All posts tagged Second Front

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

The Home Guard photograph, believed taken by AE Wrate, Skegness, was loaned by George and Dorothy Barker (who supplied all names in the caption). Permission for publication has been kindly agreed by Martin Wrate of Wrates Scholastic Photographs Ltd, Prince George St, Skegness.

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

5 June [or January] 1944
“The Second Front”.

Oh! Ye who clamour for the start of other fronts:

Do you not know? These days, they are the last our sons shall see,

Before they face the foe, and pay

With precious blood, their lives and all that makes life dear,

The price of liberty for us, who wait in fear.

Yet, scarcely fear, we trust in God and them.

Tho’ erring still in many ways,

Our aim is true and God is Lord of life and death.

He shall direct our path.

But those whose men must go, cling to them still,

And count these last few precious days as jewels one by one,

That soon shall be a memory, until eternity.

They slip so fast between our fingers and elude our grasp,

As elvers in a stream slip thro’, bound for the far Sargasso Sea.

Then hurry not the swiftly moving days of fate,

Too soon for us we hear them at the gate.

Several references were made in the Diaries anticipating the launch of the Second Front. The first was in 1942:

Sun. July 5 10.10. pm. [1942]
“…Well, the days are shortening now instead of lengthening tho’ it is hardly perceptible yet. I fear the worst winter of the war is creeping towards us now, but we may make a lot of headway before then, but if we are having a “second front” why, why, don’t we start while the weather is good. The icy winter weather aggravates the evils of war more I think than the summer tho’ the heat too is terrible…”

Then, a year later:

Sat 3. July [1943]
… I wish the war was over and Ron was home. There seems to be a lull just now like the calm that comes when we say the wind gathers strength for a harder blow. These sunny summer days are the last that many a lad will ever see, let us not be too hasty in wishing the second front would start. I fear that before another June comes round many hundreds will have gone…”

In January 1944 a number of entries, as May bcame increasingly concerned with the implications:

Wed. Jan. 5 7.30. am. [1944]
… Montgomery is in England to take charge of British Invasion Army under General Eisenhower, U.S.A. Gen. People are wishing second front would be started, but when I think of it, I think of the hundreds of boys for whom these days are the last they will see, and every day is one more for them before they pay the price for our peace and safety. Some of them go with heavy hearts, the first excitement of war is over and the grim bare bones of all its wickedness show thro’…”

Thur Jan. 13 1944 9.15. PM.
“…Papers are full of second front and invasion lore. The many new air-bases in Britain are ready for use, and are to be the invasion bases. There are such a lot within a few miles of us that I fear we may see more of the war than we have so far done. I am not looking forward to the start of second front. It might mean moving off the coast too…”

Friday January 14. 1944
“…I wonder what will have happened in this grim struggle before these few pages are filled… The second front looms ever nearer, then we shall feel the effects in this country, more than we have done since the “Battle of Britain” and how very little we knew of that down here just sheltered behind the sand-hills, while the tide of war went over only a few stray bombs that only damaged property, not people, fell round us…”

Again, in May 1944:

Sun May 7 7.45 P.M. [1944]
“’…Talk, talk, talk of Second front goes on and on. There is a lull in Italian fighting. Terrible bombing goes on in Germany…”

The month of the poem date was unclear. If it was 5th June 1944 it could have been prompted by a premonition of D-Day – the very next day, 6th June,* which was supposed to have been a closely guarded secret until the actual day. However, the poem might have been written six months earlier, coinciding with the Diary entry on 5th January.

*This link will become active on 6th June 2014.

The poem has been added to the poems collection on this site. It also appears in the book The Casualties Were Small which contains over twenty of May’s poems as well as selected diary extracts, including those which suggest the background to each poem, accompanied by many nostalgic photographs.

