All posts tagged Ron

Sun. Mar.5. 7 P.M. [1944]
# WEATHER SUNNY BUT WIND ICY
# RADIO GARDENER’S BOOK OBTAINED
# WILL’S COASTGUARD WATCH TIMES CHANGE
# CLOTHES RECYCLED EARN COUPONS
# ANOTHER VILLAGE LAD ON EMBARKATION LEAVE

Very cold but snow almost gone, sun quite warm out of icy wind. Rene did not come yest. but Jean went to see her. She sent cakes and “Village Memories” of Mr Middleton of Radio gardening fame. Tom had changed my library book at Boots’ for me. Jean went to Chapel this morning, was late for dinner. I gather she and David and Ken exchanged a few compliments re B.B. [Boys’ Brigade] and G.L.B. [Girls’ Life Brigade]. She did not get to Sunday School as she had a lot of home-work to do. It is a bug-bear this homework. Rene came this afternoon and had a cup of tea. Father is on watch at 8.p.m so shall soon have to get his supper.

10.PM. Father had his supper and went on watch at 8 o’ c. This new time arrangement mixes one up. He came off at 8 am, went on at 8 p.m tonight, off at 2 a.m and on again at 12 to 6 p.m to-morrow. I have written to Ron and to Jock. Kettle is nearly boiling for bottles and it is time Jean was in bed. She has washed her hair and set waves with grips. I gave Mrs Hutton her [Jean’s] old house shoes on Fri. She seemed very grateful and said she would give me one or two coupons for them. One has to be very careful in giving things away as people’s pride is easily hurt, but in these days we can always make the shortage of coupons the excuse for passing things on and most people are glad of them. (Glad of them must be a Lincs expression. I’m sure it is not grammatical.) We have had no letter from Ron for a week, hope there is one tomorrow. Chas. Parrish is on leave, Mr P. thinks his Regt. is going abroad as he has 16 days. Expect they will feel it a lot, as he is only boy and not too strong, also both girls are away now. He can hardly be 20 yet I think. Finns have not come to a decision yet. Bulgars feeling for peace but immense difficulties in the way.

Mrs Hutton, here, was probably of the family which had been evacuated from Grimsby, at first to Hogsthorpe, and at that time believed to be living almost next door, in ‘Red Tiles’ no longer used by the Army (see 11 Apr 1941).

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

Mon 28 Feb. 8.50 am [1944]
# SNOW COVERS WOLDS
# MUCH LETTER WRITING
# RON AND CHUMS IMPROVISE STOVE
# COUSIN BRINGS FARM SAUSAGES ETC.

Ugh! The snow is coming down like sago as Jean says, and the wolds are thickly covered this morning. It has not “laid” here so far tho’ we had snow showers all day yesterday. Father said it was freezing when he came in just now. He has gone to M[um]by. Rd. Stn. to take a woman from Anderby to meet the train. Snow shower has whitened roofs and fence tops, it looks more like staying to-day, but tomorrow (being leap year) is the last of Feb. so we should not have it long. I hope we don’t, I am past the age of revelling in snow tho’ I like to see it.

Wrote to Ron, Dennis, Frank A and Vic last night, must write to Jock sometime. Roy is taking a course for N.C.O. [non-commissioned officer] now. Still I expect Ron wouldn’t exchange his African Star for stripes. He says “No, he hasn’t forgotten how to smile, one of the fellows calls him smiler.” I think I am more pleased to hear that than about his star, tho’ we are very pleased he has that. He and another fellow have made a stove for the billets, complete with pipe, out of an oil drum and biscuit tin. They heat up stew and beans and make Oxo and toast over it and get quite warm he says.

Amy and Ken came on Wed. Ken is growing now, he has shot thro’ sleeves and legs of his suit and looks long tho’ not by any means lanky. Amy brought us p[ork] pie, saus[ages], and mince pies, they were a very nice change. She is looking well in spite of having a nasty cold a week or two ago. Auntie [Jet] had finished knitting my tea-cosy, was very pleased to do it Amy said. She is getting on with her rug but it tries her. Wish I could think of something else for her to do, it is so difficult in these coupon days and she can do so little too. Gers. came over several nights last week some over London, chiefly over flats, several casualties. Jean is at home, it is half-term (Friday and Monday.) I think she must do the work and I will sew as I am having a bout of asthma after being free for nearly three months, at least nearly so. Well I can find plenty of sewing.

