All posts tagged Rene

Postscript – After May Hill – Died 18th November 1944
# RECALLING MAY’S LAST SIGHT OF RON
# RON’S DEMOB AND RETURN HOME IN 1945
# VILLAGE WAR MEMORIAL – FOUR HILL FAMILY LOSSES
# MAY’S FAMILY – CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN
# DIARY AND POETRY PUBLICATIONS

Sadly, May’s war ended without the longed-for reunion with Ron, but not in the way she had feared most when she wrote, on 25th October 1943:

‘It is over a year since we saw Ron. I can still see the train pulling out with Ron waving from a carriage window, and how I felt as if he was taking a part of me with him, feeling as if I must strain my eyes for as long as I could see him, knowing it might be that it was the last sight of him we should ever have.’

With his mother defeated by her own ‘old enemy’, and his father gone not long before her, Ron’s war continued. He served with the RAF abroad for almost a year after May’s death, with no compassionate leave granted to attend either of his parents’ funerals. The pain of losing both parents, as well as their brother’s enforced absence, was hard for Jean and Rene to bear. Their grief was softened when Jean moved to live with Rene and Tom in their bungalow in the village. They kept in close touch with Emmie, Ron’s wife. In the summer of 1945 Emmie and Jean shared a holiday in the Lake District. Shortly afterwards Ron was demobbed, safely returning to England where he was joyfully reunited with his wife and sisters.

Ron and Emmie reunited, 1945

Emmie and Ron, together again at last,
after his return to England in 1945

The rejoicing at the end of hostilities was mixed with grief; the war had taken its toll on the family and the village. Of the four young men who had been lost in action, as recorded in the Diaries, three were May’s nephews, Tony Hill (RAF), Kenneth Hill (RAF) and Raymond Hill (Army). Along with that of Hugh Green (Merchant Navy) their names were added to the plinth of the village war memorial, located in the grounds of St Leonard’s Church. The memorial had previously been erected in memory of Will’s brother, Mark Hill (Army), the only man of the village to be killed in action during the First World War (see 16 Sep 1944 when May laid flowers on Mark’s grave). Their sacrifices have not been forgotten and the village memorial was re-dedicated, following refurbishment, in a service held in 2005 on the anniversary of Mark Hill’s death in on 13th September 1917.

Chapel St Leonards War Memorial

Chapel St Leonards War Memorial
with added WWII Inscription

War Memorial - Original Inscription

Original Inscription WWI

War Memorial - WWII Inscription

WWII Inscription

As for May and Will’s immediate family, life began to move on. The first grandchild, Rene’s son, was born barely a year after May’s death. Jean lived with Rene and Tom for a few more years until they re-settled in Louth. Jean then moved to live in Skegness, where she continued in local government employment and met her future husband, Alan. Ron and Emmie made their home in Yeadon, near Leeds, where Ron pursued his career as a carpenter/joiner. Each couple had two children who have great pride in the Poetry and Diaries. Although they never met her, May Hill’s grandchildren will never forget the grandmother whom, through the wonderful legacy of her writing, they have come to know so well.

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This Postscript is adapted from that in the book “The Casualties Were Small” (available on Amazon) which contains May Hill’s poems, selected diary extracts and many nostalgic photographs, including those above.

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The contents of May Hill’s Diaries, and her Poems, with illustrations, as published in this Blog ‘Seventy Years on’, are available as annual Kindle e-reader volumes. These have the main title ‘An RAF Mother’s WWII Diary Blog’ and subtitles as follows (the links are for the UK Amazon Kindle Store – Search using ‘RAF Mother WWII’ in Kindle Store in other countries):

Volume One, November 1940 to December 1941, ‘Anticipation and Alarms’
Published as Kindle Edition in April 2012

Volume Two, January 1942 to December 1942, ‘Weddings and Farewells’
Published as Kindle Edition in April 2013

Volume Three, January 1943 to December 1943, ‘Losses and Gains’
Published as Kindle Edition in December 2013

Volume Four, January 1944 to December 1944, ‘Sorrows and Salvation’
To be published as Kindle Edition in December 2014

