All posts tagged Elsie Grantham

Sun. Nov 5 6.20 P.M. [1944]

Jean did not parade to Hogsthorpe Church for Remembrance Service this afternoon as it came a squall of wind and rain and sleet between 12 o’c and 1 and still rained at ¼ to 2 o’c. She has gone to Chapel tonight, expect she is on Parade. Rene came while we were having tea about 5, rather late for Sun. but Jean put the water in the pot without any tea, and it seemed to take so long to boil up again. Rene looks pale and seedy yet but decidedly better than Thursday. Says she still feels wobbly inside. I thought it rather risky coming on her cycle so far, as it was still rather windy. Says she is coming tomorrow but rather not wash! It should be our big wash week. I must try to do some of them on the QT before she gets here. I have just written a Xmas AirGraph to Jock Brown. Have not written to him since the Spring. Ciss went to Church Parade with Red + this morning. Con came home with her for dinner. I would have liked to go to Chapel tonight but there is still a good bit of wind, tho’ it is not so cold. Have a touch of asthma too, tho’ not bad. If Father had been here we would have gone perhaps. I am afraid my chrysanths will have suffered in the wind and rain. It seems to blow all round these houses. Think Ciss’s must be preparing to go out, there seems a lot of tramping to and fro and switching scullery light on and off. I wouldn’t mind a visitor myself tonight.

Later. Listened to the spelling bee and beat them. Spelled most words correctly. Rene brought me 10/0 for Golly from Mrs Hutton. So with Elsie’s 11/0 for rabbits and 10/6 for dog my Dr bill of £1.15.6. is nearly paid. If I can only get more toys made I could put a little more away for a rainy day. Jean took flowers to churchyard today, chrysanths and the last gladiola unless the coloured ones come out, I have two in water in the house. My snap-dragons and marigolds are still blooming but wind and frost have nearly spoiled the asters. My anemones are coming up well, I am so pleased.

The golly for Mrs Hutton, in the village, and dog for a friend of Ron’s Emmie, were soft toys which May had made. Elsie Grantham, daughter of the Anderby Road farmer, had bought live rabbits from May.

May died on November 18th 1944, about two weeks after this, her final Diary entry. It was fitting that she concluded it with a mention of her beloved garden flowers.

This Blog will contain two further items within the next two weeks – one more of May’s poems (which was probably the last one she wrote) and a short Postscript relating to Ron and the rest of May’s family.

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

Sat 8.50 pm Nov. 4. [1944]

Guy Fawkes Day tomorrow (Sun). It has been very cold to-day but wind not my side of house so could get in and out alright. I am tired again to-night as I have had a busy day. Gwen took Rene an apple-pie for dinner. Jean took cakes and tarts for tea. I was going to give Gw. 3D but Cis said it was her good deed for the day, she was enrolled as a Girl Guide last night and must do at least one good deed a day. So I said “Very well Gwen that’s your good deed done”, but Gw. said rather dubiously Well Rene gave me 6D!

Jean is very tired tonight and has not gone to Toc. H. Her photos have come, they are very good indeed. She has made some toffee, her personal points are all spent with still a week of this period to run. She spent the last of mine to-day for 2oz sweets. Have written to Emmie and sent her one of Jean’s photo’s. News on, Switz. asked to renew relations with Russ. Russ. refuses. What’s on now?

Jean, October 1944 © AE Wrate, Skegness

Jean, October 1944
© AE Wrate, Skegness

Jean says Rene much better and wanted to come home but Tom said not. I had sent word too that she was not to come. The weather wasn’t fit, after being in a few days tho’ not in bed. I must go tomorrow if possible. Elsie fetched the 4 rabbits on Wed. To-day she came and paid for them 2/9 each. That is 10/6 from Emmie for green dog and 11/0 from Elsie, a nice little addition to our small income. Jean’s hand still has a bump but not so painful. She has not complained of gnat bites.

