All posts tagged Anzio

Tue Mar 7. 8.15. a.m. [1944]

A white rime frost makes everywhere look like a Christmas picture but it is very dull, the sun not showing at all. Birds are singing. Hope day will get up as I want to do some washing tho’ it is not my “big wash” week.

Terrible raids and fighting over Ger. yesterday, 58 bombers and 11 fighters missing, but enemy losses number 120 to date and probably many more. Army on Anzio beach will probably take offensive shortly. Finns not very agreeable to Russian terms yet. Sometimes I wonder if the war will come to a sudden end and often I wonder if even this year will see the end of Gers. let alone Japs. Mary Parish not away Father says and her husband is on leave. Percy brought 1 bag coke 3/6. It is dear but ekes out the coal and wood. Yesterday was so sunny that we did not have much fire until evening. Day is still trying to get up. Don’t know yet whether sun or cloud will win. Sun just peeped out once then went back for another snooze. I have boiled one bucket of clothes and was going to posh and rinse them, but have had to sit down. This asthma has got me weak again. The thought of spring-cleaning is a night-mare. I used to do it when asthma was worse but have lost my strength now. Yester-day I weeded a bit of front garden. The wiry sand grass (sown to bind sand-hills) encroaches so quickly. It was all amongst my violets. I got some out but the fibrous roots are so entwined with violet runners that I pulled several up. Hope it doesn’t spoil them for flowering. I threw a shovel-ful of soil and manure over them afterwards and hope for the best. Wonder when I get any more done.

Mary, née Parish was a daughter of Albert Parish (see 2 Jan 1941) and sister of Esther and Charlie. Her husband, had been based at ‘HMS Royal Arthur’ where she was a ‘Wren’.

‘Poshing’ involved using a ‘posher’, which looked like an inverted basin, with holes in, on the end of a pole-handle, to apply pressure on clothes in a wash-tub.

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

Thur. Mar.2. 44. 8.15. a.m.

Sharp and cold this morning but we have no more snow. Most of it seems to have gone from wolds tho’ no doubt there is some left in shady hollows in the vales. There was either rain or sleet when we went to bed last night. Think “the Sprogg” must have been fighting as Jean says “he won’t speak” and he sits glumly by the fire. Think he is moulting too and his long hair is a nuisance. I have given him a Tibs. Percy did not come with coal yesterday, if he does not come to-day we shall be quite out. Rene brought me a basket-full or we should have run out yesterday and wood and coke aren’t much good without a little coal at the bottom.

Finns are trying to come to Peace terms with Russia. Russ is in the position to dictate them and I do not think she will err on the side of leniency. It is hard to have to accept terms from a superior power in order to save one’s country from destruction. We ourselves may yet have to accept terms for our neighbours, and be fortunate if we don’t have to give concession to Russia ourselves, that we do not like. But better that humiliation than that either the Gers. or Russ. should conquer England. Our planes were out again last night and Gers over S.E. and London again. Damage and casualties radio says and enemy planes down. There is still a tough struggle going on at Anzio beachhead but Gers. have slackened again and we have more reinforcements. American war against Japs going so well that it has even been prophesied that Tokyo will fall before Berlin but that is not a general belief. We have started third month of this year and do not really seem to have advanced much, but suppose we must have done.

Father will be home soon to take Mrs B with baby to Dr M[enzies], Skeg[ness]. Joe K[irk] is doing an hour or two [Watch-box duty] for him. If I can only overset this bout of asthma I shall start S[pring] Cleaning next week. We don’t look like getting another house at present. The strong spring sunshine begins to make things look dusty now and the house is so dry we can start anytime. Lately the cleaning has seemed to drag on so long with me having asthma. I used to be able to work in spite of it or between bouts but it seems to take my strength now for so long. Rene’s rheum. troubling her, this stormy weather.

Mrs B, here, is probably Mrs Vera Balding, wife of Billy (see 15 Oct 1942).

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

Mon Feb 21. 8.30 a.m. [1944]

It has continued bitterly cold, too cold to snow some people say. It usually turns a little milder before snow. So far all we have is icy cold sleet showers.

