Week 9: 28th February – 6th March 1943


Here’s what’s going on in the world this week in 1943

  • The Norsk Hydro plant at Vermok in Norway, being used by the German nuclear program, was sabotaged by Norwegian commandos. They used skis to reach the plant, entered through a service tunnel, and placed explosive charges on the tanks of heavy water and the electrolysis chambers needed to produce it. The blasts destroyed the entire inventory of the heavy water.
  • A 1,000 plane RAF and U.S. Air Force raid dropped 4.5 million pounds of explosive and incendiary bombs on the German U-boat bases in Saint-Nazaire, France. 479 people were killed.
  • The Koriukivka massacre took place in the Ukraine when the 6,700 residents of the city became victims of the German SS. After burning down the buildings in town, the SS troopers killed the survivors.
  • Following a citywide roundup, 1,500 Jewish men, women and children were deported from Berlin in a single day and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. 1,350 of them were murdered upon their arrival.
  • 62 children and 110 adults died in a crush while trying to enter the underground station in Bethnal Green, London. Survivors reported that the stampede happened when a woman tripped and fell while descending the stairs. The trigger had been the noise of the nearby launch of anti-aircraft rockets.
  • Mrs. Miniver won Best Picture at the 15th Academy Awards. Greer Garson was Best Actress and gave what is probably the longest acceptance speech in Academy Awards history at almost six minutes.
  • The German minelayer Doggerbank was torpedoed and sunk by the German sub U-43, whose captain mistakenly believed that he was firing at an enemy ship. U-43 departed without rescuing Doggerbank survivors and only one of the 365 people on board, Fritz Kuert, survived.
  • The three-day Battle of Fardykambos between Greek partisans and the Italian Army began.

And here’s what was keeping Peggy busy in the ATS:

Sunday 28th February 1943
Went on Church Parade. Little Pardre-man! Lay out in wood. No dinner! Went out at 14.00! Missed two buses. Smiley (Commando) took us to Fareham Good

Monday 1st March 1943
Time in Pompey! Came home with sailor name Sam! No bad. On duty. Played hockey with the men. Sgt. Hughes got me to play BHQ!

Tuesday 2nd March 1943
Not quite so warm today. Did a lot of writing. Looks like I’ll have to visit the PO. on Wed for some money. Am nigh on broke!! On duty at night. Diesel Swinging.

Wednesday 3rd March 1943
In bed all morning. Lovely! Went out about 14.30 Went to Fareham to the Savoy. Saw Greer Garson in “Mrs Minniver”. Lovely picture. Ended up at Titchfield.

Thursday 4th March 1943
On duty. Very cold. REME inspector party here. Had a real good time at the dance. Lots of Outsiders! Mac (Commando) was there! Definitely worth a tanner! (slang: sixpence, 6d)

Friday 5th March 1943
Had a sleep out in the woods. Lovely day. No letters! Nothing much doing all day. Joan S came over. On night duty S/P 23.00 – 03.00. Not-bad.

Saturday 6th March 1943
In bed until 17.15!! Grand. Went out to dance in Titchfield. Robbie – Smudge – Bert & lots of Commandos there Spunky heard from Sos! Got home 23.55.

Week 8: 21st February – 27th February 1943


Here’s what’s going on in the world this week in 1943

  • A nationwide day of prayer was held in India for Mahatma Gandhi, whose fasting was putting his life in danger.
  • Alexander Belev, the Bulgarian Minister of Jewish Affairs, signed an agreement with Gestapo representative Theodor Dannecker to deliver 20,000 Bulgarian Jews to German labour camps. Belev would oversee the removal of 23,000 Jews to the camps at Treblinka and Auschwitz. Arrangements would be made for another 8,555 to be deported but it was successfully resisted by the Bulgarian parliament.
  • Steel pennies were manufactured in the United States because of the need for copper to be used for the war effort. The one cent piece was made of steel with a thin zinc plating to prevent rust. The new pennies were often mistaken for dimes and were not accepted in machines that had magnets to catch slugs. The unpopular coins were discontinued at the end of the year.
  • The Allies started their new strategy of ’round-the-clock bombing as USAAF planes bombed Germany in the daytime while the RAF struck at night. Over the next two days, over 2,000 sorties would strike German targets.
  • Born: George Harrison, British musician in Liverpool.
  • Nancy Harkness Love, one of 29 pilots in the US Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron, became the first woman to be certified to fly a P-51 Mustang pursuit plane. She would later be the first woman cleared to fly several other military aircraft.

