Week 44: 31st October – 6th November 1943


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

  • In California, thousands of Japanese-American internees at the Tule Lake Segregation Center surrounded the administration building during a visit to the internment camp by War Location Director Dillon S. Myer. Leaders of the inmates who spoke for their fellow prisoners called upon families to assemble for a peaceful protest. By 1:30 p.m., the camp headquarters was surrounded by thousands of evacuees and Myer was virtually imprisoned in the administration building. He consented to see the Negotiating Committee about the internees’ grievances and pledged to make improvements. The protesters subsequently returned to their barracks.
  • More than 18,000 Jewish prisoners were shot in a single day at the Majdanek concentration camp in Poland. The Erntefestwas the traditional German “Harvest Festival”, and dance music was played over loudspeakers “to drown out the sounds of the killing and the dying”. The extermination of the estimated 18,400 members of the camp was carried out by order of the new camp commandant, German Lt. Colonel Martin Weiss, as part of Operation Reinhard.
  • Adolf Hitler issued Führer Directive Number 51, anticipating an invasion of Nazi-occupied France by the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, in what Hitler described as “an Anglo-Saxon landing”. Troops and reinforcements were transferred to Western Europe.
  • Despite its neutral status in World War II, Vatican City had four bombs dropped upon it from an unidentified airplane at 8:10 pm . Windows and glass were broken at St. Peter’s Basilica and at the Palace of the Governorate, and there was damage to the Vatican aqueduct, but nobody was injured. A British Royal Air Force bomber near Rome had been given clearance to unload its bombs after developing engine trouble, and released them “without quite knowing where it was”.

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

Sunday 31st October July 1943
Major inspected. Changed stockings. Went to Wooseys Lift to L’pool Very nice people Marvellous Ra. White Bread & ?. chicken and all sorts. Wonderful time. Slept at Red Shield. Pouring with rain.

Monday 1st November 1943
Sent Joan & Geoff a Xmas A/G. Went round the shops. Got back about 1320 & went on duty. No letters. Nothing much doing. Went into canteen feeling pretty bored.

Tuesday 2nd November 1943
On Guard. Messed myself up painting Guard room. Letters from Mum, Geoff & Fred. Was a picture show but didn’t go. Was in bed before 2030!!

Wednesday 3rd November 1943
Shaken today. Mrs. P. sent for me. wanted to know if I would take a commission!!! Informed me I was up for promotion. Told her I couldn’t afford a comm! Played hockey.

Thursday 4th November August 1943
Diesel Swinging so stayed in bed. Thank goodness. On duty Thursday afternoon did a lot of maintenance ready for Inspection. Good concert at night from Rootes.

Friday 5th November 1943
On Guard but had to come off for lectures by T.I. Went to bed quite early – letters from home. Pat in Paratroops.

Saturday 6th November 1943
Out today. T.G. On duty. Had lectures from T.I. Went to L’pool. Saw Hit The Ice with two Yanks. Got in about 2245.


Week 43: 24th October – 30th October 1943


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

  • Four years after being introduced as a superhero in Detective Comics issue #27 (May, 1939), Batman reached a larger audience with the debut of the newspaper comic strip “Batman and Robin”, authored by Bob Kane.
  • In the “Philadelphia Experiment”, a story widely believed to be a hoax, the destroyer escort USS Eldridge (DE-173) was supposedly rendered invisible to human observers for a brief period, and (in some versions of the story) even teleported from the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard to the U.S. Navy shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia and back, with the result that several of the people on board were seriously injured, went insane, or killed. The story would be popularized by the bestselling 1974 book The Bermuda Triangle, by Charles Berlitz, and the U.S. Navy began receiving regular inquiries.
  • Robert Dorsay, German character actor and comedian, was executed in Germany after being convicted of “ongoing activity hostile to the Reich and serious undermining of the German defence effort”. In March, Dorsay had been overheard by a Gestapo informer, while joking about the government. When his mail and home was searched, an unsent letter was found in which Dorsay made fun of the Nazi Party, and described the continued German war effort as “idiotic”.
  • U.S. President Roosevelt issued Presidential Proclamation 2597, extending draft registration beyond the 48 states. Thereafter, all American men aged 18–44, living in the territories of Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico, were required to register before the end of the year.
  • In Argentina, Colonel Juan Perón advanced his career by agreeing to direct the nation’s Department of Labour. Over the next three years, he would push through social reforms and form an alliance with the nation’s labour unions. He was elected President of Argentina in 1946.

