All posts tagged Skegness

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’?

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’?

Jan 7 Sat 8.20 am. [1944]
# JET PROPELLED AIRCRAFT ANNOUNCED
# LOCAL WVS CENTRE SOUGHT BY FRENCH SOLDIERS
# SKEGNESS SHOPS BUSY AT SALE TIME

One week gone in this, we expect, historical year. Yesterday a new era in flying was announced and the success of the new jet propelled aeroplane made public. It is gratifying (to our pride I suppose) to know that it is the invention, and patient toil for 12 or 15 years at the expansion of the idea, of an Englishman Frank Whittle by name who has worked at it since he was an R.A.F. Cadet. He is only 36 or 37 now. It will do away with propellers. I have an idea, it is only conjecture, from some of the talks on it, that the Gloster planes are some of them driven by it now. We shall be running out now if we hear a whining plane. Let’s hope it ushers in an era of peace and prosperity. It is of course not exclusive to England. Italy and Germany as well as U.S.A. have been working on same idea, and it is thought it may be one of the “secret weapons” Ger. brags about.

Soldiers in Chapel reported to be staying 2 weeks now and ask for W.V.S. to be opened, and Jessie still away! Still I think she returns to-day. Mrs. Walker was quite excited. She does not look too well, but was very high-brow yesterday when collecting War Sav[ings].

Jean and Father and I went to Sk[egness] yesterday. Jean and I got our spec[tacle] frames adjusted. Father forgot to take his. Got Jean blouse mat. at Croft’s 1/10½ and 1½ cou. yd. 36” wd. Looks alright but lights in Crofts can only be described as dim and the day was dull. My eyes too are not good since the “flu”. Shops pretty well cleared of Xmas presents. Jean got a nice folding wallet for two photos 2/11. I got a little booklet of Rup[ert] Brooke’s poems 20 of them, it was 2/6. There looks nothing for money but still the poems are worth far more and I do not regret getting it. Father got his tunic collars altered, and got his name put down for a fountain pen at Sayers. I find the dyers and cleaners are taking hats again, the quota has been taken off and I can take one next week any day to be cleaned and remoulded and dyed if I wish. Before, they only took 4 a week and only at 9 a.m. Mon. morning. It was like the Pool at Bethesda and was not worth while starting off at 7.45 am to catch a bus as probably one would have been too late or another would have stepped in before me! Father says I can have his best felt [hat]. I think I will. I can give him some of my hat money towards a new one. He does not like this one. Got some more writing-paper and envelopes, the quality gets worse and worse. Still there is a decided change slowly growing up. Clothes I consider are better quality and not quite so limited a choice. We are getting 24 cou. for next 6 months as for last, instead of 20 as expected. Porage Oats come in Quaker or Scotts boxes again instead of loose. In various little ways like this we notice a difference. Tins are not to be saved now except in districts where they have a plant for dealing with them. What a lot of villages will loathe these dumps of tins. I wonder what they will do with them. I think they cannot be of a great deal of use when they are remade or they would be more keen of them. Of course transport is needed more for other things.

Frank Whittle and the announcement of jet propulsion planes: Early ‘Gloster-Whittle’trial flights had taken place in May 1941 when the first official British jet-powered flight was at Cranwell, Lincolnshire. Developments had continued and the firsr twin-engined Gloster Meteor flew in 1943. Several engine variations were involved bfore the first operational Meteor fighters entered squadron service in July 1944.

Rupert Brooke was already an acclaimed English poet before he volunteered as a soldier in World War I and died as a result of insect poisoning during a sea journey to join the military action in Gallipoli.

‘The Pool at Bethesda’ in the Holy Bible was a very busy place for disabled seeking healing: John 5:2.

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’?

