All posts tagged Ken Raynor

Sun 7.15. a.m. Aug 6th [1944]

I have neglected my diary lately. Seem to have been fully occupied. Jean started work last Monday July 31st at Town Hall Skeg[ness] as Junior Water Rental Clerk. Tom thinks it is a good start. 22/6 a week paid monthly but the other girl gets the same and has not been to sec[ondary] school. Girl who teaches Jean (Freda) very amiable, showed Jean how to type one day and Jean typed a little letter to Ron. Must remind her to write to him and send it. She has Mon. (Bank Hol.) off, also Tue. afternoon and has been granted leave of absence for the week we go to Yeadon. She seems to like her work. We go to Yeadon if all’s well on Fri and return Thur 17th so hope Emmie can come back that day.

Ron’s address B.N.A.F. again now, he has moved, I wonder if he is back in Africa. He is very fit and well, brown to his waist. Annie’s visitors came on Tuesday, they bought my knitted penguin, a golli and a Teddy Bear 7/6 each and ordered another golli and a rabbit but bought two rabbits and a golli. Rabbits 5/0 and 4/0 the smaller one. I forgot to allow turnings on pattern. My live bunnies are thriving, 7 beauties. We moved them into long hutch yesterday. Also moved hutches. Have got wood stacked on end to save rotting down. We are reducing the pile. It soon goes with no one to replenish it. Dear Father, he seldom came off patrol without something. I have hung the float up in the kitchen. He would like to think we have kept it. The old garden seat wants repairing, I don’t know whether I can do it or if I have wood that will do. These little things worry me.

Will, Bill, May (holding the float), Rene, Ron

Supp[lementary] Pen[sion] reduced to 16/6, and 5/0 orphan’s Pen. stopped, so tho’ we are no better off for Jean working we are 11/6 a week more independent. If I can only get kapok and get licence and sale for toys we may soon do without Supp. Pen. The widow’s pension I consider my right, earned and paid for by Father. I went to Labour Ex[change] on Mon. re toys and hope to obtain licence soon now. Then I can make a move about selling them. I bought a new black dress from Keightleys 38/6 just what I wanted so still have Jean’s £1 from Aunt Jet. Jean’s shoes were 25/0 from Cooper’s. Must remind her to take coup[on]s. Lily sold my brown ones for 12/6 and 3 coups. Commission 1/0.

Went to Harriet’s last evening to see how Grace was after appendicitis op. on Wed. She is as well as possible to be after it and hopes to come home at end of fortnight. It was acute and would soon have been necessary, perhaps suddenly. They are very taken with new doctor. Eileen is marvellous. Maisie and the other Eileen have gone back to Scotland. Ciss has visitors for a week. Gwen going for holiday today. I must get some Pen. money this week, also leave rent with Ciss. Ron’s allotment not thro’ yet but must not touch it. Called at’s as I came from Harriet’s. Ken and Den [Raynors] having a boxing match in kitchen. says Ber[nard] doing a big trade with baskets. Must have cycle basket for Jean when she gets cycle, so good and useful. Rene brought flowers to-day for grave. I want to take them to-day. I miss my flowers so. I hope another year to have plenty. We have got square of grass at back quite neat and have mown it twice with lawn mower. It is not very level but will roll it when it rains. I am filling hollows with tufts of grass from garden path which want removing. Markery growing well under apple tree. Antirrhinums Mrs Stewart gave me beginning to flower, all red I think. Mary brought me wallflower plants and marigolds, also eggs and dried peaches.

It is 8.30 so think I will soon get up. Rev Lowther is preaching so want to go to Chapel once. Have not got oil stove top back so must light fire. Had better get meths for Fri. as we shall not want to light fire but hope we will have stove back by then. Tom starts holiday Tues and is off Monday so Rene won’t be able to come much, but with Jean at home Mon and Tues aft we shall manage. Made trousers of Jean’s pyjamas last night. Peas in fields not filling Elsie says owing to lack of sun. We had more sun yesterday than for a long time but cold clammy mist night and morning almost like sea aar. Not quite so thick this morning but still very dull. Think I hear Brock’s, milk botts not put out!

Freda Whitmore was Jean’s senior colleague at work.

Ron’s RAF Squadron (93) had moved on from mainland Italy to Corsica in late July 1944. This location apparently came within the ‘umbrella’ of the British North Africa Force (BNAF) at this time.

The ‘float’ was a green-glass ball which had been attached to a sea-fishing net and had presumably been picked up from the beach by Will. May is pictured holding the float in the family group photograph taken by Jean in 1942.

Eileen, whose grandmother was Harriet, refers to Herbert and Annie Faulkner’s baby daughter (see 11 May 1943).

‘The other’ Eileen here refers to Ben and Maizie McGuigan’s baby daughter, who was born in Scotland at Ben’s parents’ home. Maizie was considering staying with Ben’s parents again but she returned to live in a rented house in Chapel St Leonards to await Ben’s return from Navy service (see 18 November 1943).

