All posts tagged Emmie

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.

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]
# VALENTINE’S DAY MEMORIES
# SHOPPING AND LIBRARY VISIT IN SKEGNESS
# FRIENDS VISIT – DAUGHTER ENGAGED
# WELSH SOLDIERS AT CHAPEL SERVICE

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’?

Fri Jan. 28. 8.30 a.m. [1944]
# MEN’S UTILITY SUITS UNPOPULAR
# AIRCRAFT ACTIVITY AND EXPLOSION
# GERMAN RADIO SILENCED BY BOMBING
# CHURCHILL REASSURES AUSTRALIA ON JAPANESE
# SHORT DIARY BOOK COMPLETED

Probably most of the utility suits will have to be kept and exported after the war. It seems utility suits can be made by government orders, but they can’t make the men buy them. Indeed they can’t buy many suits at all as by the time socks and underclothes and boots are provided it would be difficult to find 26 cou[pon]s for a suit. It must be a problem where there are growing boys of from 14 to 17 wanting suits as big as their father’s and growing out of them and wearing them out much quicker.

We heard our planes going out again around 6 o’c last night. They began to return before ten o’c and seemed to be droning around for hours. Once there was an explosion which rattled doors and windows. On the 9 o’c news we were informed that several Ger. Stations were off the air, and that before going off they had warned the listeners that the enemy planes reported earlier, were travelling in a S.E. direction. How quickly news travels now. Father has started patrol to-day. It was so dark he did not start until 8.15. It still blows the soft warm wind like yesterday, but not so strong yet tho’ it keeps freshening. It still sounds like rain. We thought it would have rained yesterday.

I went to meet Jean at Cooper’s last night when she left school. Got her pair of navy shoes with suede inset 17/9. The heels are rather high as she has only had flat heels before, except her white ones for weddings. I hope she will be able to wear them. I also bought myself a pair like Rene bought this week but black. Had only 3D left out of 25/0 Xmas money which I had saved for them. Still 24/9 is not very much for these days and I would have paid that for Jean’s. Hers had been in stock some time and were much better than some higher-priced ones we saw. Have finished one of Rene’s gloves and my quilt is progressing steadily. Had a letter from Emmie yesterday, she has got Jean’s wool, so I must get my cardigan finished ready to start Jean’s jumper when it comes. We have a nice pattern.

Fierce fighting is going on now in Italy and Gers are turning attention to the allied landing party between them and Rome. Should think the next two months will do a lot at them. Churchill has given the Australians an assurance that we shall fight until Japs are beaten. We are apt to forget the war with Japs when we talk of the war being over soon or rather, I think we hide from the thought of it, but it is there none the less and will have to be gone thro’. If Ron is sent out there instead of coming home it will be a bitter disappointment for all of us. But it may well happen I am afraid. He has got African Star and Clasp, Emmie says. We are so pleased. Well here’s the end of this attenuated book. Am pleased the next is larger. This has lasted just two weeks, so no great amount of history made.

A little scrap in the warring years
To be read some day with smiles or tears
When we add up the sums of loss and gain
That emerge from this time of toil and pain.

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’?

Thurs. a.m 8.30 Jan 6. [1944]
# FATHER INVOLVED IN OUTFALL MAINTENANCE
# RUSSIAN ADVANCES REPORTED
# MONTGOMERY APPLAUDED IN PUBLIC THEATRE
# FRENCH SOLDIERS APPEAR IN CHAPEL VILLAGE

Father has gone to dig sand at the sea. The channel from tunnel is wandering too far round and has to be dug straight thro’ sand-link so that it runs swiftly. It is hardly light enough to see yet but he was to be there at 8.a.m. He has gone in uniform, new trousers and old tunic. They are warmer than civ[ilian] clothes and it is rough and cold. He put on a mac. under coat thinking he might do with it to work in.

