Wed Mar 11 8.40. PM. [1942]

Talking of starlings, Ron says Mr Russell was feeding one and as it strutted down the path, its mouth full of bread, a neighbour’s cat sprang at it and mauled it before they could rescue it. Emmie made it a bed and tried to restore it but it died. Emmie is out of love with cats and would like to destroy them all. Ron has been at Waltham since Mon. as their planes are operating from there whilst B.B. [Binbrook] is US [useless] owing to the snow. He arrived home last night at 10.10 pm. We had gone to bed but Father let him in and I came down in D.G. [dressing gown] and got him supper. The fire was still in and he slept on couch. He had a nice long day at home and I made pancakes as I had promised. I forgot them on Shrove Tuesday. Father likes them with currants in. Ron had Rasp[berry] Vin[egar] to his, Rene butter and sugar and I had Golden Syrup, various tastes in the absence of either oranges or lemons. Saved some batter and made Jean two for tea. She ate hers with butter (or rather marg.) and sugar. Was extravagant and put two eggs in. Had 4 from Eff. Rene brought one so Father and Ron had an egg each for tea. Jean ate 3 or 4 of those I had from Eff last week. She is better and started school on Tuesday. I shortened her blazer sleeves, it looks very nice.

We finished Ron’s socks and he went back in them as the feet of those he had on had shrunken so much that the heel was in the middle of his foot. The wool we get now is terrible, it is a pair that I refooted before Xmas. Have told him to bring any more that are like them. He has 6 or 7 pairs altogether. Hope this last pair won’t shrink as they were knitted from wool pulled down from a pullover so should be well shrunk. We took him to Will[oughby] St[ation] tonight, he might find his mates gone back to B.B. [Binbrook]. If so he would have to bus’ back to G[rimsb]y and catch a bus’ to Camp at B.B. but would have plenty of time. We did not wait at W. as Father was on watch at 8. p.m. Hallgarth has had a scheme for all the C.G.s to get a signed pass from Mil [itary] to go on beach at all times. A weird idea which Father thinks may get him in trouble. The Navy does not usually ask favours of the Army in her own domain. However they received them to-day.

Father put up the trellis yesterday that we had to take down to put up the Hut. He has planted a climbing rose and two ramblers by it, so hope they grow up and hide the hut a little from the road, tho’ it is quite respectable. Wrote to Edie and Amy on Sun. It is E’s birthday to-day. Rene has a bad cold again, Ron had a cold too. has had Dr. He has given her med. and is going to examine her on his next visit. She is very thin and weak, as she has been afraid to eat much because of indigestion. Have sent for my driving licence. Notice how faded the new stamps are now that they are using less dye in printing them. Points values are altered again. Salmon 1st Gra[de] now wants 32 pts, sardines 24, but dried fruit 6 instead of 8. So far I have had sufficient.
[Aside: It is an offence to have more than 1 week’s food in store.] It is an offence since Mon. to waste paper or cardboard, even bus’ tickets or cig. pkts. punishable by a £100 fine or 3 mths imprisonment or both. Eden disclosed Jap atrocities on Brit. prisoners in H-K [Hong Kong]. Rangoon fallen. Java too.

Eva passed her Med. Ex. but may not be called up for months as she is employed in necessary work. Weaving. Men keep being called up from farms and men in Forces take jobs in “Civvy St.” think they are aiming at training everyone. Ron’s Well[ington]s were amongst those that bombed Renaults. Said they laid it flat. One went down to 2,000 ft and dropped his bombs. One dive-bombed with a “Wimpy”. One was so low that the blast blew him wrong-side up but he was not damaged, in fact all the planes returned safely. There was no opposition whatever, either plane or A.A. So we must have caught them napping for once.

May occasionally drove locally, sometimes when Will was unwell.

Rangoon, the capital of Burma, fell to the Japanese on 8th March 1942. British forces escaped to the north. The Japanese invasion of Java had commenced on 1st March after overwhelmingly defeating British, Australian and Dutch naval forces in the Battle of Java Sea.

The reference to ‘Weaving’ is curious. Eva Harness had apparently already worked away, possibly ‘learning electrical engineering’ in Peterborough (see 31 Jan. 1942, 4 Feb. 1942) or an activity in Sleaford (‘going back’ – see later: 16 Mar. 1942). ‘Weaving’ may have referred to attempts to avoid being called up for work further from home or just possibly the word could have been meant as ‘Weaning’ as a reference to her work with Mrs Dandison which included looking after babies and young children (see 6 Mar. 1941).

The intensive very-low-level RAF bombing raid on March 3rd 1941, on the Renault factory at Boulogne-Billancourt, just west of Paris, was very successful in damaging production of vehicles for the German forces, though many French workers were killed. Only one out of more than 200 aircraft failed to return.

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

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