied Merchant Navy of WWII website.)

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

Feb.9. Tue. 9.15. pm. [1943]

Blew a gale in the night from south, right in watch box door. Father very cold, says he feels the cold, with having had flu’ so recently. Stayed in bed until 12 o’ clock as it was so wet. Jean went to school early, as it was so rough, in case she had to walk, but wind had moderated a bit by then, it is quite still now but either the sea is bumping very hard or A.A. guns are going. I rather think guns. Will stay up until 10 I think as I don’t want to get up, and Ger seems to come on “nuisance” raids, somewhere, most nights. It is not nearly as cold as yesterday. If fine tomorrow will try to wash a few things before Rene comes. She is still feeling seedy after cold. She went to the W.I. [Women’s Institute] meeting today. Took Bill home first, to his immense disgust, as he had just settled down to afternoon nap. She wanted to look at her fire as it is so cold to go in and make fire just at teatime. Saw Elsie going home before 4.30 so Rene would not be rushed. Eff came to borrow potatoes tonight. Said she had not been to W.I. she never remembered it as the day is altered from the Hogsthorpe day, now Chapel has its own.

Have written for Pet[rol] coups and also for permit for pig to be killed. Wrote to Em L [sister – Emily] last night. Had an egg for tea as I did not want cold mutton for dinner. Very good it was too. Made a chop hot for Jean and potatoes in pan and a pancake left from dinner. She ate a Lyon’s fruit? tart after. Mrs. Hall asked if we should like some. Jean had gone to get sweets, she had no coup. on Sat, and brought two. Father took one for lunch on watch. Don’t think they are very great. Can’t decide whether it is the sea or guns, tide is certainly nearly in. Have turned the heel of Father’s sock and done some rug. Went to sleep after Rene went. I am better from cold but seem very tired after dinner. Have had two bad nights, (sleepless not asthma).


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

Mon 8 Feb. 9.00. p.m. [1943]

Rene came today and thinks perhaps scarf may be fine wool. The stockings look quite decent on. Father has gone on watch 8p.m to 2am. Radio announces that we shall have to grow more green veg. for next winter as transport for them would not be available, the trains and lorries will be needed for war purposes. We usually grow enough for ourselves, as do most people in scattered districts but it would do no harm to grow more I suppose as they can always be given to rabbits or pigs if not wanted otherwise. I think there must be a big tide tonight again as I can hear it bumping and the wind seems to keep perking up too. Hope we have a quiet night. It was a sharp frost this morning with ice and wht [white] rime. It will do land good if it doesn’t come more wet. A few good frosts would do good. I washed Jean’s blouse and pinafore today ready for school tomorrow and a few other oddments. Jean ironed them after tea. She has been doing H.W. [homework] nearly ever since and is very tired, as soon as water for bottles is ready we shall go to bed. The soft water for the morning wash is nearly hot. The alum[inium] bottle in Kapok stuffed case is quite a success. She puts it amongst blankets at foot of bed and it is warm for morning. Much better than cold hard water and she doesn’t like water from rubber bed bottles. She says it smells of rubber.

'Father' - Will - Sketched by Jean for School Homework

‘Father’ – Will – Sketched by Jean for School Homework

Rene’s cold a bit better but she doesn’t seem very well yet. We did not do much today. My cold is getting better but I was glad to rest after dinner. Did a bit of Father’s sock as Jean seems to have given it up. Frank has a piece of glass which will do for car window and H Simpson is going to look at brakes. Shall be pleased when job is done and invalid Petrol cou[pon] exchanged. Rene had written to Ron but Jean had taken mine to post so she was posting hers this afternoon. I put 2½D st[amp] on mine as I enclosed phrase book from Jessie.