Think Russians are really over old 1939 border at last, after being falsely reported to be for several days. Still there’s a good many more miles to go yet before Ger is reached. Our planes seem to be coming home, heard a few go out in the night. Gen[eral] Montgomery in Royal Box at theatre with 14 years old son, was cheered. He is getting around so quickly people can’t keep pace with him except the son and he seems to stick closely to him. I don’t remember if Gen. Mont. has a wife. I know he has a mother and 5 brothers.

Had a letter from Emmie yesterday. Her mother had an accident at work on Wed last week. A bobbin flew out and hit her leg and ankle and she is very badly bruised. It will be very painful. Emmie had a busy time when she got home Sat. She was vexed they had not sent for her. The next door neighbour had been very kind and helpful, cleaning and getting coals and doing everything for them. Mr. R sent Father an envelope addressed “from Dad to Dad” containing razor blades. Rene saw env. and wanted to know what it meant. Father said “Well I’ve had a very sharp letter from Mr Russell.” Rene’s face was so droll, we had to laugh and tell her. Of course she accused him then of having eaten one, he was so sharp.

Jean has just called for a “cup of tea”. Took it up and find she has a rusty voice. I sincerely hope that doesn’t mean she has another cold. She went to village yest. aft. and was quickly back saying there were soldiers everywhere and she had fled. By their talk in P.O. she gathered they had just arrived in Eng[land] from B.N.A.F. [British North Africa Force]. They were sending telegrams to let their people know but could not send an address as they only expected to be here a night or two. Betty El[ston] was besieged, a lot of them trying out their French on her, until she refused to answer in French. Expect they were a bit surprised at first when she answered their enquiry as to the cost of tel. in French, by telling them (in Eng[lish]) but when they asked her “Francais parlez-vous” she said “Non”. Mrs Stow went to the rescue and registered Jean’s letter and helped B[etty] generally and Jean, as she said, “fled”.

Had two letters from Emily L, one written Sun to say Jess had been taken to Hos[pital] with poisoned arm (it must have been delayed) and one written Tue to say he was home again. He had a spot or two on his elbow and she thinks his jersey-sleeve may have chafed them as he rolls his shirt-sleeves up. The poison ran up his arm in a pink streak and formed a lump under his arm, and was up to his head and in his back. He just missed septic pneumonia she says. It would be a great shock as little Tom [Lewis] died of that. However she was pleased to have got him home and expected he was on the way to recovery. There are plenty of them to look after him and she says the enforced rest may do him good, as he was working very hard and probably run down. She said she would write again.

I am afraid our blanket is warming somebody else as it has not turned up and it was posted Dec. 20th. Very vexing for the Russells and disappointing for us. I hope if it was stolen it went where it was really needed and is not carefully laid by, by someone who steals for the sake of stealing. Went in “The Rest” yesterday found I had exaggerated damage by mice (during my first cold and bronc[hitis]) by about 3 times. One more in trap in cupboard but trap in bedroom as left until I put my foot in it. I reset it and cleared up some papers after giving Sprogg the dead mouse, when the trap sprung again, I turned to go look why and Sp. was sheepishly walking out of the other room, he had evidently tried to sample the cheese. Set it again and went home as it was very cold, big icy frost tho’ tubs were not so frozen. Got all clothes dry and ironed. Rene washed at Bev[erley] and was hoping to find them dry.

The channel through the ‘sand-link’ was associated with the ‘outfall’ from ‘the basin’ from land to sea close to ‘The Point’. The clearance operation, involving teams of local men, was necessary every year or so. See ‘Elvers‘- A Reflection by May Hill’ and associated notes.

After his wife died suddenly around 1934 Bernard Montgomery totally immersed himself in military studies which probably led to him becoming an exceptional general. Their son’s name was David.

Jess, here, was Jesse Lewis [May’s sister Emily’s husband].

