All posts tagged Eff

Mon Feb 21. 8.30 a.m. [1944]
# MASS BOMBING RAIDS ON GERMANY
# NEWS FROM RON IN ITALY
# GIFTS OF CLOTHING RECEIVED

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.

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Fri. Feb. 11. 8.40. a.m. [1944]
# BITTER WEATHER CONTINUES
# MAIL ORDER STOCKINGS DELIVERED
# FIGHTING AROUND CASSINO CONTINUES
# ETHICS OF BOMBING HISTORIC BUILDINGS

Still very cold yesterday. We had snow and hail showers all day and this morning it looks very squally tho’ not so much wind. Father finishes patrol to-day. The sleet had cut his face yesterday. No more coal as tide is in and he cannot get far on beach, but what he has got is very useful. Have washed all drawers in set I have from Rene’s and scraped paper from inside. Have just the case now to wash, then it will be ready for use. Wish I had room for them downstairs. Did a few inches of cardigan last night. Must get Jean’s blouse made this weekend if possible. Parcel from Ponting’s came yest. Stockings etc. very nice. Rene brought me a bunch of wallflowers, they are very sweet. We cut up oranges for marmalade. Shall soak them until tomorrow I think. Eff brought me 6 eggs on Wed. I had not had any from her since some time before Xmas. Have a very small quantity of potted ones left. Jean went to pictures at C[entral] Hall last night.

We have been fighting round Cassino for 8 days now and no sign of falling yet. Even if we drive them out can’t occupy it unless Gers are driven from the Benedictine mon[astery] which they have turned into a fort, as they can shell from there. So far we have spared it! How many lives are to be lost just because of an Historic building? Nowhere in the Bible do I read that the bricks of any building are counted, but that the very hairs of our head are numbered. How dare they throw away precious lives for the sake of an old monastery. It is time some of those old monasteries had the light let into them. We pander far too much to the R.C. religion and they are getting a firmer hold than ever on Britain. Not that I mean we should shell B.M. because of that, I would say shell St. Paul’s if it were full of Gers menacing us. We would too. I cannot somehow see Gen. Montgomery sparing a building at the expense of his men. And why quibble at one building? We have not spared Cologne cath[edral] or any other in our bombing raids, altho’ not deliberately wrecking them.

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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).

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Tue Jan. 25. 10.o’c. P.M. [1944]
# HOME MADE TOFFEE ENJOYED
# ANOTHER SOFT TOY MADE
# IMPROVEMENTS IN MEN’S CLOTHING

This morning our toffee was nicely set and very good. We have eaten all of it. The wind rose to a gale last night. I was pleased when Father got home just after 12 o’c. I got very little sleep until morning and felt too tired and unwell to get up at 7 o’c. so Jean rose and put the kettle on the stove and lit the fire which refused to burn. She brought me some tea and got her own breakfast. She walked to catch the bus’ as the wind was so strong tho’ gradually lessening. When I rose the fire had gone out again and when I relit it took a long time to get really going. Think it was a bad load of coal or there was too much draught for it as wind was in the door. However it was burning fairly well when Father got up. I felt better for staying in bed, but it made me late with work. Rene stayed at Bev[erley] to wash her own things and as it looked like rain waited to take them in before coming about 3.30. My clothes got half-dry yesterday and as it was bright and sunny and wind not too strong I put them out for an hour or two and they got dry. I folded them after dinner and have left them to be ironed tomorrow. Eff came after dinner. I paid for meal and the lb of marmalade she let me have. She stayed a good while and helped me fold sheets. I have done a bit more to my quilt tonight sewed and stuffed the doll I cut out, body ought to have been bigger, finished thumb on Rene’s glove and started second finger. My little ex[ercise] book won’t contain much history as it is almost full. Jean has bought me a larger one today for 9D, this was 5D I think and we used to get a big one for 1D or 2D. Men are to have all the pockets in their suits again and trouser turn-ups. Utility suits (men’s) are to be 20 cou[pons] instead of 26. Think no one buys them unless obliged and shopkeepers have a lot on their hands.