Mavis was quite thrilled yesterday with Wom[en]’s Mags I had let Jean bring down from cubby hole at top of stairs. They are very nice books but date from 1926 to sometime in 1928. 2 years of them. Monthlies. I stopped taking them when Rene left home that spring to go to Nott[ingha]m as I did not have time to read them. I have thought of giving them for salvage or to the wom[en’s] Services but Jean and Mav can read them first anyway. There are beautiful pictures in them and good reading too, but the illustrations and fashion advts are of the most ugly type of dress we have ever had, with waistline round over hips and skirts as short as now. A short fat woman looked dreadful in them, but if I remember right they were very comfortable and we were not poured into them as we appear to be now, so many people now look as if they had outgrown their clothes and they are tailored to fit so tightly that they look as if the seams would burst. They are no kinder to the short and stout than the 1928 fashions and to see an elderly lady of this build in a fur coat barely reaching her knees and the thin spindly legs some fat people have coming from underneath makes me feel all hot and uncomfortable for the poor dears. Perhaps I look no better but as the parody of Burns runs, “Oh wad some power the giftie gie ’em to see theirsels as I can see ’em.”

Some R.A.F boys called just as Father was going on watch, evidently a fresh lot come to And[erby]. Wanted to know if there was an inn near. It is so out of the way there and no amusements and I doubt if there is a W.V.S. I feel so sorry that there should be nowhere else for them to go, but don’t know what we can do about it with Father away so many evenings and Jean just growing up.

Frank, who supplied the car window glass, was probably May’s brother, Frank Simpson, but possibly Frank Raynor.

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

Sun. Feb.7. 6.15 p.m. [1943]

These pages are so thin, I find I have turned two together again, must copy some of my “poems” into them. Mustn’t waste paper in these days. Had a beastly cold or perhaps the 48 hour flu’ Dr. M told Father was going about. Very nasty but no temperature he said. Well I was very hot and cold Thursday and kept Jean at home until 10.30. and was not too bad tho’ about whacked by tea-time. Rather better Sat. morning and kept improving. Jean went to see how Rene was yesterday afternoon and found her very seedy. She has gone again now. As it was Sun I thought they would manage even if she was in bed. It is time she was back again as it will soon be dark. She has lamps and there is a slim new moon, but it won’t give much light. The sea settles as if it was going to be a frost. Father has just been to cover his car down. It has been cold and showery today, rain and snow mixed, tho’ at times the sun shone quite warmly. It gets a bit of power now in the middle of the day.

Jean just came back again. Rene is much better and says she shall be here early tomorrow ready for work after her rest? Think we had better have a quiet day. Young John Short (stockings) has gone in forces also Laurence. Her[bert] Fau[lkner] had to join H.G. Mary has 3 boys in forces now. Ray[mond] in Iraq. Ke[ith] is in Wales and now Laurence has gone. It will be an anxious time for them.

Had a long interesting letter from Ron on Thursday dated 11 Jan so only about 3 weeks coming. Very quiet I think. Says natives very dirty and ragged no shoes. He has 1000 francs in N.A.A.F.I as the boys had to lend money for stock. Sounds opulent but Jean thinks francs may be only worth 2D. Tobacco 10D oz Players cigs for 20 [?] and very good quality at that. Quite a smoker’s paradise. They had had a sudden storm just a few puffs of wind then a terrible gale, torrents of rain and the worst lightning he has ever seen. It did not last long and the tents stood up to it and very little wet came in. His corner being quite dry. Tom says he hasn’t seen a gale yet if the tents weren’t blown down or quite away. Hope he doesn’t. Says the tents are warm and comfortable and fitted with E.L. [electric light]. Tom thinks this is a luxury! Ron says natives have a lot of little donkeys which they pile up with loads, poor little beggars. He has seen camels but there aren’t any where he is now.

Flora came to call for Jean to go to S.S. [Sunday school]. I gave her an apple, she was very pleased. Mrs Balding senr. brought me a few. Elsie G brought me 1doz eggs 3/1, they are lovely big ones. If we get any at the shops they are always small think they must shrink, as there must be a lot of big ones collected off the farms. Eff brought me 3 but would only take 6D for hers. They are nice and fresh but the farm eggs are best now as the hens get corn. Had Cant[erbury] lamb for dinner today and preserved kidney beans. I forgot them until after Xmas. They were put down in dry salt and kept perfectly. The lamb too was extra good. We opened a tin of Pork sau[sage] meat again this week and made sau. rolls, very good too. There is enough fat to make ¾ lb flour up. Must get another tin as they need only 9 points. Now 2/6 tin. Tinned fruit on sale tomorrow, must see what they have got and how many pts wanted. 60 pts a month don’t go far and I am owing two from this week. Got ½ pound dates and ½ pound raisins yesterday. Grandma better again and as quirky as ever. Eff wished Jean Many Hap[py] Ret[urns] of her Birthday and Gma wished her M.H. Ret. of the year. Jean had to put her tea-party off as I was so seedy. Flora said “Mrs Hill would be badly as she was coming to tea.” They must come this week. I gave her a pair of stockings for school and Rene a dark blue scarf 3/6½, cotton, the poorest thing. Jean chose it and it looks quite nice on.

