Have been to bed and just got up again. Wish I were not so nervous. Had just settled down to go to sleep when I heard heavy gun-fire in the distance and got up. Jean was asleep and was cross at being awakened, she is not nervous now I am pleased to say. She has not dressed, but curled up on couch and gone to sleep. I have dressed as otherwise I feel so cold. It pours with rain, fire was nearly out but is beginning to flicker again so hope it burns up. Perhaps I ought not to have mended it, but I feel so shivery and may want a cup of tea before going back to bed, tho’ tea like coal is not too plentiful, in fact if it were not Father’s week for tea and sug[ar] ration for W.Bx I should be on the rocks before next month’s rationing came in. In any case shall have to be careful. We are heavy tea drinkers. Must start to give Jean more cocoa this cold weather but she does not take sugar with tea and will want sweeteners in cocoa. I get sweetened milk for Father’s porridge, it lasts a week, perhaps Jean could use some in cocoa. Rene has cut up most of her cake and sent it out. A queer custom. Mrs Mid[dleton] has given them a pair of beautiful vases expensive too but am afraid Rene has bad taste to prefer a lovely modern jar tho’ less valuable given her by the Hillsdons.
Occasional gun-fire and continual bumping of the tide. Almost wish I had stopped in bed. Skegness had her most severe raid last Sat night Oct’. 24th about 9.45. One 2,000 lb. bomb and a lot of cases of incendiaries caused a lot of damage to property and some casualties. Only 1 civilian but Services lists are not published. There were at least 2 funerals of more than one RAF. Poor boys and poor other boys who are there for training, some young and nervous they will be afraid when the siren goes. It sounded on Sat (yesterday) morning but the “all clear” soon went. Have heard the raiders were at Canterbury again yesterday. We brought down 9 so judge there were a lot. Expect Ron has been to Yeadon Thur. to Sat. He was due back 8.a.m. today if he got off. (Fire has burned up beautifully, I ought to go to bed but will stay up a bit longer.) Don’t know if it was EMBK [embarkation] leave or not. I did not go. He does not seem able to tell us anything now in his letters and they don’t seem very cheerful to me. Perhaps he will be able to tell Emmie and she let us know. Miss West caught Jean coming out of Chapel this morning, she gave her 10/0 for Ron to buy a saucepan or something. Very nice and unexpected. I have put it in his letter.
We had half of Rene’s rabbit today. They killed one of those T[om] had from us and it was too big for them. When they want another rabbit dinner they can have one of our young ones. They are ready in about a month or 6 weeks from now. Have let Frank’s have a bag of potatoes as I think we still have as many as we shall want. 7/0 bag. Chrysanths coming on well, another week of calm unfrosty weather would see the best of them out. Those I brought in are coming out well. Have a few later ones in shed, and one that is just coming into bloom. I think it is one of my own, a pure white, but not quite sure yet. (Kettle singing and bright little fire, everything quiet, shall soon go to bed.)
Rose still lingers unless she has passed away to-day. Ciss expects to go to M. Ward this week. Percy Tyler died last week, only Flossie and her father left now. First Aid lectures started again now. Rene went Friday. Well it did not cure her last year but I am pleased she is keeping it up. They came down between showers this afternoon for the vases from Mrs M[id]. Father called for them on Fri as they were rather fragile to cycle with from Addlethorpe tho’ they [Rene and Tom] were cycling with them to-day. Hope they got home in fair weather, they intended going to chapel but don’t think they would venture as they got wet thro’ last Sun. night. Father fetched John Walker from Sk. station last night 10.15.and took him back to catch 6.44. Willoughby to-night. [Mr] Paul did 3 hours 8 to 11 for him last night. Cook (old misery) brought some liver in after dinner which I cooked for his supper. He goes without meals and gets all fussed up until he doesn’t know what he ails. Thinks he hasn’t time to get anything.
Reportedly, on October 24th 1942, a large bomb fell on Park Avenue and Scarborough Avenue and others were dropped, with 12 deaths, 61 injured, 10 houses demolished and 300 damaged. (See ‘Skegness at War’, Marjorie C Wilkinson, Cupit Press, Horncastle 2007, p 13.) However, no civilian deaths on that date were listed on the Skegness War Memorial Roll of Honour.
Miss Nellie West, a colourful local ‘character’ and accomplished singer, Mrs Hipkin’s sister, lived at ‘Little Hanby’ near the Vicarage. They were believed to have been related to Lord Addison (see 21 Jan. 1942) and may have been connected with the family previously at Wests’ farm, later Hallgarths’, opposite (see Village Map).
‘M. Ward’ refers to Louth Infirmary Maternity Ward where Ciss had a child which was stillborn.
Percy Tyler was Flossie’s elder brother. Their father was Will Tyler. The family lived in half of ‘Ashleigh Villa’ near Tylers Bridge. Flossie had attended the village school at the same time as Rene.
John Walker was probably the Royal Artillery captain (later, major) who had moved to the area earlier in the wartime.
Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?