All posts tagged Joe Kirk

Thur. Mar.2. 44. 8.15. a.m.

Sharp and cold this morning but we have no more snow. Most of it seems to have gone from wolds tho’ no doubt there is some left in shady hollows in the vales. There was either rain or sleet when we went to bed last night. Think “the Sprogg” must have been fighting as Jean says “he won’t speak” and he sits glumly by the fire. Think he is moulting too and his long hair is a nuisance. I have given him a Tibs. Percy did not come with coal yesterday, if he does not come to-day we shall be quite out. Rene brought me a basket-full or we should have run out yesterday and wood and coke aren’t much good without a little coal at the bottom.

Finns are trying to come to Peace terms with Russia. Russ is in the position to dictate them and I do not think she will err on the side of leniency. It is hard to have to accept terms from a superior power in order to save one’s country from destruction. We ourselves may yet have to accept terms for our neighbours, and be fortunate if we don’t have to give concession to Russia ourselves, that we do not like. But better that humiliation than that either the Gers. or Russ. should conquer England. Our planes were out again last night and Gers over S.E. and London again. Damage and casualties radio says and enemy planes down. There is still a tough struggle going on at Anzio beachhead but Gers. have slackened again and we have more reinforcements. American war against Japs going so well that it has even been prophesied that Tokyo will fall before Berlin but that is not a general belief. We have started third month of this year and do not really seem to have advanced much, but suppose we must have done.

Father will be home soon to take Mrs B with baby to Dr M[enzies], Skeg[ness]. Joe K[irk] is doing an hour or two [Watch-box duty] for him. If I can only overset this bout of asthma I shall start S[pring] Cleaning next week. We don’t look like getting another house at present. The strong spring sunshine begins to make things look dusty now and the house is so dry we can start anytime. Lately the cleaning has seemed to drag on so long with me having asthma. I used to be able to work in spite of it or between bouts but it seems to take my strength now for so long. Rene’s rheum. troubling her, this stormy weather.

Mrs B, here, is probably Mrs Vera Balding, wife of Billy (see 15 Oct 1942).

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

Nov 25. 8.15 a.m. (Thurs.) [1943]

A bright cold morning, hardly daylight yet. We don’t take down black-out until 8.30. now. We could do with the extra hour in the morning now. I always think it would be nice to have normal time for the winter months. Most people have to be about by 7.a.m. so it’s no saving of light to have the extra hour in the evening.

Yesterday morning, 12 a.m. Nov. 23-24 midnight a Lancaster plane returning from bombing Berlin crashed on the beach near “Alongshore”. The altimeter wasn’t working and they thought they were 2,000 or more feet up when they hit the sea and rebounded to the beach. Father was called up as were all C.G.s and they went to see what could be done. As they did not know at W.Bx (it being dark) whether it was on land or sea they called out Lifeboat Sk[egness] which was on sea in 15 mins. Smart work. The ambulance from R.Art. on the contrary was over 1 hour before it arrived and the poor fellows, 3 badly hurt, had to lay there waiting. It was afterwards found that 2 more were pretty badly hurt too, one of them walked to W Bx to phone his base and did not know he was hurt until taking off his helmet as he was sweating, he borrowed Father’s handkerchief (it would be his oldest coloured rag tho’ clean) and wiping his forehead found it covered with blood. Even then he thought it was not much. Two men are dangerously ill. Father waited for Amb[ulance] and took it down to “Stokeby” to get as near as poss. Then they carried the men on stretchers. One of their own crew helped carry one, and Father said when they put him down, he was one of the badly hurt tho’ not complaining, he gently stroked the poor fellow’s face and hair and said affectionately, “Never thought you were as heavy as that, you old D—-”. Expressive of his feelings if not elegant. The men on watch P[aul] and Par[ish] sent them their flasks of tea. It is strange that we did not hear it but were fast asleep when M[addison] knocked. Rene said it rocked their bungalow. I was awake not long before and wished they would not fly quite so low but the very low-flying one crashed too we hear a few miles inland. Hard luck to win home so nearly and then crash.

'Alongshore' 1940s

‘Alongshore’ 1940s

Father went to Sk yest. morning and brought the clothes home Rene had washed and got dry. She came same time as she had to put them out again to finish drying, so waited to get them in and hers too. Had letter from Em L with photo of Kath’s baby a fine boy, John David. Must return it. Also a letter from Jock’s wife and I had sent G[reetings] A. Graph the day before. His address is slightly different but still in Africa. He had been in hospital but had not told her what for. Says she is very fit and well, evidently Land Army life suits her.

The crash was observed by Frank Raynor, on duty at the ROC observation post, who was first to reach the aircraft, on bicycle, followed by Joe Kirk, on coastguard duty at the watchbox, whom he had alerted on the way. The crew members were all in shock, having evacuated the plane, and one asked Frank to retrieve a white glove, a present from a girlfriend. All survived and resumed flying within six months. Alongshore’ was a bungalow on the seashore-edge of ‘The Marsh’ almost opposite Granthams’ farm (see Village Map). (Account related by Ken Raynor).
Further details, including names of crew members, are given in the Crash Logs (1943) of ‘Bomber County Aviation Resource’ website.

The ambulance was most likely from ‘HMS Royal Arthur’ (not Artillery).

‘Stokeby’ was a house between ‘Alongshore’ and Wolla Bank (coastal strip further north towards Anderby).

John David was the baby son of Kathie, née Lewis, one of May’s sister Emily’s daughters (see 15 Feb 1943).

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]

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]

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. 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, 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’?