Greece cleared of enemy. I keep losing what I want to write, and have kept feeling slightly dizzy all day. I often seem to get this dizzy feeling. Think perhaps I have done a bit too much this week after being so poorly up to Wed. Have not heard from Sybil yet. I think it must be a month since I wrote to her, I hardly like to write again at least yet. Anything may have happened in these sad days.

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

Nov. 3 Fri 9.20 p.m. [1944]

The whole of Belgium is liberated. These poor occupied countries seem to think their troubles are all over when “liberated”, but I am afraid quickly find they are still a long way from real peace and prosperity. The first snow has fallen on the Western Front and there has been a fore-cast by meteorolog. experts of a hard winter. I wonder if they and the “cat haws” are right or if old Traves idea of a mild winter if thunder occurred after the equinox is right. “Time will prove” I suppose. The war seems to be going satisfactorily but hopes of a finish in Europe this year do not seem quite so rosy. Indeed W.C. [Winston Churchill] thinks it possible it may not finish until spring or early summer 1945.

Keith and Marion came last Thurs. ev. I had finished dog and they admired it very much. Rene took it to post Friday. At tea-time Emmie dropped on us (Friday) off 4.15 bus’. Was delighted to take us by surprise. I was pleased I had a hot beef pie waiting for Jean’s tea and I quickly put pot. and veg. in oven to warm (It was hot after baking.) and got her a meal very quickly. Then she went down to see Rene on “Sara”, and back before Jean was home. She stayed until Mon. and Rene went with her to Sk[egness]. Elsie came Sun ev. She bought my four young rabbits, Eff is having the other Mon. Emmie and Jean went to Chapel Sun. morn. It rained when they left. Rene went too and got very wet and took a chill. She had not been too well for some days. She has not been since Tue. I went on Thurs. 10.20 bus’ and came back at 5 o’c. She was feeling better and more like food.

Emmie on Rene’s bicycle ‘Sara’ at ‘Lenton Lodge’

I have had a busy day at home to-day and when Jean had gone to G.L.B. [Girls’ Life Brigade] fell fast asleep in my chair. I don’t know when I have felt as tired. Had a letter from Emmie and 10/6 for Dog to-day, I also sent her a Teddy and rabbit. She did not return Father’s bag, I do hope she doesn’t lose it. Expect she will return it with Jean’s wool. Jean banged her hand at the office, it is swollen and painful tonight. She has had her legs bitten by gnats and they irritate too. One or two explosions have just rattled doors slightly. I am rather nervous in case Hitler sends any of the V2 rocket bombs. Because we have destroyed one nest doesn’t say he has no more. May we be spared from the next war. Sent Ron’s parcel to-day. Wonder how Rene is, must find out tomorrow. Wish I was able to get about better. Eva came when I was out yesterday, stayed at Ciss’s a while then walked home. I was sorry to be out when she came. It has been very wet again to-day tho’ it cleared this afternoon.

‘Cat haws’ are the fruit of the hawthorn. (See ‘A Glossary or Collection of Words, Phrases, Place Names, Superstitions Current in East Lincolnshire’, Jabez Good, Long Sutton, c1900.)

William Robert Traves, who had died in 1938, was probably the ‘Old Traves’ referred to. He was the father of John Hadwick Traves who owned Croft Farm on Bradshaws Lane in Hogsthorpe, not far from Milsons’ farm (see Village Map).

‘Sara’ was the name given to Rene’s bicycle. This was also the name of a rabbit that had been kept at ‘Lenton Lodge’.

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

Tue 6.a.m. Aug 8. 44.

