All posts tagged Tom

Fri. 29 Oct 8.20 a.m [1943]
# FAMILY VISITORS BRING NEWS
# NEPHEW FRANK’S WEDDING
# PRISONER EXCHANGE REPORTED
# RED CROSS PRAISED
# BLIND P.OW. CENTRE IN GERMANY
# PARCEL POSTED TO RON

The fog has persisted all the week. Think it will clear to-day. On Wed it cleared a few hours in the middle of the day and the clothes finished drying. I had put a fire in room as I did not think it would clear but as soon as I had got a [clothes-] horse-full round fire the sun broke thro’! I put sheets and heavy things out and everything was dry by dinner time and ironed before tea. Keith and Marian came on Thur aft. Also Lau[rence] who had travelled by night to get an extra day at home. He walked in before 8 a.m. to his mother’s surprise. Mary came with them but would not stay tea. Marian’s brother is in India now. He was in N.A. [North Africa] last year when Ron was. He has been hurt or wounded. He does not tell them what happened, only they are not to worry. He is out of hospital and on crutches now. Lau. has a stripe, he is in office work. He amused himself on piano for an hour or more after tea. Jean did not get much homework done. Keith and Marian chuckled over Nip. Ann [Nipper Annual] part of the time. She does her hair in the fashionable roll now. It is so pretty it looks nice however she does it. I had a letter from Frank Lewis’s new wife on Wed and a large piece of bride’s cake which was very good.

A lot of prisoners have been exchanged with Gers this week, the wounded of course. How pleased they will be to get home. They all say the Red + is a marvellous institution and that they would fare badly but for its care. We must give all we can to it. It does one good to read about the selfless actions amongst the prisoners. When one ship docked a man ran to the side and called “Cynthia”. A woman on quay-side answered and scores of men took up the cry. It seems she was taken prisoner in France whilst lorry driving and in the camp where she was interned she tended and nursed the sick and wounded. She is a cousin of Earl of Southesk. Then there is Viscount Normanton who thro’ the Red + got materials sent to him and taught 15 blind men to read Braille. Above all there is the major who would not come home, he is an ophthalmic surgeon and spends all his time operating and doctoring men whose eyes are injured. The Gers. have been very good in giving him facilities for doing this, and he wrote home to his wife for his case of instruments which was despatched and received. He has a wife and three bonny children yet altho’ he could have come home he elected to remain a prisoner so that he can continue to help his wounded, blinded fellow prisoners. He has already helped many back to sight again. He had written to his wife some time since to tell her he should not come this time. In spite of her disappointment, how proud she must feel and what a noble heritage to hand down to his children. All honour to those and countless more we shall never know of who imitate their Master who “went about doing good”.

[Aside: Household coal supply to be cut down again so must be extra careful.] Yesterday we posted Ron’s parcel and sincerely hope he gets it. Rene and I had both been wishing we could include cakes. As she said, “you don’t get the taste of home so well out of razor blades and soap etc.” However, we are not allowed to send anything eatable and of course they are not in need of it. Tom sent him a new pack of cards like those he gave us last year and we put a new face-flannel in and thread etc. Persil as he has to do his own washing, night-lights in a tin in case they melted. We sewed it up in a cotton covering over the paper one after packing them in a cardboard box. Letters have to be posted before Nov. 10. so must write to Jock again.

Frank Lewis, nephew, son of Jesse and Emily (May’s sister), had married Alice.

11th Earl of Southesk, Lord Carnegie, was related, by marriage, to the Royal family.

Lieutenant the Marquess of Normanby, of the Green Howards (not ‘Viscount Normanton’) and Major David Charters, Royal Army Medical Corps, an ophthalmic surgeon, were both prisoners of war who became attached to the German ‘POW Centre for the Blind’ at Kloster Haina.

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’?

Mon Aug. 30. 8.40. a.m. [1943]
# RENE COLLECTING FOR RED CROSS
# TOM PREACHING AT METHODIST CHAPEL
# JEAN TAKES IN FRUIT FOR SCHOOL DINNERS
# DELAYED LETTERS ARRIVE FROM RON
# GERMAN YOKE IN SCANDINAVIA CHALLENGED

Jean and Father have departed. I am not working to-day. Rene will probably collect Red + pennies and we will wash tomorrow. Wrote a long letter to Ron yesterday and went to Chapel evening service. Tom preached. He is a good preacher and gives the impression that he has spent time and thought on his preparation. Mary and C[harles] were there. M. looks and sounds worn out with sorrow. We are not wearing black. M of course was in blk with white blouse. I hope she won’t think it heathen but I resolved long since that I would only go in blk for anyone very near and then only for a short time. There is scarcely a home without loss and if all wore black it would have a very depressing effect and that is the last thing that we need.

