All posts tagged Frank Adams

Mon 28 Feb. 8.50 am [1944]
# SNOW COVERS WOLDS
# MUCH LETTER WRITING
# RON AND CHUMS IMPROVISE STOVE
# COUSIN BRINGS FARM SAUSAGES ETC.

Ugh! The snow is coming down like sago as Jean says, and the wolds are thickly covered this morning. It has not “laid” here so far tho’ we had snow showers all day yesterday. Father said it was freezing when he came in just now. He has gone to M[um]by. Rd. Stn. to take a woman from Anderby to meet the train. Snow shower has whitened roofs and fence tops, it looks more like staying to-day, but tomorrow (being leap year) is the last of Feb. so we should not have it long. I hope we don’t, I am past the age of revelling in snow tho’ I like to see it.

Wrote to Ron, Dennis, Frank A and Vic last night, must write to Jock sometime. Roy is taking a course for N.C.O. [non-commissioned officer] now. Still I expect Ron wouldn’t exchange his African Star for stripes. He says “No, he hasn’t forgotten how to smile, one of the fellows calls him smiler.” I think I am more pleased to hear that than about his star, tho’ we are very pleased he has that. He and another fellow have made a stove for the billets, complete with pipe, out of an oil drum and biscuit tin. They heat up stew and beans and make Oxo and toast over it and get quite warm he says.

Amy and Ken came on Wed. Ken is growing now, he has shot thro’ sleeves and legs of his suit and looks long tho’ not by any means lanky. Amy brought us p[ork] pie, saus[ages], and mince pies, they were a very nice change. She is looking well in spite of having a nasty cold a week or two ago. Auntie [Jet] had finished knitting my tea-cosy, was very pleased to do it Amy said. She is getting on with her rug but it tries her. Wish I could think of something else for her to do, it is so difficult in these coupon days and she can do so little too. Gers. came over several nights last week some over London, chiefly over flats, several casualties. Jean is at home, it is half-term (Friday and Monday.) I think she must do the work and I will sew as I am having a bout of asthma after being free for nearly three months, at least nearly so. Well I can find plenty of sewing.

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’?

Mon 17. Jan 8.50. a.m. [1944]
# NEWS OF CHURCHILL’S RECUPERATION
# SPANISH ORANGES CONCEAL BOMBS
# EISENHOWER IN ENGLAND TO COMMAND INVASION
# REPLYING TO MANY LETTERS HOME FROM RON

Still a thick fog and frost, but it is thawing rapidly and wind freshens now and then. It may blow fog away or it may turn to rain. It is not fit to think of washing unless it quickly alters. Father has gone to Sk[egness] with Mrs Evans and Jean to school. Persuaded her to put her Navy Pilot Coat on. Mr Churchill completely recovered. Has been recuperating in Morocco. Next news will be that he is home I expect.

Last week a time bomb exploded amongst oranges in transit from Spain destroying a lot but no one was hurt. Now all cases have to be searched before leaving Spain. Some others have been found. I believe they are disguised as oranges and are no larger, but capable of doing a good deal of damage. It is a mean spiteful trick and of no practical use to Gers. We shall not get our lb of oranges this month as expected as apart from delay, they may a lot of them be overripe now before they arrive. Hope it won’t cause strained relations between us and Spain. I think we are giving them to understand they must keep their Axis friends in better order. It is a ticklish job, because they have always been more or less on the Gers side, having a grudge against us since their own civil war. Eisenhower has arrived in England to take over Command of Invasion Army. I wonder how soon it will be “Now’s the day, and now’s the hour, Lay the proud usurper low.” We have discussed it so long, but I know when it comes it will shock us, and we shall (at least I shall) get that weak trembly feeling in my stomach and feel the icy chill of fear of the future, sweep over me.

Seagulls are screaming around and yesterday I heard the wild geese honking before I was up. So far there have been very few of them about. The winter has been so open and comparatively mild. What changes will there be, I wonder when they come screaming round the houses for food next winter. Oh dear! If all is well, even, we may not be in this house. Mrs F[letcher]‘s mother is dead and she says she is ready to come back anytime. I hope she’ll change her mind. We have got nicely settled and the house is the size we need. I loathe the thought of “flitting”. Still we’ll not meet trouble half way, unless we get something suitable, we are legally tenants until Ap. 1945. Answered Ron’s 7 letters last night and sent an Airgraph to Jock and an A.M. Letter to Frank A[dams]. It was far too foggy to go out, even Rene did not come, tho’ she was at Chapel in the morning. Jean went to C[hapel] and to S.S [Sunday School] in the afternoon.

