All posts tagged black-out

Thur. Feb.17. 8.10 am [1944]
# WASHING AND SEWING
# CASSINO MONASTERY SHELLED
# FIGHTING AROUND ANZIO
# COAL SUPPLIES RESTRICTED

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’?

Mon. Jan.31. 8.25 am. [1944]
# RENE COLLECTING FOR RED CROSS
# EMBARGO ON OIL FOR SPAIN
# SYMPATHY FOR GERMAN VICTIMS OF MASS BOMBING

It is much lighter this morning. Jean will soon be able to go without lights now. She and Father have gone and I have cleared breakfast away and put on soft water for washing up. We are not washing to-day as Rene wants to collect Red + [Red Cross] pennies if fine. She was very pleased with slippers and took them home with her, Sunday or no. I hope they wear long enough to pay for the trouble. Father’s are too small since they were resoled. They were good ones and worth it but the cobbler has sprigged them round instead of stitching or sprigging soles and it has taken the tops in. If I can get a pair of soles I will make him some as he can’t spare coupons to buy any. He would not like the soft soles I think. The parades went off successfully, it was a perfect day for the occasion, not enough wind to keep flags from drooping. Jean was very tired last night but did her home-work.

I have just taken down the “black-outs”. It is grey and misty, not at all like yesterday. We cannot expect every day to be like that tho’ in mid-winter. This is the last of Jan and whatever weather we may have now can’t last so long. Now that the short dark days are past, things dry up much more quickly and there is always the feel of spring in the air. This year too in spite of everything, there seems more hope and looking forward we hope it may not prove a “false dawn”.

Last week we stopped (that is America with our full approval) sending oil to Spain. None is to be sent until after Feb. and I suppose by then Spain will have mended her ways or it will not be resumed. Spain, calling herself neutral, is far too friendly with our enemies. In spite of denials that Spanish soldiers were fighting in Russ. they have lately captured some. She has apologised profusely for “orange bombs” and promised to keep a rigorous watch over her exports to England. I hope no more countries will be dragged in and so prolong the war. The Argentine has thrown in her lot with us i.e. the Allies.

The day and night bombing of Germany is terrible, we must be crippling all their factories. I feel somehow that we shall not escape punishment for all this wholesale murder. All is certainly not “fair in war”. Then how can we expect a complete victory over our enemies, we do not seem to try to conquer the “enemy within our gates”, indeed drinking and immorality seem to be encouraged by those who should set a better example. I think, until England repents and mourns for her sins as well as sons, that it is an affront to God to have days of prayer. Perhaps this is treason, but I think if the King was a stronger character and used his power for good, he could do a lot by leading the way. It is of no use in these days to simply be good, it is necessary to do good too. Christ when on earth “went about doing good”, he was not content to set a copy, he lived and taught it. Now I must start to work. It “blows like rain”.

Under General Franco, Spain during World War II was ‘non-belligerent’ but had divided loyalties between the Axis and Allied sides and there were volunteers serving on each side.

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

Sat Jan 29. 44 8.15 a.m
# ANOTHER DIARY COMMENCED
# BLACKOUT CARELESSNESS NOTICED
# REPORTS OF ENEMY RAIDERS SHOT DOWN
# MILD WEATHER PROMPTS GARDENING

One month of this New Year has almost gone
We look for peace before the year is done
The talked of second front, will it begin?
And take a vicious toll of lives before we win?

Father has just started off to patrol the beach. He should really start about ¼ to 8 but even at 8.15 it is far from daylight. At 8.10 Mrs Lucas had taken her black-out down. (She is usually last to put it up and first to take it down.) It showed a bright square of light in what was still only twilight and our planes are pouring in, evidently from a raid. However at 8.15 when Father started, the light had gone or black-out had been put up again. Perhaps someone had complained. A few enemy planes were over last night. We heard, or rather felt one heavy explosion. Radio reports some casualties but don’t know where. When the 90 Gers came last week (21st) 16 planes were brought down. We do not know what casualties there were but I am afraid several as it has not been published.

