All posts tagged Peter Kirk

Nov. 2nd 10.30 P.M Tue [1943]
# WILL’S COASTGUARD WATCHES CHANGED
# RENE’S TOM JOINS COASTGUARDS
# EXPERIMENT WITH SOFT TOY MAKING
# VILLAGE LADS DUE FOR EMBARKATION
# LOCAL AIRMAN IN AMERICAN MISHAP
# MORE NEWS OF RON IN ITALY

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’?

Sun Sep. 26 8. 45. p.m. [1943]
# SOOTHING MUSIC ON WIRELESS
# COASTGUARDS’ OTHER ACTIVITIES
# QUIET BOARDER MOVES ON
# BATTLE OF BRITAIN THANKSGIVING
# LOCAL BOMBING

Albert Sandler is playing his violin. I love his playing. He plays as if he loved it and would play his very best either with or without an audience. Rene thinks he has a bit of a “murky” past but he must have some good spots I think. His music soothes and rests me and makes one feel better I think. It does not seem to spoil the Sunday evening atmosphere as so much of the radio trash does. So much of what we hear is so far beneath the intelligence of people no more educated than us that I wonder it is ever tolerated. It could so easily help to improve people’s taste instead of lowering it and I don’t mean high-brow stuff either, tho’ I think it should be broadcast in its turn too. At least it would not debase.

Father has done an hour’s watch from 7 to 8 for Joe Kirk tonight and then is doing 3 more until 11 o’c for Hallgarth as it is his birthday forsooth! Time he grew up at his age. Gilbert Paul is taking over Matt. Stones’ wheelwrights’ business. Joe Kirk had a cow calve on Friday. Yesterday he found it dead with its head in a ditch. It had broken a blood vessel. 3rd calf and worth £60, in fact he was bidden that in the morning. Bull calf only worth £2. Of course it wasn’t insured.

My boarder went this morning. Father took him to catch 10.15. train to Sk[egness]. He was going to Leicester and said it would be 8 pm when he arrived at home. Travelling is so bad now especially on Sun. He came on Tuesday evening, is a friend of Beryl Cousins and was only here for breakfast and dinner and to sleep. I charged him 7/6 a day. He tipped me 5/0 and Father 2/6 at St[ation]. He was no trouble and ate anything set before him. On Sat. I gave him 2 eggs for breakfast (he always started with porridge) and when I took them in he said “There now, look at that.” He was very quiet and not given to exclamations either. He was so quiet that we did not always hear him come in tho’ he was never very late, (we did not wait up as he was a friend of Cousins, so alright) but alas the loose board at the top of the stairs always betrayed him as it used to Ron and Emmie. G.ma is coming tomorrow for a few days as Father is still patrolling. Jean told her it would be quite alright as I could put her into the “lodger’s” bed as it was and save sheets as he was a very clean young man! However, G.ma doesn’t mind a joke and knows Jean.

Our Michaelmas daisies are lovely now in the jars Emmie and Ron gave me. I don’t put them in the jars direct, but into vases first. Chrysanths will soon be out if weather keeps open. It is Battle of Britain Sunday. Thanksgiving for miraculous deliverances of Britain in 1940. I am afraid we are not much for parades at Chapel but the Red + did parade. I think it was a pity the church and chapel were not full. I intended going tonight but the N. wind was so bitter I did not. One thing I have thought of to-day. How very little we knew at the time, of the terrible “Battle of Britain” down here. Most of what we know we have learned since. The few pictures in paper, little news broadcast, told us very little. On Thursday night this week a Jerry plane or planes dropped a number of anti-personnel bombs round Anderby way and on Grantham’s land too. Some few have been found. Have written to Ron and enclosed poem, Little House. It may amuse him a few minutes. Have also written to Sybil. Must write to Frank soon and cookie Jock too. Grace settling down I think at Revesby. Roy home on leave, Joan still not at all well. Jean said Ralph and wife (Helen) at chapel this morning. Peter Kirk is on leave, he looks a long blue sailor and his head still pokes forward on his long neck. Mrs Leivers called Monday afternoon. She was staying in Sk. has not altered much but looks older.

Albert Sandler, violinist, was a popular light orchestra leader before and during World War II.

Matthew Stones’ wheelwright business was in Ingoldmells.