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

Sun May 7 7.45 P.M. [1944]
# DIARY RESUMES AFTER THREE WEEKS
# PREPARATIONS FOR HOUSE MOVE
# RECOLLECTION OF PRE-WAR SUBMARINE TRAGEDY

We got No. 3 Council House and this is the last Sunday at Lenton Lodge. It is fine but cold. My anemones have been so beautiful this year. I sent G’ma all the blooms to-day, as I want to transplant them to the new home. I wonder, will it feel like home but think so, with all the old things round us. After all, it is the old familiar furniture, books and pictures that make the home, not the house which after all is somebody else’s. At first I thought it would not ever be home as Father had never lived there but it was Rene who reminded me that we would have all the same old things. Oh! What a lot of things too, to sort and pack. I had so dreaded to move again even with Will to help and now we have to move without his help. Frank and Charles and Charles H… [en? arn?] moved and re-erected shed yesterday and carted a lot of things beside. Rene has just been. She has been to Church as it is R[ed] + [Cross] and St J[ohn's] Sunday. There is a service on the wireless to which Jean and I are listening. Pole is taken down but Hallgarth hung wire on clothes props.

Rene has seen Aunt Mary who says she is coming to help us sort new house out tomorrow as far as we can. I shall be glad when we are in and settling down. I am getting very tired and Rene looks tired too but is coming back to sleep. I ought to make her stay at home but I am so nervous. When I get moved next to Cis I expect I shall be better. It is rather lonely here with only Miss Sykes at the end. We are almost packed, at least I hope so, we seem in a mess. Hardly know whether to feel flattered or flabbergasted at Mrs Fletcher’s request to us, to leave some old curtains up to keep soldiers from getting in before she comes. How does she think we run to extra curtains in these days? However there are still a few of the old things she left and a pair of lace ones at kit. window that are falling to bits so must see what can be done, but the effect will be far from artistic I am sure. As there are no soldiers here now I don’t think her house will be wanted and in any case they don’t commandeer them without a notice except in an emergency. I hate leaving young poplars and gooseberries and roses but we can’t take everything. It has been a lovely day but cold.

I have looked round Mrs Wilson’s house and packed up her keys. It is too far to feed her mice from Coun. House and I don’t feel like coming back here yet. Ted Brown has “Sara”. We are keeping “Jane” as Emmie named “Lady’s” daughter. Roy is home for week-end. It is Jo[an]‘s birthday. Being sta[tioned] at Strubby [RAF] he can cycle over. Eva is home ill. Grace has had a week’s holiday. Daisy’s dau-in-law here for weekend. Norman has an A.P.O address. Talk, talk, talk of Sec front goes on and on. There is a lull in Italian fighting. Terrible bombing goes on in Germany.

Emmie wrote this week. She has knocked her hand at work and been busy cleaning. Hopes to come at Whit[sun] with her mother and daddy. Do hope it’s nice for them. Shall be nicely settled then if all is well. She sent a photo of Ron, a snap and £1 from her and Ron she said. Jean has a cold and I am afraid I have a bit too. Asthma not bad so far. Jean went to Chapel this morning, Tom preached. She went to S.S. [Sunday School] too. I have not been, I am tired and the wind is cold.

Mr Gutteridge preaching. What a long time it seems and what a lot has happened since he fetched L[ord] and L[ady] Addison from here in June 1939. She asked me if I had got my store cupboard well stocked! They knew then no doubt of this war. We only vaguely guessed and hoped for the best. Well the store cupboard has been nearly emptied now, after nearly 5 years of war, not of necessity but because we feared the goods would deteriorate! They were here when the Thetis went down and her crew except one perished thro’ negligence in the first place then muddle and dilettantism. Every news time they came to hear the news of it. It was agonising to us. What it was to the relatives I cannot guess. The memorial service was broadcast, a sacrilege I think, and I can never forget the agonised cry of one distraught soul “Oh dear, oh dear”, as it rang thro’ the church and echoed all over the world. God comfort all such, and their name is Legion since then. Deep as our sorrow is and desolate as we are, we have much to be thankful for, even in our grief.

