Week 26: 27th June – 3rd July 1943


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

  • SS Major Karl Bischoff reported to Berlin that the four new crematoria that had built at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp were completed. Crematorium Number 1 could process 340 bodies per day, while the four new ones could handle 4,400.
  • In advance of the invasion of Sicily, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Allied Supreme Commander, sent a cablegram from North Africa requesting “on early convoy … shipment three million bottled Coca-Cola (filled) and complete equipment for bottling, washing, capping same quantity twice monthly”.
  • The death sentence, for treason, of German-born American Max Stephan was commuted by U.S. President Roosevelt to life imprisonment, seven hours before Stephan was to be hanged. Stephan had been convicted of harbouring a German prisoner of war who had escaped from a POW camp in Ontario.
  • An Investigation of Global Policy with the Yamato Race as Nucleus, a six-volume secret report compiled by the Population and Race Section of the Research Bureau of Japan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare, was completed and submitted to the Prime Minister, setting the blueprint for imposing Japanese names, the Japanese language and the Shinto religion on all minorities within the Empire.
  • The new town of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, constructed for workers on the secret atomic bomb project, had its first residents arrive, as a family moved into a trailer on the 92 square mile area. Within two years, it would have 75,000 people, but its existence would be kept hidden until after World War II.

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

Sunday 27th June 1943
Up at 0945 Still very tired. Not so hot today. Turned out nice in afternoon. Brig. expected but didn’t come! Went to flicks saw Hurricane Smith OK. Had a good time.

Monday 28th june 1943
On Guard. No letters. Nothing at all happened today. Went to bed quite early. No call-outs.

Tuesday 29th June 1943
Manning – didn’t do much though. Had a letter from Bert: Cdr. RAF. Said he’d written before – but I never had it. Very pleased to hear from him. Nice day. S/P.

Wednesday 30th June 1943
Stayed in bed till 1200. Caught train and ferry to Gravesend. Had a really marvellous time swimming. Back to flicks. Ginger Rodgers – Ray Milland in The Major & The Minor

Thursday 1st July 1943
Had a lecture from Capt. A. We’re going back to Titchfield! – soon. Goody goody. Later heard that we now aren’t going. On Guard. Nothing exciting happened. Bed early.

Friday 2nd July 1943
Manning. Quite a good dance at night in Dining Hall. Several outsiders came – had fun with Mac. (RAF?) Geoff & all the rest. S/P Mac came up with us.

Saturday 3rd July 1943
In bed. In afternoon Doreen & I went swimming (Gravesend) with Mac & Geoff. Had tea in G – came back & went to dance at St. Le. H. Out til 20 past 12 but everything OK had a grand time.


Week 25: 20th June – 26th June 1943


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

  • A fistfight at the crowded Belle Island park in Detroit, Michigan, erupted into a riot between white and black residents of the fourth largest city in the United States. Over three days, 34 people were killed and 760 injured, before federal troops were sent in to restore the peace.
  • Heinrich Himmler issued the order to transfer the remaining Jews from the Nazi-occupied Baltic states to small slave-labor camps in order to meet Germany’s military needs. The Reichskommissariat Ostland consisted of Latvia (Lettland), Lithuania (Litauen), Estonia (Estland), and Belarus (Weissruthenian).
  • Andrée Borrel, Francis Suttill, Gilbert Norman and several other agents in the Prosper network of British Special Operations, were arrested by the Gestapo after being betrayed by an informer. Borrel was one of seven women in the British spy network, and on July 6, 1944, the group would be rendered unconscious with an injection of phenol, then burned alive.
  • In order to investigate the medical effects of an emergency bailout at high altitude, Colonel W. Randolph Lovelace, a physician in the U.S. Army, jumped out of a B-17 bomber at an altitude of 40,200 feet. Part of his self-experimentation was to show that bottled oxygen should be provided to bomber crews. Colonel Lovelace was rendered temporarily unconscious from the 32 G shock from opening his chute during his faster descent in the thin atmosphere, and suffered severe frostbite when the deceleration ripped off his left glove, but landed safely after 24 minutes. As a result of Lovelace’s experience, flight crews learned to delay opening their chutes until they reached a lower altitude. Lovelace would be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery.
  • More than 200 crewmen, from six different German U-boats based in Nazi-occupied Norway, mutinied. The men refused to obey orders to go out to sea, where Allied ships and been destroying the submarines at a greatly increased rate since May. The mutineers were arrested and lodged in the Akershus Prison in Oslo.