Tom Lewis, son of Emily and Jesse, had died, aged 9, in 1939. He had been stung on the ear, by a wasp, while resting at home after returning from Louth hospital following treatment for an eye problem. His tragic death had left Emily with one surviving son, Frank, and six daughters.

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

Sun Jan 2. 9.15 a.m [1944]
# ABSENCES OF RON AND EMMIE REGRETTED
# JEAN ENJOYS SUNDAY SCHOOL PARTY
# PIG ‘OUT OF THE WAY’ BEFORE CHRISTMAS
# FRESH COD FROM BEACH

Bright cold morning, after a gusty night, wind has fallen again just now. We seem strange now that Emmie has gone. As usual, I miss her when I wake in the night, as I miss Ron still or shall I say, as I think of Ron always if I wake? One does not really “miss” anyone after a time tho’ some we miss longer than others. After that we grow used to them being away, tho’ we think no less of them and long for their return. Ron looks much older and very grave in his photo and has grown strangely like Father in it. Mr. Baysley remarked on his likeness to his father on Thurs. ev. They were so disappointed, as their leave had been cancelled at the last minute. They had packed, sent on food and clothes to Plymouth (Mrs B’s home) and arranged for daughter to go there for weekend to finish leave. Now, she is on the way to Sk[egness] to travel alone all day and arrive at destination (Exeter) about 7 o’c p.m with probably a long walk before her as she lives some way out.

Jean went to S.S. [Sunday School] party and enjoyed it, said there were almost more children not belonging S.S there than those who did belong. Jean got 3/6 on savings card given in place of book. Arrived home about 9.30. Mrs Pimp. and Colleen came home with her, tho’ it was moonlight and she was not nervous. I made a bit of barm cake on Fri. not very fruity, only sult[ana]s to put in, but I had been longing for some. Years ago that was all the extra cake we had for Xmas. Made very rich and good, it got better with keeping, and people exchanged loaves. 7lbs of flour at least was the foundation, so that with sugar, lard or butter, and 3 or 4 lbs fruit and eggs it made about 1 st of cake. I had 4 small cakes, gave Rene one and Grandma one. She is looking better after a severe cold.

We killed our pig the week before Xmas. Daisy helped Rene get it out of the way. 24 st. cell. 18 lbs. We got another on 20th Dec. about 11 weeks old £2.6.3. and one for Eff. They are scarce and dear or we would have had two, and sold one in Spring.

Tom brought us some fish yesterday for dinner, he had picked up a fresh cod on beach Fri. aft. It was very good, have made remains into fish cakes, forgot them for our breakfast (Father is taking Miss Baysley to station) but am cooking them all now. Expect Jean will eat some. Emmie said that in one of her letters Ron said the boys told him he had lost his smile in his photo. I am pleased they think of him as always with a smile.

‘Getting the pig out of the way’ was described earlier (e.g. 31 Jan 1941). The word which appeared as ‘cell’ was presumably intended to be ‘kell’, the fat from the back of the pig’s stomach (weight 18lbs out of the total 24 stones weight of the pig in the case described here).

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
# DIARY RESUMED AFTER FIVE WEEKS’ NEGLECT
# FAMILY HAD ‘SPANISH FLU’ BUT MILDLY
# CHURCHILL BOUT OF PNEUMONIA REPORTED
# CHRISTMAS CARDS AND PRESENTS REVIEWED
# SOFT TOYS SENT AS PRESENTS
# RON’S WIFE EMMIE AS CHRISTMAS VISITOR
# NEWS FROM RON IN ITALY

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’?

