1941

Jun

5

1941

Thousands die in Chungking raid

One of the worst ever single incidents in any air raid occurred when over 4,000 suffocated when air raid shelter tunnels were blocked during the raid on Chungking.

One of the most destructive raids was on 5th June 1941 when Japanese planes launched successive sorties against the city for more than three hours. When some of the tunnels became blocked during the bombing they became a death trap, asphyxiating as many as 4,000 people in one incident.

Jun

4

1941

Blitz on Britain continues

Hundreds of people were still being killed and injured every week in air raids up and down Britain. Thousands more were made homeless.

Enemy bombing has not been on a heavy scale, although it shows a considerable increase on the previous week. Raids were made on Merseyside on the nights of the 30th/31st May and the 31st May/1st June. A sharp raid was made on Manchester and Salford on the night of the 1st/2nd June. A few bombs were dropped at Hull and Tweedmouth on the night of the 2nd/3rd June.

Jun

3

1941

Holiday plane shot down off Isles of Scilly

The de Havilland Dragon aircraft shot down off St Mary's, Isles of Scilly on 3rd June, pictured before the war.

The de Havilland Dragon aircraft had just taken off from St Mary’s on the Isles of Scillies for the short 25 mile hop back to the mainland at Penzance when it was intercepted by a Heinkel III, apparently returning from a raid on the north of England. The forward guns easily dealt with the unarmed Dragon aircraft which crashed into the sea with no survivors.

Jun

2

1941

Massacre of civilians at Kondomari, Crete

Trebes gives the orders to the parachutists in the firing squad at Kondomari

Trebes had the men form a half circle, gave the order to fire, and after about fifteen seconds, everything was over. I asked Trebes, who was quite pale, whether he realized what he had done, and he replied that he had only executed the order of Hermann Goering, ann avenged his dead comrades. A few days later he received the Knights Cross from Goering for his “braveness” in Crete.

Jun

1

1941

Waiting to surrender on Crete

British prisoners of war on Crete, pictured after the surrender, later in June, 1941

The British Navy, and some of the British Army, left the island of Crete – but I didn’t. Nor did several thousand other dejected lads. Sunday, June the first, was a black day indeed for many assorted British huddled in valleys back from the beach at Sphakia, a small village on the south coast.

May

31

1941

Dublin bombed by the Luftwaffe

The latest report which I have received is that 27 persons were killed outright or subsequently died; 45 were wounded or received other serious bodily injury and are still in hospital; 25 houses were completely destroyed and 300 so damaged as to be unfit for habitation, leaving many hundreds of our people homeless.

May

30

1941

Evacuation of Crete continues

An overview of British naval operations during the battle for Crete.

Many casualties were received amoungst these men but we did not receive any damage, and soon became known throughout the East Mediterranean as a ‘lucky ship’. On this trip especially the medical and supply branches of the ship worked night and day to look after this huge number of men.

May

29

1941

The evacuation from Crete

The destroyer HMS Imperial - her steering was damaged by a near miss during the evcauation from Crete and she had to sunk by torpedo after her crew had been taken off.

We were not really in favourable condition to evacuate some twenty-two thousand soldiers, most of them from an open beach, in the face of the Luftwaffe. But there was no alternative. The Army could not be left to its fate. The Navy must carry on.

May

28

1941

The Germans count the cost of Crete

The German parachute troop losses during the invasion of Crete were high.

On this occasion things had gone well with us, but it seemed almost a miracle that our great and hazardous enterprise had succeeded. How it did, I cannot say to this day. Success had suddenly come to us at a moment when, as so often happens in war, we had ceased to believe in the possibility of success.

May

27

1941

The end of the Bismarck

Out of a total complement of 2,200 men on Bismarck, around 800 are believed to have made it into the sea. 115 were saved by HMS Dorsetshire before a U-boat scare ended the rescue.

Finally the probability of explosion became so acute that rescue work was abandoned. Orders were given to flood and the imprisoned men were drowned. In the forward canteen 200 men also became trapped under jammed hatches. At the very moment when a hatch to the upper deck became freed, a direct hit crashed through the deck, transforming the canteen into a charnel house. According to one prisoner, not one man of this group of 200 strong survived, and in making his own escape he was forced to pick his way between “mountains of flesh and bone.”