All posts for the month September | 1943 |

Sun Sep. 26 8. 45. p.m. [1943]
# SOOTHING MUSIC ON WIRELESS
# COASTGUARDS’ OTHER ACTIVITIES
# QUIET BOARDER MOVES ON
# BATTLE OF BRITAIN THANKSGIVING
# LOCAL BOMBING

Albert Sandler is playing his violin. I love his playing. He plays as if he loved it and would play his very best either with or without an audience. Rene thinks he has a bit of a “murky” past but he must have some good spots I think. His music soothes and rests me and makes one feel better I think. It does not seem to spoil the Sunday evening atmosphere as so much of the radio trash does. So much of what we hear is so far beneath the intelligence of people no more educated than us that I wonder it is ever tolerated. It could so easily help to improve people’s taste instead of lowering it and I don’t mean high-brow stuff either, tho’ I think it should be broadcast in its turn too. At least it would not debase.

Father has done an hour’s watch from 7 to 8 for Joe Kirk tonight and then is doing 3 more until 11 o’c for Hallgarth as it is his birthday forsooth! Time he grew up at his age. Gilbert Paul is taking over Matt. Stones’ wheelwrights’ business. Joe Kirk had a cow calve on Friday. Yesterday he found it dead with its head in a ditch. It had broken a blood vessel. 3rd calf and worth £60, in fact he was bidden that in the morning. Bull calf only worth £2. Of course it wasn’t insured.

My boarder went this morning. Father took him to catch 10.15. train to Sk[egness]. He was going to Leicester and said it would be 8 pm when he arrived at home. Travelling is so bad now especially on Sun. He came on Tuesday evening, is a friend of Beryl Cousins and was only here for breakfast and dinner and to sleep. I charged him 7/6 a day. He tipped me 5/0 and Father 2/6 at St[ation]. He was no trouble and ate anything set before him. On Sat. I gave him 2 eggs for breakfast (he always started with porridge) and when I took them in he said “There now, look at that.” He was very quiet and not given to exclamations either. He was so quiet that we did not always hear him come in tho’ he was never very late, (we did not wait up as he was a friend of Cousins, so alright) but alas the loose board at the top of the stairs always betrayed him as it used to Ron and Emmie. G.ma is coming tomorrow for a few days as Father is still patrolling. Jean told her it would be quite alright as I could put her into the “lodger’s” bed as it was and save sheets as he was a very clean young man! However, G.ma doesn’t mind a joke and knows Jean.

Our Michaelmas daisies are lovely now in the jars Emmie and Ron gave me. I don’t put them in the jars direct, but into vases first. Chrysanths will soon be out if weather keeps open. It is Battle of Britain Sunday. Thanksgiving for miraculous deliverances of Britain in 1940. I am afraid we are not much for parades at Chapel but the Red + did parade. I think it was a pity the church and chapel were not full. I intended going tonight but the N. wind was so bitter I did not. One thing I have thought of to-day. How very little we knew at the time, of the terrible “Battle of Britain” down here. Most of what we know we have learned since. The few pictures in paper, little news broadcast, told us very little. On Thursday night this week a Jerry plane or planes dropped a number of anti-personnel bombs round Anderby way and on Grantham’s land too. Some few have been found. Have written to Ron and enclosed poem, Little House. It may amuse him a few minutes. Have also written to Sybil. Must write to Frank soon and cookie Jock too. Grace settling down I think at Revesby. Roy home on leave, Joan still not at all well. Jean said Ralph and wife (Helen) at chapel this morning. Peter Kirk is on leave, he looks a long blue sailor and his head still pokes forward on his long neck. Mrs Leivers called Monday afternoon. She was staying in Sk. has not altered much but looks older.

Albert Sandler, violinist, was a popular light orchestra leader before and during World War II.

Matthew Stones’ wheelwright business was in Ingoldmells.

Beryl Cousins was the granddaughter of the elderly Mr and Mrs Cousins (see 9 May 1943).

Helen Faulkner was the wife of Ron’s village friend Ralph.

