Nov. 30. 9.30. p.m. Mon [1942]

Cpl. [corporal] returned last Mon. under arrest as he had been away over 3 weeks and classed as deserter. Father not got cycle yet. Cpl lost the ticket for it. It is at Sk[egness] station. Cpt [Captain] Liddwell keeps promising to get it. Father getting out of patience as he cannot get it. Police say they can’t as it was not stolen.

We had letters from Ron until Sat. Nov. 14th, the last one written on 12th and postmarked Leeds. Emmie had one same day and same postmark. It would be tantalising for him if he passed through Leeds so near to Yeadon. It is so terribly hard to be out of touch with him, but can’t expect a letter yet. I am trying not to listen for postman until Xmas and even then we may not hear. Father thought perhaps he had not gone right away at first, but I seemed to know he had slipped from our grasp as those elvers slipped thro’ my fingers years ago. Well we must keep our courage up and hope he will return some day.

We have driven Rommel out of Egypt thro’ Libya and shall soon be joining General Alexander’s Amer[ican] Army in Tunisia if all is well, in the attempt to drive Ger. out and so free the Med. The French Fleet scuttled itself sooner than fall into Ger. hands at Toulon. Ger. occupies all France now. Russians have trapped a lot of Gers round Stal[ingrad] and are doing well. We have been dropping 8000 lb. bombs on Italian towns. It is wicked which-ever side it is on. Oh Freedom what awful deeds are done in thy name! Roy has got his L.A.C. [Leading Aircraftman]. Bill Hallgarth is home on leave again from Ireland. Robinson’s had a letter from Malcolm this week and his address in Iraq.

On the 17th our pig had to go be slaughtered. It had purples. It is very disappointing. It weighed 20 st. and would have been so useful at Xmas. Don’t know what we shall get for it yet. Have got another for £9, a gilt that has had one litter. Supposed to make best bacon. We have also got a young one and Eff has too. She is having the big one killed in a few days. Harriet came today and brought Rene a very nice tablecloth and she brought me a 7 lb jar of home rendered lard. Said she was so sorry about the pig. Jean said “Didn’t I throw my arms round her and give her a kiss.” I felt like it but she would probably have collapsed! But I think it was exceedingly kind of her. Walter and Eva have been home, W. on embarkation leave. Poor Eva, they have not been married a year. Jean’s blouse which she made partly at school turned out very nicely, she proved very handy at it tho’ not fond of needlework, especially mending. She had a nasty bilious attack on Sat. but feeling better today and has been to school. Father was on patrol last week and got a codling. It was fresh and good, a great treat. Tom [Rene’s husband] got one on Friday, a bit larger. Rene brought us 2 steaks. It was excellent too. Fresh fish is a luxury.

Shall have to go to bed soon it is 9.45. Father is on watch until 2 a.m. Jean is putting her hair in rags after washing it. I am going to have a cup of Horlicks. Hope it sends me to sleep, my asthma is rather troublesome and I have slept badly. I have to put thoughts of Ron too, away very resolutely. I must not worry about him. Emmie wrote again last week, very cheerfully but she had not been very well. Expect she would be very upset by his going. She sent me some tablets which Mrs Pearson (Jeff’s mother) had told her cured asthma. I was a little disappointed but not surprised to find they were Anestans. They do ease me but have had them before and was not cured. Still as I said to Rene, if they, doctors, don’t cure Mr Churchill it is hardly likely they will me. He is able to afford the best advice and medicines. At the moment I am taking Dr M’s medicine which relieves me as well as any. He always said that he could not promise to cure me, tho’ I might get better of it. Nearly 12 years since it started. I think it’s chronic now but must try to overset it if I can. Rene and Tom brought down kapok down that Father found on beach. They have a lot too. I must make an effort to get a quilt made.


Captain Lidwell was probably an officer of locally billeted soldiers.

Note the reference to slippery elvers (young eels) – see May Hill’s ‘Reflection’ on her childhood experience.

The defeat, in November 1942, of Field Marshall Erwin Rommel’s forces by the British 8th Army, under General Montgomery, in the Second Battle of El Alamein, was decisive in turning the tide of the war in North Africa.

Sir Harold RLG Alexander was a British General whose command included an American Army.

The potentially fatal pig disease swine erysipelas was known as ‘purples’ owing to the characteristic diamond-shaped skin lesions.

Rags were used for hair-curling: Curlers were in short supply.

Mrs Pearson, mother of Ron’s RAF friend, Jeff (see 25 Jan. 1942), lived in Gainsborough.

‘Anestan’ – a brand-name drug containing ephedrine.

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

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