Sun Jan 2. 9.15 a.m [1944]
# ABSENCES OF RON AND EMMIE REGRETTED
# JEAN ENJOYS SUNDAY SCHOOL PARTY
# PIG ‘OUT OF THE WAY’ BEFORE CHRISTMAS
# FRESH COD FROM BEACH

Bright cold morning, after a gusty night, wind has fallen again just now. We seem strange now that Emmie has gone. As usual, I miss her when I wake in the night, as I miss Ron still or shall I say, as I think of Ron always if I wake? One does not really “miss” anyone after a time tho’ some we miss longer than others. After that we grow used to them being away, tho’ we think no less of them and long for their return. Ron looks much older and very grave in his photo and has grown strangely like Father in it. Mr. Baysley remarked on his likeness to his father on Thurs. ev. They were so disappointed, as their leave had been cancelled at the last minute. They had packed, sent on food and clothes to Plymouth (Mrs B’s home) and arranged for daughter to go there for weekend to finish leave. Now, she is on the way to Sk[egness] to travel alone all day and arrive at destination (Exeter) about 7 o’c p.m with probably a long walk before her as she lives some way out.

Jean went to S.S. [Sunday School] party and enjoyed it, said there were almost more children not belonging S.S there than those who did belong. Jean got 3/6 on savings card given in place of book. Arrived home about 9.30. Mrs Pimp. and Colleen came home with her, tho’ it was moonlight and she was not nervous. I made a bit of barm cake on Fri. not very fruity, only sult[ana]s to put in, but I had been longing for some. Years ago that was all the extra cake we had for Xmas. Made very rich and good, it got better with keeping, and people exchanged loaves. 7lbs of flour at least was the foundation, so that with sugar, lard or butter, and 3 or 4 lbs fruit and eggs it made about 1 st of cake. I had 4 small cakes, gave Rene one and Grandma one. She is looking better after a severe cold.

We killed our pig the week before Xmas. Daisy helped Rene get it out of the way. 24 st. cell. 18 lbs. We got another on 20th Dec. about 11 weeks old £2.6.3. and one for Eff. They are scarce and dear or we would have had two, and sold one in Spring.

Tom brought us some fish yesterday for dinner, he had picked up a fresh cod on beach Fri. aft. It was very good, have made remains into fish cakes, forgot them for our breakfast (Father is taking Miss Baysley to station) but am cooking them all now. Expect Jean will eat some. Emmie said that in one of her letters Ron said the boys told him he had lost his smile in his photo. I am pleased they think of him as always with a smile.

‘Getting the pig out of the way’ was described earlier (e.g. 31 Jan 1941). The word which appeared as ‘cell’ was presumably intended to be ‘kell’, the fat from the back of the pig’s stomach (weight 18lbs out of the total 24 stones weight of the pig in the case described here).

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

Nov 25. 8.15 a.m. (Thurs.) [1943]
# DARK MORNINGS DUE TO ‘DAYLIGHT SAVING’
# RETURNING BOMBER CRASHES ON BEACH
# COASTGUARD WILL IN AIRMEN’S RESCUE
# NIECE KATHIE’S BABY IN PHOTO
# NEWS OF SOLDIER JOCK IN AFRICA
# JOCK’S WIFE IN LAND ARMY

A bright cold morning, hardly daylight yet. We don’t take down black-out until 8.30. now. We could do with the extra hour in the morning now. I always think it would be nice to have normal time for the winter months. Most people have to be about by 7.a.m. so it’s no saving of light to have the extra hour in the evening.