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

Sun. Nov 5 6.20 P.M. [1944]
# REMEMBRANCE SERVICE AND PARADE
# RENE VISITS BUT NOT FULLY WELL
# BEATING ‘SPELLING BEE’ TEAM ON WIRELESS
# TOY SALES CONTRIBUTE TO DOCTOR’S FEE
# LAST WORDS ON BELOVED FLOWERS

Jean did not parade to Hogsthorpe Church for Remembrance Service this afternoon as it came a squall of wind and rain and sleet between 12 o’c and 1 and still rained at ¼ to 2 o’c. She has gone to Chapel tonight, expect she is on Parade. Rene came while we were having tea about 5, rather late for Sun. but Jean put the water in the pot without any tea, and it seemed to take so long to boil up again. Rene looks pale and seedy yet but decidedly better than Thursday. Says she still feels wobbly inside. I thought it rather risky coming on her cycle so far, as it was still rather windy. Says she is coming tomorrow but rather not wash! It should be our big wash week. I must try to do some of them on the QT before she gets here. I have just written a Xmas AirGraph to Jock Brown. Have not written to him since the Spring. Ciss went to Church Parade with Red + this morning. Con came home with her for dinner. I would have liked to go to Chapel tonight but there is still a good bit of wind, tho’ it is not so cold. Have a touch of asthma too, tho’ not bad. If Father had been here we would have gone perhaps. I am afraid my chrysanths will have suffered in the wind and rain. It seems to blow all round these houses. Think Ciss’s must be preparing to go out, there seems a lot of tramping to and fro and switching scullery light on and off. I wouldn’t mind a visitor myself tonight.

Later. Listened to the spelling bee and beat them. Spelled most words correctly. Rene brought me 10/0 for Golly from Mrs Hutton. So with Elsie’s 11/0 for rabbits and 10/6 for dog my Dr bill of £1.15.6. is nearly paid. If I can only get more toys made I could put a little more away for a rainy day. Jean took flowers to churchyard today, chrysanths and the last gladiola unless the coloured ones come out, I have two in water in the house. My snap-dragons and marigolds are still blooming but wind and frost have nearly spoiled the asters. My anemones are coming up well, I am so pleased.

The golly for Mrs Hutton, in the village, and dog for a friend of Ron’s Emmie, were soft toys which May had made. Elsie Grantham, daughter of the Anderby Road farmer, had bought live rabbits from May.

May died on November 18th 1944, about two weeks after this, her final Diary entry. It was fitting that she concluded it with a mention of her beloved garden flowers.

This Blog will contain two further items within the next two weeks – one more of May’s poems (which was probably the last one she wrote) and a short Postscript relating to Ron and the rest of May’s family.

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

Sat 8.50 pm Nov. 4. [1944]
# GIRL GUIDE GWEN’S GOOD DEED
# JEAN MAKES BONFIRE NIGHT TOFFEE
# RENE ALMOST RECOVERED FROM ILLNESS
# DIFFICULTY IN CONCENTRATING – FEELING DIZZY

Guy Fawkes Day tomorrow (Sun). It has been very cold to-day but wind not my side of house so could get in and out alright. I am tired again to-night as I have had a busy day. Gwen took Rene an apple-pie for dinner. Jean took cakes and tarts for tea. I was going to give Gw. 3D but Cis said it was her good deed for the day, she was enrolled as a Girl Guide last night and must do at least one good deed a day. So I said “Very well Gwen that’s your good deed done”, but Gw. said rather dubiously Well Rene gave me 6D!

Jean is very tired tonight and has not gone to Toc. H. Her photos have come, they are very good indeed. She has made some toffee, her personal points are all spent with still a week of this period to run. She spent the last of mine to-day for 2oz sweets. Have written to Emmie and sent her one of Jean’s photo’s. News on, Switz. asked to renew relations with Russ. Russ. refuses. What’s on now?

Jean, October 1944 © AE Wrate, Skegness

Jean, October 1944
© AE Wrate, Skegness

Jean says Rene much better and wanted to come home but Tom said not. I had sent word too that she was not to come. The weather wasn’t fit, after being in a few days tho’ not in bed. I must go tomorrow if possible. Elsie fetched the 4 rabbits on Wed. To-day she came and paid for them 2/9 each. That is 10/6 from Emmie for green dog and 11/0 from Elsie, a nice little addition to our small income. Jean’s hand still has a bump but not so painful. She has not complained of gnat bites.