‘Ron’s allotment’ was probably an allowance towards ‘home rent’ from RAF pay, possibly in recognition of his father’s death.

Rev. Lowther was a visiting Methodist minister.

Aar – or haar – was a sea-mist.

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

Mon June 19 8.20 a.m. [1944]

I have just heard the bus’ [for Skegness] stop for Jean and Geo[rge Ranson] and Dor[is Hall]. It is cold and very dull again, wind still N. I think not a bit like June. We went to Mary’s to dinner and G’ma’s to tea yesterday. Jean went to S.S. Sun. 3 times but I did not go in the morning. Wind was not so strong or I should not have gone. We had a huge dinner of boiled fowl, ham, new potatoes and gooseberry pie with cus[tard] and cream. Mary is used to piling up the plates for great boys. I could have done with less. The play by G. L. [Girls’ Life] Brigade was very good tho’ Ken [Raynor] insisted that it was not suitable as it was not a religious play. I rather agreed with him tho’ it was quite a good moral play. It was in fact Brigade Propaganda. Ken recited very well, tho’ once he mixed up the quantities of the loaves and fishes. Dor[othy] and Frank Raynor sang Rock of Ages in the afternoon and Eff and Frank sang it at night. Mr Scan preached morn. and ev. Comm. Storer presided in the aft. My opinion of him is rather like Ken’s of the play. At night the Toc. H. attended. I had never been to a “light ceremony” before. It is rather a draw-back to have a sense of the ridiculous at times, but to see those men, a lot of whom never go to church except for these occasions, seriously taking a candle out of a box and lighting it then repeating “They shall grow not old” rather savoured to me of ancestor worship. Still I suppose they do do a lot of good in some places, but I think the original meaning is getting distorted. Like my mirror which was a very good one 30 years ago but now gives a more and more distorted reflection as time passes. I must have been in a critical mood I think.

Girls' Life Brigade - Chapel St Leonards c.1944

Girls’ Life Brigade – Chapel St Leonards c.1944
Back row:
Beryl Ingoldmells, Mrs Ford, Daphne Ward,
Audrey Ingoldmells, June Miller, Olive Hall, Freda Short, Betty Johnson, Jean Hill (Flag Bearer), Edith North.
Middle row:
Joan Jackson, Eva Brown, Mabel Robinson,
Mrs Dandison (Captain), Grace Harness.
Front row (kneeling):
Flora Hall, Rita Clarke, Lilian Stapleton, Irene North.

Wrote to Ron later. I wonder if it will be easier next year. Everything now is strange. All I do I think, “last year we did this together” or “went there together”, and all the time I talk and smile and try to keep a calm front, while underneath is a fierce pain or dreary emptiness. How little we think, until we know by experience, of the sorrow there is around us, covered by smiling faces. We are across the Cherbourg Pen[insula] with approx. 25,000 Gers. cut off. They continue to send Robot planes, we are careful not to broadcast damage done. I fear it is considerable.

Doris Hall (whose ‘death’ was mistakenly reported on 16th March 1942), daughter of neighbours Albert and Emily, worked in Skegness. As well as brothers Ted and Albert, she had sisters Ethel, Emily and Olive (who, like Jean, was a Girls Life Brigade member and is in the photograph).

Dorothy Raynor was Frank Raynor’s niece, Ken’s cousin.

‘Mr Scan’, was probably a visiting preacher, whose name had been abbreviated.

The Girls’ Life Brigade photograph was believed taken by AE Wrate, Skegness. 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. 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’?

Mon. Feb. 7. 44. 8.30. a.m.

It is very dull but not so bitterly cold this morning. We had sleet on Sat and yesterday was icily cold. I did not get to Chapel at night as the cold wind took my breath just to go outside. Rene came in afternoon. Tom was preaching at night so she was going. Jean had a lot of home-work to do as she got none done on Sat. It was her birthday. Joyce, Mavis, Ken [R] and David came for tea. Joy[ce] had to go home on 8.30 bus’ so they all went then. Joy. brought her a bottle of Yard[ley] Lav[ender] scent, very nice. Mav. “The Fluter’s Ball” and Ken two handkerchiefs. Had a letter from Vamplew. Military have his bungalow. Father has an aeroplane test today. He does not like that part of his duties. For one thing the test is not carried out fairly and another is he finds it difficult to remember names and numbers. Also it does not seem to be of any use to them, so long as they know enemy planes from our own it should be enough and leave the rest to the R.O.C. [Royal Observer Corps].

I have got wash-pot on for small wash. (I do not intend to take another house without a copper if I can help it.) We did a large one last week and I don’t intend doing many today as the weather doesn’t look too good. We got 5lb oranges on Sat. I hope to make some marmalade.

David Sparling was the son of a naval petty officer, based at ‘Royal Arthur’, whose family lodged with Herbert and Annie Faulkner (see 9 Feb 1942).

The present of ‘The Fluter’s Ball’ may have been sheet music (for piano) with lyrics from the original ‘Phil the Fluther’s Ball’ by Percy French.

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’?