All posts tagged Percy Ranson

Sep 27 Wed 8 o’c pm [1944]
# PARATROOPS RELIEVED FROM ARNHEM
# YOUTH PARADE IN SKEGNESS
# JEAN’S TYPING LESSONS ARRANGED
# MORE FLYING BOMBS REPORTED

At the beginning of my last entry I put the Invasion of Holland by Paratroops. Owing partly to the bad weather we were a long time linking up with them and only to-day have we heard the welcome news that they have been withdrawn to the south of the river and linked up with our other troops. I judge we were not strong enough to break thro’ the Gers to get to them, but we are all deeply thankful that they, or alas, all that are left of them, are relieved after 13 days. Owing to the weather conditions they had the ordeal of seeing food and ammunition being dropped into Ger. lines instead of to them. It will be one of the epic stories of the war, small comfort that to those at home who will have lost sons and husbands and brothers.

It is still very stormy tho’ the wind has settled a bit again tonight. On Sunday, the Harvest Festival, it poured with rain all day and we neither of us got to Chapel. Jean should have paraded to Hogsthorpe in the afternoon. There is a big Youth Parade at Skegness to-night. Ciss says bus’ does not leave Sk. until 9.45 so there will be some sleepy-heads in the morning. Ciss and P[ercy] and Gw[en] have been to Boston and now Gw has gone to Sk. but she is on holiday. Jean stayed at Sk. Was going to get tea at Joyce’s if she could. Took them some apples. I went to Sk on 5 pm bus’ yesterday to see Miss Cusack. Jean is to commence Ty[ping] and S[hort] Hand lessons next Wed. £1.1 for 12 lessons. She will leave work early those days. It is at the far end of Grosvenor Rd so will mean a good walk to the bus’ if she is not cycling. Sat near Miss Eva Scarb[orough] coming home. Her hospital received direct hit from Flying Bomb.

I did a little baking this afternoon in case Mrs. T[ed] B[rown] comes tomorrow, expect she will as I have had no letters. Rene came after tea for a few minutes. Mrs. Y. goes home tomorrow. Rene thinks she is looking forward to going home to her husband after 3 weeks away. Rene will not be sorry to have the house to themselves I expect, tho’ Mrs Y is very pleasant. I have missed Rene very much, but am pleased to say I have not been really laid up tho’ very seedy at times. Mr. Marsh and Miss Robin married on Sat. Went away Mon. morning. T[om] Coote went to see niece at Sutton to-day, Mrs. Sh[ort] says. She brought me some pears, and parsley-tops for rabbits to-day. She was taking Mrs. Hall some tomatoes for chutney to-day. Flying bombs still come over most nights and Gers. still holding out at Dunkirk and Calais, expect they are dug in so deeply they will take some ousting. Shall be so pleased when we need no longer black-out. I have not proper ones as we hope the necessity will soon be over, and they are a nuisance doing every night. Have dug 2 rows of pot. to-day. Don’t think there will be a very big crop, so many are only seed size. Have pulled all apples except Brams. Red ones go bad very quickly. I sent a few apples to Harvest Sale also a “Saucy Rabbit”, it only made 4/0. Rene brought me some of the carrots she bought. Jean did not buy anything. J[im] Hall brought me ½ lb. nice biscuits today, Frear’s. I had not seen that name before but Rene knew it. Planes are droning all the time, it is a lovely night with a bright moon.

I thought it thundered this morning and the rain certainly seemed like a thunder-shower tho’ it was so cold. I have seldom seen it pour faster than it did Sun. and the wind was almost a gale. We were amused at the red-hot pokers in T Cootes garden, they are getting passé and the wind bent their heads over and as it caught first one and then the other they bobbed their red heads and long necks forward like a crowd of turkeys.

Had a cup of tea out of Ciss’s pot (I had kettle boiling when they got home on the 4.40 bus’) and did not have a sit-down tea, so think I’ll soon have supper. Have put a kaolin poultice on my foot as it is rather red and inflamed. C and P have gone down to Con’s. P. is having a week’s holiday, says he will have the other when Peace is declared! I cannot see that much before Xmas myself. Cleared up the shed a bit to-day. I wonder if it will ever be easy to go in and out and handle the tools without being so sore at heart.

