June 1943

Jun

20

1943

King George VI visits North Africa and Malta

HM King George VI rides with General Montgomery in a staff car between lines of cheering troops during his first visit to Tripoli, 21 June 1943.

For obvious reasons the visit had been kept a dead secret, but at 5 a.m. the Maltese were informed of His Majesty’s impending arrival. It was time enough. The Baraccas and all other vantage points were thick with cheering people as the Aurora, flying the Royal Standard, passed through the breakwater at 8 a.m. and moved to her buoys. The King stood on a special platform built in front of the bridge so that all could see him.

Jun

19

1943

The Nazi abuse of the Polish people continues

Execution of Polish hostages by an SS-task force on 10.20.1939 in occupied Kórnik (during the German Nazi occupation of 1939-45).

In Prague, big red posters were put up on which one could read that seven Czechs had been shot today. I said to myself, ‘If I had to put up a poster for every seven Poles shot, the forests of Poland would not be sufficient to manufacture the paper.

Jun

17

1943

SS Yoma torpedoed – 451 troops lost

-

… by this time the Yoma was well down by the stern and the next thing I knew she sank under my feet and I found myself in the water…as the boat rose I saw a lot of men on the foc’sle head: they would not jump into the water, …as the bow lifted a number of them lost their footing and fell onto the bridge, many others being dragged under by the ship.

Jun

16

1943

SOE Agent Noor Inayat Khan arrives in France

Lysander Mark IIIA (SD), V9673 'MA-J', of No.161 (Special Duties) Squadron RAF on the ground at Tempsford, Bedfordshire. This aircraft was flown by Squadron Leader Hugh Verity on twenty missions to occupied France in 1943 to drop and pick up SOE and Resistance personnel.

Amongst other disadvantages, this meant that the pilot had to fly without a navigator. On an operation which demanded absolute navigational accuracy, this also meant that he had to find his way in the moonlight with maps crumpled on his knees, stealing a glance whenever he could, acutely aware that the aircraft made a copybook target for both flak and fighter attacks.

Jun

15

1943

Cholera strikes the POWs on the Railway of Death

Kanyu Riverside Camp: Dysentery Ward

George Gimsom, 1943

Three thick pieces of bamboo about two and a half feet wide were laid on the ground as the head, middle and bottom of the bed frame; and long pieces, flattened out, were laid on top of them. These were the standard pieces which we supplied by joint labour. Over them we each built the best shelter we could devise, most of us using our groundsheets. We had also to dig ourselves a latrine.

Jun

14

1943

Nightfighter vs nightfighter over Germany

Three Beaufighter Mark IF night fighters of No. 600 Squadron RAF based at Colerne, Wiltshire, flying in starboard echelon formation. The wartime censor has removed the AI Mark IV airborne interception radar aerials from the photograph.

‘Keep a good check on the equipments, Sticks. There arc plenty of Huns about.’ Up ahead was another fire in the sky, gradually sinking lower and lower to crash in a sheet of flame, marking the grave of another aircraft. Things were getting hot. We were close to the flaming ruins of Oberhausen and the sky above us was filled with bursting anti-aircraft shells and the flares released by the Pathfinders to show the main force where the bombs should be dropped.

Jun

13

1943

USAAF suffer heavy losses in attack on U-Boat yards

B-17s over Kiel during a raid in May 1943

The main Group formation of 20 B-17s of the 358th, 359th, and 427th Squadrons was led by 359th BS(H) CO Maj. William Calhoun, pilot, and Lt. Col. Eugene Romig, Operations Officer, co-pilot, in The ‘8’ Ball MkII. Maj. Lewis Lyle, CO, 360th BS, led seven of the 360th’s B-17s as part of a composite Squadron with the 379th BG(H). The 303rd BG(H) dropped 57 1/2 tons of 500-lb. bombs from 26,000 feet on the target area. Flak was reported as moderate, but accurate.

Jun

12

1943

Planes from USS Bogue surprise U-118 on surface

The sinking of U-118 in June 1943. LTJG Fryatt's depth bombs straddle U-118.  Splashes from his turret guns can be seen as the Avenger pulls away after the attack. Two crewmen can be seen seeking shelter behind the conning tower.  U-118 is trailing oil after previous attacks by LTJG Stearns and LTJG Fowler.

About one-third of the crew, it is believed, were never able to leave the U-boat. A well-placed stick of bombs hit U-118 forward of the conning tower and blew her in two, the boat seeming to break apart in the middle. One survivor swimming nearby, said he saw Czygan, his white shirt covered with blood, kneeling on the bridge as his ship disappeared in a fountain of spray and debris. All survivors believed he made no effort to save himself.

Jun

11

1943

Stalin objects to putting off invasion of Europe

“Soldiers on the march”. Red Army soldiers on the march, the second world war.

In all out war many women were serving at the front, completely integrated into combat units alongside men.

Your decision creates exceptional difficulties for the Soviet Union, which, straining all its resources, for the past two years, has been engaged against the main forces of Germany and her satellites, and leaves the Soviet Army, which is fighting not only for its country, but also for its Allies, to do the job alone, almost single-handed, against an enemy that is still very strong and formidable

Jun

10

1943

German Police report on the Katyn massacre

Tied up hands of one of the murdered Polish officers.

Preliminary excavations undertaken in various parts of the wooded area invariably led to the discovery of mass-graves (‘fraternal graves’) in which the bodies of Russians of both sexes were found. Some of these bodies were carefully examined and it was proved that, without exception, death was caused by a shot in the back of the neck. From the documents found, it appeared that they were prisoners from the NKVD jail in Smolensk, the majority being political prisoners.