All posts tagged Land Army

Friday Mar. 24. 8.30. P.M. [1944]

Alas, it is more than a fortnight later and I have done no more, violets are in full bloom now. Later on Tue. 7. after starting the wash I felt rather shaky and had to sit down. Then Harriet came for rabbit (gave me 10/6 for it). I walked a little way with her, wind very cold. She was full of news about Jack Milson’s sudden death and his mother’s stroke, she has died since, and news of Grace and Ivy who are both overworking owing to shortness of staff. Grace cooking at Revesby for Land Army Girls, and Ivy at Alford Hospital. I felt cold and had to leave washing and sit by fire again. Thought I had a nasty head cold but it turned out to be a boil in my nose or face which did not come to a head but infected my skin thro’ a tiny spot on my forehead. Dr. said it was a streptococcus germ from my nose which had infected and poisoned my skin and was a form of erysipelas, but not true erysip. I had to stay in bed from Sat. night until Thursday, but it yielded well to treatment, odious thick black lotion on my head, and as much water as I could drink, tea too. I did not feel very ill after my nose started to discharge except for the discomfort of my swollen face and dry mouth. Nose still discharges, and to-day my forehead just above left eyebrow is a little puffy.

Father been in bed all day with bilious attack and feverish cold. Think he is a little better tonight, he had a bit of cold and I think got a chill standing outside on Sun. night. It was very cold tho’ Jean and I were not so starved. It was an awful sight, the chandeliers and flares made it as light almost as day and we could see fires in several spots, some were Ger. planes I expect, as 7 were shot down (3 by one fighter). Kenwick Hall was partly burned by incend[iaries] and a plane came down at Legbourne but no casualties that night at all. Radio said a few planes. If that is a few, what must 800 or 1000 seem like. We did not realise they were so near as Trusthorpe but Amy wrote to say about 12 bombs were dropped between them and Hall chiefly in fields and that except for a few broken windows and a good! scare they were none the worse. One unexploded bomb was in centre of road between school and Hall so their road was closed. Ken had had three fingers in turnip cut[ting] box, fortunately only flesh wounds but very painful. I was still shaky from being in bed so perhaps that was why I was so nervous but the chief thing I felt was of utter helplessness as the planes roared high over head and all the doors and windows in the whole row of houses rattled before we heard each bump of bombs or planes. Wonder if they are about tonight again. There have been bumps, but it may be some of the unexp[loded] bombs going off. Still some of the planes sound sinister to me. Ours have gone out in great strength but not so many as Wed night. I have never seen as many as that before, they were like this all over the sky. Jean is at G.L.B. [Girls’ Life Brigade].We’ll soon go to bed when she comes. I am nervous especially with Father in bed ill.

Jack Milson, and brother, Len, had a farm in Bradshaws Lane, Hogsthorpe, near Sharpe’s market-garden (see 15 Jul 1941 and Village Map).

‘Starved’, here, meant ‘suffering from being cold’.

‘Chandeliers’ were large-area illumination flares used to expose bomber targets

Kenwick Hall and Legbourne were both near Louth (see East Lincolnshire Map).

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’?