Bank Holiday fine, not too hot, but breeze not so cold as it has been lately, also the sun shone most of the day. About 5.20 pm the mist or aar which had hung over the sea all day rolled in and made it damp and chilly. It spoiled the evening but when we went to bed at 10 o’c it had rolled inland and left us clear. It had blotted out the wolds. We could see a big bank of it inland. Some of it, nearer was only a few feet high with tops of trees showing above. It has come back now and is a white fog, can only see just over the road. I think it will only be on the coast. It will be terrible if it is in the fly-bomb area. We cannot seem to stop them, whatever they may say about the numbers shot down and the “lairs” they bomb daily and I fear there are not nearly enough deep shelters in London. Thousands, nay, hundreds of thousands have left, and the summer visitors say it is terrible, the uncanny pilotless planes coming so swiftly and bursting all over the place. Ciss’s visitors have just lost an only son in Normandy and a relative from London came Sun. She brought news that during the week they have been here, their house had all the windows blown out and a newly covered suite cut to ribbons and one wall curved like a bay window. Some of them say that scores of houses that are not actually hit are made unstable on their foundations and are not safe. They are remarkably plucky. One woman staying in vill[age] when told all her windows were blown out amused us by saying, “If I’d have known I would not have cleaned all those windows before I came.”

I think the M.Ps [Members of Parliament] have made a mistake adjourning for 7 weeks. People are sure to think they are scared and have run away from their duty. Roly Grantham says they, F.Bs, not only come straight but turn in their tracks so that you cannot judge where they will end. Whether the one he saw was an isolated case and a freak I don’t know but he is reliable and witnessed a case of one coming over and turning and bursting 2 miles from him. Elsie spent yesterday afternoon with Rene and Tom, they went over to Cumberworth but did not stay to stuffed-chine tea as there was such a crowd. Joyce [Coulston] and Harry Suter came after dinner and Jean and they went to sea for afternoon. They went home about 8 o’c. Jean and I washed a few things in morning most of which got dry tho’ it dried slowly. I took flowers to grave after dinner as Eva came Sun. aft. with Eileen [Faulkner] and Jean and I went to Chapel in eve. and I was too tired after to go. The piece of veronica I planted at the foot is growing. I wonder if Len [Short] will notice when he banks up the grave. My roses are growing, one may even flower and best of all Father’s favourite “Mrs Sara Macready” is showing a definite shoot well up on a twig so it is not a briar. The one that looked quite dead is the one that may flower. The one I am training to a standard is the latest. The ground is covered with apples under the trees but there is a good crop still, but I saw on a branch or two of bramleys the cotton wool of American blight. I painted all I could see with paraffin. The other tree appears to have a blight and has a great quantity of “crumpets”. Most of the other apples on this tree are specked on skin and even the pear-main apples have specks on them and several lots of “crumpets”. These, the crumps, ripen early and Harry, who is tall, reached up for two nice red ones and alas! the wasps had been first or else the blackbirds, there is one who seems to call “fruit fruit” very often.

Jean’s lettuces which she planted out are fine. She has another holiday this afternoon. Gwen went, or rather Per[cy] took her to or near Spilsby Sun for her holiday. We miss her tho’ she is so quiet. Ciss washed and ironed as her vis[itors] went to Sk[egness]. Grace is getting better fast. H[arriet] going to see her today. Rene said she would be here sometime to-day, but I must get on and sew as she won’t be here much this week with Tom on holiday. I cut out a pair of slippers last night, hope to get them done for Mrs Russell. Ration Cards back yest., they have sent emergency cards for two weeks instead of one. Nearly 7 o’c so shall have to soon get up and get Jean off. My gladiolas all growing but only one dahlia. It is nearly in bloom. Turkey has leisurely got down off the fence on our side at last as she sees we are winning. Not at war so far and Bulg[aria] has told Ger they won’t all[ow] them (the Gers) thro’ their territ[ory] if she does declare war. Very brave all at once now Ger is getting whacked.

10.15 pm Same day.
Warmer than yesterday after mist disappeared, thunder and a good shower in evening after which Frank came and cleaned out down spout on house which was blocked with dirt and leaves etc. Philip Ranson has been killed in Italy. Percy very upset I think, he looks so old and ill tonight. Ralph F[aulkner] is home from Normandy wounded in knee. Mav[is] came this afternoon, still looks seedy. Paper today says Scot[land] and N.Eng[land] may be able to dispense with blk.out in about 1 month from now and to have a modified type of street lighting. There are a lot of planes about with that looming drone I hate to hear. Expect it is really the heavy clouds about, but they sound so like evil business threatening us or our enemies, most likely enemies. I think the worst menace for us is over unless he gets those other long-range pilotless planes going.

