All posts tagged Russia

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’?

Mon. Jan.31. 8.25 am. [1944]
# RENE COLLECTING FOR RED CROSS
# EMBARGO ON OIL FOR SPAIN
# SYMPATHY FOR GERMAN VICTIMS OF MASS BOMBING

It is much lighter this morning. Jean will soon be able to go without lights now. She and Father have gone and I have cleared breakfast away and put on soft water for washing up. We are not washing to-day as Rene wants to collect Red + [Red Cross] pennies if fine. She was very pleased with slippers and took them home with her, Sunday or no. I hope they wear long enough to pay for the trouble. Father’s are too small since they were resoled. They were good ones and worth it but the cobbler has sprigged them round instead of stitching or sprigging soles and it has taken the tops in. If I can get a pair of soles I will make him some as he can’t spare coupons to buy any. He would not like the soft soles I think. The parades went off successfully, it was a perfect day for the occasion, not enough wind to keep flags from drooping. Jean was very tired last night but did her home-work.

I have just taken down the “black-outs”. It is grey and misty, not at all like yesterday. We cannot expect every day to be like that tho’ in mid-winter. This is the last of Jan and whatever weather we may have now can’t last so long. Now that the short dark days are past, things dry up much more quickly and there is always the feel of spring in the air. This year too in spite of everything, there seems more hope and looking forward we hope it may not prove a “false dawn”.

Last week we stopped (that is America with our full approval) sending oil to Spain. None is to be sent until after Feb. and I suppose by then Spain will have mended her ways or it will not be resumed. Spain, calling herself neutral, is far too friendly with our enemies. In spite of denials that Spanish soldiers were fighting in Russ. they have lately captured some. She has apologised profusely for “orange bombs” and promised to keep a rigorous watch over her exports to England. I hope no more countries will be dragged in and so prolong the war. The Argentine has thrown in her lot with us i.e. the Allies.

The day and night bombing of Germany is terrible, we must be crippling all their factories. I feel somehow that we shall not escape punishment for all this wholesale murder. All is certainly not “fair in war”. Then how can we expect a complete victory over our enemies, we do not seem to try to conquer the “enemy within our gates”, indeed drinking and immorality seem to be encouraged by those who should set a better example. I think, until England repents and mourns for her sins as well as sons, that it is an affront to God to have days of prayer. Perhaps this is treason, but I think if the King was a stronger character and used his power for good, he could do a lot by leading the way. It is of no use in these days to simply be good, it is necessary to do good too. Christ when on earth “went about doing good”, he was not content to set a copy, he lived and taught it. Now I must start to work. It “blows like rain”.

Under General Franco, Spain during World War II was ‘non-belligerent’ but had divided loyalties between the Axis and Allied sides and there were volunteers serving on each side.

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’?

Fri Jan. 21 8.15. a.m. [1944]
# FIRST INCOME TAX RECEIPTS
# MORE RUSSIAN PROGRESS REPORTED
# BOMBERS SPOTTED BOUND FOR BERLIN
# CIVIL AVIATION PLANS
# SYMPATHY FOR COAL MINERS
# FRUIT BOTTLING AND CANNING DESCRIBED

Yesterday we received receipt from first Income Tax we have ever paid £1.6.9. I am not sure that we haven’t as many of the amenities of life as F. Smith who pays £100. After this if we pay any it comes off the weekly pay from C.G. [Coastguards] I believe.

Russians are progressing at a great rate and we seem to be steadily going forward. I think we are going “according to plan” there which is I think to keep as many Germans busy there as possible. Planes went out last night between 5 and six and were gone a long time, a lot more seemed to return this way than we heard go out tho’ it may be that they were flying lower. I think it was Berlin that was bombed again. They had not been for some days because of fog. I expected it was going to clear when they commenced to go out last evening. The whole sky looked as if mosquitoes were flying there, not thickly but perhaps we could count a dozen at a time spread over the sky, but all coming at one steady pace that looked slow, but they came in sight in the West and were over the sea in so short a time that they must have been flying swiftly. Once a fighter sped over at a tremendous speed.

New 50 and 100 ton planes are in preparation for Civil flying, it may be 1950 before the 100 ton planes are ready, they may not be jet-propelled but there seems to be a hint of an even newer method. Jet-propulsion is talked of for ships now. Oh, I remember, in civil flying, safety and economy come before speed and 200 miles an hour is reckoned the maximum for passenger planes to fly with comfort to passengers. Great planes are being used as transport planes now, they carry 4 jeeps or other motor vehicles, and will be used as passenger planes after the war. Now that the “civil flying maggot” has bitten the money makers, I can’t see the war lasting many more months.

