April 1942

Apr

9

1942

The horror of Japanese victory on Bataan

Surrendering American troops were searched by the Japanese when they surrendered on 9th April 1942. They had endured a brutal campaign and most were already under nourished.

The private a little squirt, was going through the captain’s pockets. All at once he stopped and sucked in his breath with .a hissing sound. He had found some Jap yen. He held these out, ducking his head and sucking in his breath to attract notice. The big Jap looked at the money. Without a word he grabbed the captain by the shoulder and shoved him down to his knees. He pulled the sword out of the scabbard and raised it high over his head, holding it with both hands. The private skipped to one side.

Apr

8

1942

Attacks on Malta intensify

On several occasions between 3 April 1942 and 11 April 1942, a Heavy Anti-Aircraft position was heavily bombed when Sergeant J Camilleri, of the 11th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery, was acting as Gun Position officer. His calmness in giving orders under fire was an inspiration to the men. On the 4 April 1942, at about 6 o'clock in the evening the position was attacked by several JU87s, many bombs falling a few yards away from the Command Post. Despite the fact that all on the position were blinded by dust, he kept the guns firing at the enemy with great effect. In the raid on the evening of the 22 April 1942, an ammunition dump on the position was set on fire by a direct hit. Sergeant Camilleri promptly rallied some gunners, led them to the dump and managed to extinguish the fire. Picture shows:- Sergeant Camilleri, 11th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery.

Attacks were concentrated on Grand Harbour and Valetta, on the aerodromes at Hal Far, Luqa and Takali, and on the seaplane base at Kalafrana. The damage was extensive and included considerable destruction of civilian property. Seven aircraft were destroyed on the ground and eleven others damaged. It was noticeable, however, that there was a marked decrease in the accuracy of the enemy bombing.

Apr

7

1942

Suffering and defiance as prisoners of the Japanese

The U.S. Navy Clemson-class destroyer USS Pope (DD-225) in January 1924, sunk by Japanese dive bombers on the 1st March 1942.

When the other had been beaten unconscious by 15 blows of a hawser and was repeatedly kicked by 3 soldiers to a point beyond which he could not survive, Comdr. Antrim gallantly stepped forward and indicated to the perplexed guards that he would take the remainder of the punishment, throwing the Japanese completely off balance in their amazement and eliciting a roar of acclaim from the suddenly inspired Allied prisoners. By his fearless leadership and valiant concern for the welfare of another, he not only saved the life of a fellow officer and stunned the Japanese into sparing his own life but also brought about a new respect for American officers and men and a great improvement in camp living conditions.

Apr

6

1942

The end nears on Bataan

Japanese Marines use flame thrower against american filipino army bunker in the Battle of  bataan 1942

More men retreating, more stragglers, the rear area has become the front. Japs keep on following their gains, bombing, shelling, blasting, burning, shooting, bayoneting. They have been waiting for this hour. Blood is flowing freely… Evacuee area is a most pitiful sight. Saw women and children gathered around the cinders of their former dwellings, begging for food, bewildered by the terrific advance of the Japanese.

Apr

5

1942

HMS Dorsetshire and HMS Cornwall sunk

The cruiser HMS Dorsetshire had assisted with the evacuation of Singapore and of Rangoon and was on patrol in the Indian ocean with HMS Cornwall.

At ll a.m. Sunday 5“‘ April, a single Japanese plane was spotted astem and at 1.40 p.m. Cornwall and we were attacked by some 80 planes. In less than ten minutes Dorsetshire was sunk and within five minutes more Cornwall went down too. Two shipmates went down in the mess and refused to leave the ship – they were non-swimmers. At a time like that it is every man for himself.

Apr

4

1942

Squadron Leader Birchall – ‘The saviour of Ceylon’

Catalina flying boats based in Singapore patrolling off Malaya, 1941/ early 1942

As the squadron was returning to the British naval base in Ceylon, Squadron Leader Birchall sighted a small dot on the southern horizon. Birchall changed course, while the rest of his squadron turned for home. As his plane approached the target, he was able to identify it as a Japanese task force. Japanese aircraft spotted the RCAF Catalina as it approached the fleet. Despite heavy enemy fire from anti-aircraft guns and Japanese fighter planes, Birchall conducted a low-level flight to identify the Japanese ships in the task force.

Apr

1

1942

A quiet week in the air over Britain

Squadron Leader Charles Green, commanding 'A' Flight of No. 600 Squadron at Predannack in Cornwall, checks the serviceability of his Beaufighters after a night of patrolling over the West Country, April 1942.

Britain had seen the end of the worst of the Blitz in May 1941 but had endured much incidental bombing since then, with occasional hit and run bombers causing significant casualties. This week proved to be exceptionally quiet, unusually there were no fatalities.