March 1941

May

16

1942

SS discuss the use of mobile gassing vans

16th May 1942: SS discuss the use of mobile gassing vans

I ordered the vans of group D to be camouflaged as house trailers by putting one set of window shutters on each side of the small van and two on each side of the large vans, such as one often sees on farm houses in the country. The vans became so well known, that not only the authorities but also the civilian population called the van “death van”, as soon as one of these vehicles appeared.

May

15

1942

The sinking of HMS Trinidad

15th May 1942: The sinking of HMS Trinidad

At one time when we were bomb-dodging I spotted torpedo bombers dropping torpedos a couple of miles away. I kept a good eye in that direction and duly reported “TORPEDO TRACKS”. Leaving the torpedoes to look after themselves, the skipper calmly assessed the situation, turned to port and the menaces passed us on either side.

May

14

1942

The LRDG experiment with bombing vehicles

14th May 1942: Long Range Desert Group experiment with bombing vehicles

The patrol carried 45 gallon drums for blocking the road; and in the hope of creating the impression of a stretch of road under repair two long poles were to be put across the drums, and two red lamps were hung on them with the notice “Achtung! Strassenbau”. The truck was left 150 yards from the road with the driver and two machine-gunners. Two other ranks armed with a Tommy gun, a rifle and some hand grenades were in position 50 yards from the road. These two parties were to give covering fire.

May

13

1942

Night patrol across the desert in No Mans Land

13th May 1942: Night patrol in No Mans Land

Suddenly the officer kneels and holds up his hand. Everyone stops dead, kneels and listens intently A star shell bursts, burning whitely in the darkness. The light flickers and dies. Breathing more heavily the patrol rises and continues. Almost immediately a machine gun opens fire, chattering noisily, tracer bullets spitting in short bursts.

May

12

1942

Pasadena Japanese take taxi to internment

12th May 1942: Pasadena Japanese take taxi to internment

Since yesterday we Pasadena Japanese have ceased to be human beings – we are now simply numbers or things. We are no longer ‘Egamis’ but the number 23324. A tag with that number is on every suit- case and bag. Even on our breasts are tied large tags with this same number – 23324! Again, a sad and tragic feeling grips my heart!

May

11

1942

On the cattle wagon to Sobibor

11th May 1942: On the cattle wagon to Sobibor

We had to stand and the sea of filth grew bigger at our feet, and we went on and on like this for the whole day, locked inside the wagons, as if we were real beasts, in a stifling nauseating place, filled with dead bodies and putrid air. To add the finishing touch to the gruesome picture once in a while we would hear shots fired by the German soldiers who were on the outside of the convoy.

May

10

1942

The reality of Home Guard life in Britain

10th May 1942: The reality of Home Guard life in Britain

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.

Mar

31

1941

Hull bombed yet again

Dr Diamond was in the basement of an ARP post, talking to a councillor and a Dr Wheatley, who had just arrived in Hull to take over as Casualty Officer, when it was demolished by a direct hit. When the bomb exploded Dr Diamond took the full blast and was killed instantly, two soldiers in an adjacent car park and PC Robert Garton who was on duty at the door of the ARP post were killed and no trace of the policeman was ever found.

Mar

30

1941

Scharnhorst and Gneisenau bombed at Brest

118 tons of H.E. were dropped. Results were difficult to observe on account of darkness and intense searchlight concentration, but reports indicate that a large proportion of the bombs were dropped on that area of the docks in which these battle cruisers were situated

Mar

29

1941

The aftermath of Matapan

On the following morning, however, we all saw in the distance a dot upon the ocean which we assumed was a float with Italian survivors. Our destroyers were busy rescuing the poor wretches. Altogether, in the action 1500 “Italians” must have lost their lives as the prisoners amounted to only 900. When you consider the “score”, you will agree that the victory will go down in history as one of the most decisive of all time. 3 enemy cruisers, 2 large destroyers sunk and one battleship damaged, about 1,500 “Italians” written off – and on our side not one single ship damaged and not one man with so much as a scratch.