I am sorry for a lot of the boys who have to go to coal-mines, not alone because of the work, but tho’ some of the miners homes are amongst the best in the country, some are very different, and boys used to refined homes are bound to suffer in mind and feelings if not in body. I hope they will be kind to them and that the boys will be as reasonable as they can, but at present the billeters seem all out for making money out of them, and naturally the boys are upset as they had no choice of Services or pit but were sent there “willy-nilly”. When they have paid for billets etc they have less than Service men and no clothes provided. Coal and coke is already to be raised to 3/0 ton from Feb 1st. We had three more bags yesterday. I thought I had only one but Per[cy] said 2 and left three as some people don’t take all, tho’ we aren’t supposed to do that. Rene doesn’t burn all hers but she is here most days for dinner and often bakes with me. I must try to be more careful with it. I dried most of my clothes by the fire but used wood, slack, and coke.

Packed up my Xmas parcel for [sister] Em L last night, rather belated owing to our illnesses. I saw in paper yesterday that the Preserve ration can be used either for jam or sugar until further notice, so we may be able to get a bit more in hand for jam-making season, as we still have a few lbs of home-made jam. The canned fruit is so nice Rene and I have planned to can it with syrup next year if possible and to can as many large plums as possible tho’ damsons are very good. Bottled fruit has kept well this season tho’ apples have not. We had a blk-currant pie last week made with bottled fruit and they had kept perfectly. They were sealed with mutton fat, which if properly done and made air-tight is as good and easy a way as possible.

Receipt
Fruit is packed in narrow necked jars and placed in oven, when hot, boiling water is poured over carefully so that no air is left in if possible, a tap or two will bring any bubbles to surface. If plums, skins should just crack, but not a failure if they don’t. Then pour about ½ inch hot mutton suet fat on top. Water should come to and into narrow part of jar. Cover with paper and screw lid.
P.S. After fat is cold pour another thin layer over.

F. Smith, here, was almost certainly Fred, cousin Amy’s husband.

Percy Ranson, niece Ciss’s husband, was the coalman, as usual.

‘Receipt’ (which appeared in the margin) was probably the traditional use of the word, meaning ‘recipe’ or ‘method’.

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

Sun. Jan. 9. 8.30. P.M [1944]
# WELSH SOLDIERS ATTEND CHAPEL SERVICE
# CHANGES TO FOOD RATIONING
# CONCERNS ABOUT JAPAN PROLONGING WAR

Dull morning, turning to drizzle at dinner-time then to steady rain. Still raining at 8.30. It has been damp and chilly, but not bitterly cold. Saw a bus load of H.Gs [Home Guards] come by this morning. Jean went to Chapel, said about 15 soldiers were there, they are a lot of them Welsh. Some have already gone on leave. Jean said Tom said a few words of welcome to them, he was preaching next Sunday and would have some Welsh tunes for them to sing. Father took Spence to Louth Hos[pital] to-day so Jean (who has a cold and did not go in rain to S.S. [Sunday School]) and I went in car to Rene’s and had tea with her and came home with Father after he had brought Mrs Spence to her house. He had a cup of tea, but came home for his meal as it was so wet and soon dark. We had canned Vic[toria] Plums with egg custard for tea. Very nice. “Bill” was distinctly annoyed because we took up all the hearthrug. The kitten is grown very big and is very playful. Rene let me have ¼ tea as I am quite out. New period starts tomorrow. Tinned Herrings, Pilchards and Mack[erel] need less points. We are not very fond of tinned fish, except salmon and do not care for that very often. It needs too many points to get much of it now. Sprogg still has a cough and Jean is doctoring him with Tibs. Doesn’t seem to ail much but doesn’t wash himself much and looks very grubby. Jean and Father both seem to have a slight return of their colds. I do hope Jean will be able to start school.

Charles came yesterday to see if Father could fetch Ke[ith] and Ma[rion] from Sk[egness] Stn. at 8 p.m. but he has not enough light and was on watch too. C[laude] Evison could not either so don’t know what they would do, take a taxi I expect. They had just sent a telegram in the morning. It is early for another. I do hope he [Keith] is not on Draft Leave so soon after losing Raymond. I am afraid there will be a lot have to go soon now. Russians are 10 miles over Polish border now and pushing on. Tonight Stuart Hibbert [Hibberd] reminded us that the end of the German War did not mean the end of the war as a whole and that we should still have a tough job to conquer the Japs. Somehow we seem to push this distant war out of our minds as much as we can, forgetting that covering it up does not alter the fact of its serious existence. I hope Ron does not have to go out there, but then I don’t want him to come home just now either. We do not know what to wish for them. It is best to leave it, and live from day to day, thankful that so far he is spared. Oh, if it were only all over, and no more “wars or rumours of war”.