9 o’c News
Some 2000 out of 8000 men withdrawn Mon night from Arnhem after 9 days, 1000 some hundreds left behind wounded. R.A.M.C. men stayed with them.

Operation Market Garden’ as previously mentioned (see 18th September 1944) proved to be a tragic venture. After suffering huge numbers of Allied casualties the operation ended with the evacuation of what remained of the 1st British Airborne Division from the Arnhem area.

Miss Eva Scarborough, a chiropodist, was the sister of Elsie (see 3rd February 1941).

Mr Marsh and Miss Robin, who married, have not been identified.

RAMC – Royal Army Medical Corps.

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Wed Sep 13 10.15. P.M [1944]
# SCHOOL CERTIFICATE SUCCESS FOR JEAN
# LETTER FROM RON IN SOUTH OF FRANCE
# HEAVY EXPLOSIONS HEARD IN VILLAGE
# EVACUEES RETURN TO LONDON
# TOM’S SISTER KATE VISITS

Jean had news on Mon that she had been successful in gaining School Cert. also Matric. She had 5 credits. She has done well considering all the set-backs she had. She was very excited, which probably caused the bilious attack she had yesterday or it may have been too many plums. I went to see Mrs T[ed] Brown and when I arrived home (Rene arrived at the same time) Jean was sitting over the fire having left work at 4.15 and cycled home. Ciss had given her hot peppermint and she was feeling a little better and had lit fire and put kettle on stove. She had Bovril later and a little sleep on couch, then to bed and was better this morning. Had a letter from Ron yesterday, Jean and Rene had one too. No news except that his ear was much better but not quite well. Says he managed to take his spring mattress to S. France with him so is well off the ground, they are in tents. Sounds rather tired, think he is working hard. War news is still very good, we are 5 miles over Ger. frontier.

There were two heavy explosions this morning early 2.30 and 3.15 am but there was no enemy activity reported. Evacuees are streaming back to London in spite of contrary advice. Gerry may still have something up his sleeve and apart from that practically half the houses in London are down or damaged so accommodation will be a problem for some time tho’ I can quite understand the people wanting to be at home if it is reasonably safe.

Mrs Young, Tom’s sister, came Thurs. Very pleasant and little trouble. Rene brought her in chair on Mon. Jean and I went to Chapel Sun morning, Tom preached. A swallow flew in during the sermon and stayed. “A bird of the air shall carry the news, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.” Harriet, Gladys and Grace came Sun even. They brought Eileen. She is lovely but spoiled. They brought me some plums and Eff brought me some Vic[toria] plums from Grandma. I have made about 6 lbs jam and bottled several jars, keeping enough out for pie and pudding. Have packed a box of apples for Emmie. Percy is sending them off tomorrow from M[um]by Rd [Station] as he is coaling from there. Sowed lawn seed on Mon ev. Jean rolled it in so hope it grows. No doubt several critical pairs of eyes will watch it with amused interest. Hope I sleep tonight. I scarcely slept at all last night, but went back to sleep after Rene went home to-day. She came and cleaned bed-rooms. Had asthma rather badly when I woke and toe was so painful I had to bathe it (in Ep[som] salts).

‘Matric’ refers to London matriculation exemption, which Jean earned by achieving a sufficient number of ‘credit’ grades in School Certificate (SC) examinations. Matriculation would have been a step towards qualification for university entrance, normally preceded by Higher School Certificate examinations after a further time in school. However Jean left school immediately after the SC stage, to enter employment (see 15th August 1944).

The chair used to convey Mrs Young, was probably the invalid basketwork ‘bathchair’ which had been used by Tom’s first wife.

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Tue 6.a.m. Aug 8. 44.
# SEA MIST ROLLS IN AFTER FINE DAY
# REPORTS OF [V-1] ‘FLY-BOMBS’
# PLUCKY VISITORS FROM LONDON DESCRIBE BOMB DAMAGE
# TENDING WILL’S GRAVE
# NIECE CISS’S BROTHER-IN-LAW KILLED IN ACTION