Greece cleared of enemy. I keep losing what I want to write, and have kept feeling slightly dizzy all day. I often seem to get this dizzy feeling. Think perhaps I have done a bit too much this week after being so poorly up to Wed. Have not heard from Sybil yet. I think it must be a month since I wrote to her, I hardly like to write again at least yet. Anything may have happened in these sad days.

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

Nov. 3 Fri 9.20 p.m. [1944]
# LIBERATION OF BELGIUM REPORTED
# FIRST SNOWFALL ON WESTERN FRONT
# SURPRISE VISIT FROM RON’S EMMIE
# FEARS OF V-2 ROCKET BOMBS

The whole of Belgium is liberated. These poor occupied countries seem to think their troubles are all over when “liberated”, but I am afraid quickly find they are still a long way from real peace and prosperity. The first snow has fallen on the Western Front and there has been a fore-cast by meteorolog. experts of a hard winter. I wonder if they and the “cat haws” are right or if old Traves idea of a mild winter if thunder occurred after the equinox is right. “Time will prove” I suppose. The war seems to be going satisfactorily but hopes of a finish in Europe this year do not seem quite so rosy. Indeed W.C. [Winston Churchill] thinks it possible it may not finish until spring or early summer 1945.

Keith and Marion came last Thurs. ev. I had finished dog and they admired it very much. Rene took it to post Friday. At tea-time Emmie dropped on us (Friday) off 4.15 bus’. Was delighted to take us by surprise. I was pleased I had a hot beef pie waiting for Jean’s tea and I quickly put pot. and veg. in oven to warm (It was hot after baking.) and got her a meal very quickly. Then she went down to see Rene on “Sara”, and back before Jean was home. She stayed until Mon. and Rene went with her to Sk[egness]. Elsie came Sun ev. She bought my four young rabbits, Eff is having the other Mon. Emmie and Jean went to Chapel Sun. morn. It rained when they left. Rene went too and got very wet and took a chill. She had not been too well for some days. She has not been since Tue. I went on Thurs. 10.20 bus’ and came back at 5 o’c. She was feeling better and more like food.

Emmie on Rene’s bicycle ‘Sara’ at ‘Lenton Lodge’

I have had a busy day at home to-day and when Jean had gone to G.L.B. [Girls’ Life Brigade] fell fast asleep in my chair. I don’t know when I have felt as tired. Had a letter from Emmie and 10/6 for Dog to-day, I also sent her a Teddy and rabbit. She did not return Father’s bag, I do hope she doesn’t lose it. Expect she will return it with Jean’s wool. Jean banged her hand at the office, it is swollen and painful tonight. She has had her legs bitten by gnats and they irritate too. One or two explosions have just rattled doors slightly. I am rather nervous in case Hitler sends any of the V2 rocket bombs. Because we have destroyed one nest doesn’t say he has no more. May we be spared from the next war. Sent Ron’s parcel to-day. Wonder how Rene is, must find out tomorrow. Wish I was able to get about better. Eva came when I was out yesterday, stayed at Ciss’s a while then walked home. I was sorry to be out when she came. It has been very wet again to-day tho’ it cleared this afternoon.

‘Cat haws’ are the fruit of the hawthorn. (See ‘A Glossary or Collection of Words, Phrases, Place Names, Superstitions Current in East Lincolnshire’, Jabez Good, Long Sutton, c1900.)

William Robert Traves, who had died in 1938, was probably the ‘Old Traves’ referred to. He was the father of John Hadwick Traves who owned Croft Farm on Bradshaws Lane in Hogsthorpe, not far from Milsons’ farm (see Village Map).

‘Sara’ was the name given to Rene’s bicycle. This was also the name of a rabbit that had been kept at ‘Lenton Lodge’.

