All posts for the month May | 1943 |

May 29. Sat. 9.45. p.m. [1943]

Chas. Parish and another member of the H.G. have been for pails of water. They have a “Stunt” on tonight. Told them they could have what they wanted until 10 o’ clock, so if they want more they will soon be here. Father is on watch until 2. a.m. I asked them if they had been having a hat trimming comp[etition] as their tin helmets net covered, were so tastefully decorated with bramble sprays etc. Hope they are not too noisy and that they will never have to defend our shores in earnest. The younger element seem to take it as a game and a huge joke now. Went to Sk[egness] with Father after dinner to get petrol.

Have had my old enemy all day. Mavis came and had tea with Jean. They went to Stow’s and Jean lost her sweet coup. Rene came after tea but did not stay long. Jean fetched Fish and C. from Aunt Effs.

Mary called yest. aft. to bring Rene a “pyrex” dish for wed. present. Keith’s twins have both died. Rita and Thelma. They did not keep them long and are very disappointed Mary says. Marian has been very ill I think. She [Mary] had a letter and more photos from Ray. He has removed some of his ‘tache and looks the picture of health and content. Father has finished Redcott Lawn both scythe and lawn mowing, but it looks very brown. Hope it turns green before they see it.

Mrs. Wilk[inson]’s son? has been made a Wing Comm[ander]. Jean’s psoriasis appears a little better with Meadow’s ointment. Sincerely hope it will cure it. She has started to knit my new jumper or cardigan rather.

Charles (‘Charlie’) Parrish was the son of coastguard, Albert Parish. The surname spelling had changed when Charles’ birth was registered and was retained by later generations.

Rita and Thelma Hill, twin daughters of Keith and Marion, survived barely a few days.

Mrs Wilkinson’s son? (May’s question mark) refers to Royce Clifford Wilkinson whose promotion at this time was recorded in the book of his exploits ‘Spitfire RCW’ by Kenneth James Nelson (see 4 Jul. 1942).

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

May 27. 8.15 a.m. [1943]

Dull, warm and moist, the sort of weather that I don’t like, at least it doesn’t suit me. Rene had to give her sitting room a second coat of dis[temper]. It had probably not been decorated since first being put up at Chapel so it was not to be wondered at. She says it looks much better now. She has got carpet down again and pictures up, paint washed and curtains and covers washed so will probably make an end of it to-day. She came yesterday and finished my washing and went home again about 3.30. It was a grey day not dull as the sun nearly came thro’. The clothes dried very slowly. There was little wind and it was a chilly one but turned warm after tea and came a little shower. Father went to Redcott and then mowed our lawn after tea and put in some more potatoes. He has finished planting allotment. I heard the birds singing very early this morning, we hear the cuckoo frequently now and the swallows skim about the whole day thro’. I have got my bucket full of eggs in water glass, about 7½ doz. They will be useful in the winter.

Had two letters from Ron on Monday dated 8th and 11th May. He expected war would be over in N.A. when we got them. He had got air-mail and A. graph from me. Had a letter from Emmie and one from Vic yesterday. Eme got into trouble after all about her Eas[ter] hol. Her letter crossed mine but she says it is not likely that her M[um] and D[ad] will get for Whit. Emmie may come Sat. to Tue. Mrs Coote and Paddy came for tea yesterday. Pad is getting rough and spoiled. Pat as thin as ever ¦and looking all her years and so shabby, tho’ a good brush to her navy suit and pressing would improve it|. She had on a wool coat and jumper under her navy jacket. She was always a cold mortal. They cycled. Pad has a tricycle. It is a good help. She can get out a lot more with him than if he had to walk. He is brown as a berry and plump to podginess.

[Aside: Keith’s twins born this week.] Keith and Marian have twin girls. K is 21 in July. Jean says Walter and Eva are home. Annie, Eva and Betty were scrubbing the Chapel and Gra[ndma] minding Eileen. Jean went to S[unday School] A[nniversary] practice.