Meal, here, was probably barley-meal for pigs, or it could have meant ‘fish and chips’ which Eff may have previously collected and brought for the family as she sometimes did (see 5 Sep 1942).

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 AND COAL PRICES INCREASE
# ALLIED ADVANCES IN ITALY
# BNAF SOLDIERS RETURN TO BRITAIN
# NEW BICYCLE FOR RENE

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’?

Wed Jan 19. 10.P.M. [1944]
# JEAN PLAYING HOCKEY
# MAKING SOFT TOYS FOR SALE
# SEWING AND KNITTING TASKS

It seemed a little brighter early to-day so did some washing, however before dinner it turned very damp again, the little wind there was fell and it kept spitting with rain, and about 4 o’c came on to rain in good earnest. Jean had been playing hockey and her stockings and legs were very muddy. A mad idea to play on such wet ground as there is now. It was still pouring with rain at 9 o’c. I can hear the hump, hump of the sea so think tide is in. Father is on watch until 12 o’c. Yesterday I sent Aunt Jet some bits of cloth for her rug. She said she had not enough. Post 9D. I doubt if they were worth it. I also put 2 balls coloured cotton in, left over from slipper making, for her to knit up if she liked, as she says knitting cotton is dear and no one pays her for her dish-cloths. The time hangs heavy on her hands as being almost blind there is little she can do. I told her I wanted it for a tea-cosy as my wool one is worn out.

I have made another soft toy, an elephant this time. Jim Hall says a licence is needed to make toys for sale, and that there is a big purchase tax on them, hence the price. So I shan’t make my fortune toy-making. Still it may come in useful. They make very nice presents at any time, and children are ever with us. I have made Jumbo red eyes, don’t know if that is correct, but I recollect reading of an elephant with “wicked red eyes” and they look very effective against the grey cloth. I must make him a back-cloth and perhaps a head-square out of Emmie’s scraps of red silk. We had a letter written Jan 1st from Ron today and an A.M.L. written on 9th so that is very good indeed. The A.M.L was in answer to my letter of Dec. 23. I think that is about the quickest exchange we have had. He is very well.

I must finish off a few of my sewing jobs soon now as it will soon be time to turn out drawers and cupboards ready for Spring cleaning. I have a blouse of Jean’s to make, it’s cut out and I have just started it. Then I am determined to get my kapok quilt done, I have made a start. I have started to knit new palms and fingers to Rene’s old gloves and my cardigan is only half finished. I have a new pair of sleeves cut out ready to renovate a dress for myself. Last week I made 5 buttonholes of leather and the petals left over from Jean’s cap at Rene’s wedding. 3 for [sister] Em L’s girls, one Rene is having and one Jean took to Doreen [Hodgson]. Rene has brought a knitted tea-cosy to send to Em. It is knitted like a dress with a little doll at top with a bonnet, very pretty. They are belated Xmas presents. Eff came for “Standard” which we had borrowed, as I sent new one to Ron in mistake.

Doreen Hodgson, Jean’s school class-mate and long-term friend, lived in Skegness.

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Wed. Nov. 3/43 10.45. P.M.
# MORNING SHOPPING IN SKEGNESS
# CAR PETROL RUNS OUT
# HOME GUARD ON PATROL
# SOFT TOY MAKING AND KNITTING
# EVENING AIRCRAFT ACTIVITY
# WAR NEWS GOOD FROM ITALY

