Week 18: 2nd May – 8th May 1943


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

  • The top secret project of deception code-named Operation Mincemeat continued at the Spanish town of Huelva, where a funeral was held for Major William Martin of Britain’s Royal Marines, whose body was brought ashore by Spanish fishermen on April 30. Major Martin was, in reality, a homeless Welshman named Glyndwr Michael, who had died on January 28 and whose body was used to deceive German intelligence regarding the starting point for an Allied invasion.
  • Twenty Japanese bombers and fighters carried out a significant raid on Darwin, Australia,
  • A bill to eliminate federal income tax for all Americans for an entire year failed to pass by four votes, 202–206. The legislation, based on ideas of proposed by New York Federal Reserve Bank chairman Beardsley Ruml, was replaced by the “pay as you go” Robertson-Forand bill that virtually eliminated 1942 income tax for 90% of Americans.
  • The Vatican Secretary of State sent a request to the government of the Nazi-controlled Slovak Republic, requesting the exclusion of Jews “who have entered the Catholic religion” from the list of persons to be deported to Nazi concentration camps.
  • Tunis and Bizerte were liberated by Allied troops, with Bizerte falling to the Americans at 4:15 pm local time, and the Tunisian capital being conquered five minutes later by the British First Army.

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

Sunday 2nd May 1943
Getting ready for moving. Had a lovely time riding in the afternoon. Good gallop. Went to Titchfield after tea. Got a new officer (Pip) here. Mr Brown In at 2245.

Monday 3rd May1943
On duty – very rough- windy- balloon Party here. But not Ringwood O.o.a. all day. Fault in Rx. Mr. Dunkerly here. Did a lot of sorting out and packing. Don’t know where I’m going to put everything.

Tuesday 4th May 1943
Still packing! Didn’t get up til 0750. Very nice too. Quite a nice day. Letter from home. Mick’s left school. Rumour has it that there is a dance tonight. Hope so. Had a hell of a time with Mike Watson! Didn’t go on duty.

Wednesday 5th May 1943
Up to the neck – moving. Came by lorry to Nursling. Some dump. Came through S’hampton. No maning hut mat (?) My bed was very hard.

Thursday 6th May 1943
On duty. Did a lot of maintenance. Very cold in the evening. Got paid late at night. Reports of S’hampton not so hot. No letters yet. No firing around here.

Friday 7th May 1943
Mucked about doing fatigues & generally dodging. Nothing doing around here. Had a bit of a raid but didn’t fire. Very tired.

Saturday 8th May 1943
Stayed in bed until 1030. Got up & had a kit inspection with Miss Meausland Fussy b— Went to S’hampton & Totton


Week 17: 25th April – 1st May 1943


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

  • Because of German labor needs occasioned by the war, Heinrich Himmler directed concentration camps to avoid killing those persons who were able to work, but to make it a priority to put to death “the mentally ill who could not work”.
  • SS Kamakura Maru, a Japanese troop ship that had been converted from the ocean liner Chichibu Maru, was torpedoed and sunk in the Pacific Ocean by the American submarine USS Gudgeon, with the loss of 2,035 of the 2,500 people on board.
  • The American freighter SS McKeesport was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine, leading to a sea battle that continued over the next several weeks. 47 German submarines were sunk during the battle .
  • The British submarine HMS Seraph surfaced off of the coast of Spain, near Huelva, and dumped the body of “Major Martin” into the Mediterranean Sea as part of Operation Mincemeat, to deceive German intelligence on plans for an Allied invasion of the continent.
  • More than 480,000 American coal miners walked off of the job a minute after midnight on May 1st, when the United Mine Workers’ contract with the nation’s mining companies expired.
  • The Ford Motor Company fired 141 employees, mostly African-American, from its aluminum and steel plants in River Rouge, Michigan, because of labor disputes.

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

Sunday 25th April 1943
Raid on – fired again in the night. Went to Holy Communion. Picked some flowers in wood. Played hockey in the afternoon. They won 3-2! Good game though. Had my thumb knocked badly.

Monday 26th April 1943
In bed. Up early – met Les at Titchfield at 1500hrs. Went to Pompey. To theatre. Had a great time – had tea etc in P.- Back to Fareham all shops shut etc. so back to Titchfield.

Tuesday 27th April 1943
In at 22.45. Very tired. Had a field check ?? Shaw & Sgt ?? Very busy. Air **** in the afternoon . . Nothing much happened. Went to bed early.