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

Mon Feb 21. 8.30 a.m. [1944]
# MASS BOMBING RAIDS ON GERMANY
# NEWS FROM RON IN ITALY
# GIFTS OF CLOTHING RECEIVED

It has continued bitterly cold, too cold to snow some people say. It usually turns a little milder before snow. So far all we have is icy cold sleet showers.

Largest weight of bombs 2,300 tons dropped in Ger. early Sun morning, 79 of our planes were missing. No, the enemy is not conquered yet. 2000 U.S.A. bombers went out in daylight yesterday. Russians have cleared up pocket of trapped Gers, a terrible waste of life there. We are having a stiff fight in Italy, if we can push in where we have made bridge-head at Anzio beach it will have a great effect on German morale, proving their West defences may not be impregnable. Our Gen[eral]s are determined to do it.

Had 2 letters from Ron Thur or Fri. Rene 2 and Jean 2. 6. Mine were the most recent Jan 19 being newest. We think he has moved on as he says he missed writing one week. He is very pleased with African Star and Clasp. Said they had a great sewing-time when they received ribbons. The actual star they will get after the war. He says they have had big frosts but it gets quite hot in the day-time. He had been washing his hair and says it is a treat not to have it full of dust and sand as in summer. Says Italian women aren’t very good laundry women.

Emmie sent Jean’s grey wool all ready knitted into a very nice jumper. She had intended kn[itting] it herself but owing to other work she could not knit at mill so got a woman to do it. Jean was very pleased as it came just right for the B.B. [Boys’ Brigade] social. I am pleased too as I have plenty of work without it. Made a little dog last week from pieces Jean’s blouse. Will do for a pram toy for a baby as it is cream colour. Blouse fits well. Mrs Wilson sent Father 5/0 and a pair of very nice slippers for me. Felt soles and inner soles and very finely knitted uppers in wools of all colours. I took blk-out down before Jean went to school to-day. Eff ‘s hens are laying again, have had 1 doz eggs and can have ½ doz again to-day. Amy coming tomorrow and Ken if all well. We have killed large rabbit (Lady) as they like rabbit and the Sunday joint looks very sick by Tues.

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

Mon. Feb. 14. 10. 0’c PM [1944]
# VALENTINE’S DAY MEMORIES
# SHOPPING AND LIBRARY VISIT IN SKEGNESS
# FRIENDS VISIT – DAUGHTER ENGAGED
# WELSH SOLDIERS AT CHAPEL SERVICE

St. Valentine’s Day. I remember some of my young aunts having valentines set out on their dressing-tables when I was small. Went to Sk[egness] this morning altho’ it rained. Only a little drizzle while we were there. Got stockings for Jean. Says they are too dark so may change, she having those I got from Pontings. I have a bad pain under my left shoulder, don’t know whether it is asthma coming on or just indigestion as it comes and goes. I took Ron’s light hat to be dyed and reblocked for myself. Dark maroon, don’t know if it will be a success as woman in shop said it would not make a very big one. Of course I don’t want a very big one but don’t want one with no brim. Changed library book. Mr Middleton’s “Our Village” was not in, so got one by Georgette Hayer not one that Emmie recommended as they had not got them or they were out. Had an A.M.L. [air mail letter] from Ron Sat written Feb. 2. He had got mine written Jan 19th. He is fit and well.

Ted B[rown] and Bessie came Sun afternoon. B. engaged but says not going to be married until after the war. Well I’ve heard those tales before, she may or may not. We all went to Chapel on Sun. night. A lot of Welsh soldiers were there so the singing was very good. Afterwards they went to Cen. Hall for tea and cakes and a sing-song. Father and I did not go, but Jean did and came home with Elsie. Called at G’ma’s, Chris [Lammiman] was there, he is growing a nice little fair moustache. The boys are growing up.

Better news from Italy yesterday and to-day but the struggle is very fierce. Gers over Eng. last night about 50. Some damage and cas[ualties]. About 15 got to London but no bombs dropped. B. Brown is going to Wales when she goes back from leave, near to Bangor, for a course, she is a L[ance] corporal now.

Mr Middleton, named as author of Our Village, was probably NOT one of the local Middletons (see 11 Oct 1942), but may have been the broadcaster CH Middleton: The ‘World’s first television gardening programme’, In Your Garden, With Mr Middleton, had been broadcast by the BBC in 1936. On radio he launched the ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign in September 1939.

Georgette Heyer (1902 -1974) was a popular British author who specialised in historical romance – especially the Regency period- and detective fiction.