Jean went to G.L.B [Girls’ Life Brigade] last night. It is their party to-night. I forgot, yesterday when baking, to make cake or pastry for it so shall have to do something to-day. It has been such a warm wind the last two days that I have done a little (very little) in the garden. Just trimmed one edge of little bed in front of kit. window and pulled a few weeds out of front border cut old chrys. stems down and pulled off dry leaves of montbretia, underneath the white points of snowdrops are bravely showing and one in the open is almost in bloom. There are not so many as when we came, flowers seem to get lost in this sandy soil especially bulbs. Anemones tho’ flourish as I do not disturb them except to weed on the surface. The three grown from seed are showing nice big leaves. I wish they would flower this year. I have a little row of new seedlings too now, their frilly leaves just to be discerned amongst the first plain leaves. If we have to move they will do to take with us. I dread the thought of “flitting”.

Eff came yesterday. She told us Norman’s wife has a daughter. So Daisy is a grandma! I expect she will be very proud of it too. It seems Freda is Gladys’s husband’s sister, we did not know until lately.

Mrs Hedley Lucas lived at ‘Delamere’ on St Leonards Drive, almost opposite the Parishes’ ‘Rose Cottage’, north of ‘the basin’ (see Village Map). Her light would have been just visible from ‘Lenton Lodge’.
Mrs Steve Lucas, her sister-in law, lived at ‘The Dell’, close to the shore, off Sea Bank Road, not very far from ‘The Point’ but her light is unlikely to have been visible. The Lucas brothers were Home Guard members.

Freda Lammiman, wife of nephew Norman, was the sister of Walter, husband of niece Gladys née Lewis (see 1 Jan 1944).

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

Sun Jan. 16 8.35. a.m. [1944]
# BLACKOUT DIFFICULTIES
# CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF ‘MAGIC GARDEN’
# RON CONFIDENT IN ALLIED VICTORY

It is a rime frost this morning, everything white and icy. I thought it was as, tho’ not cold in bed, every time I moved I seemed to feel an icy breath. I discovered too after getting up that I had left the window open, which is not always possible now we have to “black-out”. It is difficult with casements to get a light-proof curtain if there is the least bit of wind. We leave door open to landing when we shut the window. Both were open last night so perhaps that is why I slept so well. We were never used to sleeping with closed windows. Father went on watch at 6. a.m. so, tempted by the fire, I rose at 7.30 and have had my breakfast of tea and toast by it after taking Jean cup of tea and bread and butter. The cat, Snip, sat at my feet looking for a piece of crust now and then. She loves toast and Sprogg is learning to like it too, but his cough still persists and he had to go out again after his milk.

I have been reading a rather sentimental chapter on rooks, in Bac[helor] in Arcady (it is a totally different book to any other I have read by Halliwell Sutcliffe, tho’ his style of writing comes out here and there the same as in his books of feud and clannish war on the dark moors). The rook chapter brought back very vividly to me autumn days at “Woodvilla”. The misty autumn mornings melting into the brief golden hours of late Sept or October, with the sound of the rooks, caw, caw, caw, from the elms and oaks at the old Trusthorpe Hall. A few late plums still on the boughs, juicy apples, and sweet little pears on the high pear tree, mostly at the top, from which we brought them down with wildly aimed sticks, and ate them sitting on the chain [chair?] swing which was made with a pole from forks in lower branches of the two main trunks that sprang from the roots. There was a sparsely planted hedge or thicket about 3 yds deep planted at the far end of the orchard and I remember the first time I ventured (the small bushes then well above my small height) thro’ the little opening in it where Grandmother used to go to wave a duster when it was time for Grandfather to come to dinner, if he were working at the next yard. It was a great adventure, I fearfully parted the branches and won thro’ to the ploughed field beyond and viewed my familiar world from an unfamiliar angle. I could see the backs of the houses I only knew from the front, and all the way to the sea, at least a mile away but quite hidden from view, when in the orchard. The railway too running between us and the sea and beyond it I knew between rail and sea was my own home. I saw the little house only on Thursday very little changed, except a glass room built over door and pump to the little gate.

May’s grandparents outside Wood Villa, their home near Trusthorpe Hall, around 1895

May’s grandparents outside Wood Villa, their home near Trusthorpe Hall, around 1895

On Thursday we had two letters from Ron and 6 on Friday and Rene had one too. So quite up to date again. He is well and sounds in capital spirits and very confident of victory. He had received denture washer and was very pleased as his was completely worn out.

Halliwell Sutcliffe, author, was mentioned in the notes added to the previous Diary entry (see 14 Jan 1944).

May’s grandmother, her father’s mother, was Charlotte, née Selby, Simpson.

May’s grandfather, her father’s father, was John Simpson.

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