Wartime Chapel retold in book

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THE FAMILY of a grandmother who recorded all her experiences of life and fellow villagers in Chapel St Leonards in the 1940s, have compiled her entries into a new e-book.

In eloquent diaries and poignant poetry, May Hill wrote about her life through the dark days and a recurring theme was her concern for her only son Ron, who had volunteered for the RAF at 19, and for her husband Will.

“Will was a wartime coastguard whose watch-box became a target for enemy aircraft heading to attack HMS Royal Arthur, the huge Royal Navy training base which had taken over Butlins’ Skegness site,” said May’s grandson Tom Ambridge.

“The publication in 2009, a book of her poetry and a selection of diary entries and photos, created much interest both locally and further afield,” added Tom.

“It was then decided to publish the full sequence of diary entries online in a blog where every entry would appear exactly ‘Seventy Years On’ from the original date,” explained Tom.

The blog is currently covering 1942, which was a year of many wartime weddings including Ron’s and also May’s elder daughter Rene. New posts in the blog are notified on its Facebook site.

The latest publication brings together the first full year of the blogged diaries into an Amazon Kindle e-book: An RAF Mother’s WWII Diary Blog, Volume I, November 1940 - December 1941, ‘Anticipation and Alarms’.

This volume includes stories of enemy machine-gunning of the village and how Ron narrowly escaped death in incidents at RAF Binbrook.

A printed book, the original compilation, ‘The Casualties Were Small’ by May Hill, is still available at £8.99 from local outlets such as the Skegness RNLI Lifeboat Station gift shop, Church Farm Village, Lyndhurst Garden Centre and the Aviation Museum in East Kirkby.

To read more visit www.ambridgebooks.co.uk/mayhilldiaryblog or www.facebook.com/pages/May-Hills-WWII-Diaries/164883400216874.