Aug

26

1941

Attack on a Ju 88 over the Irish Sea

A Junkers Ju 88 bomber in flight, pictured over North Africa later in 1941.

The moment of action came. He was to port of me. A rapid turn in that direction, followed by a steep diving turn to starboard and I found myself in a dead straight vertical dive upon the Boche. The speed became incredible. The swastikas grew bigger and bigger in my sights. I opened fire. I just had time to avoid a collision.

Aug

25

1941

The Spitsbergen Raid

The radio mast at Spitsbergen being blown up by Royal Engineers - false weather reports sent while the raid was under way kept German reconnaissance planes away.

Spitzbergen was being occupied. I listened uncomprehendingly to my English-speaking countrymen who were now chatting with the newcomers. I watched, wondering, until Marie suddenly said that she was hungry. We went back home. Then an excited friend told me “The Canadians have come to take us away. They are going to free our beloved Norway.”

Aug

24

1941

Churchill – the power of the English speaking peoples

U.S marines had arrived on Iceland to relieve British troops of garrison duties during July 1941.

Would it be presumptuous for me to say that it symbolizes something even more majestic, namely, the marshalling of the good forces of the world against the evil forces which are now so formidable and triumphant and which have cast their cruel spell over the whole of Europe and a large part of Asia?

Aug

23

1941

Night fighter interception over the North Sea

Bristol Beaufighter in flight

As we came out of the turn, the pressure eased, and I could see that we had the other aircraft cold. John’s handling of the Beaufighter had clinched that.Oosing head-on at nearly seven miles a minute on a dark, hazy night with no moon and no horizon, he had started to wheel a heavy and rather unstable aircraft around when only a mile away, and yet he had pulled out of that turn little more than that distance behind.

Aug

22

1941

Reprisals against Russian POWs

Soviet commissars in the Russian army were invariably shot soon after capture - but all Russian prisoners of war faced a terrible existence.

It so happened that we had taken very many prisoners during those fatal days, and so the lives of 4,000 men fell forfeit. They scarcely looked up when our interpreter told them in a cold voice of their fate. They lined up eight at a time at the side ofa large anti-tank ditch. As the first volley crashed, eight men were hurled forward into the depths of the ditch, as if hit by a giant fist. Already the next row was lining up.

Aug

21

1941

Deportation of Foreign Jews from Paris

The German registration programme was conducted with the assistance of the French authorities from the Vichy regime.

They were shipped off to the notorious ‘internment camp’ at Drancy in the French suburbs from where they would soon be shipped off to concentration camps in the East. The general conditions in Drancy were appalling – with disease, overcrowding, malnutrition and lack of medical care contributing to a high death rate even before people were put on the cattle wagons.

Aug

20

1941

Massacre of the children of Byelaya Tserkov

Field Marshal von Reichenau with Hitler in Russia during Barbarossa.

The children were brought along in a tractor. I had nothing to do with this technical procedure. The Ukrainians were standing around trembling. The children were taken down from the tractor. They were lined up along the top of the grave and shot so that they fell into it.

Aug

19

1941

Tobruk patrol caught out in the open

Australian troops return from a patrol outside the Tobruk perimeter, August 1941.

Our shells fell close to them, but on they came, and soon I had to tell the artillery to stop firing as the shells were beginning to land close to our mound. The two Aussie privates were itching to open fire, and I had a difficult time restraining them. Then the enemy party split up into four groups and surrounded the mound.

Aug

18

1941

Surprise attack by the Waffen-SS

A German anti tank rifle on the Russian front during the summer of 1941.

We followed a country lane alongside the Dnepr up to the city and overran a Russian company building a roadblock in the outskirts. Out of sheer fright the Soviets forgot to exchange their shovels for weapons. Modern high-rises rose in front of us. Enemy machine-gun fire ripped up the earth around us. The struggle for Cherson had begun.

Aug

17

1941

Torpedoed and adrift in the Atlantic

Longtaker under her former name Sessa. Photo courtesy of Danish Maritime Museum, Elsinore and Uboat .net

We had a sip of water each day and hard biscuits. When the water ran out we caught rainwater. On the seventeenth day all our water went, and our throats were so parched that we could not eat anything. The sea was moderate most of the time, but it was impossible to go right off to sleep. We should have been washed off. When I got to Reykjavik I had my first night’s sleep for three weeks.