Largest weight of bombs 2,300 tons dropped in Ger. early Sun morning, 79 of our planes were missing. No, the enemy is not conquered yet. 2000 U.S.A. bombers went out in daylight yesterday. Russians have cleared up pocket of trapped Gers, a terrible waste of life there. We are having a stiff fight in Italy, if we can push in where we have made bridge-head at Anzio beach it will have a great effect on German morale, proving their West defences may not be impregnable. Our Gen[eral]s are determined to do it.

Had 2 letters from Ron Thur or Fri. Rene 2 and Jean 2. 6. Mine were the most recent Jan 19 being newest. We think he has moved on as he says he missed writing one week. He is very pleased with African Star and Clasp. Said they had a great sewing-time when they received ribbons. The actual star they will get after the war. He says they have had big frosts but it gets quite hot in the day-time. He had been washing his hair and says it is a treat not to have it full of dust and sand as in summer. Says Italian women aren’t very good laundry women.

Emmie sent Jean’s grey wool all ready knitted into a very nice jumper. She had intended kn[itting] it herself but owing to other work she could not knit at mill so got a woman to do it. Jean was very pleased as it came just right for the B.B. [Boys’ Brigade] social. I am pleased too as I have plenty of work without it. Made a little dog last week from pieces Jean’s blouse. Will do for a pram toy for a baby as it is cream colour. Blouse fits well. Mrs Wilson sent Father 5/0 and a pair of very nice slippers for me. Felt soles and inner soles and very finely knitted uppers in wools of all colours. I took blk-out down before Jean went to school to-day. Eff ‘s hens are laying again, have had 1 doz eggs and can have ½ doz again to-day. Amy coming tomorrow and Ken if all well. We have killed large rabbit (Lady) as they like rabbit and the Sunday joint looks very sick by Tues.

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

Thur. Feb.17. 8.10 am [1944]

Don’t seem to have as much time for diary, now the lighter mornings have come. I have already taken “black outs” down in kitchen, tho’ it is very dull this morning, also rough and cold. Yesterday it rained practically all day. Washed on Tue. and got all dry. Ironed yesterday and did not do much else. Kit[chen] was clean after wash day and we don’t mess the room up much except for sewing bits and as I did not sew, Tue. night there were none of those. I was tired and just knitted and read. Last night I finished Jean’s blouse except for 4 buttonholes. It is very nice material, hope it washes well. It is only costing 4/3 with buttons. Buttons are not peach but look like pot[ato]! Jean’s psoriasis much better, she is looking forward to this summer and wearing sleeveless dresses again. Scars on arm gradually fading but show when she sits by the fire.

Allies have bombed and shelled Ben[edictine] Monastery almost to the ground and are still shelling to remove all cover for Gers. The Anzio beachhead repelled new attack from Gers. yesterday either driving them off or wiping them out. It is a stiff fight there, but leaders say they have no doubts but that we shall conquer, altho’ we have not got on as quickly as we hope. Thousands of oranges are bad owing to delay in distrib[ution] thro’ the finding of bombs. Still the loss of oranges is better than lives. They put them amongst onions later, and the cartoon in paper shows one man saying to another, “but we did not promise not to put them amongst onions”. Those are spiteful tricks as they do nothing towards winning the war and stir up ill feeling between other nations.

I think it is fair weather, but we must not complain about the rain, it has been a comparatively mild, dry winter and rain is needed for “the land”. Letter from [sister] Em. L yesterday and little booklet by Pat[ience] Strong. They are “flitting” on Feb. 28th. They “flit” most years so are used to it. I dread the thought of it. However we haven’t found a suitable house yet so why worry? Rene came in pouring rain yesterday. She said Bill just raised his head to look at the weather, then looked at her as much as to say “Well, if you’re silly enough to go I’m not.” and curled up a bit tighter and went off to sleep. He hates rain. It is coming another shower now. Percy brought my 3 bags coal yesterday to last until 1st Mar. also bag of coke. (12/10½ inc. bag coke 3/6) Must be careful now as we have no reserve and as Father is not on patrol we shan’t get any off the beach I don’t suppose. Stow’s still have no Typhoo Tea and this is nearly the end of sec. period. I don’t find any other go so far. Miners have been told it is impossible to put price of coal up any more so they will have to adjust their earnings otherwise or put up with what they’ve got. I think they are going plenty far enough. Just because they are indispensable miners and farmers seem to think they can have all they want. Perhaps if farmers had to make do with ¼ lb bacon and 1/2 worth of meat a week (no chickens or ducks or “drowned sheep”) and miners had to pay 3/1½ a cwt for coal they might understand better what it cost poor people to live.

