Week 10: 7th March – 13th March 1943


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

  • The Polish government-in-exile reported for the first time about the executions of prisoners in a Nazi German “murder camp” at Oswiecim, known in Germany as Auschwitz.
  • The entire Jewish population of the Yugoslavian cities of Skopje, Štip and Bitola – all three now part of the Republic of Macedonia – was deported to the Treblinka II death camp by the German SS with the assistance of Bulgarian soldiers. 7,240 people in total were taken. The community in Bitola had been warned the day before by the local Communist Party about the impending raid, though only a few people were able to escape.
  • The British destroyer HMS Harvester was sunk by the U-432, a German submarine. U-432 was then rammed and sunk by a French ship, the corvette Aconit, which rescued the few survivors of the Harvester. The day before, the Harvester had sunk another German sub, the U-444. There were 41 men lost on U-444, 26 on U-432, and 145 on the Harvester.
  • In a plot called Operation Spark, German officer Henning von Tresckow attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler by arranging for an unwitting officer to hand Hitler a parcel thinking it contained a gift when it actually contained a bomb. All went according to plan and Hitler’s plane took off from Smolensk to Rastenburg with the parcel aboard, but it failed to explode due to a faulty detonator.
  • The Canadian Pacific Ocean liner RMS Empress of Canada, converted to war use, was torpedoed and sunk by the Italian submarine Leonardo da Vinci, 400 miles off of the coast of Africa. The ship had been carrying 1,800 people, including Italian servicemen who had been captured as prisoners of war. While 1,400 people survived, 392 were killed, half of them Italian POWs.

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

Sunday 7th March 1943
Grand day. On duty. Out of Action. R.O. Came. Had ?** hostile. Picked up planes 5000ft(?) e/p. 9000ft Didn’t fire as one of our girls (B-Collins) put off CP Switch instead of alarm. Very fed up.

Monday 8th March 1943
Terrific lot of Jerries over in the night. Barrage put up was also terrific but Rig didn’t fire. G.L. o.o.a!!! S/O only 16 rounds. Hayling I. put up 195!! Lovely day. Hoping to play hockey. Played.

Tuesday 9th March 1943
Stayed in bed and slept until 16.00! Just s hours hour (?) I needed it! We didn’t even bother to go out. Played hockey & then cards with with REME in Naafi.

Wednesday 10th March 1943
On duty. Got into a filthy state cleaning the sump. Had test in the afternoon. Rather difficult. Joan went suddenly on course to ?Bolhtey

Thursday 11th March 1943
Nothing much happened. Dance tonight. Hung about for pay until about 20.00 hrs. Came on duty – Bulls Eye from 2015 – 2150. So didn’t go to dance until 2300hrs. Saw…

Friday 12th March 1943
…Mac and several Commandos. Heard from home. Robin in hospital with Scarlet Fever. Had to go on Route March to Fareham! Very poor legs. Saw Robert Young in ‘Cairo’ – Awful.

Saturday 13th March 1943
On duty. Nick & Sgt. Hughes unexpected course everything wrong Worked very hard. In the evening 209 Cst. BIG played darts & won.


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