Mrs Evans, here, was probably the married daughter of Will’s Coastguard colleague Albert Parish. However there was another Mrs Evans in the village.

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’?

Thurs Sep 23 8’oc. P.M. [1943]
# NEW POEM COMPLETED
# POLICEMAN MAKES ENQUIRIES
# LOCAL AIR ACTIVITY
# ALLIES SUCCESS IN SALERNO, ITALY
# LETTER FROM SOLDIER FRANK ADAMS

Have just added last few lines to my poem which I call for the moment, “The little house”. It is almost a week since I wrote most of it instead of in my diary. P.C. Coates has just called. I wonder what he is after. He was enquiring about something to do with Mr Moore (Ki. Moore). Said he had a list of his patients and Mr and Mrs Hill were named. I think we ought to have notice of questions and visits but still I only told him truth, if I gave the wrong answer I can’t help it, we don’t owe Moore anything. I told him the only dental treatment we had from him was, that he made Father a set of teeth some years ago. Can’t remember when. Think before the war but not sure.

There is a continual rumble of planes going out. There were a few planes over here last night and bombs dropped. I don’t know how near but I slept well. Father is patrolling so I am not so nervous. Churchill is back. War seems to be going in Allies’ favour all over now. We won the day at Salerno and 8th Army joined 5th much quicker than they expected, but I am afraid there has been a lot of lives lost and maimed. We had an A.M. [airmail] letter from Frank Adams to-day. We are pleased to hear that he is safe and not in Italy so far, at least he was in Sicily on Sep 6. We were pleased to get it but disappointed that it was not from Ron. Also we wonder if Ron has moved as it is over a month since the date of Ron’s last letter unless Emmie has had another. Frank said he could get to a town and that they were getting things normal and ship-shape again very quickly there. He had bought silk stockings and silk underwear set for Sybil and sent home. I hope it arrives safely. I must write to her, she will be relieved that he is not in Italy just now. We all feel better for knowing he’s safe, but it has made us wonder more than ever if Ron has moved again. We had several letters last week-end but they were all old ones, we had already had the newest one dated 17th. They cheered us up at first, as they were very cheerful letters. He seems to be more settled now as if he had got used to being away and we can get used to most things and it is a little easier then. However that has passed and we are anxiously awaiting a letter from him.

‘The Little House’ (or ‘The Little Home’) was almost completed on 17th September 1943.

Police Constable Coates was NOT the regular local officer. The policeman for Hogsthorpe and Chapel St Leonards was PC Fenn, father-in-law of Grace, née Clowes, Fenn who was a member of WRNS at ‘Royal Arthur’.

‘Kimoor’ was a bungalow, opposite ‘Sunny Side’ (see Village Map), named after the wife of dentist, Mr Moore.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrived back in Britain on the battleship ‘HMS Renown’ following an extended stay in Canada and the USA. He had been attending the top secret First Quebec Conference with US President Franklin D Roosevelt and host Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King.

In the Allied invasion of Italy, the British 8th Army, Montgomery’s ‘Desert Rats’, and US 5th Armies had joined forces at the Salerno bridgehead, from which the Germans withdrew.

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

July 13. 2. a.m. [1943]
# AIRCRAFT AND EXPLOSIONS ON MOONLIT NIGHT
# INVASION OF SICILY REPORTED
# MORE VILLAGE MEN REPORTING FOR ACTIVE DUTY
# RON SENDS PHOTOS
# ABSENT NEIGHBOUR VISITS
# GARDEN FLOWERS BLOOMING
# ANOTHER DIARY BOOK FULL

Father has just gone on watch and Jean is nearly asleep on couch. I had heard planes about for a long time and felt in my bones they were hostile. Then round about 1 o’clock DST [double summer time] I heard the guns. Very heavy so at last I woke Father. One big explosion shook the house, it may have been a plane. It is a very bright moonlight night. When Father got up at 1.20 Jean and I got up too. Fire not quite out so put a few sticks on and revived it. Will make some tea soon and if quiet go back to bed. I have been very seedy last few days, felt better to-night but weak and breathless. Father not well either. Everyone complaining of feeling over tired. I wonder how the people feel when we raid so often.

[Aside: Sicily invaded about 8 weeks after Tunis won.] We have invaded Sicily. Wonder if Frank Adams or any of the boys from here are there. Peter Kirk went on Mon to Wales, met an old school pal, Northern, on the journey going to same place. Charlie Parish has to go this week and Ted Hall goes for medical.

