September 1941

Sep

30

September 1941

An airman’s first and last operational flight

During the early morning of the 30th of September 1941 the crew were well into their return leg of the flight and was more or less on course for their home base at Topcliffe. They crossed the Yorkshire coast at around 03.30hrs in the Middlesbrough area and a course was set for base at Topcliffe, at a height of 2000 feet to avoid striking the high ground they would have to cross over. There were no problems up to then in the flight.

Sep

29

September 1941

Surviving the massacre at Babi Yar

After a while, when the shooting stopped, I heard the Germans climbing into the ravine. They started finishing off all those who were not dead yet, those who were moaning, hiccuping, tossing, writhing in agony. They ran their flashlights over the bodies and finished off all who moved. I was lying so still without stirring, terrified of giving myself away.

Sep

28

September 1941

Einsatzgruppe Operational Report USSR No. 97

Verification of these statements has not been possible yet. In the course of the first action, 1,600 arrests, measures being evolved to check the entire Jewish population. Execution of at least 50,000 Jews planned. German Army welcomes measures and demands drastic procedure. Garrison commander advocates public execution of twenty Jews.

Sep

27

September 1941

Malta convoy under attack

On 27 September at 1340 we were very nearly hit – a torpedo from an aircraft missed us by only 20 yards. Attack by torpedo bombers was frightening. They would single you out and fly straight for you at masthead height before dropping their torpedo at very close range. They presented an impossibly small target and were below the depression of most of our guns.

Sep

26

September 1941

The Wehrmacht’s endless march East

Underneath it quivered rabbits, pigs, and the vermin that would attack us. Bedbugs bothered us at night, fleas broke our rest, and lice multiplied in pur uniforms. Spiders, flies, wood lice, and cockroaches scuttled over the tables and over our faces and hands. The illumination was provided by an oil lamp.

Sep

25

September 1941

Enemy Attack on Seaborne Trade

A rescue vessel, with survivors from the torpedoed ships in the outward bound convoy previously attacked by U-boats, was bombed and set on fire by Focke-Wulf aircraft when 550 miles north-east of the Azores, and was subsequently sunk by our own gunfire; ninety-nine survivors, twenty of whom were seriously wounded, were picked up, but the master and twenty-nine of the crew are missing.

Sep

24

September 1941

Force H departs Gibraltar with convoy

On the evening of the 24th Admiral Somerville’s flag was raised on HMS Rodney and the band played on the quayside as if the battleship were departing for home. She then sailed westward with an escort of destroyers. Admiral Somerville had in fact remained on HMS Nelson and would lead the main force into the Mediterranean after dark. Those watching from Spain and Algeciras in North Africa were duped for a time.

Sep

23

September 1941

Base camp life in Cairo

When I got outside, I noticed that everyone complained of the sickening smell from the coffins… Apparently the two revolver kings had been dead three days, which in this climate, is discouraged. I’d been too ill to notice any smell. All I’d observed was that there is something unmistakably peculiar about the movement of the feet of men carrying the body of another man.

Sep

22

September 1941

‘The last Jew in Vinnitsa’

The people in the first row thus having been killed in the most inhuman manner, those of the second row were now ordered to step forward. The men in this row were ordered to step out and were handed shovels with which to heap chloride of lime upon the still partly moving bodies in the ditch. Thereafter they returned to the tables and undressed.

Sep

21

September 1941

Rescue ship Walmer Castle bombed in Atlantic

Motorboat blown away, no.2 port lifeboat badly holed and foundered. Fire raging throughout midships accommodation and on boat deck, effectively isolating fore end of ship from aft soon after bomb explosion. Bridge searched for survivors, and accommodation above and below decks, as far as possible, fire having taken firm hold of port side and accommodation on starboard completely wrecked.