Saturday September 20 8.05 pm [1941]

A quiet day with very little sunshine. Hope the night will be quiet.

Last Tues night a Jerry plane came over just north of the C.G. box from inland, think it came over the coast at Mablethorpe and circled round Alford way and then out here. It dropped a great many incen[diary] bombs the explosive kind and as it passed we heard the whistle of the two H.E. [high explosive] bombs they dropped on the beach amongst a lot of incen. bombs. Jean and I were in bed as it was ¼ to 10. I had asthma and bronchitis and went early, after a dose of sweet-nitre and aspirins. Jean was very frightened, I was too for that matter, she would get up and I came down faster than I had for some days in my dressing gown. Jean did not wait for hers but seized her overcoat in passing. Father was at the C.G. box so I went in the room which was not blacked-out to look out. I cannot see the box from the window very well as the poplars are full of leaf, but the bank was all lit up and great flashes kept going up, so I put Father’s slippers on and ran to the gate. I was very pleased to see the old box still intact. We sat up a little while but heard no more planes and as the fire was out, went back to bed. I was surprised to find we had been up just an hour, the time had passed quickly in all the excitement. I did not get a chill and was much better on Weds and Thursday but had a bad day on Friday. Am still very nervous when I hear planes at night.

Ron came on Wed but I did not feel up to going to Will[ough]by with him at night. He hopes to get his ac/1 shortly. Emmie is going to nurse in York Hospital. Amy came on Thurs on 11.05 bus’ until 7.40 at night. Ken [Smith] came too, spent his day with feet on fender (in Jean’s slippers) chuckling over “Nipper Annuals” and the “Scrap Book”. Rene took a “snap” of them and then discovered he still had the slippers on.

Aunt Jet, Cousin Amy and Ken (reading 'Nipper' Annual)

Cook from next door came thro’ the fence and had his photo taken then in his white? cap and apron.

Cookie 'Jock' Brown and Bill

We have been so bothered by the chimney smoking lately, that ill or not I had it swept yesterday. It was well choked up, think a lot of the trouble is the bad coal. Mr Faulkner brought his ladder and scraped the chimney pot. Cost me 3/6. Jean and I cleaned up all the soot and washed paints, floors etc so think we got rid of it. It doesn’t smell sooty now anyway. George Cutts came in the afternoon just after I was washed and dressed. Frank A. is on leave. G had walked from Seathorne went back on ¼ to 10 bus.

Father has mown the lawn and weeded and straightened the paths so we look very spruce or shall if we ever get the garden weeded. My gladioli are coming into bloom, they are lovely. Amy took stocks and wallflowers back with her. It is the Harvest Festival today. One of the new ministers preached, Jean and Rene both liked him. The Harvest “sale” is on Tues night. Jean wants to go if Father can fetch her. Am reading an interesting book by O.W. Holmes “Elsie Venner”, rather weird but better worth reading than many. In the “Standard” this week is printed an old prophetic epitaph from a 500 year old tombstone in the Ch yd [church-yard] at Kirby Essex.

“When pictures look alive and movements free,
When ships like fishes, swim beneath the sea,
When men outstripping birds, shall scan the sky,
Then half the world deep drenched in blood shall lie.”

The “half” is vaguely comforting somehow. Bulgaria announces her readiness to join Axis in full. I wonder if Turkey is to be trusted?

Ron had another narrow escape. In turning a plane on the ground the tail hit a bomb on the nose. Fortunately it was not one that went off on impact. The directing groundsman was very careless. So near to death we all dwell in these troubled times. Eff got me a box of Quaker Corn Flakes on Thurs from Cannings.

Sweet Nitre – a popular remedy. The 1946 edition of Stedman’s Medical Dictionary gives the following definition: ‘Spiritus aetheris nitrosi: an alcoholic solution of ethyl nitrate, aldehyde and other substances. A sedative, diuretic and diaphoretic in doses of 20–30 min.’ (‘A minum is 1/60th of a fluid drachm: practically speaking, a drop.’)

‘a/c 1’ refers to the RAF rank of Aircraftman First Class.

John Kenneth (‘Ken’) Smith was May’s cousin Amy’s son (see 16 Dec. 1940).

Mr Thomas Herbert Faulkner was previously mentioned on 2 Apr. 1941.

The Nipper Annual was based on a comic strip which appeared in the Daily Mail newspaper.

Seathorne was an area of Skegness, on the northern edge, nearest to Ingoldmells, not far from ‘HMS Royal Arthur’.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, American author and doctor, described Elsie Venner – A Romance of Destiny (published 1861) as one of his ‘medicated novels’.

The Skegness Standard was the weekly newspaper (Lincolnshire Standard Group).

Miss Norah Canning’s stores and tea-shop was near ‘The Pullover’.


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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *