Oct

26

1941

A narrow escape over Bremerhaven

The Whitley bomber was the main aircraft of Bomber Command during the first years of the war but was now being gradually replaced by the Halifax and later the Lancaster.

We had just finished a tight turn when it happened. There was a terric explosion somewhere at the back of my head… everything went black and then red, punctured with little green and yellow dots. I heard my radioman say ‘My God!’ Then everything was silent. In the silence I could feel myself thinking ’This is it! This is the end of your run. . . you have not done so badly. . . what’s this? The seventh raid? You’ve been lucky – some chaps don’t last seven trips…

Oct

25

1941

Moonlight run to Tobruk ends in disaster

HMS Latona, sunk off Tobruk on the 25th October was the same class of minelayer as HMS Welshman, pictured.

This was fine as long as it was dark, but then some crass idiot decided we should make the trip by moonlight. Crazy, we were spitting distance away from the German North African airbases. We were lucky they had not spotted us in the dark – it is never completely dark – but to try in moonlight… one wonders at the idiocy of man.

Oct

24

1941

Kharkov falls

Street fighting in Kharkov , the city fell on the 24th Ocober.

The important industrial center of Kharkov was captured by the Germans on the 24th October. The Soviets were now dismantling whole factories and shipping them east to resume production far away from the front line. It was a close run thing in Kharkov …

Oct

23

1941

HMS Cossack torpedoed

The Tribal class destroyer HMS Cossack pictured before the war.

It wasn’t terribly late, shortly before midnight in fact, and I walked over to the guard rail and stood looking out over the port side. Another moonless night, but there was a phosphorescence in our wake and I watched the wave that we sent out from the break in the fo’c’sle; and then from out in the darkness the wave broke and started to run in towards the ship, except this wash was wiggling and wash didn’t wiggle!

Oct

22

1941

Coastal Command continue offensive

Sunderland flying boat in flight

Two Spitfires attacked a ship off Havre, leaving her listing. Eight Blenheims, escorted by fighters, sighted a convoy of seven vessels and four Flakships off Ijmuiden. Four of the merchant ships were attacked but with unobserved results, and two others of 3,000 and 1,000 tons respectively had smoke, issuing from them when last seen.

Oct

21

1941

French Hostages shot in German reprisals

France was one of the best postings for any German unit, where these German officers were training in 1941.

As expiation for this crime I have ordered that 50 hostages be shot, to begin with. Because of the gravity of the crime, 50 more hostages will be shot in the case of the guilty not being arrested between now and midnight of 23 October 1941.

Oct

20

1941

Wehrmacht massacre civilians in Serbia

German troops escort citizens of Kragujevac out of the town to their execution.

The cowardly and treacherous surprise attacks on German soldiers during the previous week, on which occasion 10 German soldiers were killed and 26 wounded, had to be punished. For that reason 100 people were shot for each killed German soldier, and for each wounded 50, mainly communists, bandits and their siders, 2300 altogether.

Oct

19

1941

The first German Jews arrive in the Ghetto

Jews deported from Prague, Czechoslovakia, move their belongings through the streets. Lodz ghetto, Poland, November 20, 1941.

Today 1,000 deportees from Vienna arrived in the ghetto. Among the new arrivals are physicians, engineers, professors, famous chemists, dental technicians, once prominent merchants, several priests from converted families, and twenty Christian women, who have come along with their husbands and children.

Oct

18

1941

‘Target for Tonight’ released in USA

The poster depicts the rather unsuccessful Boulton Paul Defiants although the film portrays a raid by the famously robust Wellington bombers.

The true, thrilling quality of it lies in the remarkable human detail which Mr Watt has worked into it — the quiet, efficient way in which each man goes about his job; the interjection of humor which even the grimmest task and danger cannot suppress, and finally the tremendous suspense of the routine bombing attack …

Oct

17

1941

The USS Kearney torpedoed in mid Atlantic

Eleven men died when the USS Kearny was torpedoed by U-568 whilst assisting with convoy duties .

About 0010 torpedo struck the ship on starboard side at about the turn of the bilge between frames seventy and seventy four, in latitude 57-04 North, 23-00 West. At this time a second torpedo ran past the starboard side of ship on slightly converging coure and a third was noted crossing astern close abroad from starboard to port.