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

Thurs Sep 23 8’oc. P.M. [1943]
# NEW POEM COMPLETED
# POLICEMAN MAKES ENQUIRIES
# LOCAL AIR ACTIVITY
# ALLIES SUCCESS IN SALERNO, ITALY
# LETTER FROM SOLDIER FRANK ADAMS

Have just added last few lines to my poem which I call for the moment, “The little house”. It is almost a week since I wrote most of it instead of in my diary. P.C. Coates has just called. I wonder what he is after. He was enquiring about something to do with Mr Moore (Ki. Moore). Said he had a list of his patients and Mr and Mrs Hill were named. I think we ought to have notice of questions and visits but still I only told him truth, if I gave the wrong answer I can’t help it, we don’t owe Moore anything. I told him the only dental treatment we had from him was, that he made Father a set of teeth some years ago. Can’t remember when. Think before the war but not sure.

There is a continual rumble of planes going out. There were a few planes over here last night and bombs dropped. I don’t know how near but I slept well. Father is patrolling so I am not so nervous. Churchill is back. War seems to be going in Allies’ favour all over now. We won the day at Salerno and 8th Army joined 5th much quicker than they expected, but I am afraid there has been a lot of lives lost and maimed. We had an A.M. [airmail] letter from Frank Adams to-day. We are pleased to hear that he is safe and not in Italy so far, at least he was in Sicily on Sep 6. We were pleased to get it but disappointed that it was not from Ron. Also we wonder if Ron has moved as it is over a month since the date of Ron’s last letter unless Emmie has had another. Frank said he could get to a town and that they were getting things normal and ship-shape again very quickly there. He had bought silk stockings and silk underwear set for Sybil and sent home. I hope it arrives safely. I must write to her, she will be relieved that he is not in Italy just now. We all feel better for knowing he’s safe, but it has made us wonder more than ever if Ron has moved again. We had several letters last week-end but they were all old ones, we had already had the newest one dated 17th. They cheered us up at first, as they were very cheerful letters. He seems to be more settled now as if he had got used to being away and we can get used to most things and it is a little easier then. However that has passed and we are anxiously awaiting a letter from him.

‘The Little House’ (or ‘The Little Home’) was almost completed on 17th September 1943.

Police Constable Coates was NOT the regular local officer. The policeman for Hogsthorpe and Chapel St Leonards was PC Fenn, father-in-law of Grace, née Clowes, Fenn who was a member of WRNS at ‘Royal Arthur’.

‘Kimoor’ was a bungalow, opposite ‘Sunny Side’ (see Village Map), named after the wife of dentist, Mr Moore.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrived back in Britain on the battleship ‘HMS Renown’ following an extended stay in Canada and the USA. He had been attending the top secret First Quebec Conference with US President Franklin D Roosevelt and host Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King.

In the Allied invasion of Italy, the British 8th Army, Montgomery’s ‘Desert Rats’, and US 5th Armies had joined forces at the Salerno bridgehead, from which the Germans withdrew.

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

Friday Sep. 17 / 43. 8.30. A.M.
# INSPIRATION FOR POEM

Oh! dear! as Jo said in “Little Women”, “Genius burns” so must needs write down my poem ere it evaporates.

‘Little Women’, a novel about the lives of four sisters, was written by Louisa May Alcott, an American author, and first published in 1868. An additional volume was separately published in 1869 and later incorporated in a single published volume.

May Hill’s poem ‘The Little Home’ was completed on 23rd September.

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

Sep. 17th and 23rd 1943.
The Little Home.

I have a little home, my boyhoods home;

Not quaint, and old, and thatched with overhanging eaves;

Not timbered walls and tight-shut casements, low rooms and dark oak beams;

Nor yet so new and modern as the flat-roofed present style.

Just old enough to be familiar, homelike, edges worn a little smooth.

A tiny hall red-paved with polished tiles, that trip unwary feet,

And tempt the younger ones to steal a slide when mother’s back is turned.

A stairway that can’t quite make up its mind which way to go.

First it goes east, then takes a step towards the north,

No room to wander there so skirts the wall towards the west,

Then dawdles round the corner and ends due south upon a narrow landing.

Two doors are to the left with bedrooms facing early morn and setting sun.

A wee room to the right with bath and bowl, how many times

I’ve dried the bowl and pumped the water to the tank among the spars,

And fed the kitchen fire with wood to heat the water for the bath.

One door, the last one, leads to my little room beneath the sloping roof;

Warm in the winter with its tank, cool in summer with the western breeze.

The casement opens wide (I made those “blackouts” ere I came away).

