All posts tagged Laurence

Fri June 9. 6.o’c a.m. [1944]

I slept until 5 o’c then woke with the old enemy asthma. I have taken down the black-out and opened the window as it is very close. It has been more rain and looks as if it may be drizzling now. It will do a lot of good. I can hear doves or pigeons cooing and every now and then a cuckoo. There seems to be a lot of cuckoos this year. In the back-ground is a chorus of smaller birds, but the black-birds and thrushes do not sing so much now. There does not seem so many birds here, I think the hills are a sanctuary for them at The Point. Yesterday I had notice that my Pension Book was at P.O. but they have put Lenton L[odge] for address tho’ I wrote some time since and informed them of the change. I went and got the necessary form W47 I think but found when I got home that I should have had an envelope with it and also Pension Bk. I must go again and draw Pension to the time we came here and post book with form. Oh, these forms!

I made the rabbit up yesterday that I cut out Wed. It is fine. Also I made up the grey horse I cut out some time since, so shall send all three to Emmie. I must really go to Sk[egness] and see about licence etc for selling them. If Jean is still deaf with one ear must go on Mon. We cleaned (Jean and I) the heap of rubbish left by Chriss [?] off the front garden last night. Rene dug a piece yesterday. It is nearly all done now and as I have got the roll[er] home I think I shall try to get seed in after the rain. If it doesn’t come properly I must do it again in autumn. Nurse says she doesn’t think Mrs C[oote] will last over to-day. It will be a relief if she goes, for herself and him. I heard him [Mr Coote] say yesterday, “I wish she could go, never mind what happens to me.” He does not believe in any life after this and will not have anyone to talk to Mrs C. but Ciss says she told her that she sung a bit sometimes and prayed too so I hope she has found the right way and that he may yet come to know different. How could I carry on at all but for the hope of a life to come, and meeting all those who have gone. One night Will seemed to come, and I wanted to go with him, but I thought of Jean and said, “I can’t leave Jean yet but wait for me.” I wonder where he is waiting, but he will be happy, not fretting as we do still.

Poor Mrs Hall has her two boys and her husband on the same ship. If it is lost she may lose all. I pray not. Almost every house has someone in the services they are anxious about. Poor Daisy, she expects Norman has gone. I felt so bad when I heard the tanks were going forward. He is in Tank Corps. Joan’s brother has gone too. Laurence [nephew] had orders to have all his kit ready, I wonder if he has gone. The wounded are already coming back, and alas, there are already many who will not come back. In Italy they are fighting hard too. Rome was taken without fighting. Gers said to save the city, but they went in such haste that they left a lot of equipment behind. Frank Adams has gone to Italy. Poor Sybil, I must write. I am pleased Ron is not back here now. If he had come home and then gone to France we should have been more worried than now. He seems safer there somehow.

Surely this year will see the end. Churchill has issued a warning against undue optimism at present. Ger has prepared for this and is not done yet. Perc[y] says it will be over in Sept. Let’s hope he is right. French have met our troops with cheers in Normandy, there was some doubt of their reception I think and no doubt all will not be so friendly. The Vichy Party have been told to fight against us. Even after the war I fear France will be torn between the two elements. “A country divided against itself cannot stand.” Turkey has disappointed us, but Spain and Portugal seem to be veering a little more to us under pressure tho’ I think Spain would defy us if she dared. Old scores are not forgotten. I think few planes were over last night as I did not wake.

10.20 p.m. To-day I drew the first 6 weeks of my widow’s pension. (I do not dare to let my thoughts dwell on it.) It is only 15/0 for Jean and I but what should I have done without it? Until 6 years or so ago when the Vol[untary] contributions came in we did not pay any Pension money. I drew the money up to 9th May, then as we came here on 10th address has to be altered, shall have about 4 more weeks to draw, back money, when it comes back, then there will just be 15/0 a week until July 25, then 10/0 until Jean is at work, unless I get Sup[plementary] Pension. I should get 10/0 for toys I sent to Emmie today, less 10D for postage. If I can get a sale for them and get a supply of kapok I shall be alright I think.

I drew £4.10. Pension and £3.16.1 from Will’s S[avings] Cert[ificate]. I gave Rene £1 to buy something. She is buying a cycle- basket. I think I had better have one too. I gave Jean 10/0 of it to put in Trustee [Savings Bank] for “Salute the Soldier” week at Sk. I made up my stamps to 30/0 to-day for a Cert. After this my savings will be less I expect.

I made a temporary “scraper” tonight as the soil here sticks, it is not like our old sandy garden. It is a very good job, except that the scraper part is not strong enough, must look out for a better piece somewhere. Percy set me some of his cabb[age] plants to-night. I think he’d like to plant the whole front garden, but I mean to have it grass.

The person named as ‘Chriss’, presumably connected with the previous occupant of Council House No. 3, has not been identified.