Patience Strong was the pen name of Winifred E May (1907 – 1990) who was a British poet, lyricist and author of books on psychology and Christianity. During World War II the Daily Mirror published her poetry each day in a feature ‘The Quiet Corner’.

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

Sun Jan. 23 7.45 PM [1944]

Miners’ wages, including those of “Bevin’s boys” are raised. Coal and coke is up 3/0 from 1 Feb. In Italy part of 5th Army has landed between German divisions and Rome, West coast Italy. It was a successful operation and we have advanced several miles inland. Russians doing so well in North that Finns are wondering whether Gers are going to be able to hold them. More and more Forces reported all over as returned from B.N.A.F. Alex, May L’s husband came to Newark on leave last week. He went out round about time Ron did. Wonder if Frank Adams will come too. He was in Sicily, but has been in B.N.A.F. some time now.

Rene has her new bicycle a Rudge. Very pleased with it. I tried it on lawn and as it is a modern type with little room between seat and handles I got my foot fast and sat down flat on lawn to the no small amusement of Rene and Jean and Elsie G[rantham]. Neither cycle or I was hurt except a wee bit of skin of my thumb knuckle which was bruised too (I bathed it in boracic). I am very stiff to-day tho’ about neck and shoulders so expect I wrenched them a bit.

Jean went to C[entral] Hall Fri. night to see a film Rev. Hodgson had brought. It was “Mr Deed goes to town” and very good. Ron saw it in London when he went with B.B. [Boys’ Brigade] and I believe he saw it some years later in Sk[egness]. The “Panto” Aladdin is at Sk. Only one matinee (on Sat) which was booked weeks before so had no chance to see it as last bus is at 7.15. Mrs Hall and [Mrs] Cooper went and Father fetched them back at 5 from mat[inee] as they knew bus’ would be packed. Rene came before tea, had a cup and piece of cake but not a full tea. Tom had gone on patrol. The flower I made for her coat looks very nice.

I have started to read Don Quixote, have read extracts before of course, but have never read all of it. It belongs to Mavis. I am expecting to enjoy it. Jean is enchanted with it. Have written to Ron and Mrs Fletcher and Bessie Brown. It is nice to get letters thro’ to Ron so quickly. Had a letter from Mrs Russell Fri. She says Emmie had just had 10 letters from him, very cheerful ones. She says they hope to come in June. Was not at work yet but hoping to start in a day or two.

Bread is very dry and chaffy but we must not complain as we have bacon and dripping in addition to butter and marg. ration. It was a very wet night but turned fair about 10 o’c. A.M. and was a bright sunny day tho’ windy, a west wind which went after a sudden squall about 5.45. Have turned out all my cut flowers and still snowdrops will not be out yet and my one anemone bud grows so slowly. I have a wee chrysanthemum plant in a can which is just coming into flower only one bloom tho’. I think it will be white tho’ at first I thought it was yellow. Eff came Sat afternoon, brought me some fat bacon, 1/0 lb which will be useful.

Bevin’s Boys’ were industrial/ mine-work conscripts. Although some were conscientious objectors many had elected to join the forces but were not given the choice, as May noted. (This policy also caused problems after the war, when ex-servicemen received more favourable support.) Ernest Bevin (Labour Party) was Minister of Labour and National Service in the coalition government.

Operation Shingle’ began with the Anzio landings on the west coast of Italy on 22 January 1944.

Alec Hunter (written as Alex) was the husband of sister Emily’s daughter May, née Lewis (see 18 May 1941).

Mrs Cooper, wife of Walter Cooper, cobbler, whose home and shoe-shop was near Belton’s garage at that time, is probably meant here. Walter was in the local group of the Royal Observer Corps and their son, Eric, in the Boys’ Brigade.

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