All posts for the month April | 1944 |

Sun April 16. 44 2.o’c. p.m.

After dinner, I have just washed and changed (into my black dress). Jean has gone to a Youth Parade to Hogsthorpe Chapel. I detest these parades and uniforms. It seems so still, no Father coming in and sitting reading and smoking, or asleep in his chair. I have no interest in the radio yet. It seems to trouble me, tho’ I like Jean to play her piano. There are still a lot of letters to answer. I wrote to Laurence [Hill] and John Gibson this morning. I am trying not to worry over the car selling and the other things. His bicycle has gone. It was of no use to keep it, but it seems like taking bits of me with it parting from the things he used. In time they say we get used to it, and indeed during the last war we got used to his being away, but there was a letter every day, and looking forward to his return. Always now there is the queer little feeling of fear in my mind, like I used to feel in air-raids when he was out, or if he was driving in a fog. Yet he never seems so far away, but I cannot see him or touch him.

We shall soon know whether we can have a Council House. It will be like tearing up roots to leave here. We have grown to love it and have had less worry the last 3 years from business than we ever had.

John Gibson was the husband of Ron’s wife Emmie’s cousin Annie.

During WWI, Will had worked on the land and would probably have been assigned to different locations. At the end of the War, in 1918, he had been on a farm in Sibsey, near Boston, as recalled in May’s Diary (see 11th November 1942).

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

Ap. 15. 1944

32 years ago to-day, on just such a sunny April Day. To-day I write these beautiful words that so well sum up his life to March 29, 1944.

(An envoy from the French word envoi, means the verses at the end of a poem in which some general idea of the poem is summed up and emphasised. The envoy is thus the message which the poem has carried to the reader. Here it is a way of saying that the life to which this is the envoy had been of itself a poem.) by Charlotte Becker.

Say not, because he did no wondrous deed
Amassed no worldly gain,
Wrote no great book, revealed no hidden truth,
Perchance he lived in vain.

For there was grief within a thousand hearts
The hour he ceased to live;
He held the love of women and of men:
Life has no more to give!

Will Hill, looking relaxed, around Easter 1943

Will Hill, looking relaxed, around Easter 1943

May Hill’s husband Will died on 29th March 1944 following the brief illness which was first mentioned in the Diary entry of 24th March 1944.

15th April 1912 was Will and May’s Wedding Day.

Charlotte Becker’s ‘Envoy’ was published in‘The Poets and Poetry of Buffalo’, ed. James N Johnston, p426, Buffalo, New York, 1904 (currently in the public domain) having earlier been published in Munsey’s Magazine, New York, 1903 and the Saturday Evening Post, Philadelphia, 1904). The full book text has been contributed by University of California Libraries to an ‘Internet Archive’: It can be downloaded in various modern formats including the most popular e-book formats.

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