Yesterday we had a short letter from Ron, much sooner than I had expected. I think he is on board ship and must have written it before they sailed as he says he thinks the mess table on which he is writing will be his bed for a time, so he has evidently not had a night there. There was no date on his letter, a most unusual omission for him. He writes cheerfully and says he is in good spirits. Bless him for a brave white lie. “Contentment is the only good in life whose counterfeit can greater goodness show.” I hope he soon gets letters from home and Emmie, they will be a help. I expect he will have got settled down a bit by now tho’. It was less than 3 weeks since his last letter and so nice to have, as if he had got to a turn on the road and looked round for one last wave of his hand. He seems so near this morning even tho’ I know he is further away each day. Let’s hope he feels us all near him too. I have written to him and also to Emmie in case her letter hasn’t arrived.
Amy and Ken came yesterday. Ken as usual sat by the room fire and read all day, and only went outside to take Father’s tea to the Bx. so that he could have a look round. He is thinner but has grown a big boy now in long flannels. Aunt J[et] sent Rene her silver sugar-tongs and hoped there would soon be lump sugar to use them on. Amy brought me 6 eggs a great treat, new laid ones.
Yesterday Beveridge’s Plan for after the war came out. £2 a week pensions and £2 for out of work and a great many more schemes. If it is put into action I think everything will be dear. If an employer has to pay 2/3 a week insurance for each man and the man 4/3, higher wages and dearer goods must follow. It will not affect us older ones so much (the Benefits) as starting a complete year 1945 it will take 20 years to get into full running order. Women must work until 60 if able. I will preserve the paper to refer to later, have not read it all yet. We may win the war and go bankrupt in peace yet for all I know.
It was a big frost yesterday with ice and is again today, but yesterday was clear and cold and I was feeling better. We must wash a few oddments to-day. Rene had to do her monthly Red + collecting Mon. and yesterday she sold flags for Prisoners of War parcels. Arthur Barton would have given more if he had been sure the Gerrys wouldn’t get the parcels! Father on watch 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. now that Hallgarth has to take turns with the rest instead of just morning watch.
Sir William Beveridge’s Plan, for social security benefits funded by national insurance, began to be implemented in 1945 by the Labour government elected after the war ended. This formed the basis of the modern ‘Welfare State’.
Arthur Barton was a respected elderly farmer at ‘Bell Bank’, Trunch Lane (see Village Map).
Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?