Nov. 2nd 10.30 P.M Tue [1943]
# WILL’S COASTGUARD WATCHES CHANGED
# RENE’S TOM JOINS COASTGUARDS
# EXPERIMENT WITH SOFT TOY MAKING
# VILLAGE LADS DUE FOR EMBARKATION
# LOCAL AIRMAN IN AMERICAN MISHAP
# MORE NEWS OF RON IN ITALY

On Monday the C.G. watches changed from 8 o’c to 2 o’c etc. to 6 o’c to 12 o’c etc. Don’t know if we shall like it as well. Father is on watch from 6 p.m. until 12 o’c tonight. Our evenings won’t seem so broken up when he goes on or comes off at 6 pm but mornings will be short when he goes on at 12 noon or comes off then. Tom has been taken on as relief Aux C.G. [Auxiliary Coastguard]. He is quite thrilled with the idea at present. Have got photos of C.Gs framed and sent Emmie hers.

On Friday evening I tried my hand at a soft toy and made a very decent horse out of Jean’s old grey flannel shorts, kapok down and a bit of wool trimming. The pattern is good and instructions very clear. Rene and I are making me a velvet tam. Think it will be very nice when finished. I could have finished it tonight I think but have been seedy all day and wanted to get on with Jean’s cardigan too so did not get it out again after tea. Have not washed yet as Rene was collecting Red + Mon and it was drizzly this morning and I did not feel up to starting either. Jo. Sharp and Jim Clarke are home on embarkation leave. Rex Lenton in America after flying mishap, have heard his plane was shot down into sea and that he and rest of crew were picked up and taken to America. Pet[er] Kirk is home this weekend after attending Ad[miral] Sir Dudley Pound’s funeral service. Sir D. was afterwards cremated and his ashes together with his wife’s (she died in the summer) were strewn on the sea.

Had a letter from Emmie on Sat. She had heard from Ron, a letter dated 17 Oct so fairly new. He is in Italy and in billets now. A welcome change after “bivvy” tent I guess. Says view from billet is magnificent, and the climate is more like home than he has been in before. I think their winter is the same time as ours. Art Belton is in Italy and says he is sick of grapes. We could do with a few here. A lot of Canad[ian] apples are coming over also a lot of turkeys and other food from Ireland for Xmas. Mrs Coulston got me 1 lb small raisins this week with my points and a tin of sw[eetened] milk for Father’s porridge. Petrol coupons arrived this morning. We all went to Chapel Sun night. It was a nice evening but very dark when we came home. Keith and Marian were there and Lau[rence] played the organ. Rev. Hodgson preached. Miss West is getting to look a very old lady. One or two church people were there as Vicar has the flu’ so no church service.

It has been an “owery” day but cleared at sunset and sun shone into kitchen while we were at tea. We did not go into room until Father had gone on watch as Rene and I had been so busy with hat we didn’t get the fire put in. Chrysanths are coming out well, as weather keeps mild. Jean’s are fine ones. She dug up old roots and set slips, and blooms are much bigger than on my old plants. Best to dig them up every year I think and set new slips. There are stray violets and polyanth’s in bloom too and a few marigolds still glow in odd corners. I am writing this in bed and a tiresome old “bluebottle” is buzzing round the room. Every now and then the wind freshens up so perhaps it will blow fog and drizzle away. Only just over 7 weeks to Xmas now. Russians have invaded one side of Crimea. Gers. look like being completely routed there before long. Think another 6 months will see the end of the War or at least it will be in sight. I wonder if Ger’s. will send any big air raids before then.

A Coastguard group photograph has already been shown (see 7 Jun 1942). The one mentioned here was probably taken later.

Jo. Sharpe was the greengrocer’s son, Cyril, known as ‘Joey’ (see 2 Feb 1943). He and Jim Clarke served in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, together until assigned to separate units abroad after the embarkation leave.

Jim Clarke, son of Jesse Clarke, living in Hogsthorpe, was the nephew of farmer Walter Clarke (see 2 Mar 1942).

Rex Lenton was an RAF wireless operator/ air gunner on a Liberator B24 bomber which crashed while attacking a submarine in the Atlantic. Jean later noted in her diary (13th January 1944) that he was in hospital in Newfoundland with a broken leg, according to his sister, Judy, when asked at school. His father, Bob, a butcher who died before the war, had owned the shop that had become Wells’. Jim Lenton, Home Guard member, was Bob’s brother, a farmer.

