May

14

1943

Australian Hospital Ship Centaur torpedoed

14th May 1943: Australian Hospital Ship Centaur torpedoed


In that instant the ship was in flames … we ran into Colonel Manson, our commanding officer, in full dress even to his cap and ‘Mae West’ life-jacket, who kindly said ‘That’s right girlies, jump for it now.’ The first words I spoke was to say ‘Will I have time to go back for my great-coat?’ as we were only in our pyjamas. He said ‘No’ and with that climbed the deck and jumped and I followed …

May

13

1943

U-230 survives sustained depth charge attack

13th May 1943: U-230 survives sustained depth charge attack

Over 200 canisters had detonated above and around us by 01.00. Several times we had used a ruse in an effort to escape. Through an outboard valve, we repeatedly expelled a great mass of air bubbles. These screens of air oated away on the current, reecting the Asdic impulses like a large solid body. But our attackers were fooled into chasing the decoys only twice, and both times they left at least one vessel behind, directly over our heads. Unable to sneak away, we gave up the game and concentrated on conserving our power, our compressed air, and our dwindling supply of oxygen.

May

12

1943

The Germans surrender in North Africa

12th May 1943: The Germans surrender in North Africa

At the end the battlefield fell to pieces and lost all pattern and design, and those who had fought hardest on both sides found they had nothing to say, nothing to feel beyond an enveloping sense of gratitude and rest. The anger subsided at the surrender, and for the first time the German and Allied soldiers stood together looking at one another with listless and passionless curiosity.

May

11

1943

U.S. forces invade Attu in the Aleutian Islands

11th May 1943: U.S. forces invade Attu in the Aleutian Islands


Approximately at the center of Massacre Bay of Attu Island, Alaska, is a large rock formation that is about the size of two conventional automobiles protruding above the water about five or six feet. The fog was extremely dense that day. About eight feet to the left of our craft was another landing craft, which smashed into the rock as we sped on past. In the fog the coxswain released the front ramp of his craft after hitting the rock, while at the same time the boat floated backward; the inertia had forced several of the standing soldiers forward out of the craft—our first casualties of the Battle of Attu.

May

10

1943

British prepare to discuss the War with the Americans

10th May 1943: The British prepare to discuss the War with the Americans


It is all so maddening as it is not difficult in this case to see that unless our united effort is directed to defeat Germany and hold Japan the war may go on indenitely. However it is not sufficient to see something clearly. You have got to try and convince countless people as to where the truth lies when they don’t want to be acquainted with that fact. It is an exhausting process and I am very very tired, and shudder at the useless struggles that lie ahead.

May

9

1943

African success brings cheer to British home front

9th May 1943: African success brings cheer to British home front


All this excitement was the climax of a growingly cheerful week. The American success at Mateur had already been enthusiastically played up by the papers and welcomed as warmly by the public, which bought its evening penny worth of good cheer from news vendors who had chalked their boards with such amiabilities as “Go it, Uncle Sam” and “The Yanks are coming and the Jerries are running.” Everyone seemed particularly pleased, too, that the French had been in on the Tunisian triumph.

May

8

1943

Japanese massacre thousands of Chinese at Changjiao

8th May 1943: Japanese massacre thousands of Chinese at Changjiao


My everyday sword was a Showa sword, a new one with the name Sadamitsu. My other sword was called Osamune Sukesada. It was presented to me by my father and dated from the sixteenth century. Sukesada was a sword made for fighting. It cut well, even if you were unskilled. It wasn’t a particularly magnicent sword, but it was the kind the samurai in that time of constant warfare appreciated. It was the best sword for murder.

May

7

1943

The End approaches in the Warsaw Ghetto

7th May 1943: The ‘end of the world’ approaches in the Warsaw Ghetto


The fire destroys everything. The sight is horrifying, shocking. The fire spreads so quickly that people cannot escape from the buildings and they perish tragically. People with bundles run from house to house, from street to street. There is no salvation; no one knows where to hide. They search in desperation but there is no deliverance, no refuge, death rules everything. The walls of the ghetto are surrounded. No one goes out and no one comes in. Clothing is burning on people’s bodies. Screams of pain, sobbing. Everyone wants to be saved, everyone tries to save his own life.

May

6

1943

Convoy ONS 5 fights back against U-Boat Wolfpack

6th May 1943: Convoy ONS 5 fights back against U-Boat Wolfpack


0200 Range had closed to 100 yds. Starboard searchlight switched on revealing a 500 ton U-boat swinging rapidly to starboard. Wheel was put hard-a-starboard in an attempt to ram and all guns that would bear opened fire. Ship turned inside the U-boat’s turning circle and came up alongside her starboard side with only a few feet separating the two. By this time the enemy was being illuminated by port searchlight and 10″ S.P. and was seen to be in a sinking condition.

May

5

1943

Wolfpack Fink closes in on Convoy ONS 5

5th May 1943: Wolfpack Fink closes in on Convoy ONS 5


And it was a bit difficult due to the bad weather because our binoculars were absolutely wet from the overcoming sea and from the over-coming waves, and so we had to give the binoculars into the conning tower (you see, the watch of the submarine was standing on top of the conning tower and we gave the binoculars down and they were cleaned there and they gave them back to us, and so we could see for two or three other minutes, and then we have to do the same because the binoculars were wet again). But after a while I had a good position for attacking and I had the chance to slip through a gap just through two escort vessels and I could close into the portside column, and I had the chance to fire four torpedoes.