I made Dennis a pair of pyjama trousers Thursday night. He had gone away with just one pair. He has sent a photo home showing white flash in cap denoting he is training for Air Crew. He is very proud of it and says he is quite happy tho’ Jean says he looks a bit wistful rather like Ron’s first photo in uniform.

Paddy Coote was a toddler at that time (see 1 Mar. 1942).

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

Mon May 24. 10.30. p.m. [1943]

Wrote an Air Mail Letter to Ron after Father had gone on watch so as it was getting late when I had finished doc[toring] Jean’s psoriasis I came to bed after a cup of Horlicks and a slice of new bread and farm butter. Hope I don’t get indigestion. We had two letters from Ron to-day written 8th and 11th of May so I answered them altho’ I had written to him as usual yesterday. I want him to get them as often as possible, they mean so much when away from home. He says they have been as good as told they won’t be coming home at present. Ron seems quite resigned. Says the corn is now up to his shoulders, that the mountains are lovely especially in the evenings, that the sunsets are gorgeous and the sky a real deep blue. I am glad he can appreciate the sunsets and scenery, what he sees now will be a memory for life. Says Arab cut his hair this week and it looks as if it had been cut round a basin but that it is no matter as they see no one. I should think it would get rather monotonous except that they are so busy and work long hours. He sounded to be enjoying his day off resting and writing and in the latest letter he had received an airgraph dated Apr 22 and AML [air-mail letter] Apr 29. In the first letter he was hoping for one but towards end of letter wrote “There is no mail for me to-day” and I could feel how disappointed he was.

Mary has heard from Ray again and he sent more photos. He has clipped off about ½ his great moustache. Chris fetched D[aisy]’s gloves on Sat, brought a ¼ tea. Told him I did not want it but he said “it will have to stay, Mother says it’s not to come back” and his blue eyes twinkled. It is very useful. Last Thursday I went to Rene for a few hours, Father had to go to Sun[ningdale] Drive for Cawleys at 12 o’c so I went with him. I left his dinner ready and took ½ the rabbit pie with me. I made a pie with remaining rabbit and Sun[day]- beef. It was very good too. She made it hot and we had a bread and butter pudding with 2 eggs in it and raisins. I have been again to-day, Thurs was the first time since she was married. Tom came about 9.15. am to say Rene had sweep coming at 10 so could not come to wash. As Father was going to Redcott I decided to take remains of little bread I had from Harriet and a tin of “Spam” or “Prem” [? unclear] and go on the 10.30. bus’ to see if I could help. She was pleased to see me I think and so was “Bill”. Sweep had gone and had not made much soot about. Rene had cleaned room and was sweeping up what little soot there was. Afterwards I washed pictures and ornaments and put them in study so that kit[chen] was clear and after dinner I washed up. (Rene made a Q[uaker] oat pudding with raisins, very good too.) Father came for dinner and then went home as it rained. I stayed until 4, swept up kit. and distempered frieze while Rene did ceiling cream and did a bit of tangerine distemper on wall. Think Rene would about finish the walls by Tom got home for tea. As there is no fire in kit. she said she should push furniture into place and put the rug down by fire so that T. could be comfortable if he wanted to stay in. He would have been in garden if fine and even then might be in shed.

It still rains fast I believe. I am very tired as it is a long walk and it rained fast all the way home. I had my mac as I thought the elements would be upset if I went out two days in less than a week. It is 11.15 now so won’t seem so long ‘till 2. a.m. when Father returns and I am not as nervous as last week, at least I don’t think so. I haven’t heard any planes so far.

Cawleys presumably lived in, or were visiting, Sunningdale Drive near Rene and Tom.