Roland Grantham was one of Elsie’s brothers.

Harry Suter was the boyfriend (who became the husband) of Jean’s schoolfriend Joyce Coulston.

‘Too tired to go’ (after Chapel) refers to an intended visit to Will’s grave on the Sunday.

Len Short, elder brother of John, was a gardener and the church-yard verger. Len was a Home Guard member(see photo – Diary: 6 June 1944) and an assistant in the Boys’ Brigade. Their sister Freda was a Girl’s’ Life Brigade member (see photo – Diary: 19 June 1944).

Bramley cooking apples and Worcester Pearmain dessert apples were the varieties on the garden trees.

Philip Ranson was the brother of Ciss’s husband Percy.

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

Wed July 26 6.10. a.m. [1944]

Very dull, I can scarcely see to write yet. Needless to say the old enemy is upon me or I should not want to at so early an hour. I intended going to Rene’s to dinner last Tues. on bus’ as cycle was laid up but bus’ was full (12.30) so I walked. I wanted to draw some pension so hurried rather as they close at 1 o’ c Tue. It was warm walking and indoors tho’ there was a cool breeze in the open. After dinner we went to Red + Sale for “Salute the Soldier”. It was very hot in Lily’s top room so I did not stay long. Invested £1.10. (the money from Father’s Certificates) on Elsie’s stall and received a case of fruit spoons. Also two 5/0 stamps and two organdie blouses for Jean off Rene’s stall. Re got me a bundle of velvets for my toys by buying a 6D stamp. I did not stay long as the tiny room was packed. Went to Miss Canning’s for paper and had a cup of tea with Pattie Coote and Paddy, then walked home. Think I got a chill talking to Mrs Willerton on way home and asthma got worse. Dr M[enzies] came and said stay in bed until Mon but I got up after tea Sun as it was so hot.

The ‘top room’ was above Lily Monk’s Café and Dress Shop (see 22 March 1942 and Village Map).

Five shilling stamps were probably Savings/Investment stamps.

Mrs Willerton, a dressmaker, was believed to be the wife of Mr Willerton who worked in Stow’s Stores and lived in a bungalow, not far from the council houses, on Skegness Road.

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

Tues 10.15. PM July 11 44

We are not so late to bed this week. Jean is sitting for the School Cert. and needs longer rest. Her school-days are fast running out. She started at the S.G.S. [Skegness Grammar School] the month war began and has carried a gas mask many months in the earlier part (shall we ever need them? and if so how many there would be who could not find them in the spur of the moment?) Ours are safe, mine on top shelf in kitchen and Jean’s hung on peg at bottom of stairs. She has run to the school shelter too several times and was in 4 or 5 hours once, but happily school was never bombed, tho’ Sk. has been several times.

It has been more rain the last 3 days. Sun started fine and Jean and I went to Chapel in the A.M. and after dinner it started with a fine rain and wind rose, but it stopped raining and we went to Rene’s for tea. After tea I sat in the chair Father sat in, that wet Mon before he went to bed. He had a sleep and kept teasing me because I said if we had gone home I could have done this and that. I was feeling I ought to be at work after my skin poisoning. He seemed so near as I sat there. I think Rene will always be pleased he spent that afternoon there by the fire. It rained fast on Sun. whilst we had tea, cleared a little after, but rained fast before we got home. I tried to hurry but had done a lot too much and could not. Rene persuaded me to ride her cycle so I got home that way. Jean went on first and found Elsie. She had come on from Chapel, she stayed supper but Rene went back to get Tom his. We had Strawbs, Rasps and Cream for tea.

