Jan

12

1944

A German soldier on the Eastern front reflects on life


12 January 1944: A German soldier on the Eastern front reflects on life

There was no end in sight. Yearning plunged into the distance; frost caught in my hair. Rushing passage, as on a sleigh in space. An intoxicating feeling came over me: a burgeoning sense of life, the limitless, exuberant pleasure of being in the world. The freedom of an hour in the Russian winterland. I loved life.

Jan

11

1944

Roosevelt sets out a vision for the future


11 January 1944: Roosevelt sets out a vision for the future

The best interests of each Nation, large and small, demand that all freedom-loving Nations shall join together in a just and durable system of peace. In the present world situation, evidenced by the actions of Germany, Italy, and Japan, unquestioned military control over disturbers of the peace is as necessary among Nations as it is among citizens in a community.

Jan

10

1944

Shot in the neck during dawn raid


10 January 1944: Shot in the neck during dawn raid

I’d gone only 50 yards when the machine gun hit me. I realised from the wound I received that I’d made a mistake and it was on the right down on the lower ground. I was hit in the neck and because of my crouching position the bullet went through the right of my neck and out through my left shoulder taking a lot of my shoulder blade with it.

Jan

9

1944

An English PoW at work in Auschwitz


9 January 1944: An English PoW at work in Auschwitz

Behind it all stood the SS and the executives of IG Farben itself. The Kapos, the prisoners put in charge of their fellows, became the focus of my anger. They were evil men and many wore the green triangle of the career criminal. Their survival depended on keeping the rest of the prisoners in line. If they lost their privileged job they were friendless and then they didn’t live long.

Jan

8

1944

Living conditions in the Eastern Front trenches


8 January 1944: Living conditions in the Eastern Front trenches

what didn’t the Germans have in their knapsacks! Portable stoves and dry spirit tablets to warm up food, small lamps with paraffin and wicks, a combination fork and spoon, a knife, preserves, Portuguese sardines, French wines, crackers, articial honey, chocolate, cheese, smoked sausage, and personal hygiene items. Letters and photos were always present. Quite often they also carried a harmonica.

Jan

7

1944

The Royal Engineers prepare for D-Day


7 January 1944: The Royal Engineers prepare for D-Day

The novelty of this occasion was that we were told to fire our main armament, the Petard, against the sea wall there, to see if we could knock it down and then drive our tanks up over the rubble and move inland against an imaginary enemy. I should explain that the Petard was a short (80 yard) range weapon which carried the formidable amount of 26 lbs of high explosive. A wall of anything greater than 5 feet in height is a complete obstacle to a tank and many such walls existed behind the beaches in France.

Jan

6

1944

Flushing out ‘the Japs’ in the jungle of New Britain


6 January 1944: Flushing out the Japs in the jungle of New Britain

After I put the cup back on top of the water can and ducked back, Jim went over for a drink. He was just reaching for that cup when there was a shot and the cup flew off into the brush. I felt something hit my sock just in front of my ankle. I looked down and there was a fragment of bullet stuck there, still hot.

Jan

5

1944

Malfunction leads to the tragic loss of Spitfire pilot


5 January 1944: Small malfunction leads to the tragic loss of Spitfire pilot

No. 152 (Hyderabad) Squadron RAF were a very experienced unit, having been flying Spitfires since they were on the front line of the Battle of Britain. They had then seen service in North Africa and Sicily. In December 1943 they transferred to India where they would soon be taking an active role in the campaign in Burma.

Jan

4

1944

Stalag Luft III – work resumes on ‘Harry’


4 January 1944: Stalag Luft III – work resumes on ‘Harry’

It was now up to Fanshawe to make the plans for transporting the sand from Harry to the theatre, a distance of about 200 yards. There was also still a useful length of tunnel in Dick which could be filled up, but it was decided to use that as a standby only. Communication between the blocks was allowed up to 10 pm, when we were all locked into our respective blocks.

Jan

3

1944

An unusual tank duel on the Eastern Front


3 January 1944: An unusual tank duel on the Eastern Front

I fire red Very flares, wave and drop a message in a container in which I inform my tank colleagues who and what are coming in their direction three kilometres away, assuming they both keep to the same course. By dipping my aircraft towards the spot where the T-34s are travelling at the moment I tip them off to the nearness of the enemy. Both parties drive steadily on.