May 1941

May

8

1941

The Italian retreat in East Africa

British forces advancing across the plains of Africa, Abyssinia 1941.

We are awakened by the sound of rifle fire from the rebels [local tribes- men supporting the British] and we can see them advancing hidden from sight of those on the crest of the road. Then rifle fire is opened up by our soldiers, all belonging to different units, who are without control and without orders. The officers, as usual, are all sheltering in the grottos, unaware of their responsibility at the present time …

May

7

1941

Ambulance duty during the Hull Blitz

The search for survivors after one of the numerous raids on Hull.

When the road was cleared we took the dead, each with a printed form attached to them, saying where they were found, to Alber Ave Mortuary. The injured, who had been given morphine, and the letter ‘M’ marked on their foreheads to say so, we took to the Western General Hospital on Anlaby Road, and laid them on the floor on their stretchers.

May

6

1941

Germany prepares for war in the east

Men in a forced labour gang from the ghetto working outside Warsaw, May 1941.

In the city since early morning there has been a general panic. Germans are stopping all men, Aryans and Jews, and are sending them for labor at the airfields. During all of this beatings are a normal part of German conduct. From the window I observed them. With special satisfaction the Germans beat people who were well dressed and looked like white collar workers.

May

5

1941

Hitler inspects the Bismarck

Hitler on an inspection tour of the Bismarck, 5th May 1941, with Captain Lindemann on his right  and Admiral Lutjens behind.

He considered it an advantage that in the Bismaick, which was more powerful than the Scharnhorst class, he would no longer be forced to avoid well protected convoys. This, however, did not solve his most difficult problem: getting his force out into the Atlantic without being spotted by the enemy.

May

4

1941

Starvation on Warsaw’s streets

Starvation meant that the dead and dying were a common sight on the streets of the ghetto by May 1941.

There was scarcely a night when you didn’t hear the groans of people dying on the street. The typhus spread. Doctors made superhuman efforts to control the disease: daily rounds of assigned buildings, lectures maintaining hygiene, attempts to obtain soap rations and disinfectants, and long hard hours in the hospital. But the epidemic grew, owing to the conditions inside the ghetto.

May

3

1941

Liverpool’s ‘May Blitz’

The devastation in Liverpool docks after ammunition ship 'Malakand' blew up on the night 3rd May 1941.

A lot of children were evacuated to the countryside, but my mother would not let me go and decided to move back to Nelson. She went working in the mill weaving. She would work there from early morning until teatime, then rush home and after tea go back to work on munitions until 10 pm.

May

2

1941

War breaks out in Iraq

RAF Fordson Armoured Cars in Iraq, May 1941

On the 2nd May, at 0200 hours, the Royal Air Force Cantonment at Habbaniya was invested by Iraqi troops and hostilities broke out. The aerodrome and emergency landing ground were shelled, and 22 out of 29 serviceable aircraft were damaged. Our casualties were over 40, including four pilots andi two observers. Iraqi aircraft unsuccessfully bombed and machine-gunned the camp.

May

1

1941

Tobruk defences tested

A German Panzer III tank on the move in the desert, April - May 1941

Shells exploding close at hand included the angry buzzing of shrapnel fragments. The mind can hardly grasp the amount of ‘lead’ that has been scattered over the desert by exploding shrapnel; the surface of the ground is positively carpeted with jagged, ugly, twisted fragments; sometimes eight inches long. It says a lot for defensive methods that any troops survive.