It has been a perfect winter day. Sharp frost, everything white since this morning. Brilliant sunshine all day and a sun that set like a ball of fire in the west, already some degrees more west than it set last month. Jean and I walked with Rene as far as the New bridge when she went back this afternoon. The setting sun shone straight down the road from Grandma’s bridge making a golden street with a rosy haze above it, it was worth the walk, tho’ it was an effort, the frosty air caught my breath. [Aside: The sun was like a ruby set in silver on a golden ring.] On the way back Jean and I gathered sycamore twigs, their green buds already showing signs of swelling. We have put them in water in the old brown vase in the hall having no flowers now except one blue anemone and a stray primrose or two in the garden. Jean said there were no flowers in chapel to-day. She took Flora Hall to S. School to-day. Flora tried walking with her eyes shut on the way home but fell. Up she got and remarked “That’s with trying to be clever”. When Jean and I got home from our walk “Percy” was out of his hutch passing the time of day with his mother. He had pushed on his door until the fastener had come off and let himself out. I retrieved him to his great disgust and shut him up again. Rene had been filling in an A.R.P paper for decontaminating work, part time. We met Miss Moore and she gave it to her. If ever she is needed it will be a terrible time.
To-day we hear the Japs have landed in Borneo, Dut. E. Ind [Dutch East Indies]. In Malaya we are still withdrawing nearer and nearer to Singapore. In war we withdraw, the enemy retreats or is driven back! In Russia the enemy is being driven back to some purpose also in Libya. We expect Malta, brave little Malta, to be attacked by air, sea and land any time now. It is likely the Finns and Russians will have an armistice soon now, this will release the Russians for the front against the Gers. Father has been out with preachers to-day, and has gone on watch until 2 p.m. He is on again at 8 pm tomorrow night then 6 days holiday from 8 am Tues. so he hopes to get hut down and re-erected if weather is fit.
[Aside: Rubber Rains ?] In the late Autumn bales of rubber were washed up, and 50 were collected by C[oast] G[uard]s and carted up by S. Kirk. At that time C.Gs could not claim salvage and civilians were not allowed to collect on beach, except for C.Gs. As there is a good price paid for salvaged rubber naturally they all thought they ought to be able to get it. So S. Kirk had it put thro’ in his name with the assistance of a superior C.G at Sk. Father was out with preachers on Sunday so said he would take a day’s pay less than the others at the share out. A day’s pay on box is 10/0. (Since then the law on C.Gs getting salvage has been altered.) This week S.K. received a cheque for £62.10. being 25/0 a bale. (They are about 2 cwt [hundredweight] bales.) Friday night Hallgarth coolly gave Father £4.16.8 saying the 6 others including SK were taking about £9 odd and giving Father half a share, the others thought that would be alright. Father was not even told the money had come. He refused the money and has told them he will either take £1 less than the others or “blue” the whole affair. The shares work out at £9.1.5 each for the 6 and £8.1.5 for the one, leaving 1D. So now we are like Mr Asquith we must “wait and see”. I think Father is most upset as to why they should try to do him down, he feels he is not wanted on the box. They are a rotten lot, and know he is straight but he has done his best for all of them and put in scores of 15 and 30 mins for some of them Hallg. included who are often late. Also they most of them play “nap” up there. It is not possible for anyone to work all day and watch all night. Whether he gets the money or not now they have taken away all pleasure in it. I wish Hallg. the joy of collecting the 10/ or 12/ from each of them if he decides to comply. It will be like getting butter from a dog’s throat.
John Kirk on leave, says John Smith is still near him, he had seen him lately. JK is corporal now.
The ‘New Bridge’ from Ancaster Avenue to St Leonards Drive crossed the drain close to the ‘basin’. It was also known as ‘Beltons’ Bridge’ due to its proximity to Beltons’ garage. (See Village Map.)
“Percy” the rabbit, which resembled a Persian cat, was Jean’s pet and was not for eating.
Miss Kathleen Moore was a leader in the local Red Cross branch, of which Rene was a member, and also a leader of the Girl Guides whose meetings were held above Lily’s café. Her home was ‘Windy Ridge’ off Anderby Road, towards ‘The Marsh’ area.
The Japanese had begun the invasion of Borneo in mid-December 1941, entering part of the British Crown Colonies. British North Borneo and the Dutch East Indies (later, Indonesia), also part of Borneo, fell to the Japanese in January 1942.
British and Allied forces in Malaya were being driven towards the Causeway which linked it to Singapore.
German forces had been driven back to between 50 and 150 miles of Moscow by early January 1942 and the plan to occupy the city had failed.
Malta, as a strategically important island in the Mediterranean, had been effectively under siege since June 1940 when Italy had declared war on Britain. Following a decrease in attacks during 1941, Germany resumed intensive bombing of the heavily defended island early in 1942.
There was no armistice between Finland and Russia in 1942 in spite of speculation (and not until 1944).
Sampson Kirk, brother of Joe (coastguard), had a small-holding, at ‘Nelson Villa’, accessible from upper Wigg Lane, across fields behind ‘Lenton Lodge’
Herbert Henry Asquith had been the Liberal Prime Minister during the first half of the First World War and had been responsible for positive social changes. However his “Wait and See” approach to political events in Ireland before the war was infamous and his weak leadership in wartime had led to his resignation.
Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?