Week 4: 25th January – 31st January 1959

 

Here’s what’s going on in the world this week in 1959

  • The 21st Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was opened at Sverdlovsky Hall in Moscow as Nikita Khrushchev welcomed 1,500 delegates, including Communist leaders from 70 nations. For the first time, Western reporters were admitted to the conclave, held for the first time since 1956.
  • NASA Director T. Keith Glennan disclosed that the first 110 candidates had been selected for the first American in space, and that he believed that man would land on the moon by 1969. Scientist Eugen Sänger of Stuttgart predicted that man might be able to approach the speed of light by 1999, reaching a speed of 670 million miles per hour.
  • Dense smog rolled into London, Manchester, and Birmingham at concentrations worse than the first day of the Great Smog of 1952. Unlike 1952, when 3,500 persons died, shifting winds dissipated the yellow cloud after three days.
  • The Virginia General Assembly gave up on further attempts to block the integration of state schools, clearing the way for schools in Norfolk to reopen for the first time in more than four months. The district had shut down the schools on September 15 rather than enroll 17 African Americans, while schools in Arlington were integrated after Chief Justice Earl Warren denied a motion to delay the process there.
  • American Scientists at NASA announced that data from the Vanguard 1 satellite had shown that the Earth was not completely round, but actually “a little pear-shaped”. The announcement was made at a press conference at the American Physical Society by Dr. J. A. O’Keefe and scientists Ann Eckels and R. K. Squires of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The differences were slight, but Vanguard data showed differences of sea level around the North Pole being 50 feet higher, and that around Antarctica being 50 feet lower than previously believed.

And here’s what was keeping Peggy busy:

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sunday 25th January 1959
I’ve been taking it easy today! Cyril took Jill and Sue out for an hour this afternoon – & got the tea when he came home. Very nice too. Its been a lovely day again – cold but sunny. Heavy frost this morning.

Monday 26th January 1959
Its been the best washing day for ages – its all ironed – except the babe’s thick sheets. We’ve been for a walk this afternoon & saw Olive on the way back. Gillian has been exceptionally good today. 

Tuesday 27th January 1959
It has been a glorious spring like day – Gillian slept out this morning this afternoon we’ve had a leisurely walk to Frimley – mainly to feed the horses but they weren’t in the field! Letter from Olly today – very nice too & one from Joan.  

Wednesday 28th January 1959
Another fine day – I’ve done tomorrow’s wash, seeing as Cyril will be at home & I’m probably going to the Doc. Mrs Mac took Jill to meet Marion while I washed my hair – I met her in the Green. Have also had a bath!

Thursday 29th January 1959
Cyril day off
Well – I’ve been to the Doc & he’s pretty sure there is another Ward on the way but I have to see him in a fortnight. We’re very pleased! I had to walk all the way back – or at least slide as its thick fog & heavy frost. I’m so tired! I’m glad Cyril is home!

Friday 30th January 1959
Day off for Cyril.
We had a lie in this a.m. – Jill was very good. We didn’t bring her into our own bed until after seven. I’ve been to Camberley again. Bank etc – so we’ve both got some cash in our pockets. Fog cleared this afternoon so I was able to take Jill to the Green. 

Saturday 31st January 1959
Gillian slept very well again last night – we’d almost had our early morning tea before she came into our bed. I’ve been to Camberley & was exhausted when I got home! Cyril took the girls up the Green & I took Jill to Frimley this afternoon. Letter from Dad & one from Mother-In-Law.

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Week 3: 18th January – 24th January 1959

 

Here’s what’s going on in the world this week in 1959

  • The European Court of Human Rights was established.
  • Nazi rocket designer, Wernher von Braun, now working in the US, predicted that men would be living and working on the moon by 1974, fifteen years hence. He added that “The Russians could put a man on the moon this year. But they couldn’t get him back.” On the same day, United States Postmaster General Arthur E. Summerfield announced a serious proposal for the mail to be delivered “by guided missile”. Summerfield, said, “If Congress provides us with sufficient funds, you may be assured that mail-carrying rocket missiles will be painted with the traditional colours, red, white and blue, of which every American is justly proud.”
  • German Walter Stolle began what would become the longest bicycle tour on record. Over nearly 18 years, ending on December 12, 1976, he rode more than 647,000 km (402,000 miles) in 159 countries, before retiring at age 50.
  • Mike Hawthorn, the UK’s first Formula One World Champion (1958), died in road accident on the Guildford bypass in Surrey. He was suffering a degenerative kidney disease at the time and not expected to live for more than a few years.
  • The first American passenger jet service began as an American Airlines Boeing 707 flew from Los Angeles to New York City. After California’s First Lady, Bernice Brown, pushed the button to start the engines, Captain C.A. McAtee took off at 9:01 a.m. and arrived in New York 4 hours, 3 minutes later. Captain Hamilton Smith then flew the jet and its 112 passengers back to Los Angeles.