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

Sunday 24th October July 1943
Grand sleep and up at 0715. Major & retinue inspected. Very cold. Good time in L/pool. Slept at Red S. Had a fine tea at some Canteen. Went over on the dial. Very nice change.

Monday 25th October 1943
Lovely sleep in a lovely bed. Went around the shops. didn’t have much money though. ?Put 5/- in P.O!! No letters from home yet. Washed my hair and went to bed early.

Tuesday 26th October 1943
On guard. Nice morning. Letters from Mum and Mur. & Pat. Nothing exciting. Same old routine. Very tired when I eventually came off G. at 1900. Bed early.

Wednesday 27th October 1943
On duty. Did some S & F. ? Chaplin in cabin. Played hockey against 650 Bty – and lost 10-5 – crushing defeat but a good game! Bed early D.S.

Thursday 28th October August 1943
Stayed in bed until 1000. Went to Rootes No5- and gave show Had lunch there – and very nice time going over factory. Went again at night. Major SC JC & all there – very good.

Friday 29th October 1943
Got back at 0210! Stayed in bed until 0800 – up for Guard. No letters Got an invite to Mr. ?Wooseys Party. So going out Sunday instead of tomorrow.

Saturday 30th October 1943
Manning! On Guard again in afternoon. Nothing much doing. Letter from Joan. Went to bed early – Ensa but didn’t go.

Week 42: 17th October – 23rd October 1943


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

  • After five years of construction, the city of Chicago began regular service on its first subway, a 4.9 mile stretch of underground track that ran from State Street and Clybourn Avenue. 
  • The 415 km Burma Railway was completed by Japan using the forced labour of Asian civilians and Allied prisoners of war between Bangkok, Thailand and Rangoon, Burma (modern-day Myanmar) to support Japanese forces in the Burma campaign.
  • The antibiotic Streptomycin was first isolated in a laboratory, by Albert Schatz, a 23-year-old student at Rutgers University, New Jersey. Streptomycin was able to kill bacteria that could not be treated with penicillin.
  • The first exchange of prisoners of war, between the United Kingdom and Germany, began in Sweden at the port of Gothenburg. A group of 4,340 POWs from Allied nations, released because of illness and injuries, arrived by trains and on hospital ships from Germany; most had been imprisoned for more than three years. Later in the day, 835 German prisoners arrived on two British liners, with more due to arrive later in the week. The exchange was supervised by the Swedish Red Cross.
  • The German city of Kassel was leveled as 569 RAF planes dropped 416,000 incendiary bombs on the older section of town during extremely dry weather. Fires swept the city centre within 15 minutes, and became a firestorm that peaked after 45 minutes. Ten thousand residents, mostly civilians, were killed.
  • The Provisional Government of Azad Hind (literally, “Free India”) was proclaimed in territories of British India that had been captured by Japan, with Subhas Chandra Bose as President. The Japanese government also provided the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the new state. At the same time, Bose announced that Azad Hind was joining Japan in the war against the U.S. and the U.K.
  • German forces, retreating from the Byelorussian SSR, began the liquidation of the Minsk Ghetto. Over a period of 12 days, more than 2,000 Jewish residents were deported to the Maly Trostenets extermination camp outside of the city.
  • The Swedish government decided that, for the fourth straight year, Nobel Prizes would not be awarded.

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

Sunday 17th October July 1943
Up at 0600 – terrible! Pouring with rain. Didn’t go on C.P. as I was on Guard. Very tired at the end of Guard. Fred played piano in naafi Nissen.

Monday 18th October 1943
Out today. On duty. Went to L’pool. Shopping. ?? at Lewis’s. Very tired. I’m not struck on the city at all  – too big and too many people! Back at 2030 to Speke canteen. Very nice!

