Tho’ March did not come in like a lion it certainly went out like one. It blew a gale Tue. and Wed. night, gusts which shook the house and made the beds shake. I don’t like the wind, it makes me nervous. It has been better today and there is very little wind tonight. I am pleased as Father is on watch 8 to 2 am. Just before he went on Gordon came to see if he could fetch Keith from Sk[egness]. Mary has such a cold she could not come to see before. He could not go of course as he had no time to get anyone for an hour and Keith was due at Sk at eight 15. He was a bit bothered about not going but could not help himself. Hope Mrs. Ashton could go but am doubtful. Gor. had a very bad cold too. Still it’s no use me worrying, he is probably home now. The last bus from Sk is at 7.15 p.m. now.
It is Ap.1st the R.A.F.’s 25 birthday. 25 years since the R.F.C. and R.N.A.S. joined as R.A.F. War is going well in our favour in N.A. [North Africa] now. Eden prophesies a long war. Hope he is wrong. Jean and I thought we could hear gun fire just now. Hope not. U-boat menace continues to be very serious. Notice on Radio tonight that egg ration is now increased to 1 egg per person a week unless privileged ie invalids etc. 1/7th of meat ration to be tinned-beef. We have had no letter from Ron for 2 weeks now. What a long time it seems, but must not grumble. Mary’s have just had one after 3 months from Ray. Gordon has left Wells’ [butchers].
Have found 2 glove patterns and am going to make Daisy a pair from 3/6 wash-leather she bought at Stow’s. Hope they are a success. Rene has my No.7 pattern tonight to cut out a new pair for Tom to use when gardening. We are learning quite a lot of useful things. There was an article in the D. M. [Daily Mail] yesterday on Plastics. It makes one wish we had been born a few years later to read of how the houses will be filled up with plastic walls and floors etc. “Bakelite” is a version of it and walls will have decoration incorp. in the material. It will only need washing and polishing. Expect they will have to invent a new idea then to get a change of colour scheme now and then or we shall get fed up with always having the same décor. When Mother first bought enamel ware after tin and iron hollow-ware and before that wooden bowls and earthenware, I used to wonder what would be the next material. Earthenware and china are old and will continue I think, but after chromium stainless steel we seem to be likely to have an immense number of things made of plastics. An aeroplane body has been made of it and car bodies, lighter and stronger than “tin-lizzies”. Don’t think it will oust silver or wht metal and st steel teaspoons and knives. Silver is much nicer to eat from than “bakelite” and of course china and glass to drink from and much nicer to look at. It is a manufactured article not “natural”. Rene and I have s[pring] cleaned my bedroom this week. Did not start anything else today as I am very “puffy”.
Keep hearing a plane or two go by. Wireless has R.A.F programme on all evening. Some of it good and some “piffle” and worse. Jean brought Sprogg some “Tibbs” on Tue as he is losing his coat and seems out of sorts. I pick up lots of fur all round the house. Think “Snip” has got hairs but it is short though very thick, not like Sprogg’s long mop.
Jean is 6th in term work, not bad as she has missed several times this term. Says one of the boys is ill with temp. 102. We have got our seed-pot[atoe]s at last. J. Kirks horse gone again, he is trying to buy one. Hope he will as Father wants to borrow it. I told Fa (in a joke) it would be a good idea if he bought one, J.K. would easily keep it for him. Fa has got Denman’s lawn scythed and ready for rolling and mowing. He had done Granby. His neck is still very painful but the knotty muscles at the sides seem to have gone.
Besides Alvar Liddell, there is Neil Munroe at Sk. and Bruce Belfrage at Roy[al] Art[hur]. Quite a galaxy of radio announcers. Rene has heard they are getting commission. They were at a Brains Trust in Algitha Road Chapel [Sk.] one night. Marshall did not call again, perhaps he went back by train as the weather was not very good. Jean went to Sh.W. Mariner’s concert on Tues. It was very windy so I did not. Thought we ought to patronise it in case the President II got wrecked! May go tomorrow night to second ed. but doubtful. Father has to fetch artistes again. Expect J. Hall will take them back as on Tue. We have got about 14 “ships” (½Ds) already this week. We save them for funds, indeed I think I was the means of the Pauls starting their box for them.
Ship Halfpenny 1943
Keep hearing a plane or two go by. Wish they would cease, or perhaps I should not say that, they may be on our own patrol. Visitors to within 10 miles of coast between Humber and Penzance may be banned at very short notice this summer. It looks as if things may be moving before too long. I fear 4 years will not see it thro’. Jack Stow is home on leave and George too. B[illy] Hallgarth [junior] gone back, left his gas mask, frantic wire for them to send by regist. post. Ralph on bus going away again, to Aylesbury first I think. Said he had not Ron’s address but would get his mother to get it. Monty Hall gone away too. My eyes ache, shall have to get glasses changed before long. Mavis’ ankle troubling her again. Rene’s B’day last Sunday. Very pleased with gloves which have to be finished yet. As we used coupons we could only raise her 1 bar choc.
RFC – Royal Flying Corps (before the founding of the RAF). May’s brother, Frank Simpson, had served in the RFC in WWI.
RNAS – The Royal Naval Air Service (existed prior to the founding of the RAF).
Alvar Liddell, Neil Munroe and Bruce Belfrage were all well-known BBC radio announcers.
‘Ship-wrecked Mariners’ concert was meant here, probably in aid of the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society, a charity. During the war this supported families of merchant seamen injured or killed by enemy action.
‘President II’ was a conference series held between the British Prime Minister, the U.S. President and others, but May was probably alluding to ‘HMS President II’, the Royal Navy accounting base (see 6 Feb. 1942).
‘Ship halfpennies’ had a sailing ship depicted on the reverse – see photograph.
George Stow (junior) was the brother of Jack and Frank and was the youngest son of stores owner George (see 12 Mar. 1942). He served in the Royal Navy, including submarine service.
Montague Ashley Hall was an architect who, having served as a Lincolnshire Regiment captain in WWI and early in WWII, had transferred to the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve as a lieutenant. Penelope was his daughter (see 15 Feb. 1942).
Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?