Oct

28

1943

Kusnezovo villagers murdered in ‘anti-partisan reprisals’


28th October 1943: Kusnezovo villagers murdered in ‘anti-partisan reprisals’

“Because,” said he, “you harboured partisans in your village.” But his words were untruthful because we had no partisans in the village and nobody took part in any partisan activities, since there was nobody left. Only old people and small children were left in the village, the village had never seen any partisans and did not know who these partisans were.

Oct

27

1943

Invasion of Treasury Islands – USS Cony hit


27th October 1943: Invasion of Treasury Islands – USS Cony hit

at 3:15PM, they came at us. So many of them. We started to fire everything we had. Bombs dropping all around us. 17 of them missed us. Then at 3:25PM we got 2 direct hits on port and starboard. Shrapnel flew everywhere. Lots of men were hit. 3-4-5 guns went out. Fire broke out on engines, they went out of order. We started to leave Treasury at 4:00PM. Worked on fires. Was up all night taking care of wounded.

Oct

26

1943

The Irish Brigade in the trenches in Italy


26th October 1943: The Irish Brigade in the trenches in Italy

I slept for about 6 hours – my batman waking me once with a cup of tea. I awoke at 3, feeling a new man. A merciful providence saved my life for 5 minutes later a shell burst 5 yards from where I had been sleeping, and the blanket was covered with large bits of shrapnel. I would not have stood an earthly, if I had been there.

Oct

25

1943

Mosquito night fighter over London AA fire

Mosquito PR Mark IX, LR432 ‘L1’,


25th October 1943: Mosquito night fighter over London AA fire

But we had dived in a very short time from the Arctic cold of twenty-five thousand feet, and the moisture from the warmer air below began to cake in solid ice on our windscreen. In a few moments it was opaque, and although by the time we had pulled out of our dive the range had closed to two thousand feet we could see nothing through that sheet of ice.

Oct

24

1943

Japanese execute Australian commando Leonard Siffleet


24th October 1943: Japanese execute Australian commando Leonard Siffleet

The Major has drawn his favourite sword. It is the famous masamune sword which he had shown us at the observation station. It glitters in the light and sends a cold shiver down my spine. He taps the prisoner’s neck lightly with the back of the blade, then raises it above his head with both arms and brings it clown with a powerful sweep. I had been standing with muscles tensed, but in that moment I closed my eyes.

Oct

23

1943

Over 400 dead as HMS Charybdis is ambushed


23rd October 1943: Over 400 dead as HMS Charybdis ambushed in the Channel

She was stopped now, broadside on. A Hunt Class, one of ours. But had she seen us? she must be in range of enemy shore batteries, and with the coming light in danger of air attack. Being stopped she was a target for any ‘U’ boat. I tried to tell the others she wouldn’t wait – lets swim for it – but I could only speak with one hand. That was it, I must try and reach her before she got underway again. I let go the lifeline and struck out. Two, three strokes and everything went black.

Oct

22

1943

Spike Milligan returns to the front line


22nd October 1943: Spike Milligan returns to the front line

0430: the Artillery opened up and fired non-stop until 0624, then a silence. From the distant hill we hear the dreadful sound of Spandaus and Schmeisers that are spraying the early morning with bullets, and I can’t but wonder at the courage of these lads in the Guards Brigade forward into it. What a terrible, unexplainable lunacy. There must have been a lot of casualties as there was talk of us having to send gravedigging parties.

Oct

21

1943

Audie Murphy watches the ambush of a German patrol


21st October 1943: Audie Murphy watches the ambush of a German patrol

Germans labor up a draw that cuts the slope like a wrinkle in a fat man’s stomach. Despite all care, their boots slip on the stony soil; and at each small sound the men start nervously. The leader is obviously an old-timer. I can see from his actions that he does not like the situation at all. The route he has chosen is dangerous indeed, but is the best that the area offers. On two sides, he has at least partial concealment.

Oct

20

1943

Bomber on fire and under attack over Leipzig


20th October 1943: Bomber on fire and under attack over Leipzig

was hit. lt came through the fuselage and hit me low, down through the top of my legs, and lifted me up and smashed me right across the soft edge of the structure. I fell down onto the floor, ending up underneath the navigator’s table which was only a short distance away. Afterwards I pulled myself up, because everything below my waist was in a hell of a pain. Because it was dark I didn’t know how it had happened or really where I was.

Oct

19

1943

Disabled PoWs repatriated in Prisoner Exchange


19th October 1943: Disabled PoWs repatriated in Prisoner Exchange

hours spent among the 1,200 new passengers in the Drottningholm on Monday morning furnished a stimulating and indeed an inspiring experience. Most of them had been prisoners for well over three years; all had endured long and severe hardships; some were maimed and many more had less obvious injuries, yet all of them displayed a buoyant spirit. It became apparent, after on had talked with the men in different parts of the ship, that theirs was not merely the natural cheerfulness of men who were going home. These were men whose confident spirit had remained high and intact through the darkest period.