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

Wed 8.45 am Oct. 25. [1944]
# MANY SMALL TASKS TAKING TIME
# JEAN’S BREAKFAST AND PACKED LUNCH
# HANGING OUT CLOTHES
# TAKING SHOES TO COBBLER
# MORE APPLES PICKED WITH RENE’S HELP
# MORE SOFT TOY MAKING

I cannot seem to find time for my diary these days. There always seems a job in spite of Rene coming every day. Perhaps I am slow too. I cannot hurry or seem to put any weight behind anything and the multitude of little jobs seems to fill the day and I can’t get down to a really long job of sewing or gardening. Also after dinner I often seem so tired and have to rest so long. Yesterday I got up at 7.15. put kettle on stove, made the fire, took Jean’s water and put it on the stairs for her, (It is nice having warm soft water in the boiler) cleaned her shoes, I do not usually do this but, cleaned them and rubbed Dubbin well into them and incidentally, found they needed new rubbers on heels, her blue ones were at the cobblers, so as she got them home last night she has taken brown ones to-day. I got breakfast for her but had to get some for myself before packing her dinner as I felt sick and rather faint and dizzy. After she had gone I fed rabbits, cleared away, washed up, and put out clothes line and clothes, folded the few that dried Monday. Cleared up kitchen and partly dusted. Washed myself and Jean’s stockings (She changes them every day as her feet sweat.) caught 10.30 bus’ to Stow’s and managed to catch it on its return from Point or should have had to wait for 11 o’c. Sat next to Mrs. Lindley, she was full of talk and I nearly forgot to get off bus at C[ouncil] Houses. Went to see how clothes were drying and to unwind one or two off line. Made and had a cup of Allenburys, pulled a basket of apples from lower branches of tree, picked up the fallen ones (a basketful) threw all the little potatoes together and picked some up. Then Rene came. I made a steamed marmalade pudding and cooked bacon and eggs for dinner. Rene dusted and pulled a few more baskets of apples. We had dinner then Rene made beds etc. The clothes were all dry then so while I rested she folded and mangled them and then I washed up and changed my blouse. I did a little knitting in between times.

After Rene went at 4.15. I fed rabbits, shut them up, had tea, not much as I have a meal when Jean comes at 6.40. knitted a little more, blacked-out all over and peeled pot[atoes] for Jean’s meal and steamed her marm[alade] pud. Tom came for tea for Rene. Then I mixed pot. cheese, marg and egg and fried it in hot fat for Jean. After tea had been cleared I stuffed the green vel. dog I had made Mon. I had to put feet squares in first. Finished it except for eyes, tongue etc, and a little more knitting of Jean’s cap. It is almost done. Then I washed tea-things and we had a drink, I of Allenb. F[ood?] and Jean tea, read a little and went to bed. I seem to have had a full day yet nothing much to show for it. It is a nice bright morning but as Father would have said everywhere is sodden. I think it has been a dry night, possibly a frost.

‘Dubbin’ is a branded protective shoe/boot cleaner.

Mrs Emily Lindley was a sister of Edith, Alice, Ada and Clara (also May) Crow. She had previously been housekeeper for Mr Lindley, originally from Nottingham, whose first wife had died. Their home was ‘Rosedene’, on the corner of St Leonards Drive and South Crescent (see Village Map).

‘Allenburys’ was a ‘food-drink’ manufactured by the Allen and Hanbury company.

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

Oct 15 Sunday 8.30 p.m [1944]
# ASTHMA FOR MOST OF WEEK
# HUGE COOKING APPLE CROP
# RENE’S TOM PREACHING AT CHAPEL
# BUSY IN GARDEN AGAIN

Another Sunday, I must try to write up my diary oftener. I have been glancing thro’ old ones to-day and they are very interesting to me. It has been a lovely autumn day fine and cold but not so windy as of late. I felt as if I ought to have gone for a walk but do not feel very great yet after asthma most of the week and diarrhoea on Thursday. Yesterday Jean and I picked several stones of Bramleys, a clothes basket, the big brown basket and the small bath full, and the jam-pan full of fallen ones. They are good apples and there must be still as many more left on the tree. If fine Rene and I will pick them tomorrow.

Have written to Ron, Emmie and Aunt Fanny. Have not had a reply from Sybil yet. Hope all is well. Jean bought herself a pair of new blue suede shoes yesterday at Cooper’s 23/6 quite nice, the first she ever bought with own money.