The kitchen garden lies behind, with cabbages and bean-row,

I see the little square, now filled with wood, the salvage from the sea,

Just where my little tent, my “Innisfree”, was wont to stand in summer months
.
In there I slept while summer rain fell in the cool, dim, starlit nights, and “strafed” the beetles and the gnats

That on occasion joined me, and sometimes removed a cat,

That crept beneath the canvas and curled up upon my bed.

Beyond the garden a stretch of pasture, emerald green,

All gold in spring with buttercups and white with daisy and sheep;

Further afield the nodding corn and scattered farms.

A plume of smoke from our one chimney-stack, that marks the ‘modern dairy’,

Too far away to soil our clean sea breeze or fall in smuts, upon the washing day.

And then, beyond; the wolds the boundary of our view,

Far off they look to-day in mist of faintest blue

In the shimmering haze of memory’s summer heat.

At times they seem to travel nearer and we see

The fields, laid out in squares, like patch-work,

With feather-stitch of hedges bordered round.

Trees and little wood stand etched upon the crest,

A long white road winds up the slopes away into the west.

We know that rain is coming when the wolds are near,

And the clattering sound of the distant train we hear.

In front a little lawn, all daisies in the spring,

With diamond flower-bed where grows

Carnation and anemones and wee pink rose.

A little path leads from the door, past the wide bay window of “the room”.

The long dim room, with well-worn chairs,

Books and piano, games and shabby carpet on the floor.

Cool on summer afternoons, warm in winter with fires of drift-wood from the sea.

Thro’ the gates, (half doors), over the narrow road,

Sand-hills rise to part us from the sandy shore.

Down every path we scramble up cascades of sand, slide down

As on the top we turn and stand;

We view the miles of green and sunlit land,

And the little house that nestles ’neath the shadow of the hills,

In sound of the restless waves that the air with music fills.

'Lenton Lodge', Anderby Road, near Chapel Point

‘Lenton Lodge’, Anderby Road, near Chapel Point

'Sunny Side', the roadside part of a divided farmhouse in South Road

‘Sunny Side’, the roadside part of a divided farmhouse in South Road

May obviously wrote this poem for Ron who would often be thinking of home. Several drafts showed that the title changed from ‘My Old House’ to ‘The Little House’, which then became ‘The Little Home’. The house is clearly ‘Lenton Lodge’, the family home at the time of writing, although the poem relies upon a certain amount of ‘poetic licence’. Ron was already in his late teens when the family moved there from ‘Sunny Side’, a rented part of a farmhouse on the other side of the village centre, where Ron would have erected his tent in the garden at a younger age (see Village Map). ‘Innisfree’ is a reference to a private cabin depicted in the poem ‘Lake Isle of Innisfree’ by WB Yeats.

The poem has been added to the poems collection on this site. It also appears in the book The Casualties Were Small which contains over twenty of May’s poems as well as selected diary extracts, including those which suggest the background to each poem, accompanied by many nostalgic photographs.

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

Sep 15. 9.40. P.M. Wed. [1943]
# FIERCE FIGHTING IN ITALY REPORTED
# WOMEN’S INSTITUTE DEBATES LOCAL IMPROVEMENTS
# NEWS FROM RON IN ITALY
# NEW WINDSCREEN FOR ‘TAXI’

The fierce fighting round Salerno is still going on after swaying back and forth for 6 days. The casualties must be terrible. Gers. claim to have “released” Muss[olini] from Badoglio.

We had a bad thunderstorm early Mon morning and it poured with rain until 8 a.m or after. Jean went to school and it cleared later and we washed but did not get dry as it kept coming showers. Eff came in evening said she had got ironed altho’ things were rather damp. My clothes dried Tue. and I got folded but still not ironed, at least not many of them. I did iron and put up the curtains in my bed-room which had been washed and dipped gold to match the sitting-room curtains.

In the afternoon (Tue) we went to W.I. Roll Call was “How I would improve the village”. Almost everyone responded, chief improvement was water laid on and sanitary scheme carried out. This was by temporary residents (sailors’ wives etc) who were probably from towns. They did not think of the huge rates it implied. Rene’s suggestion that permanent caravans and wooden shacks and tin huts (summer residences) should all be cleared out, met with general approval as also the suggestion that the sea defence rates should be a national concern and not fall on the coast dwellers alone. New school playgrounds were another improvement, but these would have been built ere now, but for the war. We had a most interesting demonstration of quilting by Mrs Brown of Sutton-on-Sea. She showed us some beautiful examples. She is from North, somewhere where quilting is evidently a usual thing. She told us of other quilts she had but was not able to bring as she came by bus’. Elsie G. thought that as we had not much time for it, the easiest way if we required one was to burgle Mrs B’s house and get one! I liked the Italian shadow quilting very much and would like to attempt it sometime. I have quilted a piece today for a slipper top with a piece of red rep and a bit of Jean’s green petticoat mat[erial] with padding made from a piece of her old checked shawl. It looks very nice but think it’s rather big.