The unclear word transcribed as ‘Prem’ (possibly an abbreviation of ‘Premier’) probably refers to a brand of canned luncheon meat, an alternative to the better-known ‘Spam’

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

May 19. Wed. 8.10 a.m. [1943]

It is decidedly cooler this morning, wind E or S.S.E. but bright. Yesterday was warm but the wind was cool. Father planted nearly half allotment with potatoes. Today D.O. [District Officer] comes at 11 o’c and Father is on watch at 2. p.m. so will get no more in today. It is very vexing. He is stoop-holing them, as he thinks to plough them in would bring up rough clods again. I am still very shaky and very nervous. I got no sleep until Father came home. He will be at home two nights now so I shall be better I hope before he is out again.

[Aside: Sun. May 16. Ger. Dams Burst]

The bombing and bursting of Mohne and Eder dams was successfully! carried out by RAF on Sunday night. Since then another one has been bombed but I did not get the name on the radio. It is expected to do us a great deal of good in the war effort against Ger. it must be terrible to be there now with day and night bombing and now these burst dams. There must be an appalling loss of life.

This morning it was announced that well over 200,000 prisoners were taken in Tunisia. Think Italy will be given a chance to draw out of the war. I shall be pleased when we hear from Ron again. I am wondering if he will be moved and if so where to, I fear not to England, probably further away. I hope Sybil has heard from Frank since the war ended in N.A. She will be anxious.

Rene washed a few clothes for me yesterday, she had done her own before she came. Has colour washed her bed room but thinks she may give it another coat as this is pale blue and it was cream before. We saw Beauforts and fighters return from bombing a convoy off Dutch Coast Monday 17 afternoon. Ron has had letters from John Meldrum and Jeff [Pearson]. Jeff gets 48 hours leave to Cairo and is expecting 10 days at Alexandria. He seems to be having a high old time. Answered Mrs Leivers letter last night. She has rheumatism badly in her hands and wrists, but seems very happy amongst her grand-children. Jean and I sampled “stuffed chine” at breakfast, very nice too. Jean had 2 helpings. Father not up yet.

‘Stoop-holing’ for planting was stooping, making a hole and dropping seed potatoes in.

The ‘Dambusters’ raid was carried out from RAF Scampton, near Lincoln, by 617 Squadron, flying Lancaster bombers, under Wing Commander Guy Gibson.

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

May 17. Mon. 9.30. p.m. [1943]

Wrote to Ron yesterday and Jean posted it to-day. Sent a note by yesterday’s post to Dr M but he did not get it by this morning’s post as he should have done so have not got my medicine. Fortunately my asthma settled this morning and my bronc. is much better.

Got up about 11 to-day. Annie came with baby Eileen, fine little girl, she has a small light but comfortable pram. £10. What a price! She brought Rene and Ron a wedding present an embroidered cloth for Rene and a pair of towels for Ron. Rene had arrived when she came. Carl, came too, he is a fine little boy and not by any means shy. Eff came about same time, with 1 doz eggs. She had done her washing. Both of them wanted to get to Halls before they closed. We have not washed. Rene says she has turned her little bed-room out ready for distempering. If fine she will wash a few things for me tomorrow. I am stuffing chine too. Have got it soaking and the parsley picked. Am doing half of it. Parish shot a rabbit today and gave it to Father. Rene skinned it so shall cook it tomorrow, then with chine we should last for the week. Well I am very tired tonight tho’ I have done no work. Have finished Rene’s gloves. Jean had nearly done them and also finished off her, Jean’s, green socks, she had got past the heel of the last one. A lovely day again. Father has dug a good piece more of his garden.

Karl (spelling corrected) Falkner, more usually known as Dennis, elder brother of Martin, was a toddler at that time (see 11 May 1943).