Sir Dudley Pound, Admiral of the Fleet and First Sea Lord 1939-1943, died from a brain tumour.

Arthur Belton was the younger brother of Cyril, garage owner, and of Harold. He lived in Nottingham.

Rev. Hodgson was the regular Methodist minister.

‘Owery’ – a local word for ‘dirty, filthy, damp, cold’. (See ‘A Glossary or Collection of Words, Phrases, Place Names, Superstitions Current in East Lincolnshire’, Jabez Good, Long Sutton, c1900.)

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

Mon Oct. 25th 8.20 A.M [1943]
# COLD FOGGY AUTUMN WEATHER
# LETTERS FROM RON AND EMMIE
# BIRTHDAY PRESENTS PLANNED
# RON’S EMBARKATION RECALLED
# TRIBUTE TO NEPHEW RAYMOND

A thick fog this morning and rather cold at present. Hope it clears as I told Rene we would wash. So far I have done no Autumn cleaning and it’s time I did. We had another letter from Ron 16th Oct written on 2nd and Emmie one dated 6th so it is nice to be up to date again. He sounds very cheery in all of them. I wrote him a long letter last night and enclosed a 1944 calendar. We are sending a parcel this week for his birthday, Nov 26, and Xmas. We, at least, Rene got a nice leather writing case, a small one, at Sk[egness]. It has no zip but is very soft leather lined Kid. It cost 17/11. It won’t take up much space in his kit which is the main thing and will just keep his unanswered letters together and perhaps a snap or two. Emmie’s gloves have arrived, she is very chuff and she says he has bought Xmas presents for us all. Do hope they come safely. He is sleeping in a little bivouac tent now with Roy Paget his pal. Hope they have better billets for the winter as I think the nights are very cold. Says there are a lot of little lizards, very pretty and quite harmless which go like quicksilver when disturbed.

Mr Wilkinson A.R.P.W [air raid precautions warden] came for his [Ron’s] address on Friday. The B[ritish] Leg[ion] is sending parcels. It is over a year since we saw Ron. I can still see the train pulling out with Ron waving from a carriage window, and how I felt as if he was taking a part of me with him, feeling as if I must strain my eyes for as long as I could see him, knowing it might be that it was the last sight of him we should ever have. Emmie did get to Peterboro’ for a few days and he got to Yea. for a few hours. It is a year since the tide turned for us at Alamein and we won that first big battle on the borders of Libya and Egypt. Godfrey Talbot described it on Radio and the white cloud on the desert of 600 white crosses. Now 800 more British have laid down their lives in Italy in just over a month, more than that because that is only 5th Army and then there has been all the fighting in Africa and Sicily. It is a mad, bewildering, world.

Keith and Marian are here, it would be a sad homecoming, the first since Raymond’s death was reported.

“He sleeps where Southern vines are dressed
Above the noble slain.
O’er him the myrtle showers its leaves
By soft winds fanned.”

Roy Paget was Ron’s RAF friend in his unit in North Africa and Italy.

Mr Wilkinson, here, was very probably the retired policeman, Jack, the father of ‘Spitfire Ace’ Royce Clifford Wilkinson (see 29 May 1943). He used to recount his son’s exploits to Joe Kirk and fellow drinkers in the tap-room of the ‘Vine Hotel’ (see Village Map).

Godfrey Talbot was one of the best-known BBC war-correspondents.

The ‘Southern Vines’ epitaph was based on lines, slightly changed, from two verses of ‘The Graves of a Household‘ by Liverpool-born poet Felicia Dorothea, née Browne, Hemans (1793-1835). May had copied the original into her ‘Poetry’ exercise book when a pupil at the village school.

