All posts tagged Home Guard

Tue 6.a.m. Aug 8. 44.
# SEA MIST ROLLS IN AFTER FINE DAY
# REPORTS OF [V-1] ‘FLY-BOMBS’
# PLUCKY VISITORS FROM LONDON DESCRIBE BOMB DAMAGE
# TENDING WILL’S GRAVE
# NIECE CISS’S BROTHER-IN-LAW KILLED IN ACTION

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’?

7/7/44 10.30. PM Friday
# PLANES COMPETE WITH BIRDSONG
# OVERWORKING IN GARDEN
# MAKING RASPBERRY JAM
# DREAMS OF RON

It has been a fairly nice day and is a perfect evening. I am in bed and the sun has just gone down like a ball of fire. Birds are still singing, a blackbird’s or thrush’s liquid notes from somewhere in the garden. Alas, that over it all is the continuous droning of planes. We are greatly blessed so far by being out of the radius of fly-bombs (doodle-bugs). They still come over Lon[don] and the South by day and night tho’ many are shot down and yesterday 11 of their lairs were bombed.

I feel “fey”, as the Scotch say, to-night that weary feeling of false elation said to presage trouble or depression. I am tired but not sleepy. Did too much in the garden yesterday I expect, then went to see Eva and Grace, found it windier than I expected, did more garden in evening. There is such a lot to do, and I am not used to heavy garden work. The soil too is very heavy compared to the old garden which was mostly sand. Have done no garden today except hilling 3 rows of potatoes. Jean hilled 4 very well too. Mrs S[hort] brought back borrowed hay-fork yesterday and half bucket of new potatoes. Rene came to ask me to dinner but I had just got oven hot for baking and was tired too, so did not feel like cycling down there. She came again this afternoon but did not stay long as Tom is holidaying for a week. Am making rasp[berrie]s Mavis brought into jam by Mary’s recipe 1lb. ras. 1lb sugar and 1 teaspoon Boric acid pdr. Mix well and stir frequently for 24 hours, no cooking. Wonder if mine will keep. Mr Hall and Albert and Ted are on leave for a few days.

Last night I dreamed Ron stood at the foot of my bed putting on his pullover ready for going out, I opened my eyes suddenly and raised my head to see him better (actually) and he vanished. I saw his brown face so clearly, not sad, or smiling, just calmly pulling on his pullover.

Birds and planes still vying with each other. It will soon be too grey to see to write. It is not dark all night with this moon just past its full. The air seems full of planes but I can only count 6 in sight circling round probably going out or on manoeuvres. One had a tail light but it was a 4 eng[ined] bomber not the dreaded fly-bomb. Percy is on H.G. [Home Guard] duty all night so hope we have no air activity. I am more nervous again now since the fly bombs came tho’ not as nervous as before.

Mrs Hall, neighbour at Council House No. 1, would have been relieved that her husband and two sons were on leave from the Navy as she had been worried about them in possible D-Day action a month previously (see 7 June 1944).

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

Tues June 6 D-Day 9.30 pm [1944] SECOND FRONT
# D-DAY AT LAST – ‘AN ORDINARY DAY’
# FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT ON WIRELESS
# MONTGOMERY’S MESSAGE TO TROOPS
# CALL TO PRAYER BY KING GEORGE
# CHURCH SERVICE – ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
# THOUGHTS AT THE END OF DAY

So, at last the long-talked of Sec front has begun. I have not even given it a new page and that seems a fitting symbol of how it appears to me. What excitement there may be in towns or elsewhere, in the country, does not seem to have touched us here. It is just an ordinary day, after nearly 5 years of war it takes a lot to make us demonstrative. I went on with my ordinary work and made my first toy for sale, a white duck with green wings and yellow beak and feet. It is for Mrs Russell to give to a baby friend. I must make the rabbit for Emmie next and try to send an extra one too. Ciss cleaned her pantry and Rene washed. Jean went to school, indeed she had gone before the announcement:
4000 ships and a great many smaller craft crossed the channel. Great air-liners took air-borne troops behind the Ger. lines.

Montgomery is speaking now, a message to the troops of which he is the head.
Now a service. Almost 10 o’ clock. The A.B. Cant. [Archbishop of Canterbury] has spoken and now they are singing “Oh God, our help in ages past”.
At nine o’clock the King broadcast a call to prayer, not just one day but all the days of crisis. In the news afterwards we heard that all was still going well in France. I fear the “little people” like us would not just go on with this ordinary work. However pleased they may be at the thought of deliverance, at present it means danger and hardship and war. Many will have to leave their homes and many I fear will lose their lives.
The service is over, a beautiful service, ending with the hymn, “Soldiers of Christ Arise”.

