All posts tagged Mrs Fletcher

Wed July 5 10.30. p.m. [1944]

A lovely day, not too scorchingly hot. Rene washed a few clothes got them dry, and I ironed after tea. T[om] Coote trimmed hedges, he has no mercy on flowers, think I shall trim inside front hedge before he starts on it next time. Had a card from Bailey to say my letter re [water] pump was receiving attention and during morning the rent collector came to look at it. Herbert came to-night and seems undecided as to whether it can be repaired or if a new one is necessary. Anyway they have moved at last. Mrs J. Short came to borrow hay fork. I have cleaned up some of the hedge trimmings and watered cauliflowers. Mrs Stewart sent me some antirrhinums with Mrs Hutton this morning so if they and the pansies Rene brought flower we shall have a little bloom soon. I have also set Virginian Stocks and planted out a few Aster seedlings. A lot of bombers have been over to-day. We have had no fire in kit. Still undecided about kitchen fender. It looks so nice when I can get it clean and matches grate. A thrush is singing beautifully in snatches and every morning, early, a lark goes singing up in opposite field. I think it must have a nest.

Tom Coote was the neighbour in Council House No. 2 (see 7 June 1944).

Mr Bill Bailey was the Surveyor for the Spilsby Rural District Council.

Herbert, here, was probably Herbert Raynor, garage-owner, brother of Frank Raynor (see 9 December 1941).

Mrs J Short, here, was Charlotte, the wife of Jarvis Short, whose small-holding ‘Elm Farm’ was close to the end Council house (No. 4) in Skegness Road and who was therefore a new neighbour. Two brothers of Jarvis, Randolph (‘Ran’) and Sam, had farms off Trunch Lane (see Village Map). Sam and sister, Hilda, had been at school with Rene. Sam’s son, Dave, was a Home Guard member (see photograph, 6 June 1944).

‘Mrs Stewart’, here, probably meant Mrs Steward who lived in a bungalow on Church Lane (across the Orby Drain from Skegness Road), near Cradle Bridge. Her friend, Mrs Hutton, of the evacuee family (see 5 March 1944) may have conveyed the plants by pony and trap, while on a milk round from Brock’s (see 3 June 1944).

The fender was probably that given by Mrs Fletcher (see 17 June 1944).

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

Sat. 17 June. 9 o’c. a.m. [1944]

Rough again this morning with a North wind. Not a bit like June. “Flaming June”. Last night Mrs Fletcher called. She looks very much older and is thinner. She is very grey (hair) and has the colourless face of the really elderly woman. She looks years older than Will did but is the same age. She has another tiresome young dog, a great black mongrel which if properly trained would be a fine companion, but being entirely untrained is a nuisance. She was very pleased to find house all ready to put her things in and is giving me her curb for the room here. If it is nice I must write to tell Emmie. Says she hoped it didn’t bother us getting out of the house as she never expected we should be able to move! “After all the worry we gave ourselves about it.” Well we had to move anyway. It’s wonderful how very nice everybody thinks these houses are! I must be hard to please as I am not particularly thrilled yet, but don’t think I should be very “thrilled” anywhere yet, tho’ I do think some of the little bungalows look cosy. There is certainly a lot of room for the money here and if only I could do it, I could make the rent with visitors. But I can’t so that’s that.

King went to Normandy yesterday. Fierce fighting. Yesterday we had news on wireless of a new secret weapon of Gers. It seems it is a Robot plane directed by wireless which explodes over its target. We gather considerable damage was done on its first trial here on Thurs. night. They were over S. Coast again last night. Don’t suppose they will waste them over country areas like this. Old Gerry’s wicked cleverness is not exhausted yet. What a waste of clever brains! If they were used for good the world might be heaven surely.

10. o’c. Evening same day.
Jean has washed her hair and is finishing drying it by the fire. She went with Mavis flag-selling after dinner (Aid to China) as Mav. is under 16 and could not go alone. (She is 15 tomorrow.) Rene came during the evening altho’ it was very windy. Cis and Gw[en] have been to Sk[egness] to the Circus. Said there were few there as “Salute the Soldier” week has drawn the crowds. I have done various mending jobs and cut out 3 more toys. Also crocheted a good part of a slipper sole in string for Cis. Rene brought us a bar of choc. Also a 3/6 bot. of Horlicks and the 4 p[ost]-cards of Will. Must take one. Have taken fur off green coat. Think I shall make collar reveres less and have it dyed black. It will be so useful and save my costume. Frank came and sized landing paper this morning and hilled the 3 rows of potatoes he had planted for me. I polished lino in kit. and boards in room, also piano. Jean polished spoons. I noticed one had a particularly brilliant shine, when I was putting the spoons away at dinner and found it was Dad’s old Army spoon with his number 283959, 25 years ago but I still know it by heart even as I know Ron’s 1128072 now. We have had no letter from him this week, nor from Emmie. Norman’s wife has heard from him.

