Apr

5

1943

Belgium tragedy in USAAF daylight bombing raid

5th April 1943: Belgium tragedy in Mortsel as USAAF daylight bombing raid hits

Seventeen aircraft bombed the primary target from 24,000 feet with 51 tons of 1,000-lb. H.E. M44 bombs. Slight, inaccurate, black flak was reported over Ostend, Ghent, Bruges, and Schouwen Island. Enemy air opposition was moderate with 30 to 50 aircraft reported. They attacked from the Belgian coast to mid-channel enroute back. FW-190s, ME-109s, ME-110s, and JU-88s were seen in twelve encounters.

Apr

4

1943

B-24 bomber ‘Lady Be Good’ takes off on first operation

4th April 1943: B-24 Bomber ‘Lady Be Good’ takes off on first operation

At 2:50 PM on April 4,1943, 25 B-24’s of the 376th Bomb Group took off from their base at Soluch, Libya for a high altitude bombing mission against harbor facilities at Naples,Italy. All planes but one returned safely to Allied territory that night – the one missing plane was the “Lady Be Good”, on the crews first mission.

Apr

3

1943

Nightmare of Deportation from the Warsaw Ghetto

3rd April 1943: Nightmare of Deportation from the Warsaw Ghetto

Someone pried up a board and a few people tried to jump from the train, but unfortunately no one managed to escape. The murderers kept the entire route lit with spotlights, so they’d be sure not to miss anyone who attempted to get away. A friend of mine who was in the car asked me to hold his coat while he jumped and then throw the coat after him. I watched him: No sooner had he jumped than he was hit. His coat was riddled by bullets as well.

Apr

2

1943

U-Boat ace of U-124 sunk by HMS Black Swan

2nd April 1943: U-Boat ace and crew of U-124 sunk by HMS Black Swan

There were ships that had seen scores of long-drawn out actions, and still came back cheerfully for more; there were men – British and Allied sailors – who dared all, not as a job for money but simply as a chosen habit, who returned to the same task and the same run after two or even three hideous ordeals as survivors, who stuck to oil-tankers as other people stick to one brand of bottled beer.

Apr

1

1943

Death railway bridge built like ‘a pack of cards’

1st April 1943: Death railway bridge built like ‘a pack of cards’

As we sang these numbers, we’d pull on the rope. This huge great lump of steel would rise up. On the last ’nisio’ we would all let go. Down would come the pile-driver and the pole would sink another inch. All day seven days a week, for weeks on end, with not a single day off, we drove these bloody things into the ground.

Mar

31

1943

A first anti U-boat patrol out over the Bay of Biscay

31st March 1943: A first anti U-boat patrol out over the Bay of Biscay

The routine check ofthe aircraft began while the duty hand, still in his underwear, tried to drag on his trousers and rub the sleep out of his eyes.You wandered round watching every body move through the orderly procession of duty; inspecting the bilges and the guns and the ammunition, adjusting the moorings for casting off, unlocking the flying controls, arranging the signal colours, checking the cockpit and the wireless and testing the engine controls, setting up the charts, blacking out the portholes, and clambering up top out onto the wing to examine the mainplane.

Mar

30

1943

Irish Guards suffer heavy losses in hilltop battle

30th March 1943: Irish Guards suffer heavy losses in hilltop battle

The mortars covered the withdrawal of 5 wounded men (Sergeant DEAZLEY, Sergeant MEARS, McCAFFERTY, and two gunners) and then were ordered to withdraw. Major GORDON-WATSON had come up to join them. THey came down the track towards No. 3 Company, but found it under heavy shell fire, turned and tried another way. As they came to the railway bridge they noticed, just in time, a wire stretched across the road to which was suspended a mine.

Mar

29

1943

Australian VC hero beheaded by Japanese

29th March 1943: Australian – RAAF – VC hero beheaded by Japanese

Flight Lieutenant Newton maintained control and calmly turned his aircraft away and flew along the shore. He saw it as his duty to keep the aircraft in the air as long as he could so as to take his crew as far away as possible from the enemy’s positions. With great skill, he brought his blazing aircraft down on the water.

Mar

28

1943

A precarious sanctuary for Jews in Poland

28 March 1943: A precarious sanctuary for Jews in Poland

One day, when only the grandmother and my wife were in the house, sitting as quiet as mice, Henrietta heard a conversation through the wall. The neighbour, Mrs. Kaminska, and a relative of hers were talking. Mrs. Kaminska said she had a feeling that a jewess was hiding next door. The relative said she should inform the Germans at once, and they would soon find out if it were true.

Mar

27

1943

British tanks break through German lines overnight

27th March 1943: British tanks break through German lines overnight

At times the tanks were crunching over occupied enemy trenches, and we could see terrified parties of Germans and Italians running about with their hands up. But we hadn’t time to bother about prisoners. Our progress was desperately slow. That was my chief worry. If we didn’t succeed in getting through in the dark, the situation in the morning didn’t bear thinking about. We should be surrounded by the enemy and dominated by the hills on either side of the valley.