Eva came down Wed afternoon for tea and paid for rabbit 5/0. She is looking better. Jean took three lovely white gladiolas to Churchyard also asters. Then she went to Chapel and to S.S. [Sunday School] after dinner. G.ma gave her 2/0. Tom and Rene walked down this morning. He is preaching to-night. Ron’s allowance for me 7/0 per week came thro’ this week, £4.4 back money in draft. So that is settled for the time anyway. It is for rent etc. Made a T. Bear and stuffed it with flocks. Looks very nice but is not so light as kapok. Perhaps more substantial for older child. Jean called at Mrs. B[rown]’s for piece of green velveteen. Hope it will make dog. It is lovely. Am to return Eardley’s chair when I like after Monday, they have lent it. I asked her if I could send it home.

Lawn growing well, think it will cover alright. Heaps of work wants doing in garden but Rene finished digging potatoes on Thurs. Must pick up the rest of seed and ……. [? thrash?] tomorrow if dry and get garden ready for blk.currants and rasps. Shall have a lot of chrys[anthemums] if pest and wind does not spoil them. Must do away with a lot after flowering, far too many. My anemones are beginning to peep thro’ I am relieved to find. Some of my seedling polyanthus are in bloom also wannias, wallflowers Mary gave me are growing well and all three roses are alive. I ought to move two of them as they seem to catch all the cutting winds at the corner of the house. Don’t suppose it would hurt to move them about Dec. or Jan. What a lot there is to do in a garden. When I am not well it all seems to get on top of me. I have never really got master of it yet. News time and Jean is tired so think we will have supp. and go to bed early. I can read in bed if not sleepy. Can hear a plane.

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

Sun. Oct 8 7.50 P.M. [1944]
# HEARTY BREAKFAST BEFORE CHAPEL
# GARDEN FLOWERS CONTINUE TO THRIVE
# SERVING NEPHEWS ON LOCAL LEAVE
# TRADITIONAL SUNDAY DINNER
# MORE SOFT TOY MAKING

Got out of bed at 7.40 to draw curtains, it was calm and looked like being a fine day so decided to get up. Put D[ressing] Gown on and collected clothes, went down and lit stove and put kettle on. Made fire and took cinders out then had a cup of tea and took Jean one. Water warm in boiler so had a good wash and changed clothes. Cooked bacon and the two eggs Mrs. B[rown] brought and Jean some bread. Mrs. B has one hen, it has laid so many eggs this summer she had to buy waterglass and put them down! Some hen! Before Jean got down to breakfast at 8.30 it was raining and has kept drizzling all day. Jean went to Chapel and to S.S. [Sunday School] then to Mary’s with apples for Annie, Colin came here from S.S. to fetch them! Jean went to Miss Wilcoxon’s to get Pitman’s she promised to lend her as Tom’s is out of date. Not at home but Mrs. W. promised to get it for tomorrow.

My gladioli are lovely, took one to churchyard last week, have another in house (white ones) but too wet to go to-day. Hope I have pink and mauve ones too, tho’ only white so far. Dahlia still in flower and asters too tho’ flowers are smaller now. Have written to [sister] Emily L[ewis] Emmie and Ron and a card to Amy.

Roy has been on leave, was flown with cycle to St[rubby] aero[drome] as he had to see a damaged boat there. Dennis is at E. Kirkby drome and has been home twice. Keith is expected in a week or two. Rene brought me some nice roses last night. Frank called this morning, he had been to Percy’s. Says my front door key doesn’t belong but will try to fit one for me. Per’s mother and fa. here today. Gwen at Willeys at Anderby. Em L. coming to Island House Croft to live this week. I think sometimes the people who put no roots deep down but sort of run on the surface, are perhaps the happiest. They seem to enjoy each new adventure of a fresh home. I am by no means “at home” here yet, tho’ perhaps can hardly expect it under the circumstances. Sometimes I wonder if anywhere will ever feel like “home” again. I suppose if you keep on moving you don’t get enough attached to any place to bother when you leave. I am afraid I send my roots down too far. It is a wrench to pull them up and I hate to leave my flowers and get my furniture bumped about tho’ it’s old but not valuable!

