Wed. Nov. 11. 8.30. a.m. [1942]

Armistice Day. I remember the first one 24 years ago. A grey day like this is starting, but thick fog too most of the day. Father was on a farm at Sibsey and Rene and I at Sibsey N. at Grandma Thorpe’s. We had eggs for tea to celebrate. I remember they were small pullet eggs very dear but fresh. Can’t buy them in the shops lately. They are reserved for invalids and expectant mothers, and Eff’s hens are not laying just now. I have had a few potted ones tho’, and the dried eggs are very useful. Father had had a hard day thrashing at the farm he was on as the men were all wild to get to Boston to celebrate and the farmer would not stop thrashing. I remember we were not wildly elated, but dimly as thro’ the mist we saw the end approach.

May and Will with Rene as a young schoolgirl

May and Will with Rene as a young schoolgirl c.1920

Yesterday, Nov. 10 was a grey day. The weather was grey and we had a letter from Ron with just an address to write to at the A.P.O. [Army Post Office]. No name of place. He said we had better start to use it at once but I sent yesterday’s letter to Pet[erborough] with instructions to forward it if he had gone. He will like to have it if he hasn’t. We thought Emmie might have been able to tell us something after he had been there as he could not, but she has not written so perhaps only knows what we do. I wish I had gone, but I was afraid I might be ill there and be a nuisance. Ron writes cheerfully almost as if it was a relief to know definitely that he was going, so we must keep our chins up too. But at times I feel as if I must see him just once more before he goes. It is just 2 years since he first went in the R.A.F. Nov.12. We ought not to grumble, a lot of the boys have to go sooner than that. But it is so hard to think that he will never come smiling up saying “How are you Mother?” perhaps for years and it may be never. God comfort us all, boys and those left behind. Jean has not said much but know she is feeling it as much as any of us. I wonder how Emmie is, we must one of us write. I have written to him again. Shall post it when I see if we hear from him to-day, he will write when he can.

Rose died on Nov. 2nd Mon. She was buried last Friday. It was a beautiful sunny day and there were a lot of people there. Jack did not come and the others just went off and never invited anyone for tea. They, at least Percy, did ask Father as he was driving them, but he did not stay. I waited at Grandma’s until he came to take us home. Rene and I went to funeral and Jean stayed with Grandma. She was away from school with a cold and a gumboil. She is better this week. There were lovely chrysanths at the funeral. I have never seen so many colours and varieties and sizes. Ours were yellow and a kind of dusty pink, just a spray. Ciss was not present. She went to the Louth infirmary on the 4th. I wrote to her on the Friday night as I thought she would like to know who was there. I missed Miss Lister, knowing she would be certain to be there if able, but Tony had been taken to Alford Hospital with appendicitis turning to peritonitis. He is slightly improved but still has to have operation for appendix.

Well, it is very dull but must put off the light. We have to be careful. Dinah Kirk pulled a tea-pot of hot tea over on herself on Monday night and was scalded. She was a little easier last night. They think she either overbalanced or fainted as she was sitting on the edge of table while Phoebe and Miss Mudd were having supper. Her mother and father had to be fetched from the usual place. Father’s cycle still missing. He lent it to a young cpl. [corporal] last Sat week Oct 31st for him to go to Sk[egness] on a day pass. He said he was returning Sun. morning but neither he nor the cycle has returned.


Most of the first paragraph is a recollection of Armistice Day in 1918 when Rene was 5 years old and the family lived at ‘Rosedale’ near the Chapel (see Village Map). Rene is perhaps a little older in the photograph probably taken around 1920.

Sibsey, near Boston, is marked on the East Lincolnshire Map.

Grandma Thorpe is believed to have been May’s mother’s father’s second wife.

Percy Ranson, husband of Rose Hill’s daughter Ciss was meant here (see 22 Mar. 1942).

Tony Lister, from London, was staying with his aunt, Miss Lister (see 27 Jan. 1942).

It is thought that Dinah Kirk’s (see 19 Jan. 1942) scalding incident arose from, or triggered, the first of the epileptic fits from which she suffered.

Miss Mudd was a visiting family-friend who had previously stayed as a holidaymaker. The ‘usual place’ was the ‘Vine Hotel’ (see 5 Nov. 1941), regularly frequented by Dinah’s father, occasionally accompanied by her mother.

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

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