Bank Holiday fine, not too hot, but breeze not so cold as it has been lately, also the sun shone most of the day. About 5.20 pm the mist or aar which had hung over the sea all day rolled in and made it damp and chilly. It spoiled the evening but when we went to bed at 10 o’c it had rolled inland and left us clear. It had blotted out the wolds. We could see a big bank of it inland. Some of it, nearer was only a few feet high with tops of trees showing above. It has come back now and is a white fog, can only see just over the road. I think it will only be on the coast. It will be terrible if it is in the fly-bomb area. We cannot seem to stop them, whatever they may say about the numbers shot down and the “lairs” they bomb daily and I fear there are not nearly enough deep shelters in London. Thousands, nay, hundreds of thousands have left, and the summer visitors say it is terrible, the uncanny pilotless planes coming so swiftly and bursting all over the place. Ciss’s visitors have just lost an only son in Normandy and a relative from London came Sun. She brought news that during the week they have been here, their house had all the windows blown out and a newly covered suite cut to ribbons and one wall curved like a bay window. Some of them say that scores of houses that are not actually hit are made unstable on their foundations and are not safe. They are remarkably plucky. One woman staying in vill[age] when told all her windows were blown out amused us by saying, “If I’d have known I would not have cleaned all those windows before I came.”

I think the M.Ps [Members of Parliament] have made a mistake adjourning for 7 weeks. People are sure to think they are scared and have run away from their duty. Roly Grantham says they, F.Bs, not only come straight but turn in their tracks so that you cannot judge where they will end. Whether the one he saw was an isolated case and a freak I don’t know but he is reliable and witnessed a case of one coming over and turning and bursting 2 miles from him. Elsie spent yesterday afternoon with Rene and Tom, they went over to Cumberworth but did not stay to stuffed-chine tea as there was such a crowd. Joyce [Coulston] and Harry Suter came after dinner and Jean and they went to sea for afternoon. They went home about 8 o’c. Jean and I washed a few things in morning most of which got dry tho’ it dried slowly. I took flowers to grave after dinner as Eva came Sun. aft. with Eileen [Faulkner] and Jean and I went to Chapel in eve. and I was too tired after to go. The piece of veronica I planted at the foot is growing. I wonder if Len [Short] will notice when he banks up the grave. My roses are growing, one may even flower and best of all Father’s favourite “Mrs Sara Macready” is showing a definite shoot well up on a twig so it is not a briar. The one that looked quite dead is the one that may flower. The one I am training to a standard is the latest. The ground is covered with apples under the trees but there is a good crop still, but I saw on a branch or two of bramleys the cotton wool of American blight. I painted all I could see with paraffin. The other tree appears to have a blight and has a great quantity of “crumpets”. Most of the other apples on this tree are specked on skin and even the pear-main apples have specks on them and several lots of “crumpets”. These, the crumps, ripen early and Harry, who is tall, reached up for two nice red ones and alas! the wasps had been first or else the blackbirds, there is one who seems to call “fruit fruit” very often.

Jean’s lettuces which she planted out are fine. She has another holiday this afternoon. Gwen went, or rather Per[cy] took her to or near Spilsby Sun for her holiday. We miss her tho’ she is so quiet. Ciss washed and ironed as her vis[itors] went to Sk[egness]. Grace is getting better fast. H[arriet] going to see her today. Rene said she would be here sometime to-day, but I must get on and sew as she won’t be here much this week with Tom on holiday. I cut out a pair of slippers last night, hope to get them done for Mrs Russell. Ration Cards back yest., they have sent emergency cards for two weeks instead of one. Nearly 7 o’c so shall have to soon get up and get Jean off. My gladiolas all growing but only one dahlia. It is nearly in bloom. Turkey has leisurely got down off the fence on our side at last as she sees we are winning. Not at war so far and Bulg[aria] has told Ger they won’t all[ow] them (the Gers) thro’ their territ[ory] if she does declare war. Very brave all at once now Ger is getting whacked.

10.15 pm Same day.
Warmer than yesterday after mist disappeared, thunder and a good shower in evening after which Frank came and cleaned out down spout on house which was blocked with dirt and leaves etc. Philip Ranson has been killed in Italy. Percy very upset I think, he looks so old and ill tonight. Ralph F[aulkner] is home from Normandy wounded in knee. Mav[is] came this afternoon, still looks seedy. Paper today says Scot[land] and N.Eng[land] may be able to dispense with blk.out in about 1 month from now and to have a modified type of street lighting. There are a lot of planes about with that looming drone I hate to hear. Expect it is really the heavy clouds about, but they sound so like evil business threatening us or our enemies, most likely enemies. I think the worst menace for us is over unless he gets those other long-range pilotless planes going.