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

Sun Sep. 26 8. 45. p.m. [1943]
# SOOTHING MUSIC ON WIRELESS
# COASTGUARDS’ OTHER ACTIVITIES
# QUIET BOARDER MOVES ON
# BATTLE OF BRITAIN THANKSGIVING
# LOCAL BOMBING

Albert Sandler is playing his violin. I love his playing. He plays as if he loved it and would play his very best either with or without an audience. Rene thinks he has a bit of a “murky” past but he must have some good spots I think. His music soothes and rests me and makes one feel better I think. It does not seem to spoil the Sunday evening atmosphere as so much of the radio trash does. So much of what we hear is so far beneath the intelligence of people no more educated than us that I wonder it is ever tolerated. It could so easily help to improve people’s taste instead of lowering it and I don’t mean high-brow stuff either, tho’ I think it should be broadcast in its turn too. At least it would not debase.

Father has done an hour’s watch from 7 to 8 for Joe Kirk tonight and then is doing 3 more until 11 o’c for Hallgarth as it is his birthday forsooth! Time he grew up at his age. Gilbert Paul is taking over Matt. Stones’ wheelwrights’ business. Joe Kirk had a cow calve on Friday. Yesterday he found it dead with its head in a ditch. It had broken a blood vessel. 3rd calf and worth £60, in fact he was bidden that in the morning. Bull calf only worth £2. Of course it wasn’t insured.

My boarder went this morning. Father took him to catch 10.15. train to Sk[egness]. He was going to Leicester and said it would be 8 pm when he arrived at home. Travelling is so bad now especially on Sun. He came on Tuesday evening, is a friend of Beryl Cousins and was only here for breakfast and dinner and to sleep. I charged him 7/6 a day. He tipped me 5/0 and Father 2/6 at St[ation]. He was no trouble and ate anything set before him. On Sat. I gave him 2 eggs for breakfast (he always started with porridge) and when I took them in he said “There now, look at that.” He was very quiet and not given to exclamations either. He was so quiet that we did not always hear him come in tho’ he was never very late, (we did not wait up as he was a friend of Cousins, so alright) but alas the loose board at the top of the stairs always betrayed him as it used to Ron and Emmie. G.ma is coming tomorrow for a few days as Father is still patrolling. Jean told her it would be quite alright as I could put her into the “lodger’s” bed as it was and save sheets as he was a very clean young man! However, G.ma doesn’t mind a joke and knows Jean.

Our Michaelmas daisies are lovely now in the jars Emmie and Ron gave me. I don’t put them in the jars direct, but into vases first. Chrysanths will soon be out if weather keeps open. It is Battle of Britain Sunday. Thanksgiving for miraculous deliverances of Britain in 1940. I am afraid we are not much for parades at Chapel but the Red + did parade. I think it was a pity the church and chapel were not full. I intended going tonight but the N. wind was so bitter I did not. One thing I have thought of to-day. How very little we knew at the time, of the terrible “Battle of Britain” down here. Most of what we know we have learned since. The few pictures in paper, little news broadcast, told us very little. On Thursday night this week a Jerry plane or planes dropped a number of anti-personnel bombs round Anderby way and on Grantham’s land too. Some few have been found. Have written to Ron and enclosed poem, Little House. It may amuse him a few minutes. Have also written to Sybil. Must write to Frank soon and cookie Jock too. Grace settling down I think at Revesby. Roy home on leave, Joan still not at all well. Jean said Ralph and wife (Helen) at chapel this morning. Peter Kirk is on leave, he looks a long blue sailor and his head still pokes forward on his long neck. Mrs Leivers called Monday afternoon. She was staying in Sk. has not altered much but looks older.

Albert Sandler, violinist, was a popular light orchestra leader before and during World War II.

Matthew Stones’ wheelwright business was in Ingoldmells.

Beryl Cousins was the granddaughter of the elderly Mr and Mrs Cousins (see 9 May 1943).

Helen Faulkner was the wife of Ron’s village friend Ralph.

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