The three helpers were probably Frank Simpson, Charles Hill and Charles Harness. It is believed that the shed at Lenton Lodge was taken to Amy’s at Trusthorpe for use as a hen-house.

‘St. J.’ refers to the St. John’s Ambulance Association.

The wire was for the radio aerial which had been strung between the house and the pole.

Ciss and Percy Ranson, and children, lived in Council House No. 4 (semi-) attached to No.3 earmarked for May (see Village Map).

“Sara”, “Jane” and “Lady” were rabbits.

Will’s sister Daisy’s daughter-in-law was Freda, wife of Norman Lammiman.

Theo Gutteridge was a ‘local preacher’ and friend of Rene’s husband Tom (Mr. A). He farmed at Middlemarsh, between Skegness and Burgh-le-Marsh. ‘He’ in the related sentence may refer to Will or to Mr Gutteridge who may have taken the guests to his home, or to visit their relatives in Hogsthorpe, or to a station for their journey home (see East Lincolnshire Map).

Lord and Lady Addison were earlier mentioned in the Diaries on 21st January 1942 as ‘paying guests’.

In June 1939 a junior officer had opened the inner door of a flooded torpedo tube and inadvertently sank the submarine HMS Thetis. Ninety nine men were lost.

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

Sat Jan 29. 44 8.15 a.m
# ANOTHER DIARY COMMENCED
# BLACKOUT CARELESSNESS NOTICED
# REPORTS OF ENEMY RAIDERS SHOT DOWN
# MILD WEATHER PROMPTS GARDENING

One month of this New Year has almost gone
We look for peace before the year is done
The talked of second front, will it begin?
And take a vicious toll of lives before we win?

Father has just started off to patrol the beach. He should really start about ¼ to 8 but even at 8.15 it is far from daylight. At 8.10 Mrs Lucas had taken her black-out down. (She is usually last to put it up and first to take it down.) It showed a bright square of light in what was still only twilight and our planes are pouring in, evidently from a raid. However at 8.15 when Father started, the light had gone or black-out had been put up again. Perhaps someone had complained. A few enemy planes were over last night. We heard, or rather felt one heavy explosion. Radio reports some casualties but don’t know where. When the 90 Gers came last week (21st) 16 planes were brought down. We do not know what casualties there were but I am afraid several as it has not been published.

Jean went to G.L.B [Girls’ Life Brigade] last night. It is their party to-night. I forgot, yesterday when baking, to make cake or pastry for it so shall have to do something to-day. It has been such a warm wind the last two days that I have done a little (very little) in the garden. Just trimmed one edge of little bed in front of kit. window and pulled a few weeds out of front border cut old chrys. stems down and pulled off dry leaves of montbretia, underneath the white points of snowdrops are bravely showing and one in the open is almost in bloom. There are not so many as when we came, flowers seem to get lost in this sandy soil especially bulbs. Anemones tho’ flourish as I do not disturb them except to weed on the surface. The three grown from seed are showing nice big leaves. I wish they would flower this year. I have a little row of new seedlings too now, their frilly leaves just to be discerned amongst the first plain leaves. If we have to move they will do to take with us. I dread the thought of “flitting”.

Eff came yesterday. She told us Norman’s wife has a daughter. So Daisy is a grandma! I expect she will be very proud of it too. It seems Freda is Gladys’s husband’s sister, we did not know until lately.

Mrs Hedley Lucas lived at ‘Delamere’ on St Leonards Drive, almost opposite the Parishes’ ‘Rose Cottage’, north of ‘the basin’ (see Village Map). Her light would have been just visible from ‘Lenton Lodge’.
Mrs Steve Lucas, her sister-in law, lived at ‘The Dell’, close to the shore, off Sea Bank Road, not very far from ‘The Point’ but her light is unlikely to have been visible. The Lucas brothers were Home Guard members.