Roland Grantham was one of Elsie’s brothers.

Harry Suter was the boyfriend (who became the husband) of Jean’s schoolfriend Joyce Coulston.

‘Too tired to go’ (after Chapel) refers to an intended visit to Will’s grave on the Sunday.

Len Short, elder brother of John, was a gardener and the church-yard verger. Len was a Home Guard member(see photo – Diary: 6 June 1944) and an assistant in the Boys’ Brigade. Their sister Freda was a Girl’s’ Life Brigade member (see photo – Diary: 19 June 1944).

Bramley cooking apples and Worcester Pearmain dessert apples were the varieties on the garden trees.

Philip Ranson was the brother of Ciss’s husband Percy.

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

Mon July 17 10.30. P.M. [1944]
# FRESH BREEZES WELCOMED
# RED CLOUD IN SUNSET
# PATCHING SHEETS
# BICYCLE PROBLEMS

It has been a lovely day, the heat tempered by a fresh sea breeze and a very light haze far overhead, below everything was fresh and clean, a big wash dried steadily without getting scorched up. When I came up to bed a shower of lights hung in the S.E. sky and the air was full of the drone of planes, indeed it still is tho’ getting fainter I think. Far in the west the sun was sinking behind a fiery red cloud. Saw Frank and Pattie Coote cycling homewards. Jean has stayed down for a bath, we put water in copper after washing and it is quite warm still. She is very tired and I am too. I turned Eff’s sheet sides to middle and put two big patches on after tea, made myself more work by seaming together the pieces, one wrong side out, and had to rip undone and turn. Colin came for it after tea but did not wait as he was going to Cen Hall to pictures. Jean would have taken it but when Percy mended puncture we found tyre quite worn out. Jean went on Dor[is] H[all]‘s cycle to Raynor’s but they had none right size so will have to try elsewhere. Per[cy] says he will put it on.

Herbert Raynor’s garage in Sea Road is meant here (see 5 July 1944 and Village Map).

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7/7/44 10.30. PM Friday
# PLANES COMPETE WITH BIRDSONG
# OVERWORKING IN GARDEN
# MAKING RASPBERRY JAM
# DREAMS OF RON

It has been a fairly nice day and is a perfect evening. I am in bed and the sun has just gone down like a ball of fire. Birds are still singing, a blackbird’s or thrush’s liquid notes from somewhere in the garden. Alas, that over it all is the continuous droning of planes. We are greatly blessed so far by being out of the radius of fly-bombs (doodle-bugs). They still come over Lon[don] and the South by day and night tho’ many are shot down and yesterday 11 of their lairs were bombed.

I feel “fey”, as the Scotch say, to-night that weary feeling of false elation said to presage trouble or depression. I am tired but not sleepy. Did too much in the garden yesterday I expect, then went to see Eva and Grace, found it windier than I expected, did more garden in evening. There is such a lot to do, and I am not used to heavy garden work. The soil too is very heavy compared to the old garden which was mostly sand. Have done no garden today except hilling 3 rows of potatoes. Jean hilled 4 very well too. Mrs S[hort] brought back borrowed hay-fork yesterday and half bucket of new potatoes. Rene came to ask me to dinner but I had just got oven hot for baking and was tired too, so did not feel like cycling down there. She came again this afternoon but did not stay long as Tom is holidaying for a week. Am making rasp[berrie]s Mavis brought into jam by Mary’s recipe 1lb. ras. 1lb sugar and 1 teaspoon Boric acid pdr. Mix well and stir frequently for 24 hours, no cooking. Wonder if mine will keep. Mr Hall and Albert and Ted are on leave for a few days.

Last night I dreamed Ron stood at the foot of my bed putting on his pullover ready for going out, I opened my eyes suddenly and raised my head to see him better (actually) and he vanished. I saw his brown face so clearly, not sad, or smiling, just calmly pulling on his pullover.

Birds and planes still vying with each other. It will soon be too grey to see to write. It is not dark all night with this moon just past its full. The air seems full of planes but I can only count 6 in sight circling round probably going out or on manoeuvres. One had a tail light but it was a 4 eng[ined] bomber not the dreaded fly-bomb. Percy is on H.G. [Home Guard] duty all night so hope we have no air activity. I am more nervous again now since the fly bombs came tho’ not as nervous as before.