And here’s what was keeping Peggy busy in the ATS:

Sunday 21st February 1943
It seemed to be all Parade today! First Church then Battery – I mean the other way round! Fetched up as I.F.C. was here. Not too bad a show. On duty S/P.

Monday 22nd February 1943
In bed until 15.00 hrs. Lovely! Walked to Hill Head. Lift in Naval Lorry to Lee. Had tea at ?Kimbells. Very nice time. Ended up in Stubbington canteen. Home 22.30.

Tuesday 23rd February 1943
On duty. Rather cold. Did some path laying. Searching all afternoon. Scrambled some eggs for tea  Went in the Naafi & spent quite an enjoyable evening.

Wednesday 24th February 1943
Glorious day. Went on Parade. In the afternoon sat out in the wood & wrote letters. Super! On duty at night – searching from 0300 – 0100.

Thursday 25th February 1943
Bed!! Glorious Bed! Got up at 1430 for Pay at 14.45. Eventually got it at 15.30!! Went to Fareham – Stubb – Titchfield  Nothing exciting. Got back – saw end of ENSA

Friday 26th February 1943
On duty. Nice day. Someone somewhere let loose some gas – we caught a packet!! S/P for another site. Dance tonight. Went to dance  Good. Saw Robbie again – & met another Commando.

Saturday 27th February 1943
Glorious day! Got nabbed for cook house – scrubbing ?folms! Not bad though. On duty tonight – but no Search ?pa**d. Hope to go to Pompey tomorrow.

Week 7: 14th February – 20th February 1943


Here’s what’s going on in the world this week in 1943

  • The Battle of the Kasserine Pass began as the German Afrika Korps launched a surprise offensive against Allied defenses in Tunisia, giving the United States Army their first major battle defeat of the war.
  • Mildred Harnack, a 41-year-old American citizen and Milwaukee native who was convicted of espionage against Germany, was executed by guillotine on the personal orders of Adolf Hitler.
  • Russian pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff gave his last concert, performing in Knoxville, Tennessee, and then cancelled the remainder of his tour. Rachmaninoff, who had become an American citizen, returned to his Los Angeles home. He was diagnosed with melanoma, and the cancer had spread to his bone marrow, his liver and his lungs.
  • Hans Scholl and Sophie Scholl, two students in the White Rose movement that was secretly distributing anti-Hitler literature, were captured at the University of Munich after a maintenance man saw them throwing leaflets from a campus building. Four days later, the Scholls were executed for treason.
  • U.S. President Roosevelt approved the first American financial aid to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia after being advised that geologists had concluded that it had the largest oil fields in the world.
  • Japan followed the Nazi example of confining Jewish residents to a specific area, and set up the Shanghai ghetto, with a two square mile area in the Hongkou District to house 20,000 refugees from Germany, Austria and Poland.

And here’s what was keeping Peggy busy in the ATS:

Sunday 14th February 1943
Up early again. On duty. didn’t do a lot. Whist Drive in Naafi tonight – but slow play. Nothing exciting happened.

Monday 15th February 1943
Bussy went to hand her stripe in but Nick wouldn’t have any!! Got out of Route March by washing my hair!! Spent the afternoon answering Jim M’s letter. On duty at night – at Cottage.

