May 1942

May

10

1942

The reality of Home Guard life in Britain

Members of the Home Guard operate a Browning machine-gun from a trailer hitched to a car during exercises with regular troops, 2 February 1942.

A few soldiers had got out of the ruins only slightly hurt. The first to be brought out was young John Nicholls, 19, a young Home Guard in Trice’s old section. He had only just received his papers for joining the Army, and was not on parade. He died soon after. The next was young Dray, brother of a Home Guard, very badly hurt. Then Old Hardinge, ex-soldier and Home Guard over 65. He could walk supported, but was very badly scalded.

May

9

1942

USS Icarus sinks U-352

USCGC Icarus arrives at the Charleston Navy Yard 10 May, 1942, the day after after sinking U-352.

At 1709 the submarine surfaced, down by the stern. The ICARUS immediately opened fire with those machine-guns which were bearing and then turned to the right to head for the submarine. The 3” gun and all other machine-guns opened fire as they could be brought to bear. The first round from the 3” gun was short but ricocheted through the conning tower. The next round from the 3” gun was over and thereafter, all shots were either hits or close misses.

May

8

1942

Carrier planes clash in Battle of the Coral Sea

USS Yorktown (CV-5) operating in the vicinity of the Coral Sea, April 1942. Photographed from a TBD-1 torpedo plane that has just taken off from her deck. Other TBD and SBD aircraft are also ready to be launched.

He led his section of dive bombers down to the target from an altitude of 18,000 feet, through a wall of bursting antiaircraft shells and into the face of enemy fighter planes. Again, completely disregarding the safety altitude and without fear or concern for his safety, Lt. Powers courageously pressed home his attack, almost to the very deck of an enemy carrier and did not release his bomb until he was sure of a direct hit.

May

7

1942

U-boat escapes depth charges off Florida

The USS Dallas was a 1919 vintage Clemson class destroyer similar to the USS Lamson pictured here.

After several attacks the captain thought we were on the bottom, unable to move. He tried to obtain an oil sample but gave up, not daring to stop the ship. Then his Asdic located us about 3,000 metres ahead ofthe oil slick. The current was two knots and the depth was 91 fathoms or about 160 metres. This was beyond the effective depth of his charges which at the most exploded at 120 metres whatever adjustments were made.

May

6

1942

The surrender of Corregidor

Two days after the capture of tunnels of Corregidor the Japanese forced men to return to re-enact the surrender for the purposes of a propaganda photograph.

An enemy machine gunner was discovered on a ridge, and a squad of men calmly discussed the manner of his liquidation. A puff of dust in front of the machine gun would result in that rifleman being joshed for the poor use of his rifle. When the machine gun was finally knocked out the riflemen paused for a cigarette. After the scream of bombs and shells, ordinary bullets flying around them caused little comment.

May

5

1942

Operation Ironclad – The invasion of Madagascar

The British invaded Madagascar from the north west and moved over land to capture the deep water port of Diego Suarez from the rear.

The unwounded personnel then fetched, a T.S.M.G, [Thompson Sub Machine Gun] and a Bren Gun, ammunition, water and a first aid box from one of the tanks, and went into dismounted action. 2nd/Lieutenant Whittaker and Sergeant Grime particularly distinguished themselves in thus removing necessary kit from the tanks under fire.

May

4

1942

American fighters take on Japanese over China

The Flying Tigers P-40 fighter undergoing maintenance at the American Volunteer Group base near Kunming , China.

The Japs had laid this attack on a little differently They knew our situation from the two reconnaissance flights that preceded the bombers. They decided to forgo the fighters as bomber escorts and hold them off and away from the field with the hope of catching all of us when we returned – low on ammunition and gas.

May

3

1942

‘Exeter was a jewel – we have destroyed it’

The shattered city of Exeter lies smoking on the morning after, although the cathedral was spared.

In 1942 the city was a product of nearly 2000 years of urban evolution, much of its street plan dating back either to the Romans or the late-Saxons, a maze of alleyways, lanes and courts, all densely filled with buildings that were completely unique to the city.

May

2

1942

HMS Edinburgh’s last battle

The light cruiser HMS Edinburgh had lost most of her stern in a torpedo attack on the 30th April. She was being towed back to Murmansk when German destroyers attacked.

But we had to go as the list was increasing. We went up on deck and found that one of the minesweepers had come alongside and was already taking the wounded and passengers aboard. While we waited our turn, we huddled together behind the hangar out of the freezing wind. We were all in pretty bad shape …