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

Sunday May 16. 8.30. a.m. [1943]

This is one of those lovely days that come sometimes in May. Rene used to call them real Sundays when she was small, and one fell on a Sunday. Well this has every appearance of being one of them. As our time is two hours in advance of the sun, part of this side of the sand-hills are still in shadow and part of them catches the sun. Birds are singing, and it is so calm and quiet. War seems very far away, but that is a fallacy. Only a few hours since our planes were going out in droves to burn and destroy and to add another load of misery to the world in the hope of reforming. I wonder if “doing evil that good may come” ever works out successfully. Today we are to celebrate the African victory, Church bells may ring a merry peal this morning. I fancy there will be many people with sons and husbands who will never come back from there to whom the bells will sound like the passing bell, and many more anxious wives and parents who are waiting to hear from relatives who they know were fighting, who will not be able to rejoice whole-heartedly until they know they are safe. Well, war will creep into my diary as it creeps into everywhere now. But here today it seems far away and very peaceful, this lovely morning with the warmth of summer and the freshness of spring, the scent of the white lilac from the bush at Sykes gate, yet it seems a little spoiled by Jean going to parade with the Life Girls to Chapel. It is Youth Sunday and tho’ I know the Life Girls are a peace-time movement, they seem as if they must be in uniform and march and parade, more in imitation of war than working for peace. Father says “No war will ever put an end to war, only peace can do that.” He has just been upstairs (I am in bed as I have a touch of bronchitis) and says Dr Mellor died yesterday.

Girls' LIfe Brigade and Boys' Brigade Assembly for Parade, Chapel St Leonards, 1943

Girls’ LIfe Brigade and Boys’ Brigade Assembly for Parade,
Chapel St Leonards, 1943 (Photo: Dennis Plant Collection) 


We have had 5 letters from Ron this week and Rene one. He has got our parcel. In Rene’s letter he says he has just got letters from me after being a month without. Poor old Ron, it would seem an endless time and so disappointing when the other mails came in. I never write less than once a week, we can only write and post them and hope for the best.

Miss Sykes’ house, ‘Sandlea’, was the first in the row on Anderby Road, the nearest to ‘The Point’, next door to ‘Red Tiles’ (see Village Map). Harry Sykes, believed to her brother and probably also living there at the time, had been a naval petty officer and was a Boys’ Brigade assistant and member of the Royal Observer Corps

Mrs Dandison, previously mentioned leader of the Girls’ Life Brigade, appears in the photograph.

Dr Mellor, in Skegness, had been retired.

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

Fri. May 14. 8.15 pm. [1943]

14th May – Pag-rag-day in Lincolnshire. Years ago when I was a child, all the boys and girls in “service” used to start their one holiday of the year, except that some of them got a few days at New Year. The May holiday lasted a week and new clothes were bought, fairs held in market towns, when those who were not “stopping again” often hired themselves to a new master. In many farming villages the S[unday] S[chool] Anniversary was held on the Sunday occurring in that week. I can remember my young aunts and uncles coming home, some of them staying with us, my father being the eldest son of a large family, there being 20 years between him and the youngest. Sometimes the girls brought their beaux, I remember the great excitement caused by one Jonah by name when he arrived on a penny-farthing cycle. I can still see him starting off on his homeward way and getting just past the little Chapel, (a house now that the Wes[leyan] and Prim[itive Methodists] are just Methodists and all go to the old Wes. chapel) and then seeing him go head-first over the handle–bars. This was easily done as the pedals were in the centre of the “penny” wheel. My father had one after that but soon changed to a bone-shaker and later to a pneumatic tyred cycle. The sight and scent of a pheasant-eye narcissus always brings all this and lots more back to me. Partly because it was a favourite flower of my father and the middle of May is the time of its flowering, it being a late variety, coming with blue-bells and tulips. Then also the “chine” was stuffed with parsley. Celebrated Lincolnshire dish stuffed-chine, on sale at all the eating-houses in the little market towns and eaten in all the farm-houses and anywhere else where a bacon-pig was killed. I am stuffing ours next week if all is well. Apart from this being the traditional time, the parsley is usually just ready then and later the weather is too hot as it soon goes sour in hot weather. Still it won’t be much hotter in summer than it has been yesterday and today. It was a strong hot wind yesterday as if it blew from a furnace but not so windy to-day tho’ very warm again. I had a bit of bronchitis yesterday and all night, and still keep sweating, tho’ it is partly due to heat I expect.