Tom gathered blk.berries and gave them to Jean to take to school for jam for winter puddings. Mr. Sp[endlove] says the jam allowance is totally inadequate for school dinner but that the Gov[ernme]nt would let them have sugar if children brought fruit. It is very windy this morning and is just coming a shower. I expect Ron would like to see it. He says he understands now why the poets write of England’s green and pleasant pasture lands. We had letter from him on Sat. date July 23, and airgraph Aug 11, so had been delayed. Think he would be in Malta then. He had collected bits of wood to make a frame to keep his bed off the ground, tho’ it would not be comfortable. Says he has almost forgotten what its like to sleep on a proper bed. Poor boys, they remind me of little motherless children, tho’ I know they are full of resources and by no means as helpless as we are apt to think them. Father is coming off box at 11 to go to station.

Russians are keeping up their advances well. Trouble seems to be boiling up in Denmark and Sweden now. Danes are getting tired of the German yoke which presses ever more heavily. Danish king is kept a prisoner in his palace. Swedes are being severely reprimanded by Ger. press for their own press’s way of discussing the war. I have seen the last few sheaves of a fodder stack thrown out sometimes and the mice, which hitherto the cat has been able to catch one by one and devour, run out in all directions. The cat is so bewildered that most of them get away. Well I think Hitler is getting nearly to that, but I think he will be fortunate if he gets away. I rather think the mice will continue and rend him. Summer seems to have slipped away with our hour of D[ouble] summer time. These last few days have felt very like Autumn, a damp close atmosphere that depresses one. Let’s hope we have a month or six weeks of golden Autumn days yet before winter. It is not Sep. yet so we could get two months fine weather yet. It was open weather until Xmas last year.

Mary and Charles Hill were in mourning for their son Raymond, recently reported lost in action (see 24 Aug. 1943).

Ron had in fact already been moved from Malta to Sicily on 20th July.

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

Tue July 20 8.30 P.M. [1943]
# CORNED MUTTON TO REPLACE CORNED BEEF
# SEA DEFENCES DAMAGED BY WEATHER
# A VISIT FROM COUSIN AMY
# REPORTS OF SUCCESS IN SICILY
# ANOTHER NEPHEW TO WED
# MORE GUESTS EXPECTED

Jean stayed at Jessie’s for tea on Thurs. Had ham she says. Friday morning Father and Jean got their breakfast and brought mine before going on watch and to school. I rose about 11 o’c. Father had taken cinders out so I took mats up and sw[ept] and dusted leaving mats for Father to shake at 2 o’c. By then I was crocked up again. I let Father go to but[cher's] cart with Peter and Pe. let me have 2 tins corned beef. Said they were the last. After this it is to be corned mutton. I have heard it is very good. Expect we shall soon know. It is very misty and damp to-night, yet strange to say I feel better this last hour since the fog thickened (it was hazy all day) than I have for some days. Perhaps it has turned colder. Tom and Rene called a while since and he said it was the weather he loved with the mist wrapping round like a blanket. Well he is welcome to it, but I don’t like the clammy feel of it. Says the sea has come in up to Cousins’ bungalow again. The workmen are busy putting “kids” in the broken bank. Father says if they run a couple of rows of barbed wire across the gap it would be quite as effective! We did not have a gale with these tides so they were not so picturesque or so destructive as the Apr. tides.

I stayed in bed Sat morning and Jean brought me a letter up just before ten a.m. It was from Amy to say she and Aunt Jet (Ken came too) were coming in Tagg’s car about 12 o’clock. I got up at once and we got the oven started and cooked Sunday beef with York[shire] pud, rice p[udding] and stewed log[an]berries. Also new potatoes but we had no sec. vegetable. A. said she was bringing provisions. It proved to be tin[ned] beef and cooked bacon and some bought tarts. She had been out day before too. We managed alright and dinner was cooked in good time. Jean had got on pretty well downstairs. Father went to Hall’s for groceries and got me some cake too. I dusted down the stairs and made beds as soon as I was dressed. Room was clean as we had not been in since Wed. when I cleaned it well. They all looked fairly well, indeed very well. Aunt J is about as usual, never content but rather more frail I think. Jean managed to get Ken to the sea after dinner, but she says he is very shy. Rene took a snap of us sitting on the seat by the back door. It was very hot there in spite of the cold wind. Ken is making a rockery and took several bits of my rock plants to set on it so hope they grow.

We have a third of Sicily in our hands and a lot of prisoners. Catania still holds out. I wrote and sent a letter to Ron on Sunday. I wish he could get it by next Sun. Jul. 25 as it is the anniversary of his wedding. I must write to Emmie too this week. It doesn’t seem possible that a year has slipped by so quickly. Norman [Lammiman] is to be married next week. He is 21.