Have just come to bed. Jean has been in some time but I stopped to write an airgraph to Ron. However I have not finished it as I could not remember what I wanted to put in. I am tired after going to Sk[egness] this morning. Went on 10.30 bus’ and came back with Father. He took Mrs. Atk.son to catch 12.20 train. He had his hair-cut 10D and we went to try to get fish to take home for dinner. Did not fancy gournets with skin on and Halibut was 2/9 lb. so did not get any. Got sausage rolls (very good) and cheesecakes and with a bit of cold ham for Father made do for dinner. Rene came just after we arrived home between 1 and 2 o’c, she had done a big wash. Hope it dried. It was first fine day this week. It was so warm that we sat on seat near back door after dinner. We should have been home earlier but just got to corner of Lan[caster] Av. [Skegness] where Dr Menz[ies’] house is and pet[rol] gave out. It was a long way to walk to Pet. St[ation] on Burgh Rd. but Father found a good Samaritan who let him have a quart, very illegal, but helpful, as the garage man might have refused to put him some in a tin. He did do tho’ when we finally arrived there to fill up so Father left it at Hallgarth’s on way home. Mr. Bell had borrowed it for Father when he fetched Mrs Seal and baby home from Huttoft. What shifts we are reduced to. Shall we ever become honest again. Heard chatter and clatter of feet go by just now. Wonder if it’s H.G. They are supposed to be out tonight. Wonder how Pete Taylor is feeling to-night. I bet he wishes he were out with them.

I had been showing Eff my toy horse this aft and it was on table when H Blanchard came. He promptly asked how much it was and gave me 5/0 straight away for it. It’s worth it too according to the toys I saw to-day in shops at Sk. Mean looking, terribly badly dressed dolls 22/6 and much worse animals than my home-made one from 4/6 to 14/6. Have cut a doll out tonight. Must make it and let Jean take it to Gerry Balding. The patterns are very good and this one encloses pattern for dress and knickers, that will take off. Have started back of Jean’s cardigan too and finished Tam o’ Shanter hat except for lining so it will be ready for Sunday, saw one in Sk. like it on someone and they looked very nice in it. I think I am going to like mine, and it will cost nothing, it being made out of materials I had. I have an old round silver brooch which I think I shall wear on side of it.

A great lot of planes went out tonight round about 6 p.m. and there was a big explosion which shook the house and rattled doors and windows just before Father went on watch. Heard planes return between 9 and ten. Wonder where they had been and if many were lost. War news keeps very good. Armies in Italy advancing all the time, if slowly. They have taken villages and places commanding plains where Gers are withdrawing, and Russians are advancing by leaps and bounds. It will be a good thing when the bloodshed is over, altho’ it won’t be all plain sailing then.

Mrs Atkinson (see 5 Sep 1943) was probably meant here.

‘Gournet’– a fish alternatively known as gurnet, gurnard, grondin, griofle.

Mrs Seal was the married name of Edith, the daughter of Reverend Bell (see 19 Dec 1942). She lived in Sunningdale Drive.

Harold Blanchard, one of the two brothers from Hogsthorpe, was almost certainly meant here (see 5 Nov 1941).

Gerald Balding, whose elder brothers were George and John, was the child of Billy (see 15 Oct 1942).

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Sat Sep. 4/43 9.o’c
# WILL DUE FOR WEEK’S COASTGUARD LEAVE
# GRANDMA INVITED TO STAY
# PHOTOS REPRINTED FOR RON AND EMMIE

No fresh news from Italy. Jean has just been to Gma’s to take brambles Rene brought for Eff. and to tell G.ma Father is starting 6 days holiday? to-day and to ask her if she would like to come. She doesn’t say yet. Father is on watch but is being released at 10 by Mr Parish as he has to go to the station. The rush of station work will soon be over I expect.

Eff sent me eggs to-day. I did not expect them as Den[nis] is at home. I sent Ron an A.M.L [air mail letter] yesterday. Also sent snaps to be reprinted and sent Emmie the first of hers, wonder if she will like it. I don’t think we take enough time posing before the actual “smile please” or we forget to take the whole picture, as distinct from the figure, into our eye. I was too near the camera, it showed up all my wrinkles. Rene says she’ll take another, one day. Must send Ron one with Jean, Rene and I on. It is pretty good.

May, Emmie and Jean (front) - August 1943

May, Emmie and Jean (front) – August 1943

 The photograph was one of several taken in August 1943 (see also 24 Aug. 1943).

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