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

Sunday 20th June 1943
On duty. Nothing doing. Cleaned windows in afternoon ready for General who is coming tomorrow. (Blast him) Very busy. had a good sleep. No call outs!

Monday 21st june 1943
Fatigues in the morning. Gen. Paton came but we were out! Had a lovely time, played tennis all afternoon. Flicks ‘Wake Island’ Propaganda. Ate afterwards – went to ‘Railway’, saw Nick.

Tuesday 22nd June 1943
Very hot. Lazed about all day. J & D on 24 hrs. No letter. Had F.F.I. Was off Guard so nothing to do. Got sunburnt. Letter from Joan no news from home.

Wednesday 23rd June 1943
Manning. Only one hostile during the night & it only lasted a few minutes. Heard from Mum – she’s a little better, also A/G. from Jim. Wrote back to him ?twice.

Thursday 24th June 1943
On fatigues – off because of finger squashed in door. On 24hrs Grand time in London. Stayed at Gordon? went to Palais dancing. Met a couple of Grenadier Guards – saw Buckingham! etc

Friday 25th June 1943
Had a good night in a lovely bed. Went round shops in Victoria. Caught tube to Barking & train to S-hall and ended a very pleasant 24 hrs. Paid. dance tonight dance quite good fun – ended 0030.

Saturday 26th June 1943
Very tired! On duty. Worked hard. recording in afternoon by Cpt. Fox. Search ?Period at night. Wrote to Joan. Doreen back.

Week 24: 13th June – 19th June 1943


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

  • Subhas Chandra Bose, the Indian nationalist who had recently been in Nazi Germany seeking aid for independence from the United Kingdom, arrived in Japan on an Axis submarine.
  • Earl Browder, the General Secretary of the Communist Party USA, began a correspondence with U.S. President Roosevelt, when he sent a cable to the President asking for White House intervention to protect leftist Victorio Codovilla from being deported from Argentina to Spain. Roosevelt responded on June 23, pledging to ask the U.S. Ambassador at Buenos Aires to monitor the proceedings, and on June 26 sent Browder a second letter to advise that Cordovilla would not be deported. The last reply was on July 12, when Browder thanked the President.
  • In Beaumont, Texas, a mob of about 4,000 white men, half of them employees of the Pennsylvania Shipyards Company, began burning and looting homes, businesses and automobiles in the city’s African-American neighborhoods. Texas State Guardsmen and Texas Rangers were called out to assist Beaumont police in keeping order. Martial law was declared in the city, lasting until June 20.
  • Charlie Chaplin married Oona O’Neill, the daughter of playwright Eugene O’Neill, who then disowned her. The Chaplins would raise eight children together and settle in Switzerland.
  • Ayoub Tabet, the President of Lebanon, precipitated a crisis in the Middle Eastern nation populated by Muslims and Christians. Tabet changed the makeup of the 64 seat Chamber of Deputies, which had 33 Christians and 21 Muslims. The new arrangement was for a 54-seat body, with 32 seats for Christians and only 22 for Muslims. The decision provoked rioting throughout Lebanon, and Tabet would be deposed a month later.
  • The African-American Tuskegee Airmen had their first encounter with the enemy, as six pilots of P-40 Warhawks were attacked over the island of Pantelleria by 12 German Focke-Wulf 190 fighters. According to the U.S. Army Air Corps, “The American Negro fliers, led by First Lieut. Charles W. Dryden … parried the Nazi thrust, damaged two German fighters, and forced the remainder to retire. The Americans all came home safely.”

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

Sunday 13th June 1943
Didn’t get up till eleven. did some cooking. Took Ted & the dog for a walk. Went to theatre at night with E – after to ?canteen “The Amazing Mr. Williams”. Quite good.