The ‘curb’given by former landlady, Mrs Fletcher, meant fireplace fender or kerb.

The ‘Robot plane’ was the V-1 ‘flying-bomb’, later nicknamed ‘doodle-bug’ or ‘buzz-bomb’. The attacks began on 13th June 1944, soon reaching around fifty a day on London, and, although almost half were brought down, over 3000 struck.

Gwen Ranson was Percy and Ciss’s daughter, George’s younger sister (see 7 May 1944).

Probably Frank who was helping with papering and gardening was Frank Simpson (brother) but was possibly Frank Raynor (brother in law).

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

Sat June 3 8.50 P.M. [1944]

We have been in Council House over 3 weeks now. We came on May 10th and Mrs Fl[etcher] came to Lenton Lodge on 15th. Elsie came this evening, she says Mrs Fl. called on Sat. on her way from Sk[egness]. We should be at Rene’s. Emmie and her Mo and Dad came on the Thurs. 25th for Whit. and we all went to sea and then on to Rene’s. Emmie went home on Tue and the others Friday. The weather was mostly fine and they enjoyed the visit and we did too but all felt very deeply the absence of the other one who had so looked forward to giving them a pleasant holiday. We seem to be settling fairly well. I am not as nervous as I was, but nights have been quieter except for a very bad storm on Wed. night. I have never seen such lightning. We got up as there was a raid in distance too. Mrs Rus[sell] came to my room. I did not see the lightning so much in the little room.

I have had £6 from Ron and put it in P.O. Pension not thro’ yet. Mr and Mrs Ted B[rown] and Eric came on 6 bus’ and back on 7.30 to-night. It was very nice to see them. They brought me a lot of flowers. Rene brought some too and has taken part of them to grave.

Jean has gone to play tennis with Mav[is]. She is still not at all well after her poisoned face, her nose and eyes peeling and spots coming on her arms and legs and she is very irritable at times, she is taking a tonic. I have planted several potatoes to-day, also white turnip seed, brussels, dahlias and gladiolas. Very late for all but turnips. Peas, early potat. and lettuce are up. Radishes not so good.

We are fairly straight now. Mrs Brock came to-night to see if I would take a land girl. I think I had better not, I should want to know something about her first and then I don’t think I could get up at 6.30 or earlier every day because of my asthma. It is troubling me a bit again now. Think I had better send word I won’t take it on even for a short time, there is Jean to consider too. Shall be pleased when I know how much Pension is, if it is the bare 10/0 for me and about 8 for Jean it won’t be much even without rent, must set about toy and rug-making next week. The house isn’t as easy as L[enton] L[odge] either, and the garden is extra tho’ Percy and the others are very good. It all seems so futile. I wish we could have got a small bungalow with a smaller garden, but rents are too high, even if one was at liberty.

We are going ahead in Italy, wish it was over and Ron home. We are all war-weary and sick at least for Peace and quiet and rest from all this bombing. 100,000 tons of bombs on Europe in one little month of May. “Oh, liberty, what crimes are done in thy name.” Who said that? I went with the Rus’s to Sk on Wed, Rean and Jean too and to the pictures, it was all a great weariness to me, and the dreary home-coming with no Will to greet us with fire made and tea ready as he always used to do if we were out with-out him. I miss him terribly, and I am afraid Jean frets a great deal. Rene says little but has grieved very much and still does, I know and feel. G’ma said good-bye to Emmie which rather upset her as it is so unusual for her to say G.bye. I wonder if we’ll see Emmie’s Dad again, he seems very frail at times. Mrs R. takes great care of him, indeed they all take care of each other.

‘Went to sea’ here refers to looking at the sea.

Mrs Brock was the wife of farmer Fred Brock (see 7 March 1942).

The exclamation “Oh, Liberty, what crimes are done in thy name!” has been attributed to a Madame Roland uttering it just prior to her own beheading at the guillotine, the month after the beheading of Queen Marie Antoinette of France in October 1793. It alluded to the cry of the French Revolution: “Liberty! Equality! Fraternity!”