I have been to Rene’s for dinner. Father was going to Skeg[ness] stn so I went in car to village, did a bit of shopping and walked on to Bev[erley]. Father came for dinner on his way back. Rene was finishing washing. It dried well. Kitten has settled down well. Tries to make friends with “Bill” rather to his disgust. Father had a sleep after dinner as he is on watch until 2 am. We returned home at 5 o’clock. He has bought some “Curisones” for rheumatism. They are capsules and are powder in a wee container that looks like celluloid but you take the whole lot so it evidently dissolves. 30 for 5/0 and they only last 6 days. If they are any good tho’, they would be worth it as he seems always to have the pain.

E.L. [electricity] just popped out. I forgot to put 1/0 in, had only 6D last time I put any in. Jean has been up and fetched pyjamas and curlers and is undressed and on couch. I had better get ready for bed I think. Planes are droning about. I hope they are not Gers. Had a letter from Ron to-day but it was not very recent, date 17th Aug. almost a month old. Rene had one too even older, 5. Aug. Hope we soon have more. He writes most cheerfully says he enjoys the sights but there is nowhere to touch England. Heat terrific and flies worse. He finds the fruit a compensation tho’. He was making lemonade from fresh lemons but had no sugar. They had been issued to troops. In my letter he mentioned he had been gathering figs and eating them. He liked them too. Have written him an Air G[raph] to-day for Jean to post in morning as we are advised that they have priority as they take smallest space. Hope he gets our letters even if we don’t get his.

Father got new windscreen put in yesterday. £2.10. It is a great relief and improvement. He also got pair of utility flannel trousers 13/6. and 5 coupons, 2/6 to shorten, they made them into Pa. T.ups [pair of turn-up trousers]. Tom had already got a pair. They are nice and thick and look nice now but I doubt they will wear “bald” as they are cotton one way. Oh! dear I don’t like the planes when Father is on watch tho’ I have slept well lately. We have had a lot of quiet nights and our nerves have got quietened down a little.

Marshal Pietro Badoglio had become the Italian prime minister on 25th July when Benito Mussolini was removed from government. Germany prepared to occupy its former ally and Mussolini was ‘rescued’ by the Germans from imprisonment at a hotel in the Gran Sasso Mountains.

Mrs Brown, WI guest demonstrator, of Sutton on Sea, was NOT one of the Browns previously mentioned.

Rep’ is a type of plain-woven fabric with crosswise ribs.

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

Fri Sep 10 9.30. P.M [1943]
# ITALY’S CAPITULATION REPORTED
# ‘INVASION TEST’ IN ENGLISH CHANNEL
# OPTICIAN VISIT AND SHOPPING IN SKEGNESS
# WILL RESUMES COASTGUARD WORK
# WILL BUSY WITH ‘TAXI’ AGAIN

SEP. 7. ITALY CAPITUALATED TO BRITAIN. UNCOND

On Wed. on 6 P.M. news the welcome news of Italy’s unconditional surrender at 5.30 pm (tho’ cut and dried on Sep 3?) came thro’. One more phase of this weary war finished. If the Italians thought fighting would be over for them if they gave in, I expect they’ll have a rude awakening. They look like having to fight harder than ever now. We have landed in various places on mainland of It[aly] and things seem to be going on well. Gers started bombarding Rome etc. We carried out a huge invasion test in Channel yesterday. Don’t know what was at the bottom of it, but it seems well advertised and apparently a great success.

I went to Sk[egness] on 10.30. bus’. It poured with rain. Had made app[ointment] to have glasses changed at Gor[don] Kents so did not want to put it off as one side piece of present gl. is broken. Says nothing at all wrong with eyes, they are very good, just a matter of age. Am having flat topped frames £2.10. The extra 10/0 means that the lenses are convex. They are worth the extra he says. I could read very fine print with them so hope they are a success. Will be ready in about 2 weeks. He will send a P.C. [postcard] and I shall go to try them there if all is well. [Aside: Paid Dr's Bill £2. 5S 6 to date.]