‘Spence’ was believed to be Mr Spence whose wife was previously mentioned (see 2 Feb 1943).

Stuart Hibberd was a well known BBC radio announcer.

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

Mon Jan. 3 10.15 PM [1944]
# GLOVES KNITTED FOR PRISONERS OF WAR
# MENDING, SEWING AND QUILTING
# MANY LETTERS TO AND FRO
# RENE RED CROSS COLLECTING
# EVENING AIRCRAFT ACTIVITY
# MONTGOMERY’S ‘FAREWELL’ SPEECH
# CHURCHILL AND ROOSEVELT UNWELL

It is time we were in bed. Father is on watch until 12 o’c and Jean is “doing” her hair ie to say putting curlers in. I seem to have had a busy evening. First I knitted the welt and started thumb of P.O.W. gloves (2nd glove) which I have neglected rather since having ‘flu’. I also started back of my blue Cardigan. Then I cut out paper pattern of elephant, don’t think it will be so difficult as “Scottie”, mended my vest, and sewed a seam-rent in a pillow-case. I washed Jean’s hair and combed it when dry and put ointment on. Also did a bit of quilting on Rene’s 2nd slipper, will really try to get them finished. Have read a little too, and skimmed the paper, and put a new loop on kettle holder. A varied evening!

Sirdar Helmet and Glove Knitting Pattern

Sirdar Helmet and Glove Knitting Pattern

Wrote to Ron and Dennis yesterday but not posted letters yet. Den. is at Stratford-on-Avon. He sent me a Xmas card. Jean wrote an A.M.Letter to Ron too. Had a letter from Sybil A[dams] this morning, says Pat. loves the dog. Syb. thinks the dog very nice and says if she had not known I had made it would have thought it was a shop one, or words to that effect. Rather like Ron when he said a cake I had made was as good as a bought one! Still I expect they both meant it as a compliment. It has been wet nearly all day. Rene collected part of Red + pennies and Nursing money, then gave up and came for dinner, she did not start out again as rain turned from blustering showers to steady rain. She had a cup of tea about 4 o’c and then went home. Father has been to Sk[egness] twice to-day. He got £1.7.6 as he brought T. Stone’s daughter and someone to Hogs[thorpe] on his last return journey so made it almost a double one.

Planes are droning around, wonder if they are just going out, they sound strangely like those we used to call “wuffers”. 4 were shot down London way last night. Some damage done and a few casualties. Heard a recording of Montgomery’s speech tonight, his farewell to the Eighth Army. He is in England now to be head of the British part of invasion Army under General Eisenhower. It was an inspiring speech. He is a fine good man. Russians within 15 miles of old Polish frontier in one place, but still a long way from Ger tho’ they are driving Gers before them in many sectors of the fighting. Moscow’s guns were fired in salute again tonight. Churchill is convalescent, and F.D.R. [Roosevelt] has influ[enza] now. It must be the second time as I remember when Den. was in Scotland he was in hospital with it and F.D.R. had it too. A lot of people have had it twice in England too. It is waning rapidly now but Drs say the dangerous days are not over yet. It has not been particularly cold today. Sprogg has a cough, Jean is going to buy “Tibs” for both cats.

Knitting for Prisoners of War was possibly for German prisoners in England – or for inclusion in parcels (mainly food) sent by the Red Cross to British servicemen held in Germany. The nearest POW camp was in Bilsby from where prisoners were allowed to make and sell small items such as wooden toys.

‘Seam-rent’ probably meant a torn seam in the pillow case.

‘Nursing money’ was presumably payment or ‘expenses’ for nursing work undertaken by Rene or Red Cross colleagues.

Field Marshal Montgomery’s farewell speech to men of the 8th Army was given in Italy.

Tom (‘Tally’) Stones was a retired blacksmith of Hogsthorpe (succeeded by his son, Arthur).

US President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was well known for his broadcast ‘Fireside Chats‘.

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

Nov 10 Wed. 9 P.M. [1943]
# JEAN IN ARMISTICE PARADE
# ILLNESS IN FAMILY
# PETROL USE IN LIGHTER FUEL BANNED
# CHURCHILL FORECASTS NEW GERMAN WEAPON

Sunday morning it came a snow-shower and was very cold all day. Jean had a bad cold and would go to Armistice Service at Church 2.30. as she is in L.G. [Life Girls] and they were parading.