Beryl Cousins was the granddaughter of the elderly Mr and Mrs Cousins (see 9 May 1943).

Helen Faulkner was the wife of Ron’s village friend Ralph.

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

July 13. 2. a.m. [1943]
# AIRCRAFT AND EXPLOSIONS ON MOONLIT NIGHT
# INVASION OF SICILY REPORTED
# MORE VILLAGE MEN REPORTING FOR ACTIVE DUTY
# RON SENDS PHOTOS
# ABSENT NEIGHBOUR VISITS
# GARDEN FLOWERS BLOOMING
# ANOTHER DIARY BOOK FULL

Father has just gone on watch and Jean is nearly asleep on couch. I had heard planes about for a long time and felt in my bones they were hostile. Then round about 1 o’clock DST [double summer time] I heard the guns. Very heavy so at last I woke Father. One big explosion shook the house, it may have been a plane. It is a very bright moonlight night. When Father got up at 1.20 Jean and I got up too. Fire not quite out so put a few sticks on and revived it. Will make some tea soon and if quiet go back to bed. I have been very seedy last few days, felt better to-night but weak and breathless. Father not well either. Everyone complaining of feeling over tired. I wonder how the people feel when we raid so often.

[Aside: Sicily invaded about 8 weeks after Tunis won.] We have invaded Sicily. Wonder if Frank Adams or any of the boys from here are there. Peter Kirk went on Mon to Wales, met an old school pal, Northern, on the journey going to same place. Charlie Parish has to go this week and Ted Hall goes for medical.

Planes still about but unidentified as they say in W.Bx. Guns not so frequent. Wonder if poor Grimsby is getting it again, over 100 killed last time. Had 2 letters from Ron Sat. by Air Mail. Jean’s contained photos of Ron, 1 each. They are quite good we think. He looks older but that is to be expected. He looks well, that is the main thing. It is nice to have a glimpse of him. Says he never got that corn harvested, he had to move after it got shoulder height.

Ron - 'to Dad'

Ron – ‘to Dad’

Mrs Wilson came Tue. and stayed night to attend to the cottage. She stayed up talking until nearly 12 then was up before 5 a.m. as she had to catch the 10.30 bus to Sk[egness]. She is very jolly, much plumper than she was and has aged a lot since war started. Arthur is in M.E.F. still. She laughs and jokes about him, but can tell she is anxious, he is the only child.

Our roses have been especially good this year and the white lilies too are very fine. Cant[erbury] Bells I gave Fra[nk] last year have flowered this and are huge, he brought a stalk on Sat about 3 feet high with masses of blooms, cup and saucer variety. All are deep blue, I had 3 blue and a white last year but none survived winter, even the two that did not flower died. Carnations starting to bloom, very fine. Nearly 2.30 a.m., wind freshening, do hope it won’t be a warm soft gale again to-day it really gets me down. A wicked-sounding plane about but it may be one of ours returning. Now for some tea and so to bed again.

January to July a book of patchwork pieces
Our circle is unbroken still, altho’ the beads are far apart.
Another phase of strife Mars now releases.
The last I hope. Towards victory let us start.

[The following note appeared on the inside back cover of this Diary, and probably referred to Ron’s postings (or mailing addresses) in 1943:]

                                                  June                  July
B.N.A.F      M.E.F               CMF

[British North Africa Force]

[Middle East Forces]

[Central Mediterranean Forces (Italy)]

Ken Northern had attended the Lumley Secondary School in Skegness with Peter Kirk. However the ‘pal’ might have beenr another member of that family. (Ken’s brother, Bernard, had also attended the school, as had Ron, May’s son.)

Charlie Parrish (aged about 18 at this time) had been mentioned as a Home Guard member less than two months earlier (see 29 May 1943).

Ted Hall was Doris’s brother. He was joining the Navy, like his chief petty officer father, Albert (see 16 Mar. 1942).

‘Arthur’ refers to Mrs Wilson’s son but (as previously noted) her only child was known locally as ‘Laurie’ (see 11 May 1943).

MEF – Middle East Force. The same abbreviation was used for the Middle East Land Force, but was also believed to apply to one of Ron’s RAF postings (at least for Army Post Office purposes).

Frank, here, almost certainly refers to May’s brother.

BNAF – British North Africa Force. Ron’s first RAF posting abroad came within this description.

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