Feb 15. Mon 8.45 [1943]

Another very windy day with a few showers. We washed but only put a few things out, wool jumpers etc. and my wool coat A.F. [Air Force] blue. It dried well, I put out stockings too, but dare not put sheets and tablecloths and thin things on line, it would have blown these “thin” and as the wind was not right for line, it twisted things round and round the line. Hope it’s not so rough tomorrow. Rene washed a few things at home before coming, her garden is shady so she left them out to dry. It has dried roads up well. Jean is busy lining her new dk. brown wool handbag. We have found a “zip” for it and it will be quite nice I think.

Had a letter from Ron on Sat. a nice long one. It was only finished writing on 21 Jan and P[ost]mark date was 28 Jan so it was not long on the way. Says the mountains are looking lovely with young grass and corn crops just coming up. It doesn’t look as if he is very near the battle zone which is a great comfort. Had a letter from Emmie too, she sent my clothing coupons back, she had used 10. Ron has sent word he doesn’t need pyjamas, at least not new thick ones out there. E has sent him a parcel, if it goes and he gets it we shall send one too. Answered both letters yesterday. Joan Smithurst’s young man has arrived in N. Africa. Don’t know what happened but he had to swim for it. I used to worry about Ron until he arrived on land and we got to know on Xmas Day. He does not like wash-days. They get one day in eight to do their washing. Says it is getting very hot in the middle of the day now, like our summer.

Ron, on right, with RAF chums in North Africa

Ron, on right, with RAF chums in North Africa

Had a letter from Em. L [sister – Emily Lewis] today, she was going to Kathies to help with pig, so I shall not send any. It is a risk sending and shall have to send Emmie some this year. We have got the “permit” for 23rd to 28th so hope we are able to kill it then. It is not fed up, but in good order so if all’s well shall have it killed tomorrow week. Shall be very pleased to get it in the house.

Rostov has fallen to the Russians and Gers seem to come over most days or nights on small raids, and we raid them very heavily. Father is on watch until 2. am. On Thurs. morn. he goes on patrol again. Hope it clears up his cold, which hangs on persistently. Rene is getting over hers but says she gets tired. Says rabbit which they fetched last week is quite settled down and happy. Think we shall have to kill one of ours to eat this week, may as well as we haven’t sold them for breeding purposes and they don’t make enough to bother about selling for food just now. Har[riet] may have one tho’. Jean has been getting things ready for cooking at school tomorrow, meat rolls no less. I had not much meat to spare, but it will make 2 or three. Jean says wind still blowing hard. We can’t hear it much in the front. Shall soon go to bed I think. Have finished one of Father’s socks (knitted from sleeves of blue pullover) and set the other up. Also done a bit of rug. Won’t take so long now, but must cut some more snips.

Hugh Green is missing, that is the second boy from Chapel. Tony was of course away before the war, but Eric [Brown] went from here, no news of him yet. Mr Collison made a Fellow of Roy[al] Coll[ege] of Arts.

Hugh Green died, aged 20, serving as a Merchant Navy deck boy, on 22nd January 1943. All 64 on board were lost when SS St Sunniva sank off Novia Scotia. The ship was reported to have overturned due to being top-heavy with extreme build-up of ice in severe conditions. His memorial is at Tower Hill and he is named on the village war memorial. (Some information from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Casualty Register. See also Tribute to the Merchant Seamen of World War Two – ‘S.S. St Sunniva’ item by Maureen Venzi – part of the Allied Merchant Navy of WWII website.)

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

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