Tuesday 19th October 1943
Didn’t go out this morning – being broke. Fred gone on Course. Went to Rootes for a rehearsal Classical concert – but I went early to bed! Pouring with rain.

Wednesday 20th October 1943
Not feeling very grand. Letters from Joan and Les. On Guard. Final rehearsal at Rootes. Looking forward to show tomorrow.

Thursday 21st October August 1943
Had a great reception at Rootes. Smashing lunch there with Officers and Works Managers. Came back about 1515. Kit lay out. Wonderful time at night!! The night shift were thrilled! Nick too.

Friday 22nd October 1943
Stayed in bed until 0800! Didn’t do much. On P.T. No letter from home yet. Went to bed early & had a good sleep.

Saturday 23rd October 1943
On fats.-also did P.T. smashing time at dance. Rootes Band. Met H.G. named Tommy. Also had fun with lots of ’em. Very tired.

Week 41: 10th October – 16th October 1943


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

  • The German city of Münster was heavily bombed in the first daytime raid by the United States Eighth Air Force, with the entire force of 236 B-17 Flying Fortress bombers attacking the historic city. With 216 P-47 Thunderbolt fighters flying cover, the formation flew in a line 15 miles long. Germany’s Luftwaffe sent up 350 fighters to engage the American force, while antiaircraft guns fired at the armada. Nearly 700 civilians were killed in Munster, while thirty American bombers were shot down, and 105 badly damaged, with a loss of 308 American airmen and officers missing.
  • Portugal, still neutral in World War II, granted the United Kingdom use of naval and air bases on the Azores Islands, under an agreement made 570 years before. The use of the bases was justified under a treaty that had been made in 1373.
  • Thirty-five days after it had been fighting as a member of the Axis powers against the Allies, Italy declared war on Germany, with a broadcast by Prime Minister Badoglio at 3:00 pm local time.
  • Jewish prisoners at the Sobibor extermination camp in Poland launched an uprising against their German captors. The attack, co-ordinated by Leon Feldhendler and Captain Alexander Pechersky (a Soviet prisoner of war), was partially successful. Eleven German SS men and several Ukrainian guards were killed, and about 300 of the 700 inmates were able to escape. Many of the escapees died when they fled through the minefields that surrounded the death camp, and others were recaptured and killed, but about 50 were able to survive. Those prisoners who had elected not to escape were killed and the camp was closed.
  • The Swedish “repatriation liner” MS Gripsholm, sent from the United States, docked alongside the Japanese liner Teia Maru, in the Portuguese Indian port of Mormugao. The Gripsholm was carrying 1,500 Japanese nationals, while the Teia Maru had 1,503 citizens from the United States, United Kingdom and France.

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

Sunday 10th October July 1943
Nothing but parades for this that & the other! Afternoon off rehearsed for concert at Routs. We’re singing the “Aston” Went to bed early. Very tired.

Monday 11th October 1943
Cold. On fatigues. Letter from home. Brooch from Les. V. Nice. Lecture from ?Mr Y. about exercise Blitz tomorrow. Local & 24hrs. cancelled. Played billiards in canteen.

Tuesday 12th October 1943
On duty. Waiting for exercise! Nothing happened. Heard about 1430 we could go out! Went to L’pool. Had a good feed at Lewis’s. Walked around – to ?O??? League – home on 1930 to ?speke canteen. Quite nice.

Wednesday 13th October 1943
Played billiards in cant. again! Raining this morning Wrote letters. Film Show – “The Strawberry Blonde”. Very boring! Bed about 22.30!

Thursday 14th October August 1943
Gosh its cold. up at 0600 for Guard!! Very foggy. Went for a look at Rootes Stage! Very big place. We’re sure sure to get Stage fright! Had a treasure hunt!

Friday 15th October 1943
On duty. T.I. here and we did a lot of drills! Another rehearsal. Sing Song in canteen crowded! Lots of fun. Cdr. G came over. Came in about midnight w/ D.S.

Saturday 16th October 1943
In bed. but not asleep! Grand time at dance. Met some ?HG’s. Had some ?Bar. danced most of the time with Freddie (R/M).