Joan, wife of Roy Simpson [nephew], had two brothers, Tony and John Collison. The reference here was probably to John, who was in the Tank Corps. Tony was in the Grenadier Guards.

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

Sun April 16. 44 2.o’c. p.m.

After dinner, I have just washed and changed (into my black dress). Jean has gone to a Youth Parade to Hogsthorpe Chapel. I detest these parades and uniforms. It seems so still, no Father coming in and sitting reading and smoking, or asleep in his chair. I have no interest in the radio yet. It seems to trouble me, tho’ I like Jean to play her piano. There are still a lot of letters to answer. I wrote to Laurence [Hill] and John Gibson this morning. I am trying not to worry over the car selling and the other things. His bicycle has gone. It was of no use to keep it, but it seems like taking bits of me with it parting from the things he used. In time they say we get used to it, and indeed during the last war we got used to his being away, but there was a letter every day, and looking forward to his return. Always now there is the queer little feeling of fear in my mind, like I used to feel in air-raids when he was out, or if he was driving in a fog. Yet he never seems so far away, but I cannot see him or touch him.

We shall soon know whether we can have a Council House. It will be like tearing up roots to leave here. We have grown to love it and have had less worry the last 3 years from business than we ever had.

John Gibson was the husband of Ron’s wife Emmie’s cousin Annie.

During WWI, Will had worked on the land and would probably have been assigned to different locations. At the end of the War, in 1918, he had been on a farm in Sibsey, near Boston, as recalled in May’s Diary (see 11th November 1942).

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

Nov. 2nd 10.30 P.M Tue [1943]

On Monday the C.G. watches changed from 8 o’c to 2 o’c etc. to 6 o’c to 12 o’c etc. Don’t know if we shall like it as well. Father is on watch from 6 p.m. until 12 o’c tonight. Our evenings won’t seem so broken up when he goes on or comes off at 6 pm but mornings will be short when he goes on at 12 noon or comes off then. Tom has been taken on as relief Aux C.G. [Auxiliary Coastguard]. He is quite thrilled with the idea at present. Have got photos of C.Gs framed and sent Emmie hers.

On Friday evening I tried my hand at a soft toy and made a very decent horse out of Jean’s old grey flannel shorts, kapok down and a bit of wool trimming. The pattern is good and instructions very clear. Rene and I are making me a velvet tam. Think it will be very nice when finished. I could have finished it tonight I think but have been seedy all day and wanted to get on with Jean’s cardigan too so did not get it out again after tea. Have not washed yet as Rene was collecting Red + Mon and it was drizzly this morning and I did not feel up to starting either. Jo. Sharp and Jim Clarke are home on embarkation leave. Rex Lenton in America after flying mishap, have heard his plane was shot down into sea and that he and rest of crew were picked up and taken to America. Pet[er] Kirk is home this weekend after attending Ad[miral] Sir Dudley Pound’s funeral service. Sir D. was afterwards cremated and his ashes together with his wife’s (she died in the summer) were strewn on the sea.

Had a letter from Emmie on Sat. She had heard from Ron, a letter dated 17 Oct so fairly new. He is in Italy and in billets now. A welcome change after “bivvy” tent I guess. Says view from billet is magnificent, and the climate is more like home than he has been in before. I think their winter is the same time as ours. Art Belton is in Italy and says he is sick of grapes. We could do with a few here. A lot of Canad[ian] apples are coming over also a lot of turkeys and other food from Ireland for Xmas. Mrs Coulston got me 1 lb small raisins this week with my points and a tin of sw[eetened] milk for Father’s porridge. Petrol coupons arrived this morning. We all went to Chapel Sun night. It was a nice evening but very dark when we came home. Keith and Marian were there and Lau[rence] played the organ. Rev. Hodgson preached. Miss West is getting to look a very old lady. One or two church people were there as Vicar has the flu’ so no church service.

It has been an “owery” day but cleared at sunset and sun shone into kitchen while we were at tea. We did not go into room until Father had gone on watch as Rene and I had been so busy with hat we didn’t get the fire put in. Chrysanths are coming out well, as weather keeps mild. Jean’s are fine ones. She dug up old roots and set slips, and blooms are much bigger than on my old plants. Best to dig them up every year I think and set new slips. There are stray violets and polyanth’s in bloom too and a few marigolds still glow in odd corners. I am writing this in bed and a tiresome old “bluebottle” is buzzing round the room. Every now and then the wind freshens up so perhaps it will blow fog and drizzle away. Only just over 7 weeks to Xmas now. Russians have invaded one side of Crimea. Gers. look like being completely routed there before long. Think another 6 months will see the end of the War or at least it will be in sight. I wonder if Ger’s. will send any big air raids before then.

A Coastguard group photograph has already been shown (see 7 Jun 1942). The one mentioned here was probably taken later.