Planes still about but unidentified as they say in W.Bx. Guns not so frequent. Wonder if poor Grimsby is getting it again, over 100 killed last time. Had 2 letters from Ron Sat. by Air Mail. Jean’s contained photos of Ron, 1 each. They are quite good we think. He looks older but that is to be expected. He looks well, that is the main thing. It is nice to have a glimpse of him. Says he never got that corn harvested, he had to move after it got shoulder height.

Ron - 'to Dad'

Ron – ‘to Dad’

Mrs Wilson came Tue. and stayed night to attend to the cottage. She stayed up talking until nearly 12 then was up before 5 a.m. as she had to catch the 10.30 bus to Sk[egness]. She is very jolly, much plumper than she was and has aged a lot since war started. Arthur is in M.E.F. still. She laughs and jokes about him, but can tell she is anxious, he is the only child.

Our roses have been especially good this year and the white lilies too are very fine. Cant[erbury] Bells I gave Fra[nk] last year have flowered this and are huge, he brought a stalk on Sat about 3 feet high with masses of blooms, cup and saucer variety. All are deep blue, I had 3 blue and a white last year but none survived winter, even the two that did not flower died. Carnations starting to bloom, very fine. Nearly 2.30 a.m., wind freshening, do hope it won’t be a warm soft gale again to-day it really gets me down. A wicked-sounding plane about but it may be one of ours returning. Now for some tea and so to bed again.

January to July a book of patchwork pieces
Our circle is unbroken still, altho’ the beads are far apart.
Another phase of strife Mars now releases.
The last I hope. Towards victory let us start.

[The following note appeared on the inside back cover of this Diary, and probably referred to Ron’s postings (or mailing addresses) in 1943:]

                                                  June                  July
B.N.A.F      M.E.F               CMF

[British North Africa Force]

[Middle East Forces]

[Central Mediterranean Forces (Italy)]

Ken Northern had attended the Lumley Secondary School in Skegness with Peter Kirk. However the ‘pal’ might have beenr another member of that family. (Ken’s brother, Bernard, had also attended the school, as had Ron, May’s son.)

Charlie Parrish (aged about 18 at this time) had been mentioned as a Home Guard member less than two months earlier (see 29 May 1943).

Ted Hall was Doris’s brother. He was joining the Navy, like his chief petty officer father, Albert (see 16 Mar. 1942).

‘Arthur’ refers to Mrs Wilson’s son but (as previously noted) her only child was known locally as ‘Laurie’ (see 11 May 1943).

MEF – Middle East Force. The same abbreviation was used for the Middle East Land Force, but was also believed to apply to one of Ron’s RAF postings (at least for Army Post Office purposes).

Frank, here, almost certainly refers to May’s brother.

BNAF – British North Africa Force. Ron’s first RAF posting abroad came within this description.

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

Sat 3. July [1943]
# MANY LETTERS FROM RON
# RON LONGING FOR HOME
# SOLDIER FRANK ADAMS WRITES FROM ABROAD

Had 2 more recently written letters from Ron, one dated 18th and one 22nd June then yesterday 4 more! Jean’s written in June the rest in May. He is not in tents but billets now but regulations have been tightened up again. He can’t tell us where he is, nor send parcels. Says he is working hard at times, was fit and well, had been cooking until 9 p.m. one day. They get one day off in 3. It is very hot and the flies are very troublesome, said he was surrounded by the bodies of those he had killed and the others were tracing all around him. His clothes had just come back from the wash, spotless. He was so pleased, he likes nice clean clothes and hates to wash them. (We have washed Father’s khaki suit this week. Looks ok only I upset “Thawpit” bot. over it. Hope the white ring comes out.) He longs for home. I wish the war was over and he was home. There seems to be a lull just now like the calm that comes when we say the wind gathers strength for a harder blow. These sunny summer days are the last that many a lad will ever see, let us not be too hasty in wishing the sec[ond] front would start. I fear that before another June comes round many hundreds will have gone.

Had a long letter from Frank Adams. He went thro’ the last campaign in Africa from Alamein to Tunis but cannot tell us where he is now. We are so pleased he is safe. He sang “Baudelaire” to an old French couple and they said “chante tres bien” and then he sang “Tipperary” and the old man’s face lit up. He had been in the last war and recognised it at once. They rescued some rabbits and kept them some time, also 5 hens which laid every day.

Frank Adams

Frank Adams

Altho’ there are small raids in the country almost every night we do not black out now when Father is at home all night. He is on 6 days leave now. It is never really dark all night. Jean has gone to Margaret Pickers for the day.

Ron was in Malta when his letters were written, having sailed from Sfax in Tunisia to Valetta Harbour 8th – 9th June 1943, according to his own Diary (courtesy Brian R Hill).

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