Friday Feb. 6 10.45. P.M. [1942]

Father has gone to meet 10. o’clock train at Sk[egness] for Keith and Marian. To-day at the C.G. box they have been informed that they have the rank of A.B. seamen and are to be provided with uniforms. They will be on the pay-roll of H.M.S. President II. Some act of Parliament has been passed for this. That is how our government waste their time playing at war. What a farce! A.Bs in uniform and hardly any of them been on a ship in their lives, wonder if they are going to doll them up in blouses and bell-bottom trousers, while all the time the men on active service, at least some of them, are short of uniforms. Why don’t they wake up and produce guns and tanks and arms of all kinds. They are arming the H.G. with pikestaffs now. Pikestaffs, against guns (By the way the A.Bs are part of H.M.s armed forces). 2 rifles amongst 6 of them and seldom one in the W.Bx let alone ammunition. It is time the men got to work and let women make the laws and rule, instead of men building nurseries for children so the mothers can work. It makes ones blood boil to think of all the daft schemes they have, playing at war while the enemy gains on nearly every side. Shades of Drake and Nelson! What would they think to such A.Bs. They can do their job as they are, what more is needed. They are authorised to stop persons and vehicles now and search them if they suspect them, also ships. Ships! Are they to walk across the waves and intercept them? Father does not know whether to be most amused or vexed. It is indeed not a laughing matter that all this tom-foolery is going on while the enemy clamours at our doors.

Hallg[arth] sent for Father before he was up this morning (he only came off at 2. a.m.) to go investigate a mine washing up towards Ingoldmells. It was one of our own covered with barnacles. The mine experts came and rendered it safe later in the day. They had been upset into a ditch in the car on the way. Thought Har[ry] Graves who was driving had a seizure or heart attack, as he all at once drove straight for the dyke. Father also examined a packing case that had washed up and with help got it to the ironwork defence. It is full of ping-pong balls. He suggested to Hallg. that they put it thro’ to salvage author. and share the s. money equally among them all as the fairest way. H says do nothing of the sort! the others won’t do it, so why should Father and him. The C.Gs can claim salvage if not on duty. So tomorrow H and Father are going in their off time to retrieve it. Let’s hope it’s still there. Then H will report it and they hope to get salvage. I am not speculating on how much it will be or counting it until if ever I count the actual money.

Father should soon be back now if train runs to time. It is Friday night and some of the soldiers have come singing to their billets, pay-day I expect. Have not heard from Ron since week-end, hope there is a letter tomorrow as it seems so long until Monday. Hope he will be home next Thursday. Roy home again this week. Mary will have all her boys at home together tonight. Ray[mond] came Wed. Gor[don] says he is learning music. Has had one lesson and thinks he has done very well so far. To-day much milder than of late. No bitter wind but only thawed slightly and was freezing very sharply by 5 o’clock again. Gravel path icy.

‘AB Seaman’ or ‘Able Seaman’ was a rank of the Royal Navy.

HMS President II’ was an accounting base (known as a ‘stone frigate’) for the Royal Navy.

Harry Graves, here, was almost certainly one of May’s uncles, the husband of Florence Simpson (youngest sister of May’s father) who had died in 1938. He owned a garage in Mablethorpe. He was NOT directly related to the other Graves mentioned in the Diaries.

The ironwork defence consisted of barbed wire rolls supported on metal posts, for protection against enemy invasion by sea.

Mary Hill, the wife of Will’s brother Charles, was meant here. Their sons were Raymond, Keith, Laurence, Gordon and Colin (see 21 Dec. 1941).

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

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