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

Wed Feb 2. 44. 8.30 a.m.
# MORE WARNINGS AGAINST OPTIMISM
# CIVIL DEFENCE DISCUSSED
# SHOPPING IN SKEGNESS

The warning against the wave of optimism, that has been sweeping over the country lately, was repeated in the news again this morning. I think most people have been feeling more hopeful lately and it comes as rather a damper, to be told it is vain optimism. I think tho’ a lot of it has been “wishful thinking” and that always at the bottom of our hearts, or far back in our minds, tucked away with those far off Japs, has been a fear of bitter struggles yet to come before Gers are subdued. I still think they will do their worst on our little isle before they give up. It is only reasonable to think so, I feel that it is exactly what we should do so why not they. I don’t think we should use gas but we should do and are doing terrible things to get the better of them or at least to inflict punishment. I do not think the Civil Def[ence] are serious enough over their work. There ought to be an immediate inspection of gas masks and everyone should be prepared for an attack. If they should come they will not warn us. In this village the decontam[ination] stn. is closed! I think all civilians over twelve should be compelled to receive instruction on the subject or if it comes hundreds of lives will be lost thro’ ignorance.

Enough of war for now, I must get to work. We are going into Sk[egness] with Father to get petrol and I want to take my hat to be dyed and reblocked and Father’s too to be cleaned. Rene wants to do a little shopping. Had 2 letters from Ron yesterday written just after Xmas. They had a good Xmas dinner and enjoyed it. He has got “Mr Chips” and read it and it was then going round room he said. Must send him more books now he can read a bit.

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

Tue Feb 1st 8.40. am [1944]
# MAKING SLIPPERS
# GLOOMY PROSPECTS AS WAR CONTINUES
# CONCERNS FOR PRISONERS OF JAPANESE

It did not rain after all but after dinner sun came out and it was fine and cold. Not very light yet but seems clear with breeze getting up. Rene did part of her collecting yest. morning but was so cold she did not finish. Father went to Redcott for an hour. I found some very stiff cardboard and have started on Father’s slippers. Have finished one. Covered board with tweed from Rene’s old coat (good coat that, she has already made a hat and skirt from it and we have had other slipper soles too) for the outside of sole. I have put leather from my old coat. The slipper top is from old railway upholst[ery] bound with silk, no less, from an old dress! Something new out of something old. The first one is quite successful. Its chief fault is that it is too large. I was so afraid of getting it small. However they are only for indoors so think a little kapok in the toes will remedy that. They look quite nice too. I lined them with a bit of sateen.

An ? [as written] says there are no signs of the war being over for a long time and urges people not to be optimistic about an early finish. Says Gers are not whacked yet, and will fight desperately to the finish. Then Japs must be completely conquered. In view of the terrible way they are treating our men and internees we must all agree with that however much we want to see the end. Whenever I feel inclined to fret over Ron, I remember the mothers and wives with boys in the hands of Japs and instead of fretting am thankful he is where he is instead of there. They have reason to fret and cannot help.

Will would have been carrying out lawn maintenance at ‘Redcott’, for absent owners, the Denmans (see 29 May 1945 and Village Map).

Where May wrote ‘An ?’ she may have started to write the first name of Aneurin Bevan and been unsure of the spelling. He was then an outspoken Labour MP and was later architect of the National Health Service as Minister of Health in Attlee’s post-war government.

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

Fri Jan. 28. 8.30 a.m. [1944]
# MEN’S UTILITY SUITS UNPOPULAR
# AIRCRAFT ACTIVITY AND EXPLOSION
# GERMAN RADIO SILENCED BY BOMBING
# CHURCHILL REASSURES AUSTRALIA ON JAPANESE
# SHORT DIARY BOOK COMPLETED

Probably most of the utility suits will have to be kept and exported after the war. It seems utility suits can be made by government orders, but they can’t make the men buy them. Indeed they can’t buy many suits at all as by the time socks and underclothes and boots are provided it would be difficult to find 26 cou[pon]s for a suit. It must be a problem where there are growing boys of from 14 to 17 wanting suits as big as their father’s and growing out of them and wearing them out much quicker.

We heard our planes going out again around 6 o’c last night. They began to return before ten o’c and seemed to be droning around for hours. Once there was an explosion which rattled doors and windows. On the 9 o’c news we were informed that several Ger. Stations were off the air, and that before going off they had warned the listeners that the enemy planes reported earlier, were travelling in a S.E. direction. How quickly news travels now. Father has started patrol to-day. It was so dark he did not start until 8.15. It still blows the soft warm wind like yesterday, but not so strong yet tho’ it keeps freshening. It still sounds like rain. We thought it would have rained yesterday.