Jo. Sharpe was the greengrocer’s son, Cyril, known as ‘Joey’ (see 2 Feb 1943). He and Jim Clarke served in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, together until assigned to separate units abroad after the embarkation leave.

Jim Clarke, son of Jesse Clarke, living in Hogsthorpe, was the nephew of farmer Walter Clarke (see 2 Mar 1942).

Rex Lenton was an RAF wireless operator/ air gunner on a Liberator B24 bomber which crashed while attacking a submarine in the Atlantic. Jean later noted in her diary (13th January 1944) that he was in hospital in Newfoundland with a broken leg, according to his sister, Judy, when asked at school. His father, Bob, a butcher who died before the war, had owned the shop that had become Wells’. Jim Lenton, Home Guard member, was Bob’s brother, a farmer.

Sir Dudley Pound, Admiral of the Fleet and First Sea Lord 1939-1943, died from a brain tumour.

Arthur Belton was the younger brother of Cyril, garage owner, and of Harold. He lived in Nottingham.

Rev. Hodgson was the regular Methodist minister.

‘Owery’ – a local word for ‘dirty, filthy, damp, cold’. (See ‘A Glossary or Collection of Words, Phrases, Place Names, Superstitions Current in East Lincolnshire’, Jabez Good, Long Sutton, c1900.)

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

Fri. 29 Oct 8.20 a.m [1943]

The fog has persisted all the week. Think it will clear to-day. On Wed it cleared a few hours in the middle of the day and the clothes finished drying. I had put a fire in room as I did not think it would clear but as soon as I had got a [clothes-] horse-full round fire the sun broke thro’! I put sheets and heavy things out and everything was dry by dinner time and ironed before tea. Keith and Marian came on Thur aft. Also Lau[rence] who had travelled by night to get an extra day at home. He walked in before 8 a.m. to his mother’s surprise. Mary came with them but would not stay tea. Marian’s brother is in India now. He was in N.A. [North Africa] last year when Ron was. He has been hurt or wounded. He does not tell them what happened, only they are not to worry. He is out of hospital and on crutches now. Lau. has a stripe, he is in office work. He amused himself on piano for an hour or more after tea. Jean did not get much homework done. Keith and Marian chuckled over Nip. Ann [Nipper Annual] part of the time. She does her hair in the fashionable roll now. It is so pretty it looks nice however she does it. I had a letter from Frank Lewis’s new wife on Wed and a large piece of bride’s cake which was very good.

A lot of prisoners have been exchanged with Gers this week, the wounded of course. How pleased they will be to get home. They all say the Red + is a marvellous institution and that they would fare badly but for its care. We must give all we can to it. It does one good to read about the selfless actions amongst the prisoners. When one ship docked a man ran to the side and called “Cynthia”. A woman on quay-side answered and scores of men took up the cry. It seems she was taken prisoner in France whilst lorry driving and in the camp where she was interned she tended and nursed the sick and wounded. She is a cousin of Earl of Southesk. Then there is Viscount Normanton who thro’ the Red + got materials sent to him and taught 15 blind men to read Braille. Above all there is the major who would not come home, he is an ophthalmic surgeon and spends all his time operating and doctoring men whose eyes are injured. The Gers. have been very good in giving him facilities for doing this, and he wrote home to his wife for his case of instruments which was despatched and received. He has a wife and three bonny children yet altho’ he could have come home he elected to remain a prisoner so that he can continue to help his wounded, blinded fellow prisoners. He has already helped many back to sight again. He had written to his wife some time since to tell her he should not come this time. In spite of her disappointment, how proud she must feel and what a noble heritage to hand down to his children. All honour to those and countless more we shall never know of who imitate their Master who “went about doing good”.

[Aside: Household coal supply to be cut down again so must be extra careful.] Yesterday we posted Ron’s parcel and sincerely hope he gets it. Rene and I had both been wishing we could include cakes. As she said, “you don’t get the taste of home so well out of razor blades and soap etc.” However, we are not allowed to send anything eatable and of course they are not in need of it. Tom sent him a new pack of cards like those he gave us last year and we put a new face-flannel in and thread etc. Persil as he has to do his own washing, night-lights in a tin in case they melted. We sewed it up in a cotton covering over the paper one after packing them in a cardboard box. Letters have to be posted before Nov. 10. so must write to Jock again.

Frank Lewis, nephew, son of Jesse and Emily (May’s sister), had married Alice.

11th Earl of Southesk, Lord Carnegie, was related, by marriage, to the Royal family.

Lieutenant the Marquess of Normanby, of the Green Howards (not ‘Viscount Normanton’) and Major David Charters, Royal Army Medical Corps, an ophthalmic surgeon, were both prisoners of war who became attached to the German ‘POW Centre for the Blind’ at Kloster Haina.

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