Freda Lammiman, wife of nephew Norman, was the sister of Walter, husband of niece Gladys née Lewis (see 1 Jan 1944).

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

Friday January 14. 1944
8.15. a.m
# ANOTHER DIARY BOOK BEGINS
# BATTLE OF BRITAIN RECALLED
# BACON AND HAMS INSPECTED
# MORNING STAR OVER CHAPEL POINT

This little book so small and slim,
An emblem of the shortage caused by war,
May yet contain a tale of deeds more grim
Than written in the books that went before.

I wonder what will have happened in this grim struggle before these few pages are filled. I did not intend it to be a record of war, when I started my diary, just our ordinary doings during the days of war. In spite of good intentions the war creeps in, as it has crept in and around all our daily life. So tho’ no record of battles and campaigns is kept, a little of the trend of war is threaded thro’. The second front looms ever nearer, then we shall feel the effects in this country, more than we have done since the “Battle of Britain” and how very little we knew of that down here just sheltered behind the sand-hills, while the tide of war went over only a few stray bombs that only damaged property, not people, fell round us.

Wed. night the newly-hung bacon which was just beginning to sparkle with dry salt crystals, turned wet again, I think it was the rain and humid atmosphere. Hams wept salt tears all day yesterday and even the flitches, hung in the white-tiled corner near the fire were weeping by evening. Weather has changed again, I looked out when Jean went to school and it was clear and cold, the morning star shining brightly over the Point. I hope it does not freeze with the sunrise as I put my chrysants out in the rain yesterday and forgot to bring them in, and they have been in so long it would nip the new shoots I expect. The two cats have eaten their bread and milk and are sleeping on the mat. Snip nodding upright but “The Sprogg” curled in a ball. He still coughs but I am sure he does his best to suppress it, as I put him outside if he coughs more than once. I do not think it healthy to have sick cats in the house, and they are hardy and have plenty of cover to go to.

Rene said Mrs Shales had fallen and hurt herself. She stood on a chair to reach something and it was not level and she over-balanced. Rene did not know until yesterday, she was getting over it then but had been pretty bad. Rene was going in again at night. She herself does not look too well. Think she had a chill early in the week, probably got it on wash-day, it was so cold. I am reading the book, “Bachelor in Arcady” which Aunt Jet gave Jean (she sent “The Rosary” to Mavis). It is very readable and amusing. She also gave her 5/0. Amy gave her two for music.

Flitch – side of bacon – salted and cured abdominal wall of a side of pork.

‘Bachelor in Arcady’, was written by Halliwell Sutcliffe who died in 1932. He wrote many popular novels, most of them historical romances set in the Yorkshire Dales.

‘The Rosary’ by Florence Louisa Barclay was first published in 1909. It has been described as one of the most beautiful books ever written, and the author compared to Jane Austen. It is available in the publc domain as a free e-book.

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

Thur Jan. 13 1944 9.15. PM. [1944]
# VISIT TO RELATIVES AT TRUSTHORPE FARM
# LETTERS FROM RON IN ITALY
# NEWSPAPERS RUMOUR SECOND FRONT

It has been raining nearly all day but not cold for Jan. It cleared once or twice but came on again, and is raining now I think, tubs are too full now to hear if it is running in and wind seems to be rising. It was fine and sunny on Mon and dried all the clothes, but very cold. Tues it was colder still and snowed in the afternoon but turned warmer afterwards.

On Wed Rene and I went on 9.30. bus’ to Trusthorpe. We had to sprint to catch it and but for the fact that the driver and cond[uctor] have a hot drink at Miss C[anning]‘s we should probably have been left, as it went to village while we were on the wrong side of G.ma’s. It was damp and misty but cleared before we came home. Found them all pretty well, having escaped colds and flu’ so far. Aunt J[et] looks very well again and is endeavouring to “peg” a snip rug. It helps to pass the time. She gets tired of knitting and the cotton is dear. I try to think of something she can do, but do not seem able to find anything and I am sure the hours seem very long, and she does not seem able to accustom herself to going about the yard alone with a stick except just across and back [see note]. Amy says she has been much better to live with since being here that week. So perhaps she found she would have some trials wherever she was.