Wednesday 28th April 1943
Tried to paint out the ?ckers field in the afternoon Not very successful! Played a good game of hockey. Won 3-2. On duty. Raid on. We fired 33 rds. Could have fired more but Guns etc weren’t up. On set? for 1-2hrs. Suspect brought one down. One more alert during night.

Thursday 29th April 1943
In bed. Went riding. Quite good fun! ?** to Titchfield. Back to dance at camp. Rained. Sos was here. Met another Commando

Friday 30th April 1943
named Hugh. Should be seeing him Sunday but rumour has it that ?** for a move. Heard that we’re going for a week to a “No instrument site” then to Firing Camp. Did a lot of clearing up.

Saturday 1st May 1943
Eggs for breakfast. Got up at 0800!! Joan S. came to see us in ?*** she’s on leave. S/P ? night. Up at 08?

Week 16: 18th April – 24th April 1943


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

  • Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Navy and the architect of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbour, was killed when the plane that he was on was shot down by U.S. Army fighter pilot Rex T. Barber. American naval intelligence had intercepted and decoded a Japanese message that included the itinerary for an inspection tour that Yamamoto was making of the Solomon Islands.
  • Winston Churchill announced in the House of Commons that restrictions on the ringing of church bells throughout Britain would be lifted now that the threat of German invasion had passed.
  • The bombing of Aberdeen killed 98 civilians and 27 servicemen. The attack was the worst of 34 separate German air raids on the Scottish city.
  • The RAF marked Hitler’s 54th birthday by bombing Berlin and three other cities. 
  • The Fire Department of New York responded to a fire on the munitions ship El Estero that threatened to destroy the port. The ship had been loading torpedoes at a pier used by the U.S. Army, caught fire, and began drifting after burning through the lines that tied it to the dock. The fireboat, Fire Fighter spent seven hours towing the ship away and then inundating it with enough water to sink it. An explosion of the ship could have set off a chain reaction that would have blown up other ammunition ships, tanks of natural gas, petrol and oil on the shore, and “the largest ammunition dump in the U.S.”, located on the New Jersey shore.

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

Sunday 18th April 1943
On duty. Marvellous day. Rested in the afternoon. I got very sunburned. Did a lot of ironing at night.

Monday 19th April 1943
On fatigues. Decorated the Naafi for dance. Marvellous time on duty til 21.30. Les Came – lots of people. Played hockey against Sgts & Bdr. Terrible defeat 18-4!!

Tuesday 20th April 1943
Very tired this morning. Had letter from Reg yesterday. Went to flicks – saw “Nine Men” J.G. Had a lift to Fareham on the Open Commando lorry with Mac etc. Quiet.

Wednesday 21st April 1943
On duty. Should have played hockey against Navy – but rain stopped play. Very disappointed. Ensa show in Naafi tonight. Quite a good show too.

Thursday 22nd April 1943
Very cold and wet. I’m so tired I feel I could sleep for a week. Slept all afternoon. On Search at night – shaken to the very depths – Commandos made a surprise attack – took site. I was in Rx alone. Thought it was Jerry!

Friday 23rd April 1943
In bed – had a marvellous time riding – all afternoon! Horse nearly shot me over when guns fired!! Les on duty – dance at night. Lots of Jerries about – we fired.

Saturday 24th April 1943
On duty – very busy. Plane with distress signal. Letter from Joan yesterday. Bit stiff about the legs today.

Week 15: 11th April – 17th April 1943


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

  • Frank Piasecki made the first flight of his Piasecki PV-2, the second successful American helicopter. The PV-2 featured the first dynamically balanced rotor blades.
  • Martin Bormann was appointed as Secretary to the Führer, the second highest office in Nazi Germany.
  • On Budget Day in the United Kingdom, Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Kingsley Wood announced that the war had cost Britain a total of £13 billion to date and was costing £15 million per day. Excess expenditure for the year was estimated at £2,848,614,000.
  • Radio Berlin announced the discovery of the mass graves of 10,000 Poles killed by the Soviets in the Katyn massacre.
  • U.S. Senator Harry S. Truman spoke in Chicago at the “United Rally to Demand the Rescue of Doomed Jews”, calling for the United States to respond directly to the Holocaust.
  • At the Sandoz laboratories in Basel, Switzerland, biochemist Albert Hofmann accidentally ingested the drug LSD for the first time in history, and recorded the details of his experience.