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

Sun May 7 7.45 P.M. [1944]

We got No. 3 Council House and this is the last Sunday at Lenton Lodge. It is fine but cold. My anemones have been so beautiful this year. I sent G’ma all the blooms to-day, as I want to transplant them to the new home. I wonder, will it feel like home but think so, with all the old things round us. After all, it is the old familiar furniture, books and pictures that make the home, not the house which after all is somebody else’s. At first I thought it would not ever be home as Father had never lived there but it was Rene who reminded me that we would have all the same old things. Oh! What a lot of things too, to sort and pack. I had so dreaded to move again even with Will to help and now we have to move without his help. Frank and Charles and Charles H… [en? arn?] moved and re-erected shed yesterday and carted a lot of things beside. Rene has just been. She has been to Church as it is R[ed] + [Cross] and St J[ohn's] Sunday. There is a service on the wireless to which Jean and I are listening. Pole is taken down but Hallgarth hung wire on clothes props.

Rene has seen Aunt Mary who says she is coming to help us sort new house out tomorrow as far as we can. I shall be glad when we are in and settling down. I am getting very tired and Rene looks tired too but is coming back to sleep. I ought to make her stay at home but I am so nervous. When I get moved next to Cis I expect I shall be better. It is rather lonely here with only Miss Sykes at the end. We are almost packed, at least I hope so, we seem in a mess. Hardly know whether to feel flattered or flabbergasted at Mrs Fletcher’s request to us, to leave some old curtains up to keep soldiers from getting in before she comes. How does she think we run to extra curtains in these days? However there are still a few of the old things she left and a pair of lace ones at kit. window that are falling to bits so must see what can be done, but the effect will be far from artistic I am sure. As there are no soldiers here now I don’t think her house will be wanted and in any case they don’t commandeer them without a notice except in an emergency. I hate leaving young poplars and gooseberries and roses but we can’t take everything. It has been a lovely day but cold.

I have looked round Mrs Wilson’s house and packed up her keys. It is too far to feed her mice from Coun. House and I don’t feel like coming back here yet. Ted Brown has “Sara”. We are keeping “Jane” as Emmie named “Lady’s” daughter. Roy is home for week-end. It is Jo[an]‘s birthday. Being sta[tioned] at Strubby [RAF] he can cycle over. Eva is home ill. Grace has had a week’s holiday. Daisy’s dau-in-law here for weekend. Norman has an A.P.O address. Talk, talk, talk of Sec front goes on and on. There is a lull in Italian fighting. Terrible bombing goes on in Germany.

Emmie wrote this week. She has knocked her hand at work and been busy cleaning. Hopes to come at Whit[sun] with her mother and daddy. Do hope it’s nice for them. Shall be nicely settled then if all is well. She sent a photo of Ron, a snap and £1 from her and Ron she said. Jean has a cold and I am afraid I have a bit too. Asthma not bad so far. Jean went to Chapel this morning, Tom preached. She went to S.S. [Sunday School] too. I have not been, I am tired and the wind is cold.

Mr Gutteridge preaching. What a long time it seems and what a lot has happened since he fetched L[ord] and L[ady] Addison from here in June 1939. She asked me if I had got my store cupboard well stocked! They knew then no doubt of this war. We only vaguely guessed and hoped for the best. Well the store cupboard has been nearly emptied now, after nearly 5 years of war, not of necessity but because we feared the goods would deteriorate! They were here when the Thetis went down and her crew except one perished thro’ negligence in the first place then muddle and dilettantism. Every news time they came to hear the news of it. It was agonising to us. What it was to the relatives I cannot guess. The memorial service was broadcast, a sacrilege I think, and I can never forget the agonised cry of one distraught soul “Oh dear, oh dear”, as it rang thro’ the church and echoed all over the world. God comfort all such, and their name is Legion since then. Deep as our sorrow is and desolate as we are, we have much to be thankful for, even in our grief.

The three helpers were probably Frank Simpson, Charles Hill and Charles Harness. It is believed that the shed at Lenton Lodge was taken to Amy’s at Trusthorpe for use as a hen-house.

‘St. J.’ refers to the St. John’s Ambulance Association.

The wire was for the radio aerial which had been strung between the house and the pole.

Ciss and Percy Ranson, and children, lived in Council House No. 4 (semi-) attached to No.3 earmarked for May (see Village Map).

“Sara”, “Jane” and “Lady” were rabbits.

Will’s sister Daisy’s daughter-in-law was Freda, wife of Norman Lammiman.

Theo Gutteridge was a ‘local preacher’ and friend of Rene’s husband Tom (Mr. A). He farmed at Middlemarsh, between Skegness and Burgh-le-Marsh. ‘He’ in the related sentence may refer to Will or to Mr Gutteridge who may have taken the guests to his home, or to visit their relatives in Hogsthorpe, or to a station for their journey home (see East Lincolnshire Map).

Lord and Lady Addison were earlier mentioned in the Diaries on 21st January 1942 as ‘paying guests’.

In June 1939 a junior officer had opened the inner door of a flooded torpedo tube and inadvertently sank the submarine HMS Thetis. Ninety nine men were lost.