Jean, Girls' Life Brigade uniform

Jean, Girls’ Life Brigade uniform

She got thoroughly chilled and has been fit for nothing since. Father brought her some medicine from Boots yesterday and me some from Dr. as I have had a touch of Bronchitis and Asthma this week-end. I am almost better but Jean is still very seedy. Rene did not go to W.I. [Women’s Institute] to-day. Elsie called, she had caught her new coat in cycle wheel. Rene cleaned oily place with “lighter spirit” but not all of the mark came out. Petrol being mixed or treated may not be used in pipe or cig lighters now. Father went on watch at 6pm so it won’t seem so long until he comes home at 12 altho’ we have come early to bed. There are planes droning about so shan’t be sorry when he is home as Gers seem to drop bombs somewhere nearly every night. Churchill in speech to-day at L[ord] Mayor’s lunch says that altho’ the Russians may drive Gerr. to a complete collapse there is always the possibility that he may devise some new way of warfare against us still. He can scarcely be called an optimist! Wrote to Ron yesterday and to Emily to-night. Jean wrote to Esther Meldrum to-day. We had neck of mutton broth to-day.

‘Life Girls’ was an alternative name for the Girls’ Life Brigade (see parade assembly photograph: 16 May 1943).


Esther Meldrum, John’s sister (see 25 Oct 1942), was Jean’s friend, affectionately known as ‘Tib’. She was probably back in Scotland where she had lived previously.

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

Wed. Nov. 3/43 10.45. P.M.
# MORNING SHOPPING IN SKEGNESS
# CAR PETROL RUNS OUT
# HOME GUARD ON PATROL
# SOFT TOY MAKING AND KNITTING
# EVENING AIRCRAFT ACTIVITY
# WAR NEWS GOOD FROM ITALY

Have just come to bed. Jean has been in some time but I stopped to write an airgraph to Ron. However I have not finished it as I could not remember what I wanted to put in. I am tired after going to Sk[egness] this morning. Went on 10.30 bus’ and came back with Father. He took Mrs. Atk.son to catch 12.20 train. He had his hair-cut 10D and we went to try to get fish to take home for dinner. Did not fancy gournets with skin on and Halibut was 2/9 lb. so did not get any. Got sausage rolls (very good) and cheesecakes and with a bit of cold ham for Father made do for dinner. Rene came just after we arrived home between 1 and 2 o’c, she had done a big wash. Hope it dried. It was first fine day this week. It was so warm that we sat on seat near back door after dinner. We should have been home earlier but just got to corner of Lan[caster] Av. [Skegness] where Dr Menz[ies’] house is and pet[rol] gave out. It was a long way to walk to Pet. St[ation] on Burgh Rd. but Father found a good Samaritan who let him have a quart, very illegal, but helpful, as the garage man might have refused to put him some in a tin. He did do tho’ when we finally arrived there to fill up so Father left it at Hallgarth’s on way home. Mr. Bell had borrowed it for Father when he fetched Mrs Seal and baby home from Huttoft. What shifts we are reduced to. Shall we ever become honest again. Heard chatter and clatter of feet go by just now. Wonder if it’s H.G. They are supposed to be out tonight. Wonder how Pete Taylor is feeling to-night. I bet he wishes he were out with them.

I had been showing Eff my toy horse this aft and it was on table when H Blanchard came. He promptly asked how much it was and gave me 5/0 straight away for it. It’s worth it too according to the toys I saw to-day in shops at Sk. Mean looking, terribly badly dressed dolls 22/6 and much worse animals than my home-made one from 4/6 to 14/6. Have cut a doll out tonight. Must make it and let Jean take it to Gerry Balding. The patterns are very good and this one encloses pattern for dress and knickers, that will take off. Have started back of Jean’s cardigan too and finished Tam o’ Shanter hat except for lining so it will be ready for Sunday, saw one in Sk. like it on someone and they looked very nice in it. I think I am going to like mine, and it will cost nothing, it being made out of materials I had. I have an old round silver brooch which I think I shall wear on side of it.

A great lot of planes went out tonight round about 6 p.m. and there was a big explosion which shook the house and rattled doors and windows just before Father went on watch. Heard planes return between 9 and ten. Wonder where they had been and if many were lost. War news keeps very good. Armies in Italy advancing all the time, if slowly. They have taken villages and places commanding plains where Gers are withdrawing, and Russians are advancing by leaps and bounds. It will be a good thing when the bloodshed is over, altho’ it won’t be all plain sailing then.