Africa War ended May 13.
Yesterday morning the welcome news that war in Africa was over greeted us when we switched on the radio at 8am. We have 175,000 prisoners and 16 generals, Von Arnim amongst them. I wish it were all over. I fear there is much more bloodshed to come yet.

Had two letters from Ron this week, one written Easter Mon 26 Apr and the other 29th. It was only just a fortnight coming. He had got some newspapers and also parcel now. Had used Persil and it was a great success. His clothes really clean and not such hard work, must send him another parcel now. He writes very cheerfully, had got letters from us too, but somehow I feel he is a bit homesick. It must be between the lines, as he says we need not worry about him, he is fit and well, tho’ he does not like the climate. Says he feels like a school-boy again in his shorts and will send a snap if ever he can get one taken. It is comforting to think the war is over out there. I wonder if he will be moved or if he will continue to service planes operating from there.

Jean is at Life Girls meeting and Father has gone to mow lawn at Lee’s house, so that he can get on at home tomorrow. J. Kirk just been to say there is another bucket of milk for pigs if he likes to fetch it, he dare not give his pigs too much to start with. I had better get supper ready I think. Eff has heard from Dennis he is quite happy and liking it alright so far. Had a letter from Mrs Leivers today. Have put my gladiolas in tonight, they have good roots and nice shoots too so hope they do better than last year.

‘Pag-rag-day’, well described by May, was much earlier reported in the Lincoln, Rutland & Stamford Mercury, May 20th 1870, which referred to an event ‘not so numerously attended by servants as might have been expected from its being “pag-rag day”, and but little hiring took place.’ The derivation is explained in Provincial Words and Expressions Current in Lincolnshire, J Ellett Brogden, 1866: ‘Pag’ – To carry on the back (from ‘pack’ – to carry like a pack); ‘Pag-rag-day, Pack-rag-day’ – The 14th of May, the time when the servants in Lincolnshire pack up their clothes and change their places. See also ‘flitting day’ (see 16 Apr. 1941).

The chapel that was converted to a house was almost certainly the Primitive Methodist chapel in Trusthorpe, the village where May had lived as a young child. The chapel was closed in 1933, following the Methodist Union in 1932, and the house was named ‘Cumberland’.

General von Arnim, Commander-in-Chief of Axis forces in North Africa, was captured on Cap Bon by British troops.

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

Wed. May 12. 10 o’clock pm. [1943]

It has been a stormy day with a soft “torn-down” wind and occasional flying showers tho’ we did not catch many. It has calmed down at last. I hope it does not rise in the night. Last night just after putting out my light about 11.30, there was a rumbling explosion and the windows and doors rattled then the rumble came again and the house and bed seemed to heave as if a wave passed under from west to east. It reminded me of the earthquake shock we had nearly 12 years ago now. A plane was shot down on E. Coast, it may have been that. J. Kirk thinks it was gun practice on Norfolk Coast. He says there were several more explosions after 2 a.m. when Father came home. Fa said there was a very heavy one about 10. I must have gone sound asleep as I only heard the one between 11 and 12 pm. There have been a few more bumps or explosions tonight, the last ½ hour. Hope there won’t be any more as it’s time Jean and I were in bed. Having no siren we do not know if enemy planes are in the vicinity. I am often pleased we have not, but when alone and there are explosions about it would be nice to feel secure when there was no warning. Jean has had toothache tonight. It has eased a bit now after applying some of Heely’s embrocation. Expect it is these cold winds.

We continue to take a lot of prisoners in Tunisia and have encircled Cape Bon enclosing enemy in centre so there is no chance of him getting away by sea. It seems a pity they do not surrender and save unnecessary blood-shed. They drove 17,000 sheep into the peninsula with them so do not mean to starve. Some of the others are still fighting desperately. Winston C. is in America. We were wondering where he was. He arrived Wash’ton about 1 a.m. our time this morning.