Frank is thinking of getting removed from Ob. Post as he has so much work. Is not very keen on new …… [? illegible], thinks it will be very exp. for him. Black kitten is sitting on oven rest, tried top of oven with his paws but decided it was too hot. We had a piece of sirloin for dinner, cut from top of ribs to trim it up I think. They cut the carcases up so queerly now. It was very good, all meat too. We had mashed and brown potatoes and Yor[kshire] pud. with it but no beans as I forgot them yesterday and it was too wet to-day. There will be brussels as soon as a frost has been on them. Rene’s have already had some. Have got my crock nearly full of salted beans, there were so many young fresh ones it seemed a pity not to use them. Wish I could sell rabbits, they take a lot of feeding. Made a toy rabbit yesterday stuffed with flocks and clippings. Quite successful tho’ large toys would be much heavier than kapok and it takes a long time to clip up the oddments of material.

Miss Veda Wilcox (written as Wilcoxon), lived near Parishes’ ‘Rose Cottage’ on Roman Bank which was close to the beach, near ‘The Point’ (see Village Map). She was a WRN at ‘Royal Arthur’, possibly on secretarial duties.

RAF Strubby (see East Lincolnshire Map), not far from RAF Manby, was where nephew Roy Simpson had been involved in Air Sea Rescue boat repairs, having been flown from his base at RAF Langham, Norfolk

Nephew Dennis Raynor was at RAF East Kirkby (later Lincolnshire’s Aviation Heritage Centre), a bomber airfield near Revesby.

Silas and Winifred (‘Winnie’) Willey had been Ransons’ neighbours and had moved to a farm in Anderby. Gwen and her parents would cycle to visit them and their daughters Mary and Joan. Silas Willey was a member of the Home Guard (see 6th June 1944 for photo).

‘Island House’ was a farm cottage at Croft.

Frank Simpson (brother) or possibly Frank Raynor, was probably meant regarding the Observer Post. Both had been local members of the Royal Observer Corps and the duties could have been an unwanted diversion from their usual work activities.

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

Oct 1 Sun. 8.15 PM [1944]
# ECONOMISING ON ELECTRICITY USE
# CALAIS GUNS SILENCED AT LAST
# RECALLING INVASION FEARS
# GARDENING ADVICE UNWELCOME

I had just written the date when the light went out. I am afraid E.L. [electricity] is going to be an item in the winter tho’ the rebate will make it easier. Shall have to be very careful with wireless and do as little ironing as we can. I use a candle upstairs as I often need a light nights and early mornings. Cannot do with less than a 60 watt bulb in the kitchen for sewing and reading. It cost about 2/0 last week and it is a long time yet to the shortest day. It has been a lovely autumn day, cold and bright until tea time when the wind got worse and a storm blew up ending in rain and a lovely rainbow that seemed to be only at the bottom of the garden. Afterwards it thundered very heavily over the sea towards the North and came another heavy shower. We did not get to Chapel but Jean went this a.m. and to S.S. [Sunday School]. Rene came this afternoon. Ciss’s arrived home on 6.15 bus’ except George who is staying until Wed at Mary’s.

Mary sent us (not Mary Blythe) a nice little cockerel for dinner, it was very good, with beans and bread sauce. A little bit left for tomorrow. Mavis says Vic Hill died from the injuries received from flying bomb, the head injuries being worse than believed at first. My potatoes not turning out so well now, they don’t do well so near apple-trees. Ted and Albert Hall are on leave. They were digging potatoes on Fri and Saturday. Mrs. Ted Brown brought me some lovely roses on Thurs. They are lovely rich colour and named “Autumn”, sweet-scented too. Rene and I took some of them and a white gladiola and mauve, pink and white asters to the churchyard last night. We put a few asters in the memorial stone, vase.

Harriet fetched a young rabbit on Thursday. “Jimmy” is dead. Eva is at Mrs. D[andison]’s for a month. Calais has fallen to us at last, and the cross-channel guns are silenced at last too. Dover has been celebrating this week. What a relief it must be to them after 4 years. A few flying bombs, presumably launched from pick-a-back planes, continue to come over still. Planes go over us nearly all day sometimes and night too, but no enemy planes lately. My nerves seem fairly good tho’ I fear it would not take many “bumps” to unsettle them. How thankful we ought to be that we have lived in such a favoured area, tho I tremble to think of what would have happened had Ger. invaded Lincs. as he clearly intended by the plans found in Paris. How near the edge of a volcano we were unconsciously living at one time! We think and hope that time is past now.

