Apr

9

1942

The horror of Japanese victory on Bataan

9th April 1942: The horror of Japanese victory on Bataan

The private, a little squirt, was going through the captain’s pockets. All at once he stopped and sucked in his breath with .a hissing sound. He had found some Jap yen. He held these out, ducking his head and sucking in his breath to attract notice. The big Jap looked at the money. Without a word he grabbed the captain by the shoulder and shoved him down to his knees. He pulled the sword out of the scabbard and raised it high over his head, holding it with both hands. The private skipped to one side.

Apr

8

1942

Attacks on Malta intensify

8th April 1942: Attacks on Malta intensify

Attacks were concentrated on Grand Harbour and Valetta, on the aerodromes at Hal Far, Luqa and Takali, and on the seaplane base at Kalafrana. The damage was extensive and included considerable destruction of civilian property. Seven aircraft were destroyed on the ground and eleven others damaged. It was noticeable, however, that there was a marked decrease in the accuracy of the enemy bombing.

Apr

7

1942

Suffering and defiance as prisoners of the Japanese

7th April 1942: Suffering and defiance as prisoners of the Japanese

When the other had been beaten unconscious by 15 blows of a hawser and was repeatedly kicked by 3 soldiers to a point beyond which he could not survive, Comdr. Antrim gallantly stepped forward and indicated to the perplexed guards that he would take the remainder of the punishment, throwing the Japanese completely off balance in their amazement and eliciting a roar of acclaim from the suddenly inspired Allied prisoners. By his fearless leadership and valiant concern for the welfare of another, he not only saved the life of a fellow officer and stunned the Japanese into sparing his own life but also brought about a new respect for American officers and men and a great improvement in camp living conditions.

Apr

6

1942

The end nears on Bataan

6th April 1942: The end nears on Bataan

More men retreating, more stragglers, the rear area has become the front. Japs keep on following their gains, bombing, shelling, blasting, burning, shooting, bayoneting. They have been waiting for this hour. Blood is flowing freely… Evacuee area is a most pitiful sight. Saw women and children gathered around the cinders of their former dwellings, begging for food, bewildered by the terrific advance of the Japanese.

Apr

5

1942

HMS Dorsetshire and HMS Cornwall sunk

5th April 1942: HMS Dorsetshire and HMS Corwall sunk

At ll a.m. Sunday 5“‘ April, a single Japanese plane was spotted astem and at 1.40 p.m. Cornwall and we were attacked by some 80 planes. In less than ten minutes Dorsetshire was sunk and within five minutes more Cornwall went down too. Two shipmates went down in the mess and refused to leave the ship – they were non-swimmers. At a time like that it is every man for himself.

Apr

4

1942

Squadron Leader Birchall – ‘The saviour of Ceylon’

4th April 1942: Squadron Leader Leonard J. Birchall – ‘The saviour of Ceylon’

As the squadron was returning to the British naval base in Ceylon, Squadron Leader Birchall sighted a small dot on the southern horizon. Birchall changed course, while the rest of his squadron turned for home. As his plane approached the target, he was able to identify it as a Japanese task force. Japanese aircraft spotted the RCAF Catalina as it approached the fleet. Despite heavy enemy fire from anti-aircraft guns and Japanese fighter planes, Birchall conducted a low-level flight to identify the Japanese ships in the task force.

Apr

3

1942

Adrift in the Barents Sea with the burnt man

3rd April 1942: Adrift in the Barents Sea with the burnt man – horror of Arctic Convoys

The boat was lowered into the sea and as we rowed away another torpedo smashed into the ship, which then sank with all the men who were still aboard. We were in the lifeboat for four days in terrible weather, after all it was winter in the arctic and we were in the Barents Sea.

Apr

2

1942

The heroic defence of Malta’s airfields

2nd April 1942: The heroic defence of Malta’s airfields

During a period of fierce enemy air attacks on Malta, Leading Aircraftman Osborne has displayed unsurpassed courage and devotion to duty. In circumstances of the greatest danger he was always first at hand to deal with emergencies, whether in fire fighting operations or in rescue work.

Apr

1

1942

A quiet week in the air over Britain

1st April 1942: A quiet week in the air over Britain

Britain had seen the end of the worst of the Blitz in May 1941 but had endured much incidental bombing since then, with occasional hit and run bombers causing significant casualties. This week proved to be exceptionally quiet, unusually there were no fatalities.

Mar

31

1942

A gloomy view from the top in Britain

31st March 1942: A gloomy view from the top in Britain

During the last fortnight I have had for the first time since the war started a growing conviction that we are going to lose this war unless we control it very differently and light it with more determination. But to begin with a democracy is at a great disadvantage against a dictatorship when it comes to war. Secondly a govemment with only one big man in it, and that one man a grave danger in many respects, is in a powerless way.