I have just read a book by “Alyce Simpson”, “The Convent”. It is a true story I think of a young girl going into a convent intending to be a nun, but after staying part of the 3 years she runs away. It tells how some of the young women go mad in time and some just go silly. Some of course really do seem to have a “vocation” and to be saints. A great many get tuberculosis owing to bad air and bad food and lack of hygiene and cleanliness. A.S. is a woman who lived here at one time and still has a wood house or houses down Landseer Ave. They are after the style of Swiss chalets. She is a Swiss lady. Her husband built them. She has two daughters, don’t know if she has any more family. They are called “Swiss” of Chalet Simpson to know them from the various Sims in the village. When we were children we were the only Sims in C[hapel village] but now there is just Fr[ank] to represent our family, then there is farmer F Sim. Josh Sim. and a family from Boston semi-retired besides the Swiss people. I wonder if it is part of her own life. Later – It is. I read it thro’ very quickly as it was very interesting, not thrilling, more in the nature of a “human document”.

Wind keeps rising in gusts, but it seems quiet in other ways so must retire. Father on watch until 2 a.m. He will be tired as he came off at 2 a.m. to-day, and has been to Boston with Granthams, then took milk to pigs from J Kirks. Our potatoes (Divernous [? unclear]) and peas are up, and eshallots doing well. Rest of garden not planted yet except onions.

Alyce Simpson, unrelated, Swiss, an author, previously lived locally, in Landseer Avenue. Two ‘chalets’, ‘Alpha’ (occupied by Mrs Blakey – see 10 Jan. 1943) and ‘Beta’ were semi-detached and another, ‘Gamma’, was detached.

Josh (‘Jos’) Simpson was the son of farmer Frank Simpson (see 10 Sep. 1941), whose farm he took over. He was a Home Guard member.

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

Tue. 11 May 43. 9.20 pm.

Last Thursday and Friday 6th and 7th May saw the Allies entry into Tunis and Bizerte within a few hours of each other. All the armies being in contact now and the remains of the enemy (over 100,000 prisoners) in two separate parties one in the mountains and others dropped in Cap. Bon Peninsula deserted by Luftwaffe and by the highest officials too it is supposed. These remnants have been fighting fiercely but are gradually cracking. The whole of the army round Bizerte, 6 generals included, surrendered unconditionally, and the remnant in the mountains have today asked for terms, which are of course unconditional surrender of themselves and equipment. All this has not been done without a big loss of life on both sides tho’ they keep on saying our side have lost remarkably few. It matters little how few to those to whom those few are all. I hope Frank Adams has come thro’ safely. Sybil said he was fighting and she heard from him in letters dated 12 and 16 Ap. It is a wearisome anxious time and now will begin the big and bitter struggle for the final overthrow of Germany. Franco is crying for Peace but Allies say no Peace until we force Ger. to an unconditional Surrender. It will be a bitter struggle with many more young lives thrown into the greedy maw of war.

Did not hear from Ron last week, last letter dated Ap 17. He was well and very cheerful, says wild flowers are lovely and much larger than ours. I wonder if he will be moving now. I dare not wonder if he will be coming back to England yet, so many went a long time before him. I wonder if Jeff and John Meldrum are alright and Jock, poor old Jock. John Kirk and John Smith and Arthur Beardsley, all out there somewhere. Laurie Wilson too I believe. There has never been any more news of Ken [Hill]. Cyril Belton is home on 48 hours embarkation leave. His mother’s face looked old and grey instead of brown and twinkling when she told me yesterday. He was in the last war too, joining up at 16 and Harold her other son lost a hand. They keep singing a song on the Radio now (Jean bought a copy lately) “When the lights go on again, all over the world. When the boys come home again all over the world”. It has a haunting tune that seems full of, as yet, unshed tears that must presently fall for those boys who will never come home again.