We are in bed. A motor cycle has just gone by and a swiftly moving plane. Per[cy] was with H[ome] Guards last night. I am pleased he is at home next door tonight. God be with us all those whose sons or husbands or other dear ones have already fallen in this new front. Be with the wounded and comfort the dying and those who are afraid. We had 12 letters from Ron to-day – a record. I had 6, the others 3 each. In the most recent one, only a week since he wrote it, an A.M. Letter, he says his hopes of return are practically nil. I am almost pleased much as I long to see him but somehow he seems safer there at present. I must try to sleep now. The longed for D-Day has arrived. Deliverance Day Jean says it means.

Chapel St Leonards, Anderby and Hogsthorpe Members of the Home Guard © AE Wrate, Skegness

Chapel St Leonards, Anderby and Hogsthorpe
Members of the Home Guard © AE Wrate, Skegness
Back row:
Dave Short, Bob Taylor, Harry Epton, Ray Sharpe, Stan Grantham, Len Ingoldmells, Sam Scott, Billy Willson, Alf Johnson, Tom Hill, Mervyn Clark, George Dennis, Fred Dennis.
Middle row:
Tobias Harriman, Bob Thorn, Ben Clark, Silas Willey, Fred Boulton, Horace Grantham, Percy Ranson, Bill Sylvester, Tom Wright, Harold Brough, Geoff Hallgarth, John Hill, Frank Brough.
Front row (seated):
Charlie Knight, Jos Simpson, John Jinks, George A Young, Harry Atkin, Steve Lucas, Jack ‘Poppa’ Taylor (Lieutenant) and dog, Edgar Brown, Hedley Lucas, Norman Richardson, Billy Turner.
Sitting on ground:
George Lyle, Jim Lenton, Arthur Bradley, Sid Perry, Len Short, George Barker, Norman Willson, Harold Wright, Vic Chapman, Archie Hancock.

 

Ron’s letters were from Italy where he had been based at Lago airfield since his RAF Squadron (93) had moved from Capodichino in Naples in January 1944 on a day when they witnessed the first lava flow heralding an eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

‘Deliverance-Day’ was an apt interpretation, but officially D-Day simply means the day of the start of an operation, so every military operation has its D-Day. However the one on 6th June 1944 (the start of Operation Overlord) is unique in its popular recognition.

The Home Guard photograph, believed taken by AE Wrate, Skegness, was loaned by George and Dorothy Barker (who supplied all names in the caption). Permission for publication has been kindly agreed by Martin Wrate of Wrates Scholastic Photographs Ltd, Prince George St, Skegness.

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

Sun. Jan. 9. 8.30. P.M [1944]
# WELSH SOLDIERS ATTEND CHAPEL SERVICE
# CHANGES TO FOOD RATIONING
# CONCERNS ABOUT JAPAN PROLONGING WAR

Dull morning, turning to drizzle at dinner-time then to steady rain. Still raining at 8.30. It has been damp and chilly, but not bitterly cold. Saw a bus load of H.Gs [Home Guards] come by this morning. Jean went to Chapel, said about 15 soldiers were there, they are a lot of them Welsh. Some have already gone on leave. Jean said Tom said a few words of welcome to them, he was preaching next Sunday and would have some Welsh tunes for them to sing. Father took Spence to Louth Hos[pital] to-day so Jean (who has a cold and did not go in rain to S.S. [Sunday School]) and I went in car to Rene’s and had tea with her and came home with Father after he had brought Mrs Spence to her house. He had a cup of tea, but came home for his meal as it was so wet and soon dark. We had canned Vic[toria] Plums with egg custard for tea. Very nice. “Bill” was distinctly annoyed because we took up all the hearthrug. The kitten is grown very big and is very playful. Rene let me have ¼ tea as I am quite out. New period starts tomorrow. Tinned Herrings, Pilchards and Mack[erel] need less points. We are not very fond of tinned fish, except salmon and do not care for that very often. It needs too many points to get much of it now. Sprogg still has a cough and Jean is doctoring him with Tibs. Doesn’t seem to ail much but doesn’t wash himself much and looks very grubby. Jean and Father both seem to have a slight return of their colds. I do hope Jean will be able to start school.