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

Fri. Feb. 4 8.30 a.m [1944]

Father set off on Patrol at 8.15 and I took down the black-out at once. It is a clear cold morning, more like winter weather than it has been for some time. It blew half a gale when Jean started for school at 8 o’c but the wind dropped suddenly and there is very little now. Think it took the darkness with it as it is the lightest morning we have had, that is, light the earliest. It is almost north tho’ so we may get it dry or we may get some snow. We had a letter from Ron on Wed and 2 more yesterday, one Jean’s. Rene also had one, but they were all written in Dec. He has got “Mr Chips” and read it, was very pleased with it. He had a very nice Xmas. Slippers for Father finished, they are not at all bad and will do until he gets more coupons. Much better than having to wear his boots at night by the fire. They are rather large but he says they are comfortable.

Went to Sk[egness] on Wed. Hat shop took Father’s to clean and reblock. They can only take them for an hour, first three days of week again now and as mine may have to be dyed and certainly re-shaped they dare not take it, we were too late on Wed. Father got round them however to reshape his. He got his fountain pen but it was only 9/2. They said they were reliable at that price. He bought two, one for my birthday. It is a very nice one and I am pleased to have it tho’ I should not have bothered about one so long as this would write. It is quite good since I had new nib and was only a cheap one to start with. Ron got it at Naffi [NAAFI] when he was at Binbrook. Rene got a very nice blouse and we paid 9/6 for year’s subs[cription] at Boots’ Library. Books can be changed at any time, and there is no restriction as to time of keeping them out. I got another writing-pad and envelopes at Dutt[on]‘s. I use a lot.

Had another letter from Mrs. Fletcher. She really wants to come back any time if we can get a suitable house, but quite realises we are not obliged to move. It makes us feel unsettled tho’. I have written to Mr Vamplew to see if he wants to let Bung[alow] next to Rodwell’s if suitable, but we shall not move yet unless we do find a suitable house. I would prefer to be nearer the Chapel if possible.

Mr Vamplew, a builder, of Friskney owned several adjacent bungalows, near ‘Point Farm’, including ‘Peacehaven’ and the one which had been occupied by Warners (see 2 Feb 1944).

Rodwell was a senior Navy officer, based at ‘Royal Arthur’. The bungalow was one of those owned by Mr Vamplew.

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’?

Mon 17. Jan 8.50. a.m. [1944]

Still a thick fog and frost, but it is thawing rapidly and wind freshens now and then. It may blow fog away or it may turn to rain. It is not fit to think of washing unless it quickly alters. Father has gone to Sk[egness] with Mrs Evans and Jean to school. Persuaded her to put her Navy Pilot Coat on. Mr Churchill completely recovered. Has been recuperating in Morocco. Next news will be that he is home I expect.

Last week a time bomb exploded amongst oranges in transit from Spain destroying a lot but no one was hurt. Now all cases have to be searched before leaving Spain. Some others have been found. I believe they are disguised as oranges and are no larger, but capable of doing a good deal of damage. It is a mean spiteful trick and of no practical use to Gers. We shall not get our lb of oranges this month as expected as apart from delay, they may a lot of them be overripe now before they arrive. Hope it won’t cause strained relations between us and Spain. I think we are giving them to understand they must keep their Axis friends in better order. It is a ticklish job, because they have always been more or less on the Gers side, having a grudge against us since their own civil war. Eisenhower has arrived in England to take over Command of Invasion Army. I wonder how soon it will be “Now’s the day, and now’s the hour, Lay the proud usurper low.” We have discussed it so long, but I know when it comes it will shock us, and we shall (at least I shall) get that weak trembly feeling in my stomach and feel the icy chill of fear of the future, sweep over me.

Seagulls are screaming around and yesterday I heard the wild geese honking before I was up. So far there have been very few of them about. The winter has been so open and comparatively mild. What changes will there be, I wonder when they come screaming round the houses for food next winter. Oh dear! If all is well, even, we may not be in this house. Mrs F[letcher]‘s mother is dead and she says she is ready to come back anytime. I hope she’ll change her mind. We have got nicely settled and the house is the size we need. I loathe the thought of “flitting”. Still we’ll not meet trouble half way, unless we get something suitable, we are legally tenants until Ap. 1945. Answered Ron’s 7 letters last night and sent an Airgraph to Jock and an A.M. Letter to Frank A[dams]. It was far too foggy to go out, even Rene did not come, tho’ she was at Chapel in the morning. Jean went to C[hapel] and to S.S [Sunday School] in the afternoon.

Mrs Evans, here, was probably the married daughter of Will’s Coastguard colleague Albert Parish. However there was another Mrs Evans in the village.

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