9.20 pm Mon. Jan 20 [1941]

The “Greyfriars” officials only went as far as Grimsby after all, perhaps it was as well as the car broke down on the hill coming home into Hogs[thorpe]. We are now waiting for a little wheel to get going again, and spare parts are not easy to come by, now. We have not had the cheque for £3.00 yet for the journey. Norman Swift took Father to Grimsby. He would not take more than 10/0. Phoebe Kirk went with them, she was going to an aunt for a fortnight, they had measles last year and she went down with them after she got home.

After 3 days of icy wind and frost W. T. Fri. on Sat afternoon it started to snow and drifted a lot. Jean went skating Sat got a knock and fell on her nose. Went to Rene, (she was sk. at the delves) got it bathed, had 2 cups of tea and biscuits, then came home. Rene started with her but it snowed so fast she went back, she also started Sunday but it snowed again so she did not get until to-day. We did not expect her then, tho’ it had cleared a lot. It has been thawing all day and I think it keeps raining to-night. Jean walked to the bus’ this morning but as it came on to snow so badly Mr Elston got Jessie to ring up to school to ask for the Chapel scholars to be sent home at dinner-time. He, Mr Sp[endlove] sent them all from this direction Cha[pel], Hog[sthorpe] and Mablethorpe. It cleared later but I was very pleased Jean came home.

Hogsthorpe and Chapel St Leonards villages were effectively joined together.
‘The Delves’ was the popular name for a dug-out patch of land alongside Sandy Lane, easily reached from the family’s former home, ‘Sunny Side’ on South Road, and not far from Mr A’s bungalow ‘Beverley’ where Rene was. Water had gathered in the hollow and frozen, ideal for skating.
‘Get’, in the expression ‘She (Rene) did not get’, and frequently used colloquially elsewhere in the Diaries, meant ‘get here’.
Mr Elston, a travelling insurance agent, lived at ‘Morfields’ next door to ‘Rosedale’, Frank and Jessie’s home.
Mr Spendlove, headmaster of Skegness Grammar School, was nicknamed ‘The Boss’ and sometimes ‘The Neck’, after his very long neck.


On Sat afternoon a Ger plane dropped 13 (approx) bombs at the sea end of Lum[ley] Road. One fell on the Tower Cinema staircase but did not cause many casualties. I have heard one or two people were killed. Butlins House and Frearson’s Office were hit and a Bank demolished. The relief bus for Chapel was hit, empty, fortunately the full bus was behind. I think debris from the Tow Cin fell on it. [Aside added later: It had not left bus’ station after all. Some of the bombs were dropped in the roadway and Jean thinks there is one unexploded. She has heard too that Mr Charles of Charles’ Café has died of shock tho’ not hurt. His café was damaged. Another aside added later: Mr C was pierced with glass.]
It was about 4.15 p.m. Jean and I were by the fire after she had got home from skating. We heard the bombs very distinctly. Father was on watch. They thought it was someone running up the steps. It passed over Ch. on its way. I am very nervous with Jean going to school but do not want to upset her. Had 3 or 4 letters from Ron last week and sent him a little parcel. It does not do to worry over him this bad weather, it is best to pray that he may be strong to endure all that comes, weather or anything else, not that he may be protected so much that he may be able to protect himself or do without it. This always we pray, that he may be in God’s keeping.

The “austere” Sgt is back next door.

Have got my machine going again and done a good lot of one of Jean’s nighties. Finished putting a new hand and fingers on an old glove and started the other. Have been reading “Young Anarchy” by Philip Gibbs not at all bad. I read “The Citadel” by Cronin last week and was rather disappointed in it, but it caused a lot of stir when first written so has perhaps fulfilled its purpose. Got a piece of beef Friday, only brisket but a change from mutton. I steam-roasted it and we had kidney beans (salted) they have come in useful again this year when it’s too icy to get brussels. Jean went to Chapel yesterday aft. A sailor from R. Art preached. Rene is getting quite witty, when there was an alarming rumble one day, Mr A said “Rene, that sounds ominous” and Rene replied “Never mind, so long as they’re not bombin’ us”.

Lumley Road was the main shopping street in Skegness.
The Tower Cinema was hit by one bomb, but three hundred children at a matinee escaped injury. (See ‘Skegness at War’, Marjorie C Wilkinson, Cupit Press, Horncastle 2007, p 11.)
Frearson’s was a long-established firm of solicitors in Skegness.
The National Westminster Bank, on the corner of Rutland Road/ Lumley Road was badly damaged but not demolished. The manager’s wife and daughter were killed.
Charles Abraham Hershberg (of ‘Charles Café’) died on 18th January 1941.
Owen Kenrick Morgan was injured at nearby Rutland Road on the same day and died in hospital on 24th January. Both names are recorded on the Skegness War Memorial in the grounds of St Matthew’s Church. (See website www.roll-of-honour.com/Lincolnshire/Skegness.html)
Sir Philip Hamilton Gibbs was the author of ‘Young Anarchy’, fiction, published in 1926 by Hutchinson, London. (See website: http://www.booksandwriters.co.uk/writer/G/sir-philip-armand-hamilton-gibbs.asp)
A J Cronin, a doctor, was an established author whose novel “The Citadel”, published in 1937, was critical of the medical system in Britain, and had caused a stir in the medical profession. Many believe it prompted the formation of the National Health Service. (See website http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A.J._Cronin)

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?
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  1. The delves were where we all met and played, especially when they were frozen. We used to catch newts and tiddlers. Some of the newts were crested, and when I look at the development that has taken place – in today’s society it wouldn’t have been allowed. Save the crested Newt! In the field there was also a windmill that pumped water. The field belonged to the Boys Brigade; Dad used to rent it and grazed cattle on it. There was a footpath and bridge over the ditch directly opposite Sunnyside which lead to Sandy Lane. The high point of the sand-dunes was known as Mount Sinai. It was so wide we used to play tennis on it and build dens.

    Paddy Coote, Nottingham

  2. Thanks for sharing your memories Paddy.


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