Yesterday morning, 12 a.m. Nov. 23-24 midnight a Lancaster plane returning from bombing Berlin crashed on the beach near “Alongshore”. The altimeter wasn’t working and they thought they were 2,000 or more feet up when they hit the sea and rebounded to the beach. Father was called up as were all C.G.s and they went to see what could be done. As they did not know at W.Bx (it being dark) whether it was on land or sea they called out Lifeboat Sk[egness] which was on sea in 15 mins. Smart work. The ambulance from R.Art. on the contrary was over 1 hour before it arrived and the poor fellows, 3 badly hurt, had to lay there waiting. It was afterwards found that 2 more were pretty badly hurt too, one of them walked to W Bx to phone his base and did not know he was hurt until taking off his helmet as he was sweating, he borrowed Father’s handkerchief (it would be his oldest coloured rag tho’ clean) and wiping his forehead found it covered with blood. Even then he thought it was not much. Two men are dangerously ill. Father waited for Amb[ulance] and took it down to “Stokeby” to get as near as poss. Then they carried the men on stretchers. One of their own crew helped carry one, and Father said when they put him down, he was one of the badly hurt tho’ not complaining, he gently stroked the poor fellow’s face and hair and said affectionately, “Never thought you were as heavy as that, you old D—-”. Expressive of his feelings if not elegant. The men on watch P[aul] and Par[ish] sent them their flasks of tea. It is strange that we did not hear it but were fast asleep when M[addison] knocked. Rene said it rocked their bungalow. I was awake not long before and wished they would not fly quite so low but the very low-flying one crashed too we hear a few miles inland. Hard luck to win home so nearly and then crash.

'Alongshore' 1940s

‘Alongshore’ 1940s

Father went to Sk yest. morning and brought the clothes home Rene had washed and got dry. She came same time as she had to put them out again to finish drying, so waited to get them in and hers too. Had letter from Em L with photo of Kath’s baby a fine boy, John David. Must return it. Also a letter from Jock’s wife and I had sent G[reetings] A. Graph the day before. His address is slightly different but still in Africa. He had been in hospital but had not told her what for. Says she is very fit and well, evidently Land Army life suits her.

The crash was observed by Frank Raynor, on duty at the ROC observation post, who was first to reach the aircraft, on bicycle, followed by Joe Kirk, on coastguard duty at the watchbox, whom he had alerted on the way. The crew members were all in shock, having evacuated the plane, and one asked Frank to retrieve a white glove, a present from a girlfriend. All survived and resumed flying within six months. Alongshore’ was a bungalow on the seashore-edge of ‘The Marsh’ almost opposite Granthams’ farm (see Village Map). (Account related by Ken Raynor).
Further details, including names of crew members, are given in the Crash Logs (1943) of ‘Bomber County Aviation Resource’ website.

The ambulance was most likely from ‘HMS Royal Arthur’ (not Artillery).

‘Stokeby’ was a house between ‘Alongshore’ and Wolla Bank (coastal strip further north towards Anderby).

John David was the baby son of Kathie, née Lewis, one of May’s sister Emily’s daughters (see 15 Feb 1943).

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

Nov. 21st 8.15 a.m. [1943]
# ILLNESSS ALL ROUND
# MANY TASKS COMPLETED AND REVIEWED
# POSITIVE PHILOSOPHY CHEERS

Find I dated Ron’s letter and Mrs Leivers PC [postcard], Ron’s AirG. [airgraph] and 3 greetings A.G.’s Nov 11th yesterday. Letter and P.C. posted but must alter Graphs. I suppose my head was a bit muddled. I was in bed until after dinner as I had such a splitting headache when I woke at 5 o’c and my chest was so bad with tight stabbing pains. Head is better this morning and chest much better too tho’ very tight when I went to bed. It is nearly 3 weeks since I caught that wretched cold, I think I got thoroughly chilled when that blanket of fog came down while I waited for the bus’ and as colds were very prevalent in Sk[egness] perhaps caught it there, or it brought my Bronchitis on and I caught Jean’s cold. Rene is not too well either. She has done a lot of running about this last week over me and Mr Shales. He is recovering now. Don’t know whether Rene will do my washing today. It has been raining and is still a little foggy tho’ much clearer than yesterday. It was a very short dark day.