Mrs Hall, neighbour at Council House No. 1, would have been relieved that her husband and two sons were on leave from the Navy as she had been worried about them in possible D-Day action a month previously (see 7 June 1944).

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Tues June 6 D-Day 9.30 pm [1944] SECOND FRONT
# D-DAY AT LAST – ‘AN ORDINARY DAY’
# FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT ON WIRELESS
# MONTGOMERY’S MESSAGE TO TROOPS
# CALL TO PRAYER BY KING GEORGE
# CHURCH SERVICE – ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
# THOUGHTS AT THE END OF DAY

So, at last the long-talked of Sec front has begun. I have not even given it a new page and that seems a fitting symbol of how it appears to me. What excitement there may be in towns or elsewhere, in the country, does not seem to have touched us here. It is just an ordinary day, after nearly 5 years of war it takes a lot to make us demonstrative. I went on with my ordinary work and made my first toy for sale, a white duck with green wings and yellow beak and feet. It is for Mrs Russell to give to a baby friend. I must make the rabbit for Emmie next and try to send an extra one too. Ciss cleaned her pantry and Rene washed. Jean went to school, indeed she had gone before the announcement:
4000 ships and a great many smaller craft crossed the channel. Great air-liners took air-borne troops behind the Ger. lines.

Montgomery is speaking now, a message to the troops of which he is the head.
Now a service. Almost 10 o’ clock. The A.B. Cant. [Archbishop of Canterbury] has spoken and now they are singing “Oh God, our help in ages past”.
At nine o’clock the King broadcast a call to prayer, not just one day but all the days of crisis. In the news afterwards we heard that all was still going well in France. I fear the “little people” like us would not just go on with this ordinary work. However pleased they may be at the thought of deliverance, at present it means danger and hardship and war. Many will have to leave their homes and many I fear will lose their lives.
The service is over, a beautiful service, ending with the hymn, “Soldiers of Christ Arise”.

We are in bed. A motor cycle has just gone by and a swiftly moving plane. Per[cy] was with H[ome] Guards last night. I am pleased he is at home next door tonight. God be with us all those whose sons or husbands or other dear ones have already fallen in this new front. Be with the wounded and comfort the dying and those who are afraid. We had 12 letters from Ron to-day – a record. I had 6, the others 3 each. In the most recent one, only a week since he wrote it, an A.M. Letter, he says his hopes of return are practically nil. I am almost pleased much as I long to see him but somehow he seems safer there at present. I must try to sleep now. The longed for D-Day has arrived. Deliverance Day Jean says it means.

Chapel St Leonards, Anderby and Hogsthorpe Members of the Home Guard © AE Wrate, Skegness

Chapel St Leonards, Anderby and Hogsthorpe
Members of the Home Guard © AE Wrate, Skegness
Back row:
Dave Short, Bob Taylor, Harry Epton, Ray Sharpe, Stan Grantham, Len Ingoldmells, Sam Scott, Billy Willson, Alf Johnson, Tom Hill, Mervyn Clark, George Dennis, Fred Dennis.
Middle row:
Tobias Harriman, Bob Thorn, Ben Clark, Silas Willey, Fred Boulton, Horace Grantham, Percy Ranson, Bill Sylvester, Tom Wright, Harold Brough, Geoff Hallgarth, John Hill, Frank Brough.
Front row (seated):
Charlie Knight, Jos Simpson, John Jinks, George A Young, Harry Atkin, Steve Lucas, Jack ‘Poppa’ Taylor (Lieutenant) and dog, Edgar Brown, Hedley Lucas, Norman Richardson, Billy Turner.
Sitting on ground:
George Lyle, Jim Lenton, Arthur Bradley, Sid Perry, Len Short, George Barker, Norman Willson, Harold Wright, Vic Chapman, Archie Hancock.

 

Ron’s letters were from Italy where he had been based at Lago airfield since his RAF Squadron (93) had moved from Capodichino in Naples in January 1944 on a day when they witnessed the first lava flow heralding an eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

‘Deliverance-Day’ was an apt interpretation, but officially D-Day simply means the day of the start of an operation, so every military operation has its D-Day. However the one on 6th June 1944 (the start of Operation Overlord) is unique in its popular recognition.

The Home Guard photograph, believed taken by AE Wrate, Skegness, was loaned by George and Dorothy Barker (who supplied all names in the caption). 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’?

