1942

Aug

13

1942

Attacks on Pedestal from every quarter

13th August 1942: Attacks on Pedestal from every quarter

We steamed towards one of the crippled ships, the SS Empire Hope and we saw some of her crew struggling in the water and others were in the boats. Lifeless and mutilated objects that had once been men floated past on both sides and our bows struck two corpses as we steamed forward to assist the remaining survivors. Some of our crew shouted to them to hurry up as we all had the jitters by now and we wanted to feel some speed under us.

Aug

12

1942

Pitched battles all around Pedestal convoy

12th August 1942: Pitched battles all around Pedestal convoy

I decide to carry out a second depth-charge attack and the ship is just turning when a roar goes up, ‘There she is.’ It was a successful attack, and the U-boat has come to the surface, but the job is not yet finished. Perhaps she will crash-dive and try to escape. We can take no chances. So, ‘Full ahead both engines; prepare to ram.’ The guns need no orders. They have already opened fire and the U-boat is getting seven bells knocked out of her.

Aug

11

1942

HMS Eagle sunk as Pedestal comes under atttack

11th August 1942: HMS Eagle sunk as Pedestal comes under atttack

Taking a deep breath I blew up my inflatable lifebelt which was a permanent part of our dress when we were afloat. Remembering our survival lectures, I hurriedly kicked off my deck shoes, pushed myself away and before I could think I was upside down 20 feet under the water and frantically holding my breath whist I looked around for a lighter colour in my surroundings that would indicate the surface. The next few seconds seemed like a lifetime and as I broke through to the surface my throat and chest seemed to explode with relief.

Aug

10

1942

Operation Pedestal gets under way

10th August 1942: Operation Pedestal gets under way

Sooner or later the peace would be shattered; jumping at every pipe, at every change in course or revs, screamed out for it to happen and be done with. All morning the ships steamed on in undisturbed calm. Then, suddenly, in the afternoon watch, two Wildcats from Victorious went tearing into the air. We moved nearer the island, hoping for tit-bits of news. The Tannoy crackled. It was the Commander: “Victorious has scrambled two fighters after a suspected shadower. That’s all for the moment.”

Aug

9

1942

Germans reach the first of the Russian oilfields


9th August 1942: Germans reach the first of the Russian oilfields

We had reached the Maikop area, and the village ahead of us was held by the enemy, who hung on tenaciously and would not give way. We made a snap decision and set the thatched roofs alight to burn the enemy out. Within a few moments of opening fire with incendiary rounds, the first houses were on fire. The infantry then began to make good progress. In accordance with my orders, I moved my gun forward to the center ofthe village square to cover the infantry attack against possible surprises from the south. But there was not a single enemy tank to be seen.

Aug

8

1942

Japanese counter-attack U.S. Marines on Guadalcanal

8th August 1942: Japanese counter-attack U.S. Marines on Guadalcanal

Hauled ammunition from battery to ammo dump and had an air raid at noon. The USS Elliot, a Marine Transport, was hit by suicide dive bomber. It was very damaged and was beached to keep it from sinking in the harbor. A destroyer was damaged also. There was one Jap plane and prisoners taken during the battle. Wild shooting during the night.

Aug

7

1942

Churchill shakes things up in the desert

7th August 1942: Churchill shakes things up in the desert

After dinner PM, Smuts I had conference as to how the matter should be settled. Had some difficulty. PM rather in favour of Wilson. However Smuts assisted me and telegram now been sent off to Cabinet ordering Montgomery out to take command 8th Army. I hope we get Alexander and Montgomery out soon so that I may settle details of Corps Commanders and Chiefs of Staff with them.

Aug

6

1942

HMCS Assiniboine duels with U-210 in the fog

6th August 1942: HMCS Assiniboine duels with U-210 in the fog

U-210’s bridge was first struck by machine gun bullets. HOLST was shot through the neck and killed outright, and KRUMM was badly wounded. An instant later ASSINIBOINE scored a direct hit with her 4.7 gun on the conning tower, the shell making a shambles of the bridge. A prisoner stated that LEMCKE was literally blown to pieces, and that KRUMM, lying wounded, was virtually decapitated. It is assumed that TAMM also suffered a violent death.

Aug

5

1942

Warsaw orphans leave for Treblinka


5th August 1942: Warsaw orphans leave for Treblinka

At last they would be able to exchange the horrible suffocating city walls for meadows of flowers, streams where they could bathe, woods full of berries and mushrooms. He told them to wear their best clothes, and so they came out into the yard, two by two, nicely dressed and in a happy mood. The little column was led by an SS man.

Aug

4

1942

Waiting for the end in the Warsaw ghetto


4th August 1942: Waiting for the end in the Warsaw ghetto

By four in the afternoon, the quota was filled: 13,000 people had been seized and sent off, among them 5,000 who came to the transfer of their own free will. They had had their fill of the ghetto life, which is a life of hunger and fear of death. They escaped from the trap. Would that I could allow myself to do as they did!