I must keep out of the steam. Was very impatient I’m afraid last week, felt I was wasting time as I could not get to my Autumn cleaning. However on summing up Sat night I found I had made Jean a school skirt, cut it out, made it and pressed it ready to wear. (Tell it not in Gath, I still have the seams to oversew.) I changed sleeves of cardigan left to right as elbows were wearing, finished dressing sailor doll for Baby Balding, cut out and stuffed Terrier Dog. Brown velveteen. Small but looks quite profess’l. It is for Patsy Adams. Making animals is fascinating but don’t like dressing dolls. I spent one evening repairing Jean’s school satchel. I also knitted about half one front of my new cardigan. Motto: when not very well look at what you have done not at what you have left undone. It’s less depressing. After Father had pneu[monia] (before M and B tablets) I used to get so tired that when I went to bed the only prayer I could seem to think of was “I have left undone the things I ought to have done”! Jean has gone to school, Father not up as he was on watch until 12. I will knit a little as it’s too dark yet to start work and I am only just settling down from my usual early morning attack of asthma, tho’ it wasn’t too bad to-day.

‘Tell it not in Gath…weep not at all.’ is from the Bible, Micah 1:10.

M & B tablets were May and Baker proprietary medication.

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

Fri. Nov. 5 8.15. a.m. [1943]
# GUY FAWKES DAY – 20 YEARS PREVIOUSLY
# AUTUMN CLEANING POSTPONED
# RISING COSTS AND RATIONING
# ‘MAKE DO AND MEND’ ADVICE
# CHERRY JAM ENJOYED

November 5th. Guy Fawkes Day. What funny things stay in our minds. Now almost the only Guy F. day I remember particularly, is the one when we lived at Lab[urnum] Cott[age] and autumn-cleaned kitchen. I remember it was a wet day. I whitewashed ceiling or was it still boards and did I wash them? I think, in fact I’m sure, I papered it and Father painted it red. That must be almost 20 years ago and the same paint is still on tho’ I remember we were told we had to paint it inside every 5 years. Well, Goslings never painted it all the 17 years they were there and the same wallpaper is still on sit[ting] room wall that I put on unless it has fallen off now the house is empty. I do remember Amy came on day when we were at Sunny Side on G.F. day and I always used to think I was late if I hadn’t aut-cleaned by then. I haven’t started yet this year but it doesn’t seem so urgent when we have no seaside visitors, and flies are barely gone now as the weather has been so open. Caught mouse No. 2 in trap last night.

I rose at 7 this morning. Father went on watch at 6 am, he brought me a cup of tea and bre. and butt. Perhaps the thought of the fire already made tempted me and I had slept well all night. Am afraid Jean is in for a cold, hope it isn’t the flu’ which is very prevalent at Sk[egness]. Miss Baker called yesterday to tell Rene the time of parade to Church on Sunday. She had a linen tea-cloth in her hand, said she got it at Hall’s, don’t know price, 1 cou. It was not large, about what we used to give 1/0 for but looked as if it would wash thin. They are 4/3 to 8/6 now. I used to give 10D or 1/0 for what I did not get with Watson’s soap coupons and they were linen of a good average quality. Have no coup. to spare for any just now. The last I bought is not very big but good and I gave 1/6 for it at Stow’s but that is a long time since. I have spent most of my coups early this time on 1 pr. stk [stockings] 1 pair shoes and 2 nightdresses. As I had bought no stks for year, no shoes for over 2 years and no nt-drs since the war started I was hardly extravagant. Things wear out eventually however well you treat them. I got a “Mend and Make do” book Govt. issue 3 from Sk. but found very few new ideas. At my time of life one has found out and tried a good many things if money has never been very plentiful. Well it all comes in useful now. It is pretty hard going for people who have always been able to buy new when old things looked shabby and who have never remade and adapted things. One of the things was how to lengthen jumper that had run up too short, as they will in spite of careful washing, in time. I smiled when I put on mine this morning and noticed in the mirror that it was lengthened with a piece of corded velvet to match colour, and not lately either.