Charles came yesterday to see if Father could fetch Ke[ith] and Ma[rion] from Sk[egness] Stn. at 8 p.m. but he has not enough light and was on watch too. C[laude] Evison could not either so don’t know what they would do, take a taxi I expect. They had just sent a telegram in the morning. It is early for another. I do hope he [Keith] is not on Draft Leave so soon after losing Raymond. I am afraid there will be a lot have to go soon now. Russians are 10 miles over Polish border now and pushing on. Tonight Stuart Hibbert [Hibberd] reminded us that the end of the German War did not mean the end of the war as a whole and that we should still have a tough job to conquer the Japs. Somehow we seem to push this distant war out of our minds as much as we can, forgetting that covering it up does not alter the fact of its serious existence. I hope Ron does not have to go out there, but then I don’t want him to come home just now either. We do not know what to wish for them. It is best to leave it, and live from day to day, thankful that so far he is spared. Oh, if it were only all over, and no more “wars or rumours of war”.

‘Spence’ was believed to be Mr Spence whose wife was previously mentioned (see 2 Feb 1943).

Stuart Hibberd was a well known BBC radio announcer.

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

Wed. Nov. 3/43 10.45. P.M.
# MORNING SHOPPING IN SKEGNESS
# CAR PETROL RUNS OUT
# HOME GUARD ON PATROL
# SOFT TOY MAKING AND KNITTING
# EVENING AIRCRAFT ACTIVITY
# WAR NEWS GOOD FROM ITALY

Have just come to bed. Jean has been in some time but I stopped to write an airgraph to Ron. However I have not finished it as I could not remember what I wanted to put in. I am tired after going to Sk[egness] this morning. Went on 10.30 bus’ and came back with Father. He took Mrs. Atk.son to catch 12.20 train. He had his hair-cut 10D and we went to try to get fish to take home for dinner. Did not fancy gournets with skin on and Halibut was 2/9 lb. so did not get any. Got sausage rolls (very good) and cheesecakes and with a bit of cold ham for Father made do for dinner. Rene came just after we arrived home between 1 and 2 o’c, she had done a big wash. Hope it dried. It was first fine day this week. It was so warm that we sat on seat near back door after dinner. We should have been home earlier but just got to corner of Lan[caster] Av. [Skegness] where Dr Menz[ies’] house is and pet[rol] gave out. It was a long way to walk to Pet. St[ation] on Burgh Rd. but Father found a good Samaritan who let him have a quart, very illegal, but helpful, as the garage man might have refused to put him some in a tin. He did do tho’ when we finally arrived there to fill up so Father left it at Hallgarth’s on way home. Mr. Bell had borrowed it for Father when he fetched Mrs Seal and baby home from Huttoft. What shifts we are reduced to. Shall we ever become honest again. Heard chatter and clatter of feet go by just now. Wonder if it’s H.G. They are supposed to be out tonight. Wonder how Pete Taylor is feeling to-night. I bet he wishes he were out with them.

I had been showing Eff my toy horse this aft and it was on table when H Blanchard came. He promptly asked how much it was and gave me 5/0 straight away for it. It’s worth it too according to the toys I saw to-day in shops at Sk. Mean looking, terribly badly dressed dolls 22/6 and much worse animals than my home-made one from 4/6 to 14/6. Have cut a doll out tonight. Must make it and let Jean take it to Gerry Balding. The patterns are very good and this one encloses pattern for dress and knickers, that will take off. Have started back of Jean’s cardigan too and finished Tam o’ Shanter hat except for lining so it will be ready for Sunday, saw one in Sk. like it on someone and they looked very nice in it. I think I am going to like mine, and it will cost nothing, it being made out of materials I had. I have an old round silver brooch which I think I shall wear on side of it.

A great lot of planes went out tonight round about 6 p.m. and there was a big explosion which shook the house and rattled doors and windows just before Father went on watch. Heard planes return between 9 and ten. Wonder where they had been and if many were lost. War news keeps very good. Armies in Italy advancing all the time, if slowly. They have taken villages and places commanding plains where Gers are withdrawing, and Russians are advancing by leaps and bounds. It will be a good thing when the bloodshed is over, altho’ it won’t be all plain sailing then.

Mrs Atkinson (see 5 Sep 1943) was probably meant here.

