Jul

6

1941

The SS arrive in a Polish town

German troops watch a burning Synagogue in Lithuania, July 1941.

The SS officer then drove to the synagogue and ordered his men to strip it of every bit of gold and silver and anything that was valuable. A crowd of Jews gathered in the streets and watched in horror as the crowns on the Torah handles, the Torah covers embroidered with golden thread, the candelabras and the inlay on the pillars were packed into trucks.

Jul

5

1941

Herbert Pugh wins the George Cross

The Troopship HMT Anselm torpedoed on the 5th July 1941Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart  and U Boat net

He seemed to be everywhere at once, doing his best to comfort the injured, helping with the boats and rafts (two of these were rendered unserviceable as a result of the explosion) and visiting the different lower sections where the men were quartered. When he learned that a number of injured airmen were trapped in the damaged hold, he insisted on being lowered into it with a rope.

Jul

4

1941

Wing Commander Hughie Edwards wins the VC

The Bristol Blenheim light bomber as flown in the daylight attack on Bremen on the 4th July.

On 4th July, 1941, he led an important attack on the Port of Bremen, one of the most heavily defended towns in Germany. This attack had to be made in daylight and there were no clouds to afford concealment. During the approach to the German coast several enemy ships were sighted and Wing Commander Edwards knew that his aircraft would be reported and that the defences would be in a state of readiness.

Jul

3

1941

The horrors of the Russian front

A German soldier approaches the body of a Russian soldier in front of his burning tank.

In a hollow we discover Russian cavalry, which the flak begins to fire at. You can see clearly through the binoculars the ruin that the flak is inflicting on the Russians. Horses and men lying about in wild disorder. You can see one of the Russians trying to raise himself up, and then his strength ebbs away and he collapses like a sack. It’s frightful.

Jul

2

1941

Still stuck in Tobruk

A patrol around the seaward side of the Tobruk perimeter, summer 1941.

Haven’t shaved for a week or more; only three razor blades left. However the tobacco issue has arrived and once again it is not “Chess”. This time it is the old favourite “Capstan Navy Cut” There is a 4oz tin here which will be divided, very, very carefully (shred by shred!) between Bombardier Tiny Plane and myself.

Jul

1

1941

Germans learn of the reality of the ‘Ostfront’

Whatever the propaganda images said some German officers were complaining that they had not prepared for the scale of casualties they received.

He says it is absolutely beastly. Hardly any prisoners are being taken by either side. The Russians fight and torture like criminals, not soldiers, putting up their hands and then, when the Germans come up to them, shooting them a bout portant; they even shoot from behind the German medical orderlies who try to help their wounded.

Jun

30

1941

Some Germans are welcomed

A German motorised column advancing along a Russian road during the early stages of Barbarossa.

My eyes ache from looking at so many vehicles, one after the other as far as you can see. We arrive about 15.00, after travelling along these impossible roads, in Busk, where there’s still fighting going on. The western entrance of the town is jammed full of our vehicles, and all you can see there is dust, but the Russian guns are still barking away at the eastern end.

Jun

29

1941

The interrogation of a U Boat crew

Some of the U-boat men felt that fraternisation with the French was not good for security.

Nevertheless, some officer and Chief Petty Officer prisoners suspected a hidden subtle and organised opposition on the part of the French, which they feared as likely to become dangerous. It was noted by the Germans that in spite of the polite and obliging attitude of the French officials and workmen, something important always went wrong with the German arrangements in which any reliance had been placed on French co-operation.

Jun

28

1941

‘Circus’ raids are stepped up

A daylight raid on Comines power station in north east France by Blenheim bombers on 28th June scored a direct hit on but killed six workers.

We lost 11 bombers and 24 fighters, but the pilots of 2 Spitfires were rescued. Ten aircraft were destroyed by our bombers, who probably destroyed 3 more and damaged 7. Our fighters shot down a total of 39 Messerschmitts, including a number of Me. 109 Fs, probably destroyed 15 more and damaged 18.

Jun

27

1941

The Lietukis Garage massacre

Crowd views the aftermath of a massacre at Lietukis Garage, where pro-German Lithuanian nationalists killed more than 50 Jewish men. The victims were beaten, hosed, and then murdered with iron bars. Kovno, Lithuania, June 27, 1941.

In the middle of the yard, in broad daylight and in full view of the assembled crowd, a group of well dressed, spruce intelligent looking people held iron bars which they used to viciously beat another group of similarly well dressed, spruce, intelligent people.