Father is on watch again to-night after 6 days hol. Jean been to G.L.B. They have started to knit gloves for themselves. Flora [Hall] was tiresome coming home and her shoes came untied. Jean put knitting down, didn’t pick it up after sec[ond] shoe so we put batteries (fortunately we took them out and saved them earlier in summer) in her cycle lamps and she went back on cycle to look for it and found it by Mrs Hipkin’s. Think we will soon go to bed. Woolworth’s [in Skegness] had Xmas cards on sale, very dear. When stocks are sold there will be no more as no more may be made. There were a lot of very pretty calendars too. I got 6. I heard one of the “heads” tell the girls to put out plenty of cards. It will be a great relief to Xmas rush if all cards are sold.

We, Father and I, went to Osborne Café for dinner, fish, pot[atoes], peas, b[read] and but[ter] or rather mar[garine] and pot of tea, 3/8. Very clean and nice. Rene had arrived and was baking. It had stopped raining. 2 o’ clock. I came home with Cousin’s people. There were only 2. Father had to go back to meet 2.58 train. He had had a busy day 4 times to Sk., 1 to W[illough]by, 6 journeys as one was double.

An armistice signed of 3rd September 1943 represented the capitulation of Italy but a complex situation arose due to the continuing presence of German Axis forces.

Gordon Kents was the optician in Skegness.

Rene had arrived at ‘Lenton Lodge’ when May and Jean returned from Skegness.

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

Sun Sep 5 9.30 a.m. [1943]
# ‘TAXI’ WORK FOR WILL
# MEAL PLANNING
# FIRST DAYS OF WAR RECALLED
# RUSSIAN CHURCH ESTABLISHMENT REPORTED
# MORE FRUIT BOTTLING AND JAMMING

Father has just gone to take “locals” to their appointments. There are only 2 today as Tom had done some exchanging. Father is taking Mr Miles along with him to Sk[egness] stn. (Mrs Atkinson’s son in law). It is spitting with rain and looks as if it might be a wet day. Wind came East last night and it turned cold. Rene came to fetch her cake. Tom came with her. Jean has just got up and is having bag of crisps for breakfast. Father had porridge and then boiled bacon. I had bread and butter. Our butter ration only lasts until about Wed. We don’t have it at breakfast-time except on Sunday. The bread is very good this week-end, for a change. I could always make a good meal of good bread and butter. I cooked joint yesterday so shall only make a rice pudding to-day, and probably fry the veg. left from yesterday.

It is quite close indoors although it is very dull. The summer seems to have broken very early, tho’ I hope we get a nice lot of fine days before winter comes. It is not a bit like the first Sunday of the war. I remember it was hot and lovely. Ron came from Chapel with the expected news that we were at war. He and Ralph had made up their minds to join the Navy at once. Well, that did not come off and it was more than a year before Ron was actually in the forces though he joined HG or rather L.D.V [Local Defence Volunteers] the day it was formed. I remember him getting up to go on duty at midnight the night the news came that “Hitler had left Berlin” which really meant I think that invasion fleet was on its way. I can recall the cold clammy fear that came over me when Father slipped down from the box to tell us. Jean and I were sleeping in room then and Ron in scull[ery]. Well it was quickly stopped, Gers never got near enough to invade, and we were told later that 30,000 Ger. bodies were washed up on the shores of France. All the story will probably not be told until after the war, but the rumour was that they poured oil on the water to smooth waves for shallow invasion boats and that it was fired.

This morning the Russians announced the forming of an established Church. Molotov had been at conference and Stalin approved of it. I hope this is the beginning of better things. No fresh news from Italy, the heavy fighting there not reached yet. Hope we soon get another letter from Ron. Emmie had one dated Aug 20th and he was fit and well then. I hear on Radio that Reggio (It[aly]) airfield can be used and wonder if he will go there. I hear too of Gers bombing our air bases and wonder how they fare. We know so little, perhaps it is as well.

