Dec

29

1942

The Dutch suffer at hands of both Germans and Japanese

29th December 1942: The Dutch suffer at hands of both Germans and Japanese

The Japanese had special holes dug into the sides of the embankments near the fence inside the camps. There was just enough room for one person and they had specially constructed wooden gates held in place by stakes hammered into the soil. The women who had been caught were thrown in these holes for several days without food and water. The other women risked their own lives to give them food and water when the japanese were not around. If they were caught, they ended up in the holes as well.

Dec

28

1942

Gloom and despair over Stalingrad in Hitler’s bunker

28th December 1942: Gloom and despair over Stalingrad in Hitler’s bunker

This evening Jodl spoke very seriously and one could see that even he was counting on Paulus acting independently. (Same view) definitely Chief of the General Staff and the Army Group. Nobody knows what should be done next at Stalingrad. F. [Fuhrer] very quiet and is almost never seen except at daily situation conference and to receive reports.

Dec

27

1942

The life of an ATS ‘Ack Ack’ Girl

27th December 1942: The life of an ATS ‘Ack Ack’ Girl

Fortunately I passed as a Predictor operator No.3 – which involved looking through a telescope, keeping the target on the horizon line. This demanded steady nerves under gunfire and we needed a lot of practice. At the end of the day, we were mentally and physically exhausted. We lost our voices as all orders were shouted as loudly as possible.

Dec

26

1942

Listening to the battle from a tank

26th December 1942: Listening to the battle from a tank

‘King, have you anything to report? Over.’ ‘George, one of your children came up in the middle of my transmission then, when I was trying to talk to King. It’s most difiicult and annoying, and I won’t have it… Tell him to bloody well keep off the air when I’m trying to fight a battle. Off . . . er, to you. King, King, have you anything to report? Over.’

Dec

25

1942

Another Christmas for a war weary World

25th December 1942: Another Christmas for a war weary World

There was some carol singing last night and this moming. One can’t but feel a certain melancholy at spending Christmas in this depressing camp. An almost intolerable sense of oppression and futility overcomes one at times, as month after wasted month passes. At this time, of course, one thinks much of home, and one realises they must be going through a period of anxiety. And there are many at home who have yet to learn that their relatives out here are already dead.

Dec

24

1942

A grim ‘Heilig Abend’ in Stalingrad

24th December 1942: A grim ‘Heilige Abend’ in Stalingrad

A little later, the crackly loudspeaker transmitted a Christmas message from the Forces’ radio station in Germany. It was being broadcast everywhere from the North Pole to Africa. At that time an enormous part ofthe world belonged to us.
When Stalingrad was called we began to tremble though we were indoors in the warm that evening.

Dec

23

1942

Life in tired, drab, shabby Britain

23rd December 1942: Life in tired, drab, shabby Britain

More people were getting higher wages than they had ever had before, but there was little of any real value you could buy for it. Everyone had work, but it was high-pressure work that went on in endless drudgery, nine, ten or twelve hours a day, six days a week, with fire-watching and other wartime duties on top of it

Dec

22

1942

The 1st Marines leave Guadalcanal

22nd December 1942: The 1st Marines leave Guadalcanal

I was able to reach the top of the net, but could go no farther. I could not muster the strength to swing over the gunwale, and I hung there, breathing heavily, the ship’s hot side swaying away from me in the swells, very perdition lapping beneath me – until two sailors grabbed me under the armpits, and pulled me over.

Dec

21

1942

Struggle to survive on the Railway of Death

21st December 1942: Struggle to survive on the Railway of Death

At first he did not question that they were diphtheria cases; but he said that he had no antitoxin and that as Thailand was so backward he could not get any. This is obviously nonsense – there is a famous Pasteur Institute in Bangkok not far away. But Nobusawa was clearly not going to bother himself about it.

Dec

20

1942

Battle training in the far north of Britain

20th December 1942: Battle training in the far north of Britain

As the smoke cleared the brigadier drew himself up to his full height. He rocked backwards and forwards for a few moments ‘Urrgumph,’ he said, and again ‘Urrgumph Good show, Forman. Good – urrgumph – show.’ As he hobbled to his staff car, his GSO II drew me aside. ‘Don’t … do … that … again,’ he said.