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

Sunday 11th April 1943
Had Eggs and Sausages for breakfast. Went back to bed. On NAAFI fatigues !!!! Did GL notes in Naafi – cleaned away cups etc. Bed.

Monday 12th April 1943
On duty – feeling very very miserable and unhappy. No letter from Reg. Several Hostiles during day – but none came in close enough – ?crafty

Tuesday 13th April 1943
On fatigues. Played hockey in evening against Bdr. Had a grand game they won 9-7. Had Bulls eye till 0000 – S/P 0307. Pretty bloody. On CB.

Wednesday 14th April 1943
Still CB. Went to bed but not to sleep. Had lecture from ?th. A! Very sad because Tommy has been posted. Went out rag collecting with Joan – on the buses – nice time.

Thursday 15th April 1943
On duty. Very busy with Gin? Co-op & in the evening an Alpine? for 2 solid hours! It was quite good though. Dance in Naafi – not bad at all.

Friday 16th April 1943
Heard from Joan – she’s been on 48hrs lucky thing. Picked loads of bluebells in the wood. Came on duty – very nice evening. Two letters from Eric.

Saturday 17th April 1943
Picked flowers in the wood. Went out about 16.00 hrs to dance at Titchfield. had a great time – came home with Bdr. from ?** named ?Les. Very nice too.

Week 14: 4th April – 10th April 1943


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

  • Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was arrested at the headquarters of the German military intelligence by the Nazi secret police along with lawyer Hans von Dohnanyi, and both were found to have incriminating materials in their possession, showing cooperation with the enemy in Britain. Adolf Hitler would order the execution of Bonhoeffer, Dohnanyi, and the Abwehr director, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, on April 9, 1945, less than a month before the conquest of Germany.
  • Five members of the U.S. Army Air Forces were rescued after having been marooned on an icecap in Greenland for almost five months. The men had been on a B-17 bomber that made a crash landing while searching for another lost plane, but were kept alive with supplies dropped by Colonel Bernt Balchen, an Arctic explorer and aviator.
  • Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini began a four-day meeting at Schloss Klessheim near Salzburg. Mussolini was in poor health and would spend most of the conference listening silently to Hitler’s long rambling monologues; an attempt by Mussolini to bring up the possibility of making peace with the Soviets was swiftly rebuffed.
  • The British government published a plan drawn up by John Maynard Keynes for a postwar economy. The plan proposed an international monetary fund which could help any nation out of temporary financial difficulties. In return, that country would have to adopt policies aimed at restoring stability.
  • The Tunisian port of Sfax was captured from the Axis powers by the British Army, led by General Bernard Montgomery. Sfax would then become the base for the Allied invasion of Sicily as the first stage of the Italian Campaign.

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

Sunday 4th April 1943
Didn’t do much. Pick a lot of primroses. No Church Parade. Got a Baufors (Bofors) gun! In Naafi with Bdr. Matthews! On duty. No. 1 – D/S. No S/P. Lovely evening.

Monday 5th April 1943
In bed – but I got up early. Grand day. Had five letters and a photo from Jim Millar. Went to flicks. Saw ‘Happy Go Lucky’ & ‘Pacific Rendezvous’. Jolly good. Came home with sailor – Les.

Tuesday 6th April 1943
On duty – Saw Sos – but nothing doing. All off I guess! Nice day. Colonel Beig came. Have lost Bdr. M. as his girlfriend is back. Went in Naafi in evening.

Wednesday 7th April 1943
Didn’t do much. Joan is back. Three cheers. Poor old Bussy is being posted! Much to her horror. Had a crazy film show in afternoon. Very rough. Blowing everywhere.

Thursday 8th April 1943
I can’t do much – again!! Went to flicks. ‘Orchestra Wives’ & ‘?? in the Pacific’ – very good. Back to Titchfield – met Tom Matthews – came home and stayed with him until 2400hrs. Very nice too.

Friday 9th April 1943
Inoculated today. TAB&TT So 48hr off duty. Didn’t have much trouble with the arm. Renee played piano in Naafi. Bed lovely! Slept quite well considering.

Saturday 10th April 1943
Got up about 1200hrs. Picked a lot of flowers in the wood. Heard from Joan S. Saw Sos – embarrassing moment for him. No more news of Reg. feeling very depressed.