John Short is able to cycle now tho’ he cannot walk without boots. Edith Bell (Mrs. Seal) had a daughter on Thurs. night or Fri morning. David is about 13 months old. Jean rolled new lawn on Sat. I took thistles and dandelions out first, I saw Coote looking over the hedge at it, with what I felt in my bones was a disapproving eye! Tom told Rene to tell me it wanted rolling when it was about three inches high, I am afraid I rather ungratefully told her I was tired of advice about the lawn. Jean and I are of the opinion that if we’d had as much help as advice about it, it would have been 6 feet high by now! I don’t profess to be a professional gardener, but as my father was so good in the garden and his father and grandfather were gardeners before him, I am not altogether dense, especially as we have always had a garden and have grown flowers and vegetables so long, even if I did not do the work on the veg. patch at least I was always there, and learnt most of the ropes. In one way at least I can beat them all. Dear Will had a tool for everything, so I do not have to borrow. One thing however I do lack and that is a light little barrow. It would be very useful. I sent George’s back to Con. before we came here and even if it had been ours it was too heavy.

George Ranson was probably staying with his aunt, Mary Blythe, in the Grimsby area (see 18th November 1943).

The other Mary (NOT Mary Blythe) here, was Charles Hill’s wife.

Vic Hill, killed by a flying bomb, has not been identified and may not have been a relative. The incident would have been in the south-east of England as flying bombs did not reach Lincolnshire.

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

Mon Sep. 18. 9 30 pm [1944]
# PARATROOP LANDINGS BEHIND GERMAN LINES
# SWARMS OF AIRCRAFT OVERHEAD
# ENCOUNTER WITH TOM’S SISTER
# SUNDAY AFTERNOON VISITORS

Invasion of Holland by Paratroops. Sep. 17 /44

Yesterday, Sunday, we made 3 Paratroop landings behind Ger. troops. Gliders and Parachutists landed with guns and probably small tanks. Considerable supplies for them have been flown there and landed to-day. To-night round about 7 o’c planes flew over here, going out over the sea and a little to the N.E. As far as the eye could see, between sea and wolds and N. and S. planes swarmed like flies for some time. We can hear a drone of planes now and wonder if they are returning.

I have been to Rene’s for dinner and tea to-day. Mrs. Young was tired so we stayed in the garden. She is not really easy to talk to, and is very puffed up with her family connections, ahem, some of them. She has travelled and read a lot and is very musical. She is looking better for her holiday. I called at Mary’s as I went. Gordon has joined the forces and is in Scotland. Annie Graves is in a very poor way with sciatica and both lungs affected by T.B. What a lot of trouble there is in the world even apart from war. I washed two blankets before I went. Ciss helped me wring them, also I washed two of Jean’s blouses. Rene came after tea to get wool Jean was getting for Mrs Y to knit Tom some socks. She was not able to get real wool but got some kind of grey yarn 6 ozs of it as they said it needed more than wool. 4 oz 1 coup. It has been a lovely day fresh and breezy and it was lovely yesterday. Farmers are getting on with harvest now. Red + Sale and garden party realised £80. Rene won a gilt necklace in a raffle. I went to Chapel Sun night. Mr Noble sang two solos. Jean was with G.L. [Girls’ Life Brigade] parade to Hogs[thorpe] Church. Ted B[rown] and Eric and Bessy came Sun. afternoon. Bessie looks older tho’ well. Mrs. B will probably come on Thursday week.

Operation Market Garden’, involving thousands of Allied paratroopers and other forces, was a daring attempt to secure key bridges across rivers in Holland, intended to enable a rapid advance into the German lowlands. However the outcome was disastrous as will be reported in the next Diary entry (27th September 1944).

Annie Graves was presumably related to Mary, née Graves, the wife of Will’s one surviving brother Charles Hill, but the connection has not been identified.

Mr Noble, the accomplished singer, lived in Newark but often visited his mother who lived in a permanently-sited ‘caravan’ at the furthest end of Landseer Avenue (see Village Map).