I went to meet Jean at Cooper’s last night when she left school. Got her pair of navy shoes with suede inset 17/9. The heels are rather high as she has only had flat heels before, except her white ones for weddings. I hope she will be able to wear them. I also bought myself a pair like Rene bought this week but black. Had only 3D left out of 25/0 Xmas money which I had saved for them. Still 24/9 is not very much for these days and I would have paid that for Jean’s. Hers had been in stock some time and were much better than some higher-priced ones we saw. Have finished one of Rene’s gloves and my quilt is progressing steadily. Had a letter from Emmie yesterday, she has got Jean’s wool, so I must get my cardigan finished ready to start Jean’s jumper when it comes. We have a nice pattern.

Fierce fighting is going on now in Italy and Gers are turning attention to the allied landing party between them and Rome. Should think the next two months will do a lot at them. Churchill has given the Australians an assurance that we shall fight until Japs are beaten. We are apt to forget the war with Japs when we talk of the war being over soon or rather, I think we hide from the thought of it, but it is there none the less and will have to be gone thro’. If Ron is sent out there instead of coming home it will be a bitter disappointment for all of us. But it may well happen I am afraid. He has got African Star and Clasp, Emmie says. We are so pleased. Well here’s the end of this attenuated book. Am pleased the next is larger. This has lasted just two weeks, so no great amount of history made.

A little scrap in the warring years
To be read some day with smiles or tears
When we add up the sums of loss and gain
That emerge from this time of toil and pain.

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 AND COAL PRICES INCREASE
# ALLIED ADVANCES IN ITALY
# BNAF SOLDIERS RETURN TO BRITAIN
# NEW BICYCLE FOR RENE

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’?

Wed Jan 19. 10.P.M. [1944]
# JEAN PLAYING HOCKEY
# MAKING SOFT TOYS FOR SALE
# SEWING AND KNITTING TASKS

It seemed a little brighter early to-day so did some washing, however before dinner it turned very damp again, the little wind there was fell and it kept spitting with rain, and about 4 o’c came on to rain in good earnest. Jean had been playing hockey and her stockings and legs were very muddy. A mad idea to play on such wet ground as there is now. It was still pouring with rain at 9 o’c. I can hear the hump, hump of the sea so think tide is in. Father is on watch until 12 o’c. Yesterday I sent Aunt Jet some bits of cloth for her rug. She said she had not enough. Post 9D. I doubt if they were worth it. I also put 2 balls coloured cotton in, left over from slipper making, for her to knit up if she liked, as she says knitting cotton is dear and no one pays her for her dish-cloths. The time hangs heavy on her hands as being almost blind there is little she can do. I told her I wanted it for a tea-cosy as my wool one is worn out.

I have made another soft toy, an elephant this time. Jim Hall says a licence is needed to make toys for sale, and that there is a big purchase tax on them, hence the price. So I shan’t make my fortune toy-making. Still it may come in useful. They make very nice presents at any time, and children are ever with us. I have made Jumbo red eyes, don’t know if that is correct, but I recollect reading of an elephant with “wicked red eyes” and they look very effective against the grey cloth. I must make him a back-cloth and perhaps a head-square out of Emmie’s scraps of red silk. We had a letter written Jan 1st from Ron today and an A.M.L. written on 9th so that is very good indeed. The A.M.L was in answer to my letter of Dec. 23. I think that is about the quickest exchange we have had. He is very well.

I must finish off a few of my sewing jobs soon now as it will soon be time to turn out drawers and cupboards ready for Spring cleaning. I have a blouse of Jean’s to make, it’s cut out and I have just started it. Then I am determined to get my kapok quilt done, I have made a start. I have started to knit new palms and fingers to Rene’s old gloves and my cardigan is only half finished. I have a new pair of sleeves cut out ready to renovate a dress for myself. Last week I made 5 buttonholes of leather and the petals left over from Jean’s cap at Rene’s wedding. 3 for [sister] Em L’s girls, one Rene is having and one Jean took to Doreen [Hodgson]. Rene has brought a knitted tea-cosy to send to Em. It is knitted like a dress with a little doll at top with a bonnet, very pretty. They are belated Xmas presents. Eff came for “Standard” which we had borrowed, as I sent new one to Ron in mistake.

Doreen Hodgson, Jean’s school class-mate and long-term friend, lived in Skegness.

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]
# NEWS OF CHURCHILL’S RECUPERATION
# SPANISH ORANGES CONCEAL BOMBS
# EISENHOWER IN ENGLAND TO COMMAND INVASION
# REPLYING TO MANY LETTERS HOME FROM RON

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’?