We have had a busy week jamming and bottling fruit. There is so much fruit and so little sugar. G.ma gave me some of her big pears and Mary sent a basket of hazel pears, fine ones, we had some stewed yesterday with a junket. I must bottle some if I have enough sugar. Have made bramble and apple jam (seedless), bramble vinegar and damson jam this week. Also bottled damsons. We hope to make apple-pulp this week. We have not made any before. F Raynor came yesterday afternoon and plastered ceiling in Wilsons’ room and outside window. No more mice since Mrs W. was here.

William (‘Bill’) Miles, married to Mrs Atkinson’s daughter, Alice, lived in Nottingham and owned a holiday home, ‘Landseer Bungalow’, in Landseer Avenue (see Village Map).

The Local Defence Volunteers or LDV (later known as the Home Guard) was formed of undrafted 17-65 year-old men, following a call by War Minister Anthony Eden after Germany’s unchallenged invasion of France in May 1940. It was nicknamed ‘Look, Duck and Vanish’. (See also 26 May 1942.)

The rumours described apparently resulted from a major British propaganda exercise, supported by demonstrations of some capability to ‘set the Channel on fire’ using oil pipelines. The propaganda was believed to have played a part in the German decision, on 17th September 1940, to postpone indefinitely the planned invasion by sea, ‘Operation Sea Lion’, which never took place.

Stalin gave orders to re-establish the Russian Orthodox Church, resulting in the appointment of Patriarch Sergius, but under very firm political control.

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

Sat Sep. 4/43 9.o’c
# WILL DUE FOR WEEK’S COASTGUARD LEAVE
# GRANDMA INVITED TO STAY
# PHOTOS REPRINTED FOR RON AND EMMIE

No fresh news from Italy. Jean has just been to Gma’s to take brambles Rene brought for Eff. and to tell G.ma Father is starting 6 days holiday? to-day and to ask her if she would like to come. She doesn’t say yet. Father is on watch but is being released at 10 by Mr Parish as he has to go to the station. The rush of station work will soon be over I expect.

Eff sent me eggs to-day. I did not expect them as Den[nis] is at home. I sent Ron an A.M.L [air mail letter] yesterday. Also sent snaps to be reprinted and sent Emmie the first of hers, wonder if she will like it. I don’t think we take enough time posing before the actual “smile please” or we forget to take the whole picture, as distinct from the figure, into our eye. I was too near the camera, it showed up all my wrinkles. Rene says she’ll take another, one day. Must send Ron one with Jean, Rene and I on. It is pretty good.

May, Emmie and Jean (front) - August 1943

May, Emmie and Jean (front) – August 1943

 The photograph was one of several taken in August 1943 (see also 24 Aug. 1943).

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

Friday Sep 3. 8. 30. a.m. [1943]
# ITALY INVADED VIA TOE
# DAY OF PRAYER ON OUTBREAK ANNIVERSARY
# DANISH FISHING BOATS TRIGGER LOCAL ALERT
# THOUGHTS OF SACRIFICE AND FUTURE PROSPECTS

[Aside: Italy invaded SEP. 3. 43] We have invaded “toe” of Italy. Just 4 years since the war started. In England it is to be observed as a day of prayer (“Give us, O Lord, courage, gaiety, and a quiet mind” RLS [Robert Louis Stevenson]). My heart is heavy with the thought of all the lives still to be sacrificed. Bitter resistance and fighting is expected, we are getting nearer to Germany by land as well as air. Denmark is under Martial Law. Some Dan[ish] fishing boats were sighted off this coast yesterday. Strings of orders came through about them in case they tried to land.

It is a lovely morning, sunny and peaceful as it was on that Sunday morn. four years since. How much has happened since then of both loss and gain, lives sacrificed, cities and towns and villages bombed as well as ships and armies. Great progress in medicine and surgery and in aviation. Money is flung about in millions, even we with our small income are better off than we have ever been in money matters, taking the whole year round. I fear there will be want and poverty after this in spite of all the Utopian schemes and promises.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94) – words from his Prayer ‘For Success’, written in Samoa, re-published in Vailima Papers and a Footnote to History, p. 7 (1925). A much-quoted portion is ‘Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind. Spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies. Bless us, if it may be, in all our innocent endeavours. If it may not, give us the strength to encounter that which is to come, that we be brave in peril, constant in tribulation, temperate in wrath, and in all changes of fortune and down to the gates of death, loyal and loving one to another.’

The British Declaration of War with Germany was announced by Neville Chamberlain on 3rd September 1939.

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