Rene and T[om] brought my groceries down last night. She had got me 1lb Tickler’s cherry Jam. I had some once from Cook’s at Grimsby. It was lovely, but was never able to get any more. Tried to make some once but it was not a success. Had some visitors in who had lived in Belgium (it was 1939) and I asked her if she had made any (she had her home made jam with her). She said not in Eng. and she thought she bought a special kind of cherry for it in Belgium.

Goslings, mentioned here, were almost certainly ‘Jonty’ and his wife Mary (see photograph 14 Mar 1943), on the assumption that ‘Laburnum Cottage’ had been an alternative name for ‘Keal Cottage’ (see Village Map). Jonty, who outlived his wife, was believed to have died during the first half of 1943. Two sons, Syd and Ernest, and their families, lived in the village but neither of their homes was likely to have been known as ‘Laburnum Cottage’.

Soap coupons were those issued by Watsons, the manufacturers.

Ticklers’ jam – a popular brand since World War I.

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

Mon Oct. 25th 8.20 A.M [1943]
# COLD FOGGY AUTUMN WEATHER
# LETTERS FROM RON AND EMMIE
# BIRTHDAY PRESENTS PLANNED
# RON’S EMBARKATION RECALLED
# TRIBUTE TO NEPHEW RAYMOND

A thick fog this morning and rather cold at present. Hope it clears as I told Rene we would wash. So far I have done no Autumn cleaning and it’s time I did. We had another letter from Ron 16th Oct written on 2nd and Emmie one dated 6th so it is nice to be up to date again. He sounds very cheery in all of them. I wrote him a long letter last night and enclosed a 1944 calendar. We are sending a parcel this week for his birthday, Nov 26, and Xmas. We, at least, Rene got a nice leather writing case, a small one, at Sk[egness]. It has no zip but is very soft leather lined Kid. It cost 17/11. It won’t take up much space in his kit which is the main thing and will just keep his unanswered letters together and perhaps a snap or two. Emmie’s gloves have arrived, she is very chuff and she says he has bought Xmas presents for us all. Do hope they come safely. He is sleeping in a little bivouac tent now with Roy Paget his pal. Hope they have better billets for the winter as I think the nights are very cold. Says there are a lot of little lizards, very pretty and quite harmless which go like quicksilver when disturbed.

Mr Wilkinson A.R.P.W [air raid precautions warden] came for his [Ron’s] address on Friday. The B[ritish] Leg[ion] is sending parcels. 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. Emmie did get to Peterboro’ for a few days and he got to Yea. for a few hours. It is a year since the tide turned for us at Alamein and we won that first big battle on the borders of Libya and Egypt. Godfrey Talbot described it on Radio and the white cloud on the desert of 600 white crosses. Now 800 more British have laid down their lives in Italy in just over a month, more than that because that is only 5th Army and then there has been all the fighting in Africa and Sicily. It is a mad, bewildering, world.

Keith and Marian are here, it would be a sad homecoming, the first since Raymond’s death was reported.

“He sleeps where Southern vines are dressed
Above the noble slain.
O’er him the myrtle showers its leaves
By soft winds fanned.”

Roy Paget was Ron’s RAF friend in his unit in North Africa and Italy.

Mr Wilkinson, here, was very probably the retired policeman, Jack, the father of ‘Spitfire Ace’ Royce Clifford Wilkinson (see 29 May 1943). He used to recount his son’s exploits to Joe Kirk and fellow drinkers in the tap-room of the ‘Vine Hotel’ (see Village Map).

Godfrey Talbot was one of the best-known BBC war-correspondents.

The ‘Southern Vines’ epitaph was based on lines, slightly changed, from two verses of ‘The Graves of a Household‘ by Liverpool-born poet Felicia Dorothea, née Browne, Hemans (1793-1835). May had copied the original into her ‘Poetry’ exercise book when a pupil at the village school.

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