March 1942

Mar

12

1942

Warship Week raises millions for the war effort

A splendid advertisement for just one of the local fundraising efforts that took place around Britain in early 1942.Courtesy: Chippenham Museum & Heritage Centre

There was a long tradition of Royal Navy warships being ‘adopted’ by local areas – formal or informal links would be established between a town and a particular ship. Often the ships company would visit the ‘adopted’ area and there might be a parade. The ship’s Arms or a plaque would be displayed in the town council.

Mar

11

1942

U.S. forces continue the bitter fight for Bataan

An American soldier stands in his foxhole on Bataan peninsula, the Philippines, waiting to hurl a flaming bottle bomb at a Japanese tank in April 1942.

No man gave up. No man thought of surrendering. We had seen the mutilated bodies of our friends when they fell into Japanese hands. We knew the Japanese were not taking prisoners on the line and we felt sure no prisoners would be taken at all. So we held on for our lives, and prayed and waited for the help that was surely coming from the States.

Mar

10

1942

First Lancaster bombing raid

Avro Lancaster B Mark I, L7578 ‘KM-B’, flown by Squadron Leader J D Nettleton of No. 44 Squadron RAF, about to cross the western perimeter of RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, with bomb doors open during a Squadron practice for the low-level attack on the M.A.N. diesel engineering works at Augsburg, which took place on 17 April 1942. Ermine Street (A607) can be seen on the extreme right running south towards Coleby.

The principal target on three nights was Krupps’ Works at Essen, a total of 336 aircraft dropping 397 tons of H.E. bombs (including 37 of 4,000 lbs.) and nearly 78,000 incendiaries. Our bombers included Lancasters, which were taking part for the first time in offensive operations. Fifteen of our aircraft
are missing.

Mar

9

1942

Fleet Air Arm attacks the Tirpitz

View from the search-light platform overlooking the flight deck of HMS VICTORIOUS, showing the strike force of twelve Fairey Albacores of 832 or 817 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm loaded with torpedoes to strike at the TIRPITZ when she was at sea off the coast of Norway. The attack obtained no hits on the German battleship and two aircraft were lost. In the background can be seen HMS RENOWN, HMS DUKE OF YORK, and HMS BERWICK in line ahead.

Subsequently this ship was identified as the Tirpitz, which was located and attacked with torpedoes by aircraft of the Home Fleet at 0930 on the 9th, about 80 miles west of the Lofoten Islands. No hits were claimed and Tirpitz was last seen steering towards Vestfjord. The Home Fleet has returned to Scapa.

Mar

8

1942

A different look at the war in the desert

Cecil Beaton portrait of a British tank driver peering out of his Grant tank in North Africa, 1942.

The Bedouins, in the wadis near the shore, watching the battle wage backwards and forwards along the tableland, consider the protagonists mad. They see first one army then another retiring in haste, leaving behind a wonderful amount of loot. The Bedouins steal forward and sell their spoils to the conquering army.

Mar

7

1942

Mussolini – the Italians are not up to this war

Hitler and Mussolini at one of a series of meetings in the Brenner Pass. On the right is Count Ciano the Italian Foreign Minister.

The Duce, who is dissatisfied with the way things are going, said, “This war is not for the Italian people. The Italian people do not have the maturity or the consistency for such a tremendous and decisive test. This war is for the Germans and the Japanese, not for us.”

Mar

6

1942

Can Churchill survive defeats in the Far East ?

Winston Churchill with the Lord Privy Seal, Sir Stafford Cripps, and the Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet, Admiral Sir John Tovey, on the quarterdeck of HMS KING GEORGE V at Scapa Flow, 11 October 1942.

Although the British are keeping a stiff upper lip, the surrender of their troops at Singapore has shattered confidence to the core – even in themselves but, more particularly, in their leaders. They don’t intend to take it lying down and I am satisfied we will see the rebirth of greater determination.

Mar

5

1942

War Cabinet discusses Japanese atrocities in Hong Kong

Japanese troops enter Hong Kong led by Lieutenant General Takashi Sakai and Vice Admiral Miimi Massichi.

Two things will be clear from it, to the House, to the country and to the world. The Japanese claim that their forces are animated by a lofty code of chivalry, Bushido, is a nauseating hypocrisy. That is the first thing. The second is that the enemy must be utterly defeated.

Mar

4

1942

HMS Torbay slips into Corfu harbour for sneak attack

HMS Torbay, her commander in 1941- 1942 was Anthony Miers

0734 hours – Fired two torpedoes at the destroyer / torpedo boat which unfortunately ran under. At this moment one torpedo struck the first ship fired at. Torbay went deep and turned at full speed to 145º. This was the direct course for the South channel. Cdr. Miers thought it was now time to get out and not to overstay their ‘welcome’.

Mar

3

1942

The RAF’s largest bombing raid so far – on Paris

Annotated vertical taken during the major night raid on the Renault works at Boulogne-Billancourt, west of the centre of Paris. The largest number of aircraft sent to a single target so far - 235 - were despatched, dropping a record tonnage of bombs. A significant development was the mass use of flares to illuminate the target ('1' and '2'). Smoke and flame from exploding bombs can be seen on the factory ('3'), and also on the Ile St Germain ('4' and '5'). Only one aircraft, a Vickers Wellington, was lost during the raid, which was judged to be a great success.

The Renault factory, in the town of Boulogne-Billancourt just west of the centre of Paris, was making an estimated 18,000 lorries a year for the German forces. 235 aircraft – 89 Wellingtons, 48 Hampdens, 29 Stirlings, 26 Manchesters, 23 Whitleys, 20 Halifaxes – were dispatched in 3 waves, the crews of the leading wave being selected for their experience.