All posts tagged miners

Thur. Feb.17. 8.10 am [1944]

Don’t seem to have as much time for diary, now the lighter mornings have come. I have already taken “black outs” down in kitchen, tho’ it is very dull this morning, also rough and cold. Yesterday it rained practically all day. Washed on Tue. and got all dry. Ironed yesterday and did not do much else. Kit[chen] was clean after wash day and we don’t mess the room up much except for sewing bits and as I did not sew, Tue. night there were none of those. I was tired and just knitted and read. Last night I finished Jean’s blouse except for 4 buttonholes. It is very nice material, hope it washes well. It is only costing 4/3 with buttons. Buttons are not peach but look like pot[ato]! Jean’s psoriasis much better, she is looking forward to this summer and wearing sleeveless dresses again. Scars on arm gradually fading but show when she sits by the fire.

Allies have bombed and shelled Ben[edictine] Monastery almost to the ground and are still shelling to remove all cover for Gers. The Anzio beachhead repelled new attack from Gers. yesterday either driving them off or wiping them out. It is a stiff fight there, but leaders say they have no doubts but that we shall conquer, altho’ we have not got on as quickly as we hope. Thousands of oranges are bad owing to delay in distrib[ution] thro’ the finding of bombs. Still the loss of oranges is better than lives. They put them amongst onions later, and the cartoon in paper shows one man saying to another, “but we did not promise not to put them amongst onions”. Those are spiteful tricks as they do nothing towards winning the war and stir up ill feeling between other nations.

I think it is fair weather, but we must not complain about the rain, it has been a comparatively mild, dry winter and rain is needed for “the land”. Letter from [sister] Em. L yesterday and little booklet by Pat[ience] Strong. They are “flitting” on Feb. 28th. They “flit” most years so are used to it. I dread the thought of it. However we haven’t found a suitable house yet so why worry? Rene came in pouring rain yesterday. She said Bill just raised his head to look at the weather, then looked at her as much as to say “Well, if you’re silly enough to go I’m not.” and curled up a bit tighter and went off to sleep. He hates rain. It is coming another shower now. Percy brought my 3 bags coal yesterday to last until 1st Mar. also bag of coke. (12/10½ inc. bag coke 3/6) Must be careful now as we have no reserve and as Father is not on patrol we shan’t get any off the beach I don’t suppose. Stow’s still have no Typhoo Tea and this is nearly the end of sec. period. I don’t find any other go so far. Miners have been told it is impossible to put price of coal up any more so they will have to adjust their earnings otherwise or put up with what they’ve got. I think they are going plenty far enough. Just because they are indispensable miners and farmers seem to think they can have all they want. Perhaps if farmers had to make do with ¼ lb bacon and 1/2 worth of meat a week (no chickens or ducks or “drowned sheep”) and miners had to pay 3/1½ a cwt for coal they might understand better what it cost poor people to live.

Patience Strong was the pen name of Winifred E May (1907 – 1990) who was a British poet, lyricist and author of books on psychology and Christianity. During World War II the Daily Mirror published her poetry each day in a feature ‘The Quiet Corner’.

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

Sun Jan. 23 7.45 PM [1944]

Miners’ wages, including those of “Bevin’s boys” are raised. Coal and coke is up 3/0 from 1 Feb. In Italy part of 5th Army has landed between German divisions and Rome, West coast Italy. It was a successful operation and we have advanced several miles inland. Russians doing so well in North that Finns are wondering whether Gers are going to be able to hold them. More and more Forces reported all over as returned from B.N.A.F. Alex, May L’s husband came to Newark on leave last week. He went out round about time Ron did. Wonder if Frank Adams will come too. He was in Sicily, but has been in B.N.A.F. some time now.

Rene has her new bicycle a Rudge. Very pleased with it. I tried it on lawn and as it is a modern type with little room between seat and handles I got my foot fast and sat down flat on lawn to the no small amusement of Rene and Jean and Elsie G[rantham]. Neither cycle or I was hurt except a wee bit of skin of my thumb knuckle which was bruised too (I bathed it in boracic). I am very stiff to-day tho’ about neck and shoulders so expect I wrenched them a bit.

Jean went to C[entral] Hall Fri. night to see a film Rev. Hodgson had brought. It was “Mr Deed goes to town” and very good. Ron saw it in London when he went with B.B. [Boys’ Brigade] and I believe he saw it some years later in Sk[egness]. The “Panto” Aladdin is at Sk. Only one matinee (on Sat) which was booked weeks before so had no chance to see it as last bus is at 7.15. Mrs Hall and [Mrs] Cooper went and Father fetched them back at 5 from mat[inee] as they knew bus’ would be packed. Rene came before tea, had a cup and piece of cake but not a full tea. Tom had gone on patrol. The flower I made for her coat looks very nice.

I have started to read Don Quixote, have read extracts before of course, but have never read all of it. It belongs to Mavis. I am expecting to enjoy it. Jean is enchanted with it. Have written to Ron and Mrs Fletcher and Bessie Brown. It is nice to get letters thro’ to Ron so quickly. Had a letter from Mrs Russell Fri. She says Emmie had just had 10 letters from him, very cheerful ones. She says they hope to come in June. Was not at work yet but hoping to start in a day or two.

