Dec 9 Tue 8.30 PM [1941]

My diary was to be just everyday things and not a diary of the war. But war comes into everyday happenings now every hour of the day. Japan has attacked U.S.A. and British possessions without warning while her ministers were still in Washington pretending to talk over terms for keeping a peaceful Pacific. They have marched on Thailand (Siam) with Hitler’s excuse that they are doing it to protect them from Britain! Thailand is negotiating with her now and allowing them to use her country as a thoroughfare. One thing, it has woken up U.S.A. even Lindbergh and the rest of the isolationists. We had hoped that in the New Year we might perhaps begin to hope for peace before another Xmas but now the war clouds seem darker than before. No extra food is to be issued for Xmas, but that is a small thing. Here at least we have enough and to spare. Ron was home yesterday, but it seemed a very short day as Ralph is home and came with him and stayed until dinner-time then he went to Ralph’s to tea. He doesn’t often see Ralph now so could hardly refuse. Jean and I went to the station with him. It was very bad driving with masked lights as there were banks of mist here and there. I am resolved we will have one of the new pattern masks which are said to be much better. I had intended having a new easy-chair but think the mask must come first. Coming home, when we had got off the Sloothby Low Lane with its great drain along one side, Father got out and adjusted the head lights to shine a broader beam across the road so that we could see all the road and a wide piece of the grass verge, it was much better as we could see much sooner if anyone was walking either side of the road. It is rather nerve-racking when someone, as often as not, wheeling a lightless cycle, looms up just in front.

Rene and I washed to-day and when the line was full of clothes the end post broke off and all the clothes up to the next post went on to the garden and most of them had to be rewashed. Father put a new post up and they have got nearly dry. I have ironed the sit-room curtains and one or two more things. Father is on watch. Yesterday Father shot a fine wild rabbit and as we were out of meat I cooked it to-day, it was very good indeed, floured and fried with onion then stewed in thickened gravy and dumplings. News just being read, better news from Libya but I cannot take in all the other news and of course it will be some time before we know how things are going, but our Heads of State seem better prepared than before to meet this new aggression. However I think we shall know more hardship than we have up to now, before this dreadful war is finished. Sent for tin of salmon to Stow’s with my “pink points” Ra. Bk to-day but they are already sold out of best quality. As we are not tied to one shop with these I must try at Sk[egness].

Have finished one of Jean’s gloves, can’t seem to get going with the second as I accidentally burnt the instructions. Have already pulled it down twice, perhaps I shall be luckier next time. It tries my eyes counting the stitches. Last Thur when Ron was home a little brown Tabby cat came for the day, we saw it no more until yesterday, when it turned up again and stayed all day, it went out at night and haven’t seen it all today, tho’ Jean called it this morning and tonight. [Aside: Snippitt arrives.] It is a little “pet” and so plump it evidently knows where to go for a good living. Jean is busy with tests and exams now before breaking up for Xmas. Her average for terms work is 75. Dorothy Raynor has left school and gone into Lloyds Bank at Skegness. Should think she will do well. Don is in Canada, his mother has had a parcel from him with 1 lb. butter, sugar etc. Wrote to Sybil Adams on Sunday and to Emily to tell her Jaines had collected the organ. Hope it arrives safely.

Bessie Brown and Ted called on Sat afternoon. B. is in the A.T.S. and is a gunner. She is big and shy and very bonny, it is a pity she has the scar on her nose caused by putting it thro’ a pane of glass in a window. I think if it had been stitched it would not have been so conspicuous. She is only 19 or 20 but says she likes her work, she is a volunteer of course. She is going to Coventry after her leave. It seems so dreadful to think of girls fighting, surely it should not be necessary. Rene’s cold is better than it was but she is stuffy yet, tho’ she insisted on finishing the washing. I give in as I don’t seem to have enough energy to stand against her but I would really often rather finish when I have got a good start. I know she does it to save me but I do like to work when I can. Mrs Beels came to see me yesterday, had heard I was ill. She was rather too late as I was better!

The Japanese attack on the US Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, bringing the USA into the war, took place on 7th December 1941. Japanese forces landed from troopships and overcame British defences at Kota Bahru, Malaya. Air attacks took place on bases in Singapore and Malaya.

Charles Lindbergh, an American, had been the first to fly solo, non-stop, across the Atlantic, in 1927. In the early stages of WW II he had strongly advocated, before the US Congress, a non-interventionist policy. However, in the later stages, after “Pearl Harbour”, he patriotically served the war effort through involvement with military aircraft development and advanced pilot training in active combat in the Pacific.

Dorothy Raynor was the sister of Don and the daughter of Herbert. Don Raynor (see 16 Dec. 1940) was training in Canada for RAF service.

Bessie Brown was the daughter of Mr and Mrs Ted Brown (see 31 Aug. 1941).

Mr and Mrs Beels occupied a bungalow on South Road (not far from ‘Sunny Side’- see Village Map) and sold vegetables from their large garden.

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

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