And here’s what was keeping Peggy busy:

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sunday 18th January 1959
Much warmer today – but wet & all the floors are damp. Jill had a good sleep on the step & I took her & Sue for a walk this afternoon. Otherwise a lazy – uneventful day!

Monday 19th January 1959
Very showery – its been an in & out day for the washing – mostly in!! Jill has been very good – amusing herself in the pen. This afternoon we went to the Green & had a cuppa with Olive & Frank on the way home. Letters from Joan & Dad – also dressing gown for Jill from Joan. 

Tuesday 20th January 1959
Jill has been very good again – & so I’ve been able to put the flat icing on my cake – made a sponge and a dozen mince pies! Its a wet & windy day again. We’ve had a trip to the Green today & that’s all. Cyril went without breakfast this am. – we mistook the time!

Wednesday 21st January 1959
My b’day.
I’ve had 18 (*17 crossed out!*) B’day cards! Tulips and memosa from Jill – daffs tulips Iris & anemones from Dad & boys! Hankies – Olive; egg cups – greenie; talc – Mrs Mac. (Book mark Marion) hankies – Mur. Bath cubes – Renee. Brush – Jackie & Elaine. Purse wallet from Cyril! A nice party with Olive, Mrs Mac. & Marion; Greenie; Jackie & Elaine.

Thursday 22nd January 1959
It is blustery again today so much so that I was scared to put out the washing & dare not light the fire. Jill, Sue & I have had a quick walk round the Hatches & a cuppa with Mrs Mac. Cyril has gone to see the house at Oxshott this pm. so I’m anxiously waiting his arrival home.

Friday 23rd January 1959
Great excitement last night – we can have a new house at Oxshott. Cyril is delighted with the village & says its very pretty. He was home about 5.15 last night . Colder today – v wet this afternoon. We’ve been to the clinic. 

Saturday 24th January 1959
Fine & frosty. Cyril was very late getting home last night – nearly eight & I was beginning to worry. Something wrong on the line & the train just crawled along. I’ve been to Camberley – home at 9.50! & to Frimley Green this am.
Lovely afternoon – Jill Sue & I have been round the Hatches & right up as far as St. Catherines. Sue & I are very tired!!
I went to bed at 9pm!

Week 2: 11th January – 17th January 1959

 

In last week’s blog post we failed to decipher Peggy’s handwriting on her 1st January diary entry. We couldn’t quite work out just what style of suit she’d bought Jill. Thanks however to Lorna, one of our followers, we now know it was probably a ‘siren’ suit

Here’s what’s going on in the world this week in 1959

  • The Caves of Nerja were discovered in Spain by five boys who wanted to go hunting for bats. The cave, blocked by stalactites, had been sealed for more than 3,000 years and was a trove of Paleolithic artefacts.
  • In the largest mass execution of former officials since Castro’s victory, Cuban communists shot 71 supporters of Fulgencio Batista over a seven-hour period, then buried them in a mass grave.
  • Antarctic explorers from Japan were stunned to find alive two of the 15 Karafuto husky dogs that they had abandoned eleven months earlier. A six-man advance party had helicoptered from the ship Soya to reopen the base on Ongul Island. Masami Muriyama radioed back that the dogs greeted them with tails wagging, and were in good condition. The next day, Japan was in celebration, with hourly updates on the radio, and newspaper headlines. The story was recounted in the 1983 film Nankyoku Monogatari and the inspiration for the 2006 Disney film Eight Below.
  • Andrija Artukovic, wanted for Nazi war crimes from his role as an official in the puppet state of Croatia, was allowed to stay in the United States after a federal commissioner ruled against Yugoslavia’s request for extradition. Artukovic, wanted for ordering the murders of 200,000 of his countrymen in 1941 and 1942, would finally be extradited in 1986, and would die at 88 before a death sentence could be carried out.
  • In San Francisco, the North American Rugby Football League was unveiled in a press conference, with Ward Nash as Commissioner of the first pro rugby league in the United States. Former 49er Gordy Soltau was introduced as owner of the San Francisco franchise in a projected six team league with Los Angeles, Vancouver, Seattle, Houston and Dallas. The season was to start in February 1960 and run until late May, and expressed plans to use retired and off-season players from the Rams and the 49ers. The NARFL, however, did not materialize.

And here’s what was keeping Peggy busy:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday 11th January 1959
Cold & snowy again today but there has been sunshine. Cyril took the girls out this morning while I did my washing – have dried & ironed a few things. We’ve had a lazy afternoon – watching Jill & T.V. 

Monday 12th January 1959
Cyril day off.
& my day in town!
I caught