I weeded between cement slabs on path this morning but not quite to gate. It seems a constant job this showery weather. Jean took Annie’s Teddy B[ear] Sun[day] after Chapel, they are very pleased with it. I have made a golliwog this week, but it is not as nice as Ciss’s. I hate making the clothes for dolls and gollies. I have no pattern either, so more difficult. I made the duck up too yesterday which has been cut out some time. Letter from Ron to-day, written June 22, not so long for sea mail. Says he has a big tent this summer and a big mosquito net and has a comfortable bed now that they have got spring mattresses! In Rene’s letter he says they heard of some for sale and went and bought them. It’s nice to know they sleep comfortably and that he is fit and well. At one billet he says he had to climb 96 steps to his room. I think I would never get to the top, the 69 steps of the old C.G. [Coast Guard] box were enough for me. Tom goes back to work on Thursday. It came several showers again to-day, but he has managed to get suntanned and is peeling now Rene says. He lent me a book of John Oxenham “Bees in Amber” (poetry) which I have enjoyed very much.

School Certificate examinations, in a range of subjects, were taken by those pupils (normally at Grammar School) who continued in education beyond the leaving age of 14.

John Oxenham was the pseudonym of William Arthur Dunkerley (1852 – 1941), an Englishman. His book ‘Bees in Amber, a little book of thoughtful verse’, first published in 1913, was a best seller which has been re-published in recent years.

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

Mon. Feb. 14. 10. 0’c PM [1944]

St. Valentine’s Day. I remember some of my young aunts having valentines set out on their dressing-tables when I was small. Went to Sk[egness] this morning altho’ it rained. Only a little drizzle while we were there. Got stockings for Jean. Says they are too dark so may change, she having those I got from Pontings. I have a bad pain under my left shoulder, don’t know whether it is asthma coming on or just indigestion as it comes and goes. I took Ron’s light hat to be dyed and reblocked for myself. Dark maroon, don’t know if it will be a success as woman in shop said it would not make a very big one. Of course I don’t want a very big one but don’t want one with no brim. Changed library book. Mr Middleton’s “Our Village” was not in, so got one by Georgette Hayer not one that Emmie recommended as they had not got them or they were out. Had an A.M.L. [air mail letter] from Ron Sat written Feb. 2. He had got mine written Jan 19th. He is fit and well.

Ted B[rown] and Bessie came Sun afternoon. B. engaged but says not going to be married until after the war. Well I’ve heard those tales before, she may or may not. We all went to Chapel on Sun. night. A lot of Welsh soldiers were there so the singing was very good. Afterwards they went to Cen. Hall for tea and cakes and a sing-song. Father and I did not go, but Jean did and came home with Elsie. Called at G’ma’s, Chris [Lammiman] was there, he is growing a nice little fair moustache. The boys are growing up.

Better news from Italy yesterday and to-day but the struggle is very fierce. Gers over Eng. last night about 50. Some damage and cas[ualties]. About 15 got to London but no bombs dropped. B. Brown is going to Wales when she goes back from leave, near to Bangor, for a course, she is a L[ance] corporal now.

Mr Middleton, named as author of Our Village, was probably NOT one of the local Middletons (see 11 Oct 1942), but may have been the broadcaster CH Middleton: The ‘World’s first television gardening programme’, In Your Garden, With Mr Middleton, had been broadcast by the BBC in 1936. On radio he launched the ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign in September 1939.

Georgette Heyer (1902 -1974) was a popular British author who specialised in historical romance – especially the Regency period- and detective fiction.

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’?

January 1st 1944. 9.20 a.m. Saturday

I wrote the New Year date first on Emmie’s luggage label, and am writing now at 9.20 by firelight. I have put out the E.L. [electric light] but it is still too dark to see to write properly. It is milder but raining after a fine, bright, cold week. My diary has been neglected of late as colds and influenza have made all but necessary writing impossible. Jean and I still feel achy at times. We had the “Spanish flu” but very favourably Dr M[enzies] says as hundreds got pneumonia with it and hundreds have died of it. W.Churchill had another touch of ‘pneu’ when he got abroad this last time. We are hoping and praying this is the last war Xmas. We had Xmas Cards, photo and parcel and Airgraph Greetings from Ron, also an AG. from Jock. I had a calendar and white and purple heather from his wife, must write to her as I got very few letters at Xmas and sent only two cards. Had a card from Dennis. Must write to him. He is at Stratford-on-Avon.

