This morning it was almost like spring when I took down the black-out. The sun was shining and my pot of primroses on the window-sill is growing nicely tho’ the blooms are still small. The anemone buds Rene brought me are trying to blossom and may succeed. My anemones are some of them up in the garden so I am hoping for early blooms. Two or three polyanthus are in bloom. The sunshine has passed now but it is a calm and quiet day with occasional showers of light drizzle. A lot of people passing this afternoon, expect they are going to look at the ship which came ashore last night. It ran aground a little beyond the C.G. box round about 9 o’clock last night. (Father and Mr Parish were on watch.) It is the “Greyfriars” and had been badly bombed, two bodies are on board. The rest of the crew had been taken off. It is approx 10 to 11,00 tons. Norman Swift came on Fri night. He is in the Army now, is on sick leave having had tonsillitis. He is as thin as a lath and looked very shaky. He had a cup of milk and egg before going back to Harvey’s. Molly Harvey is working at Butlins now, a W.R.N. I expect. Should have thought she could have been better employed with all those greenhouses (she is trying to let those) and her two children. King Haakon of Norway is reported to be at Butlins, or I should say the “Roy. Arthur” to-day. Mavis came yesterday, she says Frank in much better lodgings this time but has had both eyes inflamed. See Peter Kirk is at home again, think it must cost him a lot from Gainsboro’ unless Rose’s bring him. John [Kirk] is home too on 7 days leave, we hear his divorce is going thro’ now. His marriage has soon come to grief. I have a cold again, I think someone at the C.G. box always has one and Father keeps getting one and I seem to get it from him. I have never had so many colds. My left eye is a little inflamed, do hope I am not having another stye, they seem to get me down. Jean has been to Chapel, she says Rene was there and will be coming after tea. Mr A. is preaching at Algitha Rd so he won’t be coming. Rene had her new hat on Jean says. I wonder if the ‘folk’ will get the “dialect” off as Mr P. calls it. The tide is coming in now, is full about 8 I think or a little before. The meat ration is 1/2 per head this week. Mr T[aylor] may not be round on Tue. Father brought me 1lb of butter this week, not farm. It may be unpatriotic but we haven’t had any for about 5 weeks so I think we have a bit due. I am longing for some good farm butter. I emptied a sugar bag into the basin yesterday and Jean said “Oh, it does look nice to see the sugar basin full”.
‘Bert’ Parish was Will’s coastguard colleague. He was Esther’s father (see 2nd Jan. 1941)
‘The British steamer “Greyfriars” (1142 gross registered tons) was damaged by German bombing one mile west of 59A Buoy, off Grimsby, Five crew were lost. The steamer drifted ashore near Chapel St Leonards during the night of 11/12th January. It was refloated on the 14th and was towed to Hull.’ (As recorded in Royal Navy Day-by-Day in World War 2 by Don Kindell, Naval Events, January 1941 (Part 1 of 2), see website www.naval-history.net/xDKWW2-4101-28JAN01.htm)
Norman Swift, who lived in Sunningdale Drive, had run the Ship Inn, near Ship Bridge, and worked for Tom Harvey, grower who owned greenhouses near the church.
Molly Harvey was the wife of the greenhouse owner Tom Harvey, who was probably serving in the forces at that time.
HMS (His Majesty’s Ship) Royal Arthur was a Royal Navy recruit training centre – in fact land-based using the Butlin’s Holiday Camp at Ingoldmells, near Skegness. It was occasionally claimed by the Germans (in radio broadcasts by ‘Lord Haw-Haw’) to have been sunk.
WRN or Wren – member of the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS).
King Haakon and the government of Norway had become exiled in Britain in June 1940. A fighting force of Norwegians in exile was subsequently established. The King was staying at Ingoldmells. (See ‘Skegness at War’, Marjorie C Wilkinson, Cupit Press, Horncastle 2007, p16.)
‘Royal Arthur’ was sometimes abbreviated to R. Art. It should not be confused with Royal Artillery (usually abbreviated to RA).
Peter Kirk, who joined the Navy, was a son of (coastguard) Joe and the brother of Phoebe (see 6th Dec. 1940) and John (see 11th Dec. 1940). John Kirk’s wife was not local to the area.
Rose Brothers, a long-established engineering company in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, was heavily committed to design and production of military equipment for the war effort, notably advanced gun-turrets for bomber aircraft. The Rose family had connections with Chapel St Leonards, having built for themselves, in the late 1920s, a private property ‘Gainsborough House’ on the sandhills overlooking ‘The Grange’.
Algitha Road Methodist Church was in Skegness. Mr A would have been preaching in his capacity as a Methodist ‘local Circuit preacher’.
The unclear word transcribed as ‘folk’ (referring to the church congregation) may have been written in a way to suggest a pronunciation like ‘fook’. The comment on “dialect” probably referred to the fact that Mr A (an educated Londoner) spoke in a way that was not familiar to the entire local congregation.
Wilf Pimperton, another ‘local preacher’, was probably ‘Mr P.’ here. He was a carpenter/joiner and member of the Royal Observer Corps. The family lived close to the sandhills at ‘The Point’.
Jack Taylor was the regular family butcher, whose shop, at that time, was in Hogsthorpe. As lieutenant, he was in charge of the Home Guard which covered Chapel St Leonards.
Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?