Gladys brought Eileen down this afternoon. She came with her G.ma [Harriet] Sunday night too. She is a sweet little babe and grows fast. Spot came too and Bill nearly wept when Father stroked her. Gl. brought a letter about two ladies who want to come on a visit. I wrote an answer for them to send back, though I would have preferred to deal directly with them. I set £2.2. a week for 1 b. room with 2 beds and sit. rm. and attendance. If they come it will be a little towards the rent. I can only do with them when Jean is at home in the mornings to help and she is only home from Fri. Jy. 23 to Tue Aug 17 so we’ll have to make our fortune quickly if at all! A lot of the mist has cleared. We are going to bed. Father on watch until 2 a.m. We are expecting Elsie Russell and friend some day this week.

‘Kids’ were bundles of thorny sticks, usually cut from hawthorn hedges. They were used to hold sand to build dunes with marram grass to form sea defences. ‘Kidding’ was a related local expression for collecting material for firewood sticks.

Frank Tagg was a farmer in Trusthorpe.

‘Spot’ was Herbert and Annie Faulkner’s (Eileen’s parents’) dog.

Elsie Russell was Emmie’s cousin.

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

Thursday July 15 1943 4.50. P.M. [1943]
# ANOTHER DIARY BOOK OPENS WITH POEM
# POURING RAIN ON ST SWITHIN’S DAY
# FEARS OF CROP DAMAGE
# LETTERS FROM RON IN MALTA

St. Swithin’s Day and it’s pouring down
In a thunder-shower from the clouds
For forty days says the old wives tale
It will rain either more or less.

It is almost 5 o’clock and pouring with rain. I think it is a thunder shower tho’ I’ve heard no thunder. It has cooled the air, I believe. I feel a little relief already. The soft south-west wind completely overpowers me. I heard a few hailstones patter on the porch then. Hope it won’t rain in my bedroom window but I can’t go up. I wonder if the shed door is open, if it is it will rain right in. Expect Jean will shelter at Jessie’s. The rain will do good in the gardens if it doesn’t beat everything down. Hope it won’t “lay” the corn tho’ I should think it’s early enough to get up again yet. Rene and Tom called this morning and brought me some peas. I had to hurry then to get dinner and over-tired myself and have been done up ever since. Kitchen has not been swept or dusted.

Had a letter and a letter-card (airmail) today from Ron. Letter written Jul. 1st and card 6th. Ron in Malta when he wrote this. It’s nice to get them so quickly. The flies seem a terrible pest and he says it’s far too hot to go out unless necessary. At the bottom of his A.M. letter there is a tiny P.S. to say his parcel has arrived. [Aside: Parcel arrived on July 6 in Malta.] I can’t remember what date it was sent. He is in billets now in a village and says not to worry if he misses writing occasionally, it is not always possible to write every few days. I hope he gets his mail tho’. Said he had been reading in [Skegness] Standard about our Apr. Gale so that had been a long time on the way. It seems to have stopped raining so hope Jean won’t be long. I want her to go to Hall’s for me for Sw[eet] Nitre.

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

Sun. Jun. 27 10. 45. pm. [1943]
# FEELING BETTER BUT TIRED
# BOLEROS MADE FOR RENE AND JEAN
# MUCH LETTER WRITING
# KING RETURNS FROM NORTH AFRICA
# RON’S LETTERS MUTILATED BY CENSOR

It has been a lovely day tho’ the cool N wind continued until evening then came E into the sea. Roses are looking lovely. Am feeling better but am very tired tonight. Jean went to Chapel this morning and I cooked dinner then rested all afternoon and after tea sat in garden until 6.30. Rene came for a little while and had a few strawberries with cream and cup of tea. Mr Hillsdon staying Sat. aft. till this evening. She had her green B.M. [bridesmaid’s] dress on. Miss Baker has at last finished making the boleros from the bottom of skirts. Shall wash it as Rene has done hers and it looks beautiful. Have made Jean a Juliet cap to wear with hers but don’t know if I like it much. Have written to Ron, Amy and Jock, can’t find Jock’s AM letter anywhere so hope his address hasn’t altered.

Rene and Jean wearing Bolero Tops

The King arrived safe home Sat. morning 6. a.m. after a 14 days tour in N.A. He was a little before time owing to a following wind and when W.C[hurchill] arrived at aerodrome the plane was empty. However the King was in officers Mess Room and after a cup of tea with W they drove off together. He is spending weekend in country with Q[ueen] and P[rincesse]s. He brought them oranges and bananas. Wonder if Ron saw him.

We have had delayed letters from Ron this week (4). One of mine was clipped to bits by censor and they filched 5 p[ost]cards (wretches). It was too bad as in part of the letter he says he can mention the names and they were in the other letter. Also Kirk’s had P.C.s from John a fortnight ago. Says things in shops are a frightful price. He got Emmie hand-bag and compact, the last H.B. they had except some at extortionate prices. It would be nice to have a little souvenir from N.A. It’s a pity they try to fleece the soldiers so.

Mr Hillsdon would have been staying overnight with Tom and Rene. He had been Best Man at their wedding (see 25 Oct. 1942).

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