Tuesday 16th February 1943
Did ?**m in morning. Head and Foot Inspection. Had Mustard gas on arm. Had to clean up camp before going out!! Went to Flicks. Saw “Yank at Eton” “39 Steps” Very Good.

Wednesday 17th February 1943
On duty. Nice day. Out of action – moving into new CP. Went down. Had quite a good Ensa show in Naafi. ?ill classical music. Bit of dancing.

Thursday 18th February 1943
Overslept this morning. Glorious. Leave Rota published in Naafi. I’m down for June 8th!! Dance tonight – on duty Very Good dance. Lots of men! 2 Hostiles!!

Friday 19th February 1943
Glorious day. ?**ing ** and . Went out at 15.20hrs. Had tea in Fareham. Strolled about – lovely sunshine. Bus to Stubbington – met some very nice men. Good game of ping pong.

Saturday 20th February 1943
On duty. Very cold. Didn’t have a very hard day. Played Housie Housie in the Naafi in the evening.

Week 6: 7th February – 13th February 1943


Here’s what’s going on in the world this week in 1943

  • Operation Ke was completed when 10,000 Japanese troops on the island of Guadalcanal were evacuated to rescuing ships before U.S. forces realized what had occurred. The evacuation was accomplished by deceiving U.S. intelligence into believing that the rescue ships were arriving to bring in reinforcements for a new attack.
  • U.S. Economic Stabilization Director James F. Byrnes ordered a temporary ban on the sale of shoes until Tuesday, when rationing would begin. House slippers, ballet slippers and baby shoes were exempt from the order because their production was not affected by the limited supply of leather.
  • Mrs. Vesta Stoudt, an ordnance factory worker from Sterling, Illinois, and the mother of two sons, wrote to President Roosevelt with her idea for what would become duct tape, which she described as “a strong cloth tape” that had a waterproof wax coating, designed to seal boxes of ammunition. Roosevelt liked the idea and on March 26, 1943, the War Production Board would inform Mrs. Stoudt that it had been approved.
  • U.S. Army Lieutenant General Dwight D. Eisenhower was promoted to the four-star rank for the first time. Coincidentally, Nikita Khrushchev, who would lead the Soviet Union at the same time that Dwight Eisenhower was President of the U.S., was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General in the Soviet Army the next day.
  • William Morris, 1st Viscount Nuffield created the Nuffield Foundation, Britain’s largest charitable trust, with a gift of £10 million.

And here’s what was keeping Peggy busy in the ATS:

Sunday 7th February 1943
Vera slept here last night. Up at 10 o’clock. Writing letters. Byked to Auntie Gerti, then on to Hanley S (Swan). Saw Angela. Went to the pictures in the evening “The Letter”.

Monday 8th February 1943
Stayed late in bed – again! How I love my bed! Heard from Reg! Went up town. In the afternoon – went to the flicks at night – saw “Lady from Lisbon.” Not bad. Very cold and wet.

Tuesday 9th February 1943
Didn’t get up very early. Stayed in until 15.00hr. Went down Link shopping. Went to dance at Winter Gds. Met some R/Ms. Came home with one Johnnie – had quite a nice time. No Bill!

Wednesday 10th February 1943
Up early to see Dad off – back to bed! Up again at 0945. Very browned off. Going back on 13.45 train. Got back at 2300. Very uninteresting journey. Met Bdr. George – came back with him.

Thursday 11th February 1943
On duty 0630 for roll call at 0645. Ghastly. Very Very Browned off. Work! work! work!!! Got paid – one bright spot of the day. Spent the evening in the Naafi. Not bad.

Friday 12th February 1943
Up very early again. Quite a gale blowing. Dance – but am on duty – worst luck. Went down to dance – N.B.G.(No Bloody Good?) – no men! Stayed till the end 1130. Searching.

Saturday 13th February 1943
In bed all day – until 1600hr My turn to stay in. Lot of firing morn. & afternoon. Stayed in Naafi until 2130hr. Bed again.