All posts tagged Germany

Wed Sep 13 10.15. P.M [1944]
# SCHOOL CERTIFICATE SUCCESS FOR JEAN
# LETTER FROM RON IN SOUTH OF FRANCE
# HEAVY EXPLOSIONS HEARD IN VILLAGE
# EVACUEES RETURN TO LONDON
# TOM’S SISTER KATE VISITS

Jean had news on Mon that she had been successful in gaining School Cert. also Matric. She had 5 credits. She has done well considering all the set-backs she had. She was very excited, which probably caused the bilious attack she had yesterday or it may have been too many plums. I went to see Mrs T[ed] Brown and when I arrived home (Rene arrived at the same time) Jean was sitting over the fire having left work at 4.15 and cycled home. Ciss had given her hot peppermint and she was feeling a little better and had lit fire and put kettle on stove. She had Bovril later and a little sleep on couch, then to bed and was better this morning. Had a letter from Ron yesterday, Jean and Rene had one too. No news except that his ear was much better but not quite well. Says he managed to take his spring mattress to S. France with him so is well off the ground, they are in tents. Sounds rather tired, think he is working hard. War news is still very good, we are 5 miles over Ger. frontier.

There were two heavy explosions this morning early 2.30 and 3.15 am but there was no enemy activity reported. Evacuees are streaming back to London in spite of contrary advice. Gerry may still have something up his sleeve and apart from that practically half the houses in London are down or damaged so accommodation will be a problem for some time tho’ I can quite understand the people wanting to be at home if it is reasonably safe.

Mrs Young, Tom’s sister, came Thurs. Very pleasant and little trouble. Rene brought her in chair on Mon. Jean and I went to Chapel Sun morning, Tom preached. A swallow flew in during the sermon and stayed. “A bird of the air shall carry the news, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.” Harriet, Gladys and Grace came Sun even. They brought Eileen. She is lovely but spoiled. They brought me some plums and Eff brought me some Vic[toria] plums from Grandma. I have made about 6 lbs jam and bottled several jars, keeping enough out for pie and pudding. Have packed a box of apples for Emmie. Percy is sending them off tomorrow from M[um]by Rd [Station] as he is coaling from there. Sowed lawn seed on Mon ev. Jean rolled it in so hope it grows. No doubt several critical pairs of eyes will watch it with amused interest. Hope I sleep tonight. I scarcely slept at all last night, but went back to sleep after Rene went home to-day. She came and cleaned bed-rooms. Had asthma rather badly when I woke and toe was so painful I had to bathe it (in Ep[som] salts).

‘Matric’ refers to London matriculation exemption, which Jean earned by achieving a sufficient number of ‘credit’ grades in School Certificate (SC) examinations. Matriculation would have been a step towards qualification for university entrance, normally preceded by Higher School Certificate examinations after a further time in school. However Jean left school immediately after the SC stage, to enter employment (see 15th August 1944).

The chair used to convey Mrs Young, was probably the invalid basketwork ‘bathchair’ which had been used by Tom’s first wife.

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

Sep 3. 44 Sunday 1.45 PM
# DIARY RESUMED AFTER ONE MONTH
# FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF WAR DECLARATION
# RAPID ADVANCE THROUGH FRANCE
# YORKSHIRE VISIT MARRED BY PAINFUL FOOT
# RECALLING WILL’S FONDNESS FOR THE BLACK PONY
# JEAN’S FIRST WAGES PROMPT BUDGET PLAN

Five years ago to-day (it too was a Sunday) we declared war against Ger. It was hot and sunny and I remember just how dry and brown the grass looked on the lawn at Lenton Lodge, when Ron came home from Chapel, Father and I were looking out for him to hear if there was news. He brought the tidings that war was declared at 11 o’c. In the evening we saw 12 bombers go out and later we heard all returned. To-day is an autumn day everywhere sodden with last week’s rain, the gardens torn with last night’s gale, and an icy nip in the air. We have crossed the Frontier into Belgium in more than one place and Gers. report we are fighting on their side of the Maginot Line but we have not confirmed this yet. We have driven so fast thro’ France we can’t keep up with the news.

Have not heard from Ron since the week we returned from Yea[don]. Wonder if he is in France after his rest in B.N.A.F. It was a tiring journey to Yea. I had my foot trodden on and the toe I had extracted my corn from went septic so that I only went out twice. On the Sat to cricket match and pictures. (21 planes have just roared over from sea.) I rested Sun and Mon except to Park and walk after tea Monday. Then as my foot seemed better went to Ilkley Tue, but toe gathered again and foot was very swollen, had to see Dr. Wed night and as I could not get shoe on on Thur stayed until Fri and Emmie came back with us. Good journey to Lincoln tho’ asthma was squatting on Retford platform and returned with me. At Lincoln no train until 5.45 which meant no bus’ at Sk[egness] so deciding it was easier and cheaper to bus’ remainder of journey and catch bus’ for home at Sk did so. Had to stand in queue nearly two hours. Emmie returned the following Sat catching 6.30 am train and arrived home 1.30 pm.

