Apr

25

1941

Kiel targeted by Bomber Command

A Photographic Reconnaissance Unit composite image of Kiel, April 1941. Locating German capital ships, particularly the latest battleship, the Bismarck, was a high priority.

Kiel was heavily attacked on three nights and over 150 tons of H.E. and 20,000 incendiaries were dropped. On two of these occasions the weather was good, but exact observation was difficult, due to ground haze and to intense antiaircraft and searchlight activity, but many fires were seen to break out, some of them in the vicinity of Krupp’s works.

Apr

24

1941

Life in the Warsaw ghetto

Jews mount a truck in the Warsaw ghetto before being taken off for forced labour, May 1941

Which is why your heart pounds whenever you go outside and why it’s considered an amazing success if you manage to get where you’re going without incident. People are so wound up that the sight of a German truck is enough to set off a panic and send everyone scurrying.

Apr

23

1941

Plymouth hit again

The burnt out bus garage in Plymouth during the 1941 blitz.

It was a stick of bombs – we heard the first one land a little distance away, then the second one dropped nearer, then we heard the third one coming like the roar of an express train and we knew that one was for us. It landed about ten yards away, just behind the large brick wall which divided our garden from the bus depot, burying our shelter in debris.

Apr

22

1941

Plymouth targeted again

The Royal Navy base at Devonport made Plymouth an inevitable target for the Luftwaffe.

The sight of Plymouth burning was one I will never forget. As we sped past Central Park we looked over the whole city which seemed ablaze from end to end. Searchlights moved through the sky lighting up the barrage ballons and occasional aircraft. And still the guns thundered on. In the morning Plymouth was a smoking ruin.

Apr

21

1941

Dawn bombardment of Tripoli

The Commander in Chief Mediterranean Admiral Sir Andrew Browne Cunningham, widely known as 'ABC', responsible for several famous naval actions including Taranto and Matapan.

Air spotting was rendered difficult by smoke and dust from the air attack, but three or four ships were set on fire or sunk in the naval basin and two or more others hit as well as a destroyer; the harbour facilities and shore establishments were also seriously damaged, some 530 tons of shells having been fired. No naval units were encountered and there was no reply from the shore batteries for 20 minutes.

Apr

20

1941

German break through in Greece

German infantry on the march in Greece, April 1941

The most decisive German effort seems to have been made on the 20th April. Those forces which had already on the day before reached the plain of Thessaly advanced on Lamia, whilst German motorised forces struck across the Pindus Mountains from Grevena and reached the Yannina area. At the same time, the roads of withdrawal of the Imperial and Greek forces were attacked by dive-bombers with fighter escort, whilst similar attacks were made on the harbour of Piraeus.

Apr

19

1941

Noel Coward sings through the blitz

The Fire Brigade was organised by the Local Authorities until August 1941, when the National Fire Service was created.

On the whole, a strange and very amusing evening. People’s behaviour absolutely magnificent. Much better than gallant. Wish the whole of America could really see and understand it. Thankful to God I came back. Would not have missed this experience for anything.

Apr

18

1941

Coastal Command attack convoy

A low level attack on a convoy off Norway by No. 21 Squadron on 18th April. The German Flak ship in the foreground had a range of anti-aircraft guns, including one mounted in the enlarged 'crows nest'.

As a result of the first patrol a 7,000-ton vessel is believed to have been hit, and a 3,000-ton vessel was hit twice and seen to be rapidly sinking; two of our aircraft were lost. During the second patrol the Blenheims were attacked by five Me. 110, three of our aircraft being shot down, but all were able to drop their bombs and a direct hit is estimated on another ship.

Apr

17

1941

Heavy attack on London

Fire fighting in Southwark on the night of 16th/17th April 1941.

Some sixty-six boroughs were affected, the main bombing being on central and southern London. Damage in the docks area was comparatively light and so far there is little damage to key points to record. In addition to H.E. and incendiary bombs a large number of parachute mines were dropped and great damage was done to private property by fire and blast.

Apr

16

1941

Aftermath of the Belfast Blitz

Clearing up after the Belfast blitz

It looked like photographs of Spain or China or some town in the last war. Houses roofless, windowless, burnt out or burning, familiar landmarks gone and in their place vast craters and mounds of rubble. The desolation is indescribable. Thousands and thousands must be homeless, and as for the death toll, I shuddered to think horrors and ghastly injuries and death which have occured.