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

Saturday Sep. 16 1944 10. o’c P.M.
# END OF ‘DOUBLE SUMMER TIME’
# LAST DAY OF TOTAL BLACKOUT
# JEAN INVESTIGATES TYPING LESSONS
# VISITING FAMILY GRAVES
# APPLE PICKING AND GARDENING
# NEW WAVE OF FLYING BOMBS

Tonight we put back our clocks one hour so that we are only one hour in advance of G.M.T. Pips were broadcast at 9 o’c as Big Ben was going to be put back. It is a memorable day in most of Eng. as it is the end of total black-out. Our area is not included tho’, as we are on the coast and our black-out must remain total at present. I wonder if it would not be better if it was kept up every-where for a time. The cartoon in D.M. [Daily Mail] depicts a warden knocking at a door and informing the inmates that they have “no light showing” the house being blacked-out and its neighbours windows glowing thro’ ordinary curtains. I have stopped my clock. When the hour is up, (9.45) we shall go to bed. It will be nice to have an extra hour of daylight, (and rest) in the morning. Just lately I have been very sleepy at 7. a.m. which is not usual. Tonight Jean and I went to see Mr Mc.Cullam re typing etc. He is not taking any more pupils, as he finds it too big a strain. He is getting on in life. He recommended a Miss Cusac? at Skegness. Jean then went to Toc. H dancing-class, I am not much in favour of it. Jean objects to P.Hs dancing.

I took flowers to the churchyard, I really had a nice bunch out of our garden to-day. Pink and mauve asters, larkspur, and purple spike for the brown jar and red antirrhin[ums] and dahlias for the other, I put a few on Mark’s mem[orial]. It was 27 years on Wed Sep. 13 since he was “killed in action”. It was lovely weather not like this wet cold summer. He was 21 so would have been 48 now. “They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.” “We that are left”. Grandma has seen 4 of her 5 sons go before her. Jean went to see her tonight as I thinking I should be home first took the key and she did not know where I was. She says G.ma has a very bad cold. Rene hasn’t been to-day as there has been a Red + garden fete.

Chapel St Leonards War Memorial - WWI

Chapel St Leonards War Memorial – WWI

War Memorial Inscription - In Memory of Mark Hill

War Memorial Inscription -
In Memory of Mark Hill

Jean and I pulled a lot of the sweet apples to-day as birds and wasps and flies are eating them on the trees. Some of them are very big and a lovely colour. I cleaned out rabbits and put a partition in young ones cage. I wonder if they will knock it down. Have collected grass off dyke-side for food and bedding, a good thing we got it yesterday as I saw Short collecting the rest of it. Coote mowed it. Have severely pruned? the veronica or more probably, box privet, shall most like likely saw it off by the ground as I think it will shoot out again. Must keep it under control then. Hope the grass seed will soon be up, it was sown last Mon. I also chopped a piece off the privet hedge by the gate so that we have a way on to the bank to mow dyke bank and trim the hedge and clear up. I can’t climb under bridge and don’t think it’s necessary. If the Council should object they can’t very well put it back and I intend seeing it doesn’t grow any more, it was only one root I destroyed, at least I have destroyed the top and hope the root will die with a little help. It is after 9.30 by B.S.T. so think we may soon start the clock and go to bed. Planes are going over, fly-bombs came over S. and Lon. again last night after 2 weeks rest. They were probably launched from pick-a-back planes. Evacuees who insist on pouring back would get an unpleasant reception. The govt. keeps warning them not to return as it is not safe yet and so many houses are down or unfit for habitation.

This Diary entry was the first of the final series of entries, found on loose sheets of paper. Earlier entries had been in ‘school’ exercise books which usually began and finished with a short rhyming verse. The loose sheets, as well as two ‘missing’ books and many of May’s poems, were discovered amongst the possessions of Ron’s wife Emmie after her death in 2007.

Alfred Henry McCullam, approached for typing tuition, lived near the chapel in Hogsthorpe. He was believed to have been a schoolteacher.

Miss Cusack was a typing and shorthand tutor in Skegness. May was unsure of the spelling when first written here.

Mark Hill, the youngest brother of May’s husband Will, was the only man of the village to be killed in action during the First World War. A private soldier in the 5th Royal Berkshire Regiment, he fell on 13th September 1917, aged 21, on the front line at Monchy, near Arras, France. The war memorial in the grounds of St Leonard’s Church was erected in his honour by the villagers and bears the inscription shown in the photograph. His name is also recorded on the Arras memorial, near to the battlefield.

Charles (Charlie) Hill (see 16 December 1940) was the only surviving son of Annie Hill (‘Grandma’) after the death of Will.

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