Bread is very dry and chaffy but we must not complain as we have bacon and dripping in addition to butter and marg. ration. It was a very wet night but turned fair about 10 o’c. A.M. and was a bright sunny day tho’ windy, a west wind which went after a sudden squall about 5.45. Have turned out all my cut flowers and still snowdrops will not be out yet and my one anemone bud grows so slowly. I have a wee chrysanthemum plant in a can which is just coming into flower only one bloom tho’. I think it will be white tho’ at first I thought it was yellow. Eff came Sat afternoon, brought me some fat bacon, 1/0 lb which will be useful.

Bevin’s Boys’ were industrial/ mine-work conscripts. Although some were conscientious objectors many had elected to join the forces but were not given the choice, as May noted. (This policy also caused problems after the war, when ex-servicemen received more favourable support.) Ernest Bevin (Labour Party) was Minister of Labour and National Service in the coalition government.

Operation Shingle’ began with the Anzio landings on the west coast of Italy on 22 January 1944.

Alec Hunter (written as Alex) was the husband of sister Emily’s daughter May, née Lewis (see 18 May 1941).

Mrs Cooper, wife of Walter Cooper, cobbler, whose home and shoe-shop was near Belton’s garage at that time, is probably meant here. Walter was in the local group of the Royal Observer Corps and their son, Eric, in the Boys’ Brigade.

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

Fri Jan. 21 8.15. a.m. [1944]

Yesterday we received receipt from first Income Tax we have ever paid £1.6.9. I am not sure that we haven’t as many of the amenities of life as F. Smith who pays £100. After this if we pay any it comes off the weekly pay from C.G. [Coastguards] I believe.

Russians are progressing at a great rate and we seem to be steadily going forward. I think we are going “according to plan” there which is I think to keep as many Germans busy there as possible. Planes went out last night between 5 and six and were gone a long time, a lot more seemed to return this way than we heard go out tho’ it may be that they were flying lower. I think it was Berlin that was bombed again. They had not been for some days because of fog. I expected it was going to clear when they commenced to go out last evening. The whole sky looked as if mosquitoes were flying there, not thickly but perhaps we could count a dozen at a time spread over the sky, but all coming at one steady pace that looked slow, but they came in sight in the West and were over the sea in so short a time that they must have been flying swiftly. Once a fighter sped over at a tremendous speed.

New 50 and 100 ton planes are in preparation for Civil flying, it may be 1950 before the 100 ton planes are ready, they may not be jet-propelled but there seems to be a hint of an even newer method. Jet-propulsion is talked of for ships now. Oh, I remember, in civil flying, safety and economy come before speed and 200 miles an hour is reckoned the maximum for passenger planes to fly with comfort to passengers. Great planes are being used as transport planes now, they carry 4 jeeps or other motor vehicles, and will be used as passenger planes after the war. Now that the “civil flying maggot” has bitten the money makers, I can’t see the war lasting many more months.

I am sorry for a lot of the boys who have to go to coal-mines, not alone because of the work, but tho’ some of the miners homes are amongst the best in the country, some are very different, and boys used to refined homes are bound to suffer in mind and feelings if not in body. I hope they will be kind to them and that the boys will be as reasonable as they can, but at present the billeters seem all out for making money out of them, and naturally the boys are upset as they had no choice of Services or pit but were sent there “willy-nilly”. When they have paid for billets etc they have less than Service men and no clothes provided. Coal and coke is already to be raised to 3/0 ton from Feb 1st. We had three more bags yesterday. I thought I had only one but Per[cy] said 2 and left three as some people don’t take all, tho’ we aren’t supposed to do that. Rene doesn’t burn all hers but she is here most days for dinner and often bakes with me. I must try to be more careful with it. I dried most of my clothes by the fire but used wood, slack, and coke.

Packed up my Xmas parcel for [sister] Em L last night, rather belated owing to our illnesses. I saw in paper yesterday that the Preserve ration can be used either for jam or sugar until further notice, so we may be able to get a bit more in hand for jam-making season, as we still have a few lbs of home-made jam. The canned fruit is so nice Rene and I have planned to can it with syrup next year if possible and to can as many large plums as possible tho’ damsons are very good. Bottled fruit has kept well this season tho’ apples have not. We had a blk-currant pie last week made with bottled fruit and they had kept perfectly. They were sealed with mutton fat, which if properly done and made air-tight is as good and easy a way as possible.

Fruit is packed in narrow necked jars and placed in oven, when hot, boiling water is poured over carefully so that no air is left in if possible, a tap or two will bring any bubbles to surface. If plums, skins should just crack, but not a failure if they don’t. Then pour about ½ inch hot mutton suet fat on top. Water should come to and into narrow part of jar. Cover with paper and screw lid.
P.S. After fat is cold pour another thin layer over.

F. Smith, here, was almost certainly Fred, cousin Amy’s husband.

Percy Ranson, niece Ciss’s husband, was the coalman, as usual.

‘Receipt’ (which appeared in the margin) was probably the traditional use of the word, meaning ‘recipe’ or ‘method’.

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