Wartime diaries reach final chapter with new e-book

The Casulties Were Small by May Hill
The Casulties Were Small by May Hill

A labour of love publishing the wartime diaries of a Chapel St Leonards grandmother has reached its final chapter.

May Hill detailed everyday life in the village throughout the dark days of the Second World War.

Her journals, written between 1940 and 1944, have been published in stages by her family 70 years after they were written.

The final volume in the series titled ‘An RAF Mother’s WWII Diary Blog’, from January to December 1944, has now been released as an e-book.

May’s diaries record the impact of the war on the village, her concern for her only son Ron who was serving with the RAF and her husband Will.

Ron was on active service after volunteering at the age of 19 and had been posted abroad just before Christmas 1942.

Will had become a wartime coastguard based at a look-out that was often a target for enemy aircraft heading for Butlins, which was being used as Royal Navy training base.

May provided lodgings to wives and girlfriends of soldiers billeted nearby with the help of daughter Rene, while her youngest child Barbara Jean attended Skegness Grammar School.

The eloquent diary entries were interspersed with poignant poetry inspired by the war, missing her son and the loss in action of three nephews.

May’s diaries ended with her death in November 1944 at the age of 51 just months after her husband had passed away.

Grandson Tom Ambridge has spent years transcribing and publishing the diaries with other family members after they first came to light more than 10 years ago.

Tom said: “The family can look back with great pride on the legacy of May Hill, who none of her grandchildren knew in person but all feel that they know her so well through her wonderful diaries.”

To view May’s diairies online visit http://www.ambridgebooks.co.uk/mayhilldiaryblog/