Mrs Atkinson (see 5 Sep 1943) was probably meant here.

‘Gournet’– a fish alternatively known as gurnet, gurnard, grondin, griofle.

Mrs Seal was the married name of Edith, the daughter of Reverend Bell (see 19 Dec 1942). She lived in Sunningdale Drive.

Harold Blanchard, one of the two brothers from Hogsthorpe, was almost certainly meant here (see 5 Nov 1941).

Gerald Balding, whose elder brothers were George and John, was the child of Billy (see 15 Oct 1942).

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

Sun Sep 5 9.30 a.m. [1943]
# ‘TAXI’ WORK FOR WILL
# MEAL PLANNING
# FIRST DAYS OF WAR RECALLED
# RUSSIAN CHURCH ESTABLISHMENT REPORTED
# MORE FRUIT BOTTLING AND JAMMING

Father has just gone to take “locals” to their appointments. There are only 2 today as Tom had done some exchanging. Father is taking Mr Miles along with him to Sk[egness] stn. (Mrs Atkinson’s son in law). It is spitting with rain and looks as if it might be a wet day. Wind came East last night and it turned cold. Rene came to fetch her cake. Tom came with her. Jean has just got up and is having bag of crisps for breakfast. Father had porridge and then boiled bacon. I had bread and butter. Our butter ration only lasts until about Wed. We don’t have it at breakfast-time except on Sunday. The bread is very good this week-end, for a change. I could always make a good meal of good bread and butter. I cooked joint yesterday so shall only make a rice pudding to-day, and probably fry the veg. left from yesterday.

It is quite close indoors although it is very dull. The summer seems to have broken very early, tho’ I hope we get a nice lot of fine days before winter comes. It is not a bit like the first Sunday of the war. I remember it was hot and lovely. Ron came from Chapel with the expected news that we were at war. He and Ralph had made up their minds to join the Navy at once. Well, that did not come off and it was more than a year before Ron was actually in the forces though he joined HG or rather L.D.V [Local Defence Volunteers] the day it was formed. I remember him getting up to go on duty at midnight the night the news came that “Hitler had left Berlin” which really meant I think that invasion fleet was on its way. I can recall the cold clammy fear that came over me when Father slipped down from the box to tell us. Jean and I were sleeping in room then and Ron in scull[ery]. Well it was quickly stopped, Gers never got near enough to invade, and we were told later that 30,000 Ger. bodies were washed up on the shores of France. All the story will probably not be told until after the war, but the rumour was that they poured oil on the water to smooth waves for shallow invasion boats and that it was fired.

This morning the Russians announced the forming of an established Church. Molotov had been at conference and Stalin approved of it. I hope this is the beginning of better things. No fresh news from Italy, the heavy fighting there not reached yet. Hope we soon get another letter from Ron. Emmie had one dated Aug 20th and he was fit and well then. I hear on Radio that Reggio (It[aly]) airfield can be used and wonder if he will go there. I hear too of Gers bombing our air bases and wonder how they fare. We know so little, perhaps it is as well.

We have had a busy week jamming and bottling fruit. There is so much fruit and so little sugar. G.ma gave me some of her big pears and Mary sent a basket of hazel pears, fine ones, we had some stewed yesterday with a junket. I must bottle some if I have enough sugar. Have made bramble and apple jam (seedless), bramble vinegar and damson jam this week. Also bottled damsons. We hope to make apple-pulp this week. We have not made any before. F Raynor came yesterday afternoon and plastered ceiling in Wilsons’ room and outside window. No more mice since Mrs W. was here.

William (‘Bill’) Miles, married to Mrs Atkinson’s daughter, Alice, lived in Nottingham and owned a holiday home, ‘Landseer Bungalow’, in Landseer Avenue (see Village Map).

The Local Defence Volunteers or LDV (later known as the Home Guard) was formed of undrafted 17-65 year-old men, following a call by War Minister Anthony Eden after Germany’s unchallenged invasion of France in May 1940. It was nicknamed ‘Look, Duck and Vanish’. (See also 26 May 1942.)

The rumours described apparently resulted from a major British propaganda exercise, supported by demonstrations of some capability to ‘set the Channel on fire’ using oil pipelines. The propaganda was believed to have played a part in the German decision, on 17th September 1940, to postpone indefinitely the planned invasion by sea, ‘Operation Sea Lion’, which never took place.

Stalin gave orders to re-establish the Russian Orthodox Church, resulting in the appointment of Patriarch Sergius, but under very firm political control.

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