July 1941

Jul

12

1941

Britain and Soviet Russia form an alliance

A familiar scene in the Kremlin but this time it is British Ambassador Stafford Cripps being watched by Molotov and Stalin, 12th July 1941.

The two Governments mutually undertake to render each other assistance and support of all kinds in the present war against Hitlerite Germany. They further undertake that during this war they will neither negotiate nor conclude an armistice or treaty of peace except by mutual agreement.

Jul

11

1941

Shots heard in a Lithuanian pine forest

Jews detained by Lithuanian nationalists shortly after the German invasion.

Quite nice weather, warm, white clouds, windy, some shots from the forest. Probably exercises, because in the forest there is an ammunition dump on the way to the village of Nowosiolki. It’s about 4 p.m.; the shots last an hour or two.

Jul

10

1941

Bayonet attack on a machine gun post

Australian James Gordon won the Victoria Cross for an attack on a French machine gun post .

Pte Gordon, noting the situation, and on his own initiative, crept forward under fire, including grenades, and succeeded in approaching close to the post. He then charged it from the front and with the bayonet killed the four enemy machine gunners. His action completely demoralised the enemy in the area and was a magnificent inspiration to his comrades.

Jul

9

1941

Air attacks on Britain much reduced

Pilots from No. 611 Squadron based at Hornchurch  in July 1941. From left - Flight Lieutenant Eric Lock, a Battle of Britain ace with 24 confirmed kills, lost on operations on 3rd August,

Fighter Command flew 1,119 patrols, involving 4,513 sorties, by day, and 691 patrols, involving 912 sorties, by night. The latter total includes dusk and dawn patrols. The bulk of our fighter effort by day is accounted for by offensive sweeps and bomber escorts over Northern France, and by shipping protection patrols.

Jul

8

1941

Bailing out of a tank in Russia

The Czech built 38(t) tank advancing through a Russian village during the early part of Operation Barbarossa

My smashed teeth soon found their way into the trash can at the aid station. The shrapnel embedded in my face remained there until it saw the light of day all by itself as had been correctly predicted. I hitch-hiked my way back to the front.

Jul

7

1941

Jimmy Ward climbs out on the wing – mid flight

Sergeant James Allan Ward of No. 75 (New Zealand) Squadron RAF, the first New Zealander to win the Victoria Cross during the Second World War, standing in the cockpit of his Vickers Wellington Mark IC, L7818 'AA-V', at Feltwell, Norfolk.

The squadron leader said, “What does it look like to you?” I told him the fire didn’t seem to be gaining at all and that it seemed to be quite steady. He said, “I think we’d prefer a night in the dinghy in the North Sea to ending up in a German prison camp.” With that he turned out seawards and headed for England.

Jul

6

1941

The SS arrive in a Polish town

German troops watch a burning Synagogue in Lithuania, July 1941.

The SS officer then drove to the synagogue and ordered his men to strip it of every bit of gold and silver and anything that was valuable. A crowd of Jews gathered in the streets and watched in horror as the crowns on the Torah handles, the Torah covers embroidered with golden thread, the candelabras and the inlay on the pillars were packed into trucks.

Jul

5

1941

Herbert Pugh wins the George Cross

The Troopship HMT Anselm torpedoed on the 5th July 1941Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart  and U Boat net

He seemed to be everywhere at once, doing his best to comfort the injured, helping with the boats and rafts (two of these were rendered unserviceable as a result of the explosion) and visiting the different lower sections where the men were quartered. When he learned that a number of injured airmen were trapped in the damaged hold, he insisted on being lowered into it with a rope.

Jul

4

1941

Wing Commander Hughie Edwards wins the VC

The Bristol Blenheim light bomber as flown in the daylight attack on Bremen on the 4th July.

On 4th July, 1941, he led an important attack on the Port of Bremen, one of the most heavily defended towns in Germany. This attack had to be made in daylight and there were no clouds to afford concealment. During the approach to the German coast several enemy ships were sighted and Wing Commander Edwards knew that his aircraft would be reported and that the defences would be in a state of readiness.

Jul

3

1941

The horrors of the Russian front

A German soldier approaches the body of a Russian soldier in front of his burning tank.

In a hollow we discover Russian cavalry, which the flak begins to fire at. You can see clearly through the binoculars the ruin that the flak is inflicting on the Russians. Horses and men lying about in wild disorder. You can see one of the Russians trying to raise himself up, and then his strength ebbs away and he collapses like a sack. It’s frightful.