John Short was nicknamed ‘stockings’ after the long black stockings he used to wear. He lived with his parents at ‘Ashleigh Villa’ near Tylers Bridge (see Village Map).

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

Wed. 3. Feb. 9. p.m. [1943]

Father exchanged car to-day 8 H.P. to 9. Special Standard Big 9, rated as 10 H.P. for licence. Hope it will soon pay for itself. I have also bought 1 cwt. barley today to be ground up for pig. Hope it fattens up well. Shall kill it as soon as B.M. is done if all is well weather etc. Shall be very pleased as we have had an expensive time lately. Also it is time little pigs were having more.

Stalingrad has been completely captured now and all Gers. left there, killed, captured or surrendered. We dropped 2000 tons bombs in 20 mins last night. On Cologne. Let’s hope this terrible war is soon over. It was a rime frost this morning then it turned damp and finally turned to cold showers. After one very heavy shower this afternoon it turned warmer. Fortunately Rene would just about get home before it was very bad. Hope she got her clothes in. Mine were practically dry yesterday and finished over-night. I folded them this morning and Rene mangled this afternoon, but have not ironed yet. My asthma has been rather troublesome today. Rene has a chesty cold.

We had the fowl Elsie brought, for dinner today. Broth particularly good. Must send Grandma some as she is so fond of it. Lots of planes about again tonight. Went to bed 10 pm last night and slept until Father came off watch at 2 a.m. in spite of a lot of planes returning from the Cologne raid (I expect). Father still full of aches and pains, not to be wondered at with all this rain. Chicken-pox about. Rene thinks little Valerie Hutton has it as she has a bad cough and spots, but is running about in the wet and cold.

B.M. – abbreviation – here most probably represents ‘barley-meal’.

Valerie Hutton has not been identified. She was NOT a daughter of Mrs Hutton of an evacuee family, later mentioned.


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

Tue. Feb. 2. 8.05 pm. [1943]

Jessie has a R.A. [Royal Artillery] officer and wife in her rooms, batman comes to light fire and clean boots. Rumours of 70 soldiers coming on Thurs.

Sunday’s wild morning developed into a gale after dinner. Rene came with Jean’s cycle-lamp which she borrowed Sat. night. She had a cup of tea and was preparing to go when a sudden squall of wind and rain struck the house and the air was filled with paper, leaves, and all sorts of debris, half a hut roof went up and over the sandhills there was a terrific roaring sound and Rene is confident a plane went by just over the S. hills only showing a wing tip now and then. Maddison who was on watch says no plane however. Some damage to roofs was done, Warners garage roof taken completely off, tiles stripped and the whole building collapsed with a foot or two only of bricks left standing. I can see tiles are off another bung[alow] on Landseer Av. Kirk says field between them and Warners strewn with bricks, tiles etc. Arthur Graves is credited with 60 miles an hour on his cycle, coming from work at Butlins’. He stopped and dismounted as soon as a convenient bush broke the force of the wind. If it had struck him broadside it would have blown him off most likely. We were so pleased Rene had not started. It poured torrents of rain for a time then died away to almost a calm. It rained early Monday then turned a fine day, windy in the morning but settling after dinner. Rene went early as I did not wash, and got all her Red + [Cross] 1d a week collecting done. We did a big wash today – mostly dry. I am very tired, have not done any rug so far. Father is on watch until 2.a.m. and there are a lot of planes about. I am still nervous.

H.S. [Harry Simpson?] brought car to show Father tonight, think they’ll make a bargain. It is a little bigger than ours and better. Jean has a lot of homework tonight. It continues mild tho’ a fresh wind today. Several primroses in bloom violets and snowdrops in bud and daffs and tulips and bluebells peeping up. A wee flower showing on my aubrietia near the door which I sowed from seed Rene brought. Anemones growing well but no flowers. Elsie Grantham brought a fowl today. They had 3 killed by a dog. I bought it for 3/0. “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.” Like Charles’ it was a good big one. She was keeping it for a brooder.