‘Gournet’– a fish alternatively known as gurnet, gurnard, grondin, griofle.

Mrs Seal was the married name of Edith, the daughter of Reverend Bell (see 19 Dec 1942). She lived in Sunningdale Drive.

Harold Blanchard, one of the two brothers from Hogsthorpe, was almost certainly meant here (see 5 Nov 1941).

Gerald Balding, whose elder brothers were George and John, was the child of Billy (see 15 Oct 1942).

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

Sun Sep 5 9.30 a.m. [1943]
# ‘TAXI’ WORK FOR WILL
# MEAL PLANNING
# FIRST DAYS OF WAR RECALLED
# RUSSIAN CHURCH ESTABLISHMENT REPORTED
# MORE FRUIT BOTTLING AND JAMMING

Father has just gone to take “locals” to their appointments. There are only 2 today as Tom had done some exchanging. Father is taking Mr Miles along with him to Sk[egness] stn. (Mrs Atkinson’s son in law). It is spitting with rain and looks as if it might be a wet day. Wind came East last night and it turned cold. Rene came to fetch her cake. Tom came with her. Jean has just got up and is having bag of crisps for breakfast. Father had porridge and then boiled bacon. I had bread and butter. Our butter ration only lasts until about Wed. We don’t have it at breakfast-time except on Sunday. The bread is very good this week-end, for a change. I could always make a good meal of good bread and butter. I cooked joint yesterday so shall only make a rice pudding to-day, and probably fry the veg. left from yesterday.

It is quite close indoors although it is very dull. The summer seems to have broken very early, tho’ I hope we get a nice lot of fine days before winter comes. It is not a bit like the first Sunday of the war. I remember it was hot and lovely. Ron came from Chapel with the expected news that we were at war. He and Ralph had made up their minds to join the Navy at once. Well, that did not come off and it was more than a year before Ron was actually in the forces though he joined HG or rather L.D.V [Local Defence Volunteers] the day it was formed. I remember him getting up to go on duty at midnight the night the news came that “Hitler had left Berlin” which really meant I think that invasion fleet was on its way. I can recall the cold clammy fear that came over me when Father slipped down from the box to tell us. Jean and I were sleeping in room then and Ron in scull[ery]. Well it was quickly stopped, Gers never got near enough to invade, and we were told later that 30,000 Ger. bodies were washed up on the shores of France. All the story will probably not be told until after the war, but the rumour was that they poured oil on the water to smooth waves for shallow invasion boats and that it was fired.

This morning the Russians announced the forming of an established Church. Molotov had been at conference and Stalin approved of it. I hope this is the beginning of better things. No fresh news from Italy, the heavy fighting there not reached yet. Hope we soon get another letter from Ron. Emmie had one dated Aug 20th and he was fit and well then. I hear on Radio that Reggio (It[aly]) airfield can be used and wonder if he will go there. I hear too of Gers bombing our air bases and wonder how they fare. We know so little, perhaps it is as well.

We have had a busy week jamming and bottling fruit. There is so much fruit and so little sugar. G.ma gave me some of her big pears and Mary sent a basket of hazel pears, fine ones, we had some stewed yesterday with a junket. I must bottle some if I have enough sugar. Have made bramble and apple jam (seedless), bramble vinegar and damson jam this week. Also bottled damsons. We hope to make apple-pulp this week. We have not made any before. F Raynor came yesterday afternoon and plastered ceiling in Wilsons’ room and outside window. No more mice since Mrs W. was here.

William (‘Bill’) Miles, married to Mrs Atkinson’s daughter, Alice, lived in Nottingham and owned a holiday home, ‘Landseer Bungalow’, in Landseer Avenue (see Village Map).

The Local Defence Volunteers or LDV (later known as the Home Guard) was formed of undrafted 17-65 year-old men, following a call by War Minister Anthony Eden after Germany’s unchallenged invasion of France in May 1940. It was nicknamed ‘Look, Duck and Vanish’. (See also 26 May 1942.)

The rumours described apparently resulted from a major British propaganda exercise, supported by demonstrations of some capability to ‘set the Channel on fire’ using oil pipelines. The propaganda was believed to have played a part in the German decision, on 17th September 1940, to postpone indefinitely the planned invasion by sea, ‘Operation Sea Lion’, which never took place.

Stalin gave orders to re-establish the Russian Orthodox Church, resulting in the appointment of Patriarch Sergius, but under very firm political control.

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