May 1941

May

12

1941

HMS Ladybird sunk off Tobruk

The river gunboat HMS Ladybird pictured during the First World War.

The planes swarmed around us, dropping more bombs. By this time wounded men were helping to feed the guns as the planes swarmed around us. We got two of them. Rescue boats arrived front shore and took aboard the first of the wounded. We still kept firing our forward guns, but Ladybird was sinking fast with the water sweeping closer to tile bridge every moment. Even then the sailors, gunners and officers, with fire all round them, and half the guns under water, said to me : “Carry on, sir, please”

May

11

1941

Hitler learns of Hess’s flight to England

A rare official image of Rudolf Hess, Hitlers Deputy in the Nazi party, taken in 1933. Every effort was made to remove any trace of him from the official records after his flight.

F. came down at about 11 o’clock. I was speaking when Albert Bormann came in and reported that Pintsch, adjutant to Herr Hess, had arrived and wanted to speak to the Fuhrer about a most urgent matter. F., annoyed, threw B. out with the words: ‘Can’t you see that I am in the middle of a military conference and do not wish to be disturbed?’ After one minute B. was back, rather pale, and said, P. would not go, it was very urgent and there was danger.

May

10

1941

Huge raid on London

Fire fighters tackling a blaze in Victoria Street, East London on the night of 10th/11th May 1941

We were taken to neighbours for the night and Dad returned to what was left of the house, but it had already been looted, mostly food, but also some cutlery and cut glass. One particular piece was a wedding present to my parents from an uncle who had recently been killed. Dad pulled back the debris-covered bedclothes and went to bed, remarking that Mr Hitler was not going to deprive him of his bed.

May

9

1941

Enigma machine captured

The boarding party led by   approaches U-110

Also the coding machine was found here, plugged in and as though it was in actual use when abandoned. The general appearance of this machine being that of a type writer, the telegraphist pressed the keys and finding results peculiar sent it up the hatch. This W/T office seemed far less complicated than our own-sets were more compact and did not seem to have the usual excess of switches, plug holes, knobs, ‘tally’s’ etc on the outside.

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.