Last night Jean dreamed of bananas, said “Joey Sharp gave her 3 off a big bunch, and best of all, she ate one before she woke.” She has always woken first before. I dreamed Ron was home from N.A. [North Africa] but thought he had not long to stop. He was tanned a deep brown all over his face and it looked exactly like him, tho’ he had very brown eyes instead of hazel. I kissed him and then he vanished or else I woke. He looked so well. Father went to Sk[egness] to see if Dr. M would give him another bottle of medicine. He did and some more liniment. Dr. says he has had flu’ which is going about. No temperature but it leaves a lot of people with lumbago and pain in the joints. Hope he will soon be better. He went to Alford St[ation] to fetch Mrs Dandison and Michael Stow. Mi. had a new bicycle. Hope the fresh car will prove a good investment. It is a bit of a worry changing cars, insurance, petrol coupons, and registration book etc. think it will be settled tomorrow. Betty Elston has left school and is at Stow’s post office at present. She is clever so probably won’t be there long.

Mrs Pilgrim is at school now again, but Rene says she gets very tired, has informed Ed[ucation] Authorities that she won’t be able to keep on thro’ the summer. Her heart is not very good I think.

Oh! Dear, planes again. W. Ch. [Winston Churchill] been to Turkey for weekend was in Cairo last night. His arrival home not been announced yet.

Jean made a “pomme de terre au gratin” i.e. potatoes and cheese sauce. Cooked potatoes mixed with sauce and browned. We are not fond of cheese but papers say we ought to eat our ration as it balances our diet in vitamins. I am cooking a second veg. most days as we seem to lack something. Jean’s psoriasis doesn’t clear off and Father’s seems troublesome again too and my skin itches as if my blood was overheated. It certainly isn’t too much heat, think it is fresh fruit and veg we want tho’ we get a good deal of the latter. I cooked young shoots that had grown on stalks of cabbage cut in the autumn and a young savoy. Very good too, with mashed potato, Father likes his whole so saved one or two, hot gravy and slices of cold meat. The beef was so tender and sweet it seemed a shame to heat it. Had a sago pudding after. I had toast, not liking sago and as I had a cup of Horlicks with milk for lunch was alright. How still it is now the gale has gone. If it would keep fair we could do with a little wind to dry things up. Standard bags of flour are being put up in case bread is rationed. I don’t know exactly what that means. Whether we have to make own bread or whether that will be for the puddings, cakes and pastry we make at home. I put a root or two of lilys of the valley in on Sat. I always thought they had bulb but not so, only roots. Mrs Spencer gave Rene them for me, at least she said Rene told her her Grandmother! could not get any to grow. Re thinks she has mixed her with somebody else but knew I wanted some so she did not try to explain, but thanked her. I hope they grow. I have never had any. Mavis says she promised me some and I was to bring some from Yeadon but forgot.

Warners (see 14 Dec. 1941) whose bungalow was the further edge of Kirks’ ‘Point Farm’ (see Village Map) were meant here.

Arthur Graves had been one of the coastguards. His work at ‘Butlins’ must have been as a civilian employee at ‘HMS Royal Arthur’.

H.S. probably refers to Harry Simpson, not related, proprietor of Ingoldmells Garage.

A ‘brooder’, or broody hen, was used to keep eggs (not necessarily her own) warm for hatching, sometimes avoiding the need for heated housing for that purpose.

Cyril (‘Joey’) Sharpe was the son of greengrocer Arthur Sharpe (see 15 Jul. 1941).

Betty Elston was the daughter of Mr Elston of ‘Morfields’ (see 20 Jan. 1941).

Mrs Pilgrim, who was living in South Road near the village centre, had been Jean’s head teacher at the village school.

Mr and Mrs Spence (as later written and believed correct) were probably the couple who lived in a cottage associated with ‘The Sycamores’ on South Road, owned by the Misses Crow (see 2 Jan. 1941), as near neighbours of Rene and Tom.

Mavis Harness, wife of nephew, Tom Harness, Harriet’s son, may have been meant here (see 26 Sep. 1941).


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