Emmie came for Easter weekend, from Thurs. to Tues. It was a late Easter, Good Friday being on 23rd April. Em did not enjoy it as much as usual as she had come without leave from the Mill. She had an urgent letter from her mother to say be sure not to stay beyond Tues as the foreman was very annoyed. However when she got back so many more had taken Sat. morning off as well as the official Fri and Mon that she hoped to get off lightly. Her spirits quickly recovered and she wrote that perhaps she would come at Whit. We are hoping her Mother and Daddy will come too. Elsie came for tea the Sunday she was here. They took rather a liking to each other last year. Elsie has been very ill and is making a slow convalescence, tho’ she is at work again she still looks very poorly. She brought me two dozen lovely eggs today for me to preserve, they are 3/1 doz which is the price farmers get for large and small all the year round, but they are worth it (the retail price is 2/0). The size and flavour of farm fed eggs are 100 per cent better than those fed on ration scraps and potatoes. Rene says some of the eggs taste like potatoes. She had a bilious attack last evening just before going to her Red + exam on Home Nursing. Not because she was nervous but she got her feet wet on Sat and thinks it was a chill on her liver. However she managed to get there rather late but did the test and is fairly certain she passed as she was asked about things she knew. They all laughed at Phoebe as she got mixed and said a bottle was to be filled through a tunnel instead of a funnel.

Rene and I did a good big wash today as it poured with rain most of yesterday. I had got a good start and several things on the line when she got here, which was a good thing as she was still seedy. We did not go to the W.I. Dennis went away yesterday to start his career in R.A.F. He is very enthusiastic so hope he likes it. He will be at school about 18 months Eff says before flying so hope the war is over before then. Father has been most of the day at Evison’s garage while exhaust pipe of car was repaired, part of it replaced. On Sunday afternoon just as he wanted to start out with L.P.s [local preachers] he found it had parted. I went with him to fix it and he held it whilst I tapped it with hammer, both lying down. I hammered away (futilely it seems as a bit was gone) industriously until I missed the pipe and hit Father’s head. He had his hat on fortunately, and as I was in an awkward position I could not get very heavy blows in, so altho’ it raised a slight bump it did not hurt very long. I nervously tapped a bit longer then he fastened it up with wire. It kept in position for that journey and to Boston yesterday, then he had it repaired today £1 and 2s for oil as Jimmy forgot to replace cap when filling it up a week or two since and it had been thrown out, the oil I mean. I think they had a neck to charge for that. Father was pretty cold as the wind had been icy all day and it did not do his rheumatism any good. He got Mr Lamb to bring him some of Heelys Wht. F Emb [White Flower Embrocation] from Alford today. He brought it along tonight. It was the old price 1/3. It used to do him good so hope it does again. He went on watch at 8 pm until

Annie [Faulkner]’s baby girl (Eileen) was born April 29th. Mrs Maurice [Faulkner]’s little boy (Martin) Apr 30. Con was married 29th so we acquired a great niece and a new nephew the same day. As if we weren’t “shied up” with enough relations. My polyanthus nearly over now but tulips are out and my anemones still blooming gaily. I used to think their name of “wind-flower” meant they were delicate and spoiled by the wind, why I don’t know, but I find they revel in the breeze and are very sturdy flowers. I am finishing writing up my diary in bed to save blacking-out the room.

Cap Bon Peninsula, Tunisia, is a fertile area known as the ‘Garden of Tunisia’. The military action referred to was known as ‘Operation Vulcan’.

Spain, under Franco, the dictator, was ‘neutral’ but there had been concerns regarding its connections with the German side.

Jeff here probably refers to Jeff Pearson (see 4 Dec. 1941).

Arthur Beardsley had been one of Ron’s school classmates. The family had lived at ‘Pilgrim Cottage’, along a short track from near Ship Bridge (see Village Map).