Sent Sybil’s baby a little dog I had made of brown velvet stuffed kapok, also sent Gladys’ little girls a doll each. Rene made one and me the other and I dressed them. Jean sent books. All received them for Xmas. I prefer making animals to dolls, they don’t want dressing and look more professional when done. I have made a Scotch Terrier this week in brown velvet. It is larger than Patsy’s and took a lot of kapok to stuff it but it is a great success and very light in spite of bulk. It is getting lighter so will finish unblacking upstairs and start work. I have only washed up breakfast pots so far. Father and Jean have taken Emmie to meet 8.43 train at W[illough]by and should soon be back, tho’ they had to call at Baysleys I think on way home. It was so wet I did not feel like going and then I hate coming back in daylight to a blacked-out house and a table full of pots to wash.

7 o’c P.M. Rain ceased towards dinner-time, sun came out and it dried but turned very windy so did not attempt to go to S.S [Sunday School] Party. Jean is to come home with Pimp[erton]s, it should not be dark as moon does not set until 11.59. pm. Hope she is not late as Father is on watch at 12 mid.nt. Emmie, Rene, Jean and Father went to Mary’s to tea yesterday. It was cold and I did not feel up to going esp[ecially] as Father and I were there on Sun. Emmie came Xmas Eve and returned to-day so had a nice long visit. She posted us a blanket on 20th and it hasn’t turned up yet, very disappointing, hope it is not lost. Of course 18th was last day for parcels being guaranteed delivery for Xmas so let’s hope it arrives Mon. or Tues. Elsie G[rantham] came for supper on Mon. ev[ening]. Rene and T[om] could not come as he had a bad cold. El. had too and had lost her voice but suddenly recovered it just as she was going home about 11 o’c. She brought Emmie 6 eggs last night and said she had not lost it any more. Emmie took a chicken home for Sun. dinner also some apples from Rene. We had chickens for Xmas Day (Tom and Rene came) and Emmie said “Could we have apple sauce, as she did not like bread sau.” I had not had it with chicken before, but we all liked it, it is as good with ch. as with duck. We had bread sauce too. Emmie brought Rene another Pyrex casserole and Jean a book by Grey Owl.

Planes are wandering round, sound very queer, as if there were faint bumps every now and then. Father has just gone out for second time to listen. This aft. when Jean and I were upstairs we heard a small sound as if something were dropped on roof or as if the ceiling cracked. Father thinks perhaps it is wind that makes planes sound queer as it has got up very strong. Ron’s friend, Roy Paget has lost his brother (killed), Ron had met him. Ron received cable before his birthday and got his little calendar and B.Day and Xmas parcel well before Christmas Day. Hope he gets socks from W.V.S., Mr. Chips from us and socks from B. Legion safely before long. He sent Rene and Jean blue silk scarves from Tunis, a wallet for Dad and Gloves for me, also box face powder which Rene and I have shared. Emmie has received 4 prs Stks and Gloves from him, and he writes there is another parcel on the way for her so hope she gets them safely. Rene gave Jean a book she wanted and me pinafore and hairbrush. Jean gave me hkchfs [handkerchiefs] and economy labels, Father gave me 10/0 which I have not spent yet. Jean gave Rene writing paper and Father and I gave her a pinafore. Jean gave Father a book and Rene and I are giving him a ft. [fountain] pen or most of it. He says he will make up balance if we get him a good one.

The mother of little girls was probably Gladys, née Lewis, a daughter of May’s sister Emily (see 19 Feb 1942).

Baysleys were a naval family, based at ‘Royal Arthur’, living in a bungalow close to Tyler’s Bridge, near Commander Storer (see 21 May 1942).

Grey Owl’ was an English-born writer and conservationist, Archibald Belaney, who had lived in Canada and at some time had masqueraded as a Red Indian.

Goodbye Mr Chips’ was the novel about a kindly Latin teacher, written by James Hilton and first published as a book in 1934 (Little, Brown USA ; Hodder & Stoughton UK).

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