Had 2 letters from Ron to-day. I was writing to him after Jean went to school and it is still dark until nearly 9 indoors, Father went to bed when he came off duty at 6 am after making tea and having his porage. While writing I thought I heard someone coming and as no one knocked went to door. No one there so went to front and to my surprise found letters at 8.45, usually it is 9.45 or later. Perhaps as it was so wet, the Anderby postman dropped them in. Ron’s letters were dated 21 Nov. and 12 Dec. so not very recent. They were the ones saying he had received greetings cable for Birthday (Nov 26) and Xmas parcel. We had heard all this before. His letters were very interesting this time. One very funny. When putting away his washing the vest unrolled and it was a ladies! His pals were much amused. He had seen the laundress and she had promised to retrieve his for him. He gave us a nice little word-picture of the room where he was sitting up in bed writing, some of his pals reading, some just smoking and one packing parcels, another one, like him, sitting up in bed writing. They are a decent lot together there I think. He sounds quite resigned if not exactly content. His parcel arrived with everything quite safe and undamaged. He is very pleased with Writing Case.

Papers are full of sec[ond] front and invasion lore. The many new air-bases in Britain are ready for use, and are to be the invasion bases. There are such a lot within a few miles of us that I fear we may see more of the war than we have so far done. I am not looking forward to the start of sec front. It might mean moving off the coast too. Ke[ith] and Ma[rion] were on bus’ when we returned last night. They had been to Legbourne. Said there was snow there. Hope we don’t get it. The winter has been mild so far. Amy had a lot of ‘Wannias’ out. I noticed a flower on one of mine. Fred was having to help a neighbour to thrash so he could get help in return. Labour is scarce. Was grousing (the farmer’s privilege) because he has to grow sugar beet. Would not mind if all had to but some get off. It is the same in everything. Ken belongs to Young Farmers League or Club. It will be good for him to get about and mix with people I think. He is a nice quiet boy.

Heard from [sister] Em L. Gl[adys] had a son on Jan 4. They are pleased as they have two girls. So E has 4 Grand-d[aughter]s and 2 G.sons now. Jean is wanting to go to bed so I had better make an end, indeed I’ll have to as my new book is in the other room. Jean and I are in kit[chen] tonight. Amy tells me Aunt Fanny says Mother used to write poetry. I have a stiff covered ex[ercise] book with poems in her writing. I wonder if she wrote them. I remember my father reciting one of them once.

This began on S. Swithin’s Day in a shower of rain.
It ends in January of another year and still it rains
But sunshine has heightened many days in between
And this year’s wheat grows fresh and green.

‘Across and back’ referred to visiting the outside toilet, across the yard from the farmhouse.

Legbourne village is near the town of Louth (see East Lincolnshire Map).

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

Wed. Jan. 5 7.30. am. [1944]
# CATS DOSED FOR COUGHS
# ROLES OF MONTGOMERY AND EISENHOWER
# ‘SECOND FRONT’ APPREHENSION
# ALARMING NOISES – ‘BUMPS AND PLANES’
# RAID ON HITLER’S BUNKER REPORTED
# RON LETTERS FROM WINTERY ITALY

Father on watch at 6 a.m. brought me tea and bread and butter. He has tea and porage before he goes and takes tea and sandwiches (mutton to-day) and mince-pie and cheese with him for lunch. Jean bought the “Tibs” and dosed both cats. About 15 minutes later said “The Sprogg” already looked better! Am sorry to say I can hear him coughing now. I was cold after Father got up so rose at ¼ to 7. It is nice to get up and dress by a good fire these cold mornings tho’ I do not as a rule like coming down before getting dressed. I am sorry to find I get a touch of my old enemy again, it was nice to be free from it while convalescing from “influe”. I wonder what kept it off then. Perhaps one “peg” drives another out. Anyway it was only “scotched” not exterminated apparently.

