December 1942

Dec

10

December 1942

New work – in the Auschwitz gas chambers

We were lined up in front of the house. Moll arrived and told us we would work here at burning old and lousy people, that we would be given something something to eat and in the evening we would be taken back to the camp. He added that those who did not accept the work would be beaten and have the dogs set on them. The SS who escorted us were accompanied by dogs. Then he split us into a number of groups. I myself and eleven others were detailed, as we learnt later, to remove the bodies from this cottage.

Dec

9

December 1942

Embarking on a troopship – destination unknown

Each messdeck held about 100 men, and each man had a space at a long table each table having about 12 men grouped round it. There was some space around the tables and here all our equipment, blankets and bedding were stored. Hammocks were the order of the day, and they were slung on brackets over the tables and around the walls (or should that be bulkheads).

Dec

8

December 1942

Hunger in a PoW labour camp in Thailand

I had had this tick fever for 2 days and didn’t go sick for I was sweating on the holiday allowing me to recover but the Nips held a big check roll-call at 10 a.m. and I am afraid, for the first time in my army career I fainted and had to be carried off. Of course their food for the last few days has been bad even for this place and I suppose that had something to do with it also.

Dec

7

December 1942

Operation Frankton is launched from HMS Tuna

It was around two in the morning and we were falling behind schedule. The orders had been plain; no man’s jeopardy should put the mission in peril. The Major was having to make swift decisions, and I could see that he was tormented. He could not just leave the two men there to fend for themselves in the freezing water. They would die for sure.

Dec

6

December 1942

Low level daylight attack on the Philips plant, Holland

It was midday, a lovely sunny day, virtually no cloud, so I set off across the Dutch countryside at high speed. I decided not to follow the given route out which was towards the coast of Holland and out into the North Sea. I decided that that’s where the fighters would be and therefore, I turned north, to the Zeider Zee. The fighters would all be directed to the main formation.

Dec

5

December 1942

Germans step up persecution of Polish civilians

People here are in a panic. They move from place to place, sleep completely clothed, and wait for the gendannes to come. In Szczebrzeszyn the only topic of discussion is future evacuation. A new announcement was posted in town regarding the sabotage of railroads, The railroad lines were divided into sectors. Each sector was given to a nearby village for security. If any sabotage takes place, the villages in charge of guarding that sector will be punished. In other words, several hostages will be executed.

Dec

4

December 1942

No.18 Squadron nearly wiped out in V.C. attack

During the war he proved himself to be an outstanding leader and commanding officer, who brought his squadron to a state of the highest efficiency by his personal example. Between the 11th November and 4th December the squadron had completed no less than 106 sorties. This officer’s last exploit was the finest example of the courage and unswerving devotion to duty which he had shown throughout his career.

Dec

3

December 1942

German resistance stiffens in Tunisia

Finally when the remainder of his party were all killed or wounded, he went forward alone with a pistol and some grenades to attack enemy machine guns at close quarters and from this action did not return. From reports received from wounded men, this officer died of wounds.

Dec

2

December 1942

Royal Navy’s Force K from Malta on the attack again

Our first shot was a star shell which illuminated the whole scene. All our ships directed their fire at the destroyer. We turned our searchlight on her and all the details of a small destroyer became starkly evident. Within three minutes, hot glowing circles appeared on her superstructure and hull from the hits that she was sustaining. Things were happening very fast.

Dec

1

December 1942

The Red Army noose tightens around Stalingrad

Our mortarmen saw to it that the enemy did not sleep at night. By day, we would zero in on a ravine, where various Nazi service units were concentrated, and make a detailed plan of their positions. Then, as soon as darkness fell, we would begin firing at regular five-minute intervals. This was called ‘wearing out the enemy.’ The Germans were shelled all night long, but we managed to get some sleep at least: each crew worked for an hour, firing some 100 bombs, before scurrying back to burrows, kept warm by sleeping comrades.