Monday 14th june 1943
Up at 0830 – did some washing heard Joan O. coming tomorrow. ?Sharp showers. went to Flicks and on the fair. not so hot. home quite early.

Tuesday 15th June 1943
Mum to stay in bed. Doc’s orders. got up – saw Dad & Pat off to work – did the housework – went to meet Joan at Worcester. ?ates went today at Winter Gdns. Quite good fun.

Wednesday 16th June 1943
Got off early saw men folk off. Feeling browned off. Mum in bed. Did some shopping up town. Caught the 14.58 train. Paddington 20.05 Met Watty. caught 21.55 to Stanford.

Thursday 17th June 1943
Very very browned off with letter from Les R. didn’t do much to cheer me up. I/C ?? until Doreen comes back from leave. Ensa in afternoon. didn’t go(?) One of our ac. missing – film in Naafi – Good.

Friday 18th June 1943
Raining all day. On duty. One hostile in night but didn’t pick it up. Wrote to Jim & Fanny(?). Didn’t bother to go out. Washed my hair. Got ?parade in the afternoon.

Saturday 19th June 1943
Letter from Eric. Quite a nice day. On guard. Nothing exciting happened our boys played ‘A’ troop – footer & lost ? 1. What a downfall. Very tired.

Week 23: 6th June – 12th June 1943


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

  • Ohio University student Paul Newman, who had enlisted in the U.S. Navy four days before his 18th birthday, was called up for active duty. The future Oscar-winning film actor, nicknamed “Gus” Newman, enrolled in the pilot training program but was soon kicked out because it was discovered that he was color blind.
  • Ammunition in the magazine on the Japanese battleship Mutsu, exploded during extremely hot weather, while the ship was anchored in the harbor at Hashirajima, killing 1,222 people including 1,121 of the 1,474 member crew.
  • Germany and Italy gave diplomatic recognition to the new government of Argentina, the only nation in the Western Hemisphere that still maintained relations with the Axis powers. That night, however, the new regime of General Pedro Ramírez decreed that the German, Italian and Japanese would no longer have permission to transmit up to 100 words in code to their capitals, a privilege that had been extended back in December. The U.S. and the U.K. gave recognition to the Ramírez government the next day.
  • Britain’s Royal Air Force bombed Düsseldorf and Münster in its heaviest attack up to that time, while the U.S. 8th Air Force made a daylight raid on Wilhelmshaven and Cuxhaven. The U.S. raid involved 225 airplanes, and an unprecedented 85 of them were shot down or crashed. The 462 tons of bombs dropped was a new high for U.S. bombing.
  • Düsseldorf suffered its heaviest air raid of the war when 693 bombers dropped 2,000 tons of bombs in the space of 45 minutes.

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

Sunday 6th June 1943
Joan and I stayed off Majors parade. Did some maintenance. Packing in the afternoon – didn’t bother to go out. Rather tired. Quite a nice day. Very excited.

Monday 7th june 1943
Got up 0415. caught 05.50 to London. Caught 0945 & arriving home at 1345 Raining. Saw Joan – we went to the flicks saw Berlin Correspondent – not bad.

Tuesday 8th June 1943
Stayed late in bed. Went to tea at Auntie G. Uncle Walt. Had a grand time at dance at Winter Gds. Got home about elevenish.

Wednesday 9th June 1943
Went out shopping. Didn’t buy much though. Went to dance at Drill Hall. Very few there. but had some good dances though – home 2345.

Thursday 10th June 1943
Up about 0930. Went up town & down the Link. Went to Field Ambulance dance at Trinity. Marvellous. Met a Cdn. Sgt. (RAF) also pestered all evening by R.A.S.C. (Royal Army Service Corps) Capt. (Bill).

Friday 11th June 1943
Picked some tomatoes in the morning. Went to dance at Winter Gardens. Very good time. Saw R.A.F. again. Stayed with him – name Arnold Berthot(?) He came home with me but went back to York Sat. Very tired.

Saturday 12th June 1943
Helped(?) with housework. Went to 146 F.A. Sports in afternoon. Stayed there for tea and a show – afterwards also dancing. Met Cpt. – George walked home with him.