Montgomery is in England to take charge of British Invasion Army under Gen. Eisenhower U.S.A. Gen. People are wishing sec[ond] front would be started, but when I think of it, I think of the hundreds of boys for whom these days are the last they will see, and every day is one more for them before they pay the price for our peace and safety. Some of them go with heavy hearts, the first excitement of war is over and the grim bare bones of all its wickedness show thro’.

7.50. Queer bumps I can hear and planes. Moon is not set I think but it is cloudy. Hope it is not Ger. dropping bombs or one of our planes crashing. Wonder if we bombed Berlin again. It must be terrible to live in Ger industrial towns now. Hitler’s huge …….…. [? word missing] was bombed a few nights since. His shelters underneath were in three tiers with 7ft concrete on top, but our bombs crashed thro’. I hope if I have to die in a raid it will be in the open, not buried under piles of debris. May God send help to all in distress. The weather in Italy is cold, snowy, and wet, but I think Ron has good warm clothes. In Emmie’s letter he said he had got trousers made to fit him. At first they were a lot too long, rather tight under the arms and seating room for two! Planes still coming in, should think one was dumping his bombs in the sea, where they all ought to be dumped.

Don’t think Tom is very thrilled with C.G. [Coastguard] job now he has got it, tho’ as he is now put on for aft. patrol he may like that better than watch box duties. Sprogg came in when I opened the door, think Jean’s Tibs must have taken effect, he is so loving (most unusual) and is singing all the time.

The missing word, which May probably intended to insert in the gap later after checking the newspaper, was probably ‘Führerbunker’.

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

Sat 3. July [1943]
# MANY LETTERS FROM RON
# RON LONGING FOR HOME
# SOLDIER FRANK ADAMS WRITES FROM ABROAD

Had 2 more recently written letters from Ron, one dated 18th and one 22nd June then yesterday 4 more! Jean’s written in June the rest in May. He is not in tents but billets now but regulations have been tightened up again. He can’t tell us where he is, nor send parcels. Says he is working hard at times, was fit and well, had been cooking until 9 p.m. one day. They get one day off in 3. It is very hot and the flies are very troublesome, said he was surrounded by the bodies of those he had killed and the others were tracing all around him. His clothes had just come back from the wash, spotless. He was so pleased, he likes nice clean clothes and hates to wash them. (We have washed Father’s khaki suit this week. Looks ok only I upset “Thawpit” bot. over it. Hope the white ring comes out.) He longs for home. I wish the war was over and he was home. There seems to be a lull just now like the calm that comes when we say the wind gathers strength for a harder blow. These sunny summer days are the last that many a lad will ever see, let us not be too hasty in wishing the sec[ond] front would start. I fear that before another June comes round many hundreds will have gone.

Had a long letter from Frank Adams. He went thro’ the last campaign in Africa from Alamein to Tunis but cannot tell us where he is now. We are so pleased he is safe. He sang “Baudelaire” to an old French couple and they said “chante tres bien” and then he sang “Tipperary” and the old man’s face lit up. He had been in the last war and recognised it at once. They rescued some rabbits and kept them some time, also 5 hens which laid every day.

Frank Adams

Frank Adams

Altho’ there are small raids in the country almost every night we do not black out now when Father is at home all night. He is on 6 days leave now. It is never really dark all night. Jean has gone to Margaret Pickers for the day.

Ron was in Malta when his letters were written, having sailed from Sfax in Tunisia to Valetta Harbour 8th – 9th June 1943, according to his own Diary (courtesy Brian R Hill).

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