All posts tagged Grimsby

Sun. Mar.5. 7 P.M. [1944]

Very cold but snow almost gone, sun quite warm out of icy wind. Rene did not come yest. but Jean went to see her. She sent cakes and “Village Memories” of Mr Middleton of Radio gardening fame. Tom had changed my library book at Boots’ for me. Jean went to Chapel this morning, was late for dinner. I gather she and David and Ken exchanged a few compliments re B.B. [Boys’ Brigade] and G.L.B. [Girls’ Life Brigade]. She did not get to Sunday School as she had a lot of home-work to do. It is a bug-bear this homework. Rene came this afternoon and had a cup of tea. Father is on watch at 8.p.m so shall soon have to get his supper.

10.PM. Father had his supper and went on watch at 8 o’ c. This new time arrangement mixes one up. He came off at 8 am, went on at 8 p.m tonight, off at 2 a.m and on again at 12 to 6 p.m to-morrow. I have written to Ron and to Jock. Kettle is nearly boiling for bottles and it is time Jean was in bed. She has washed her hair and set waves with grips. I gave Mrs Hutton her [Jean’s] old house shoes on Fri. She seemed very grateful and said she would give me one or two coupons for them. One has to be very careful in giving things away as people’s pride is easily hurt, but in these days we can always make the shortage of coupons the excuse for passing things on and most people are glad of them. (Glad of them must be a Lincs expression. I’m sure it is not grammatical.) We have had no letter from Ron for a week, hope there is one tomorrow. Chas. Parrish is on leave, Mr P. thinks his Regt. is going abroad as he has 16 days. Expect they will feel it a lot, as he is only boy and not too strong, also both girls are away now. He can hardly be 20 yet I think. Finns have not come to a decision yet. Bulgars feeling for peace but immense difficulties in the way.

Mrs Hutton, here, was probably of the family which had been evacuated from Grimsby, at first to Hogsthorpe, and at that time believed to be living almost next door, in ‘Red Tiles’ no longer used by the Army (see 11 Apr 1941).

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

Thurs Nov 18/43 8.15 a.m. [1943]

It is bright and clear and cold this morning tho’ it was hailing when we went to bed and I heard rain or hail in the night. There is a morning moon, when it is waned the mornings will seem very dark, still it is only 5 weeks to Xmas and the shortest day. Jean has gone to school. Just as she was going a lot of planes came over, probably returning from or setting out for a raid. Jean thought returning as they were heading more inland than towards the sea. “Snip” is washing herself after a plate of porage. I told her it was hot and she carefully skirted round the edges of the plate but very soon finished it. The animals always seem hungry these cold days. We had another rabbit yesterday, it was very good indeed as they are in cold weather. Sent Mrs Leivers word how much her fowl was. It weighed 7 lbs with feathers off, just over I think, and is 1/10 lb so charged 13/0. There is not supposed to be any profiteering but there always seems to be a loophole. Fowls, young and old are 1/4 live weight but 1/10 with feathers off so in a good fowl they get over 2/0 for that. Then if they take insides out and head and legs off they can charge up to 2/6 lb.

Had a letter from Mrs. L. Lees yesterday, it was a long time since she had written. Joan is married (she sent a PG [photograph] of group). She [Joan] will be 29 I think. They all look very nice. Len looks about 70 but Mrs. L is getting plump and looks quite young. Rosemary is 19 in WAAFs [Women’s Auxiliary Air Force], she looks quite the modern young miss, is as tall as her father and fat too. Anne and Susan look very nice in their bridesmaids dresses, Joan was not in white but looked very nice in short dress. Billy has been in India and Ceylon for two years. I think he is a Lieut. now. Want to know if we can send them fowls for Xmas. Nothing doing. Now we are not in the trade it’s not worthwhile.

Have fitted Jean’s skirt, think it will look very nice. Cut out a velveteen dog last night, and did some of my cardigan. Rene washed a few clothes for me, we did not put them out, but have got them dry indoors. There is very little wind now, it seems very quiet. Father took Gran to Aunt Mary’s yesterday when he came from Sk[egness]. She is staying there a few days. Jean said Maisie and baby and Cis were on bus’ Tue night. I believe she is coming to live with Con for the present. Ben is away for some months. She was with Mary but babies make too much untidiness for Mary. It’s a pity she hasn’t one or two.

Anne and Susan Lees, not mentioned previously, were presumably younger children of Mr and Mrs Lees (see 16 Dec 1940), and bridesmaids at their sister Joan’s wedding.

Aunt Mary, with whom Grandma was staying, was Charles Hill’s wife, Jean’s aunt.

Ben McGuigan, Maizie’s husband (see 22 Mar 1942), was at sea, serving in the Royal Navy. At one time he served on HMS Aurora.

Mary Blythe (married name), with whom Maizie and baby had temporarily stayed, was a sister of Ciss and Connie. She was a teacher, living near Grimsby, who never had children of her own.

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

July 13. 2. a.m. [1943]

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’?