Laurie Wilson was the son (believed to be the same person elsewhere called ‘Arthur’) of Mrs Wilson, absent owner of next-door house ‘The Rest’ (see 8 Jan. 1942).

Kenneth Hill (nephew) was the airman who lost between 14th and 15th December 1942. See poem ‘Easter Sunday Apr. 25. 43. K.H.

Harold Belton, father of Joyce and brother of garage-owner Cyril (see 19 Jan. 1942), had been a farmer but at this time was a rate-collector and a sub-postmaster in nearby Hogsthorpe (see East Lincolnshire Map).

Eggs were preserved in isinglass, kept in a bucket. The eggs needed to be very fresh.

Jim Evison was the son of the garage owner, Claude (see 27 Jan. 1942).

Heely was a chemist in Alford.

Eileen Faulkner was Herbert and Annie’s baby daughter (see 30 Sep. 1942).

Martin Faulkner, brother of Dennis, was the baby son of Maurice (see 2 Apr. 1941) and wife Kathleen.

Connie Hill, Will’s niece (see 2 Feb. 1941), married Joe Clegg who was then counted by May as a ‘nephew’.

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

Sun. May. 9. 43 6.20. pm.

It is more than a month since I wrote in my diary, and quite a lot of interesting things have happened. I have been busy with visitors and cleaning, and a few days off now and then with asthma and so neglected my entries.

At the new moon in April the wind, a great gale, was N.W. veering N and at the 8 o’ clock spring tides two days later, piled the seas up in the narrow entrance to the Wash, of which the Point is like one doorpost. It was the biggest tide, at least the highest waves I have ever seen and the biggest on this coast for 40 years or more. It burst the bank at old Capron’s and flooded the Marsh as far as Cousins, surrounding their bungalow to a depth of 4 ft. Altho’ the tide was beating at the bank by 8 o’clock summer time (6 GMT) and broad daylight, they carelessly locked up and never went out to look if it was coming in. Granthams went to warn them but could not make them hear so concluded they were not at home and it was not until the water suddenly rose round their feet that they found out. Fortunately there are bedrooms upstairs so they retreated up there and were rescued by boat next morning. Emily L was here for week-end and we walked down on Sunday night to look at the Marsh. It looked very desolate with its bombed bungalows surrounded by water.

A terrific amount of damage was done all along the coast. I watched it from my bedroom window, Jean and Father went to the box. The water came over each side of it. It was a magnificent sight, even the bit I could see over the Point. Still I could see right across the Wash. Glorious rolling green waves, galloping white horses with flowing manes and tails racing towards the land. In the gap between sea-horse and gun-house huge plume of gossamer spray like white smoke would suddenly go up 50 feet in the air then race with the speed of an express train to the shore. Huge walls of brown water rose 50 feet out of the sea then caught the N.W. wind as they broke. The spray was blown back a white veil for 40 or 50 yards as the wave galloped over the wild water to the shore, spreading all around it a lacy white train, like a dusky bride all robed in purest white. Far in the west from behind the wrack of flying dark rain clouds the slim moon peeped now and then as if afraid to look on the wild waters, she had made her pact with the wild North West wind to raise.

Emily stayed from Sat. until Mon. Then Grandma came on the next Thursday and stayed until Tuesday. She was not very well and nervous and wanted a change. She seemed very content and I hope it did her good.

Mr Capron was the pig breeder and soft fruit grower who lived near the edge of ‘The Marsh’. See 19 Dec. 1942 and Village Map.

Mr and Mrs Cousins, whose bungalow was in ‘The Marsh’ area, were believed to be the couple who had previously lived at ‘Granby’ in South Road (see 5 Nov. 1941).

The ‘gun-house’ was the existing concrete emplacement, upon which the Coastguard watch-box had been re-sited in the previous year (see 4 Sep. 1942). The breakwaters in the vicinity would have contributed to the visual effect described.

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