May 1943

May

31

May 1943

Churchill argues for the invasion of Italy

Sometime during the dinner-table conversation, the question of diaries came up. The Prime Minister said that it was foolish to keep a day-by- day diary because it would simply reect the change of opinion or decision of the writer, which, when and if published, makes one appear indecisive and foolish.

May

30

May 1943

Bombers kill 21 children during Sunday School

I declined and walked home with the WVS lady as I just wanted to get home. From the four avenues where I lived (First, Second, Third and Main Avenue) a pair of twins, a boy and a girl, were killed in my avenue and another girl killed in Third Avenue. Altogether 21 children died that day and 3 Sunday school teachers.

May

29

May 1943

The dead man’s guard after ‘Banzai’ suicide charge

He just glanced at the dead man’s head and withdrew, satifised that the destruction inside had been complete. He will never be cited for valor, but the mutilated, dead soldier held his position against the door of the tent more valiantly and more effectively than he could have in life, and to the twelve live men in the tent he was a hero. Five times during the morning Japs pulled back the tent flap and looked in and each time they were driven back. The sight of the dead boy convinced them.

May

28

May 1943

Last desperate hours of Japanese on Attu

The 303rd Brigade has been defeated. Yenagawa is still holding Ananous. There are many cases of suicide. Half the Sector Unit Headquarters has been blown away. I gave 400 shots of morphine to the severely wounded to kill them. Ate half fried thistle. It is the first time I have eaten anything fresh in six months. It is a delicacy.

May

27

May 1943

Gurkha NCO wins VC in Burma jungle battle

Havildar Gaje Ghale dominated the fight by his outstanding example of dauntless courage and superb leadership. Hurling hand grenades, covered in own blood from his own neglected wounds, he led assault after assault encouraging his platoon by shouting the Gurkha’s battle-cry. Spurred on by the irresistible will of their leader to win, the platoon stormed and carried the hill by a magnificent all out effort and inflicted very heavy casualties on the Japanese.

May

26

May 1943

Benbecula – a remote outpost of RAF Coastal Command

The presence of aircraft in an otherwise remote location, previously linked to the mainland by boat only, meant that No 220 Squadron flew its share of mercy missions from Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides. This patient with acute appendicitis was airlifted to hospital on the mainland in one of the Squadron’s Fortresses, the open waist window serving as a convenient entrance to the aircraft, May 1943.

May

25

May 1943

Goebbels alarmed over the Dortmund raid

One can now see what a very short-sighted proposal it was of Goering’s to evacuate bombed-out people to Burgundy and other sections of occupied France. In Dortmund, between eighty and a hundred thousand people are homeless. Let the Reich Marshal go to Dortmund himself and propose that they evacuate to France!

May

24

May 1943

Donitz withdraws his U boats from the Atlantic

Now, however, the situation had changed. Radar, and particularly radar location by aircraft, had to all practical purposes robbed the U-boats of their power to fight on the surface. Wolf-pack operations against convoys in the North Atlantic, the main theatre of operations and at the same time the theatre in which air cover was strongest, were no longer possible.

May

23

May 1943

Dortmund: heaviest tonnage of bombs yet dropped

It was not often that I had a virgin target to aim at with no other bombing except the Oboe marker, but of course this also meant that we were way out front, an ideal target for the gunners below and, moreover, making life easy for them with the prolonged straight and level photo run. We had been getting a bumpy ride as the flak intensified almost to the point of realisation of the old line shoot, ‘The flak was so heavy you could get out and walk on it.’

May

22

May 1943

A surprise from the US 7th Division artillery

A great flash ripped out of the very center of the tiny group, followed almost instantly by three other flashes, totally engulfing the five figures in a heaving mass of flying hunks of muck and smoke and rocks. The smoke hung in a big puff over the ripped area of our base point, and we could see five little piles of fabric lighter than the black holes over which they were scattered before the boom! baroomboom! of the explosions reached our ears.