Tue Mar 7. 8.15. a.m. [1944]
# ‘CHRISTMAS CARD’ FROST
# HIGH AIRCRAFT LOSSES OVER GERMANY
# ASTHMA IMPEDES WASH-DAY ACTION
# GENTLE WEEDING

A white rime frost makes everywhere look like a Christmas picture but it is very dull, the sun not showing at all. Birds are singing. Hope day will get up as I want to do some washing tho’ it is not my “big wash” week.

Terrible raids and fighting over Ger. yesterday, 58 bombers and 11 fighters missing, but enemy losses number 120 to date and probably many more. Army on Anzio beach will probably take offensive shortly. Finns not very agreeable to Russian terms yet. Sometimes I wonder if the war will come to a sudden end and often I wonder if even this year will see the end of Gers. let alone Japs. Mary Parish not away Father says and her husband is on leave.

10.am. Percy brought 1 bag coke 3/6. It is dear but ekes out the coal and wood. Yesterday was so sunny that we did not have much fire until evening. Day is still trying to get up. Don’t know yet whether sun or cloud will win. Sun just peeped out once then went back for another snooze. I have boiled one bucket of clothes and was going to posh and rinse them, but have had to sit down. This asthma has got me weak again. The thought of spring-cleaning is a night-mare. I used to do it when asthma was worse but have lost my strength now. Yester-day I weeded a bit of front garden. The wiry sand grass (sown to bind sand-hills) encroaches so quickly. It was all amongst my violets. I got some out but the fibrous roots are so entwined with violet runners that I pulled several up. Hope it doesn’t spoil them for flowering. I threw a shovel-ful of soil and manure over them afterwards and hope for the best. Wonder when I get any more done.

Mary, née Parish was a daughter of Albert Parish (see 2 Jan 1941) and sister of Esther and Charlie. Her husband, had been based at ‘HMS Royal Arthur’ where she was a ‘Wren’.

‘Poshing’ involved using a ‘posher’, which looked like an inverted basin, with holes in, on the end of a pole-handle, to apply pressure on clothes in a wash-tub.

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Thur. Mar.2. 44. 8.15. a.m.
# DESPERATE FOR COAL
# STRUGGLE CONTINUES ON MANY FRONTS
# ASTHMA DELAYS SPRING CLEANING

Sharp and cold this morning but we have no more snow. Most of it seems to have gone from wolds tho’ no doubt there is some left in shady hollows in the vales. There was either rain or sleet when we went to bed last night. Think “the Sprogg” must have been fighting as Jean says “he won’t speak” and he sits glumly by the fire. Think he is moulting too and his long hair is a nuisance. I have given him a Tibs. Percy did not come with coal yesterday, if he does not come to-day we shall be quite out. Rene brought me a basket-full or we should have run out yesterday and wood and coke aren’t much good without a little coal at the bottom.

Finns are trying to come to Peace terms with Russia. Russ is in the position to dictate them and I do not think she will err on the side of leniency. It is hard to have to accept terms from a superior power in order to save one’s country from destruction. We ourselves may yet have to accept terms for our neighbours, and be fortunate if we don’t have to give concession to Russia ourselves, that we do not like. But better that humiliation than that either the Gers. or Russ. should conquer England. Our planes were out again last night and Gers over S.E. and London again. Damage and casualties radio says and enemy planes down. There is still a tough struggle going on at Anzio beachhead but Gers. have slackened again and we have more reinforcements. American war against Japs going so well that it has even been prophesied that Tokyo will fall before Berlin but that is not a general belief. We have started third month of this year and do not really seem to have advanced much, but suppose we must have done.

Father will be home soon to take Mrs B with baby to Dr M[enzies], Skeg[ness]. Joe K[irk] is doing an hour or two [Watch-box duty] for him. If I can only overset this bout of asthma I shall start S[pring] Cleaning next week. We don’t look like getting another house at present. The strong spring sunshine begins to make things look dusty now and the house is so dry we can start anytime. Lately the cleaning has seemed to drag on so long with me having asthma. I used to be able to work in spite of it or between bouts but it seems to take my strength now for so long. Rene’s rheum. troubling her, this stormy weather.

Mrs B, here, is probably Mrs Vera Balding, wife of Billy (see 15 Oct 1942).

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