My foot is still septic and swollen again, had to poultice it last night and have lint on to-day. Shall not go out to-day but rest it. Altogether I do not feel much better for the holiday, it was I think too soon to go where we had that so happy few days. Everything reminded me of those days, and sitting outside the door so long, as I could not walk, it seemed as if all I could see or think of was the picture of him talking to the black pony at the meadow gate. They were all so good and kind but I felt my sorrow and loss more even than at home. I think this wearisome toe and this last week’s bout of asthma has run me down. I am so depressed and nervous, must get into the garden if I am able next week. I feel more free now that Emmie has gone and Wilsons have been and gone. I have told them I can’t “feed the mice” any longer. It worried me when I could not get. They were not much trouble but very tedious. Mr W tries to be a funny man but isn’t, and Mrs W’s cheerfulness is exceedingly tiring to me, tho’ I admire her very much as she has a trying time with his nerves and illnesses and her only son away in Italy with the troops. She is looking years older lately.

Jean was paid on Wed and proceeded to make out her budget to the uttermost farthing. W.I. Concert last night for British Merchantmen. Also tea and Bring and Buy stall. Result £17, £10 being the target. Rene bought my tea and gave Jean ticket for concert. Very good according to reports. Ciss’s visitors from London arrived Sat. First night in bed in house for 13 weeks. We profess to have almost settled F.B.s [flying bombs] by overrunning platforms etc. Hope we hear from Ron soon now. I have got my toy licence at last. It is rather obscure but shall carry on. Have order for 2 large dogs and a penguin from Emmie and still have that Golly to make for Mrs Hutton. Must buckle to this week. I have not been well enough to sew last week. Walter Banks is on leave, he and Eva were at Chapel Jean said.

The memory of husband Will (‘Father’) with the black pony at the meadow gate in Yeadon was poignantly recalled in May’s poem ‘The Black Pony’ written on 28th August 1944.

‘Platforms’ here refers to ‘launch platforms’ for V-1 flying bombs (nearly 10,000 of which had been targeted on Britain). Unfortunately, the first V-2 rocket, which was impossible to shoot down, struck Britain in September 1944. Over 1000 were launched up to the end of March 1945 (see ‘V-weapons in WWII’).

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

Tue Mar 7. 8.15. a.m. [1944]
# ‘CHRISTMAS CARD’ FROST
# HIGH AIRCRAFT LOSSES OVER GERMANY
# ASTHMA IMPEDES WASH-DAY ACTION
# GENTLE WEEDING

A white rime frost makes everywhere look like a Christmas picture but it is very dull, the sun not showing at all. Birds are singing. Hope day will get up as I want to do some washing tho’ it is not my “big wash” week.

Terrible raids and fighting over Ger. yesterday, 58 bombers and 11 fighters missing, but enemy losses number 120 to date and probably many more. Army on Anzio beach will probably take offensive shortly. Finns not very agreeable to Russian terms yet. Sometimes I wonder if the war will come to a sudden end and often I wonder if even this year will see the end of Gers. let alone Japs. Mary Parish not away Father says and her husband is on leave.

10.am. Percy brought 1 bag coke 3/6. It is dear but ekes out the coal and wood. Yesterday was so sunny that we did not have much fire until evening. Day is still trying to get up. Don’t know yet whether sun or cloud will win. Sun just peeped out once then went back for another snooze. I have boiled one bucket of clothes and was going to posh and rinse them, but have had to sit down. This asthma has got me weak again. The thought of spring-cleaning is a night-mare. I used to do it when asthma was worse but have lost my strength now. Yester-day I weeded a bit of front garden. The wiry sand grass (sown to bind sand-hills) encroaches so quickly. It was all amongst my violets. I got some out but the fibrous roots are so entwined with violet runners that I pulled several up. Hope it doesn’t spoil them for flowering. I threw a shovel-ful of soil and manure over them afterwards and hope for the best. Wonder when I get any more done.

Mary, née Parish was a daughter of Albert Parish (see 2 Jan 1941) and sister of Esther and Charlie. Her husband, had been based at ‘HMS Royal Arthur’ where she was a ‘Wren’.

‘Poshing’ involved using a ‘posher’, which looked like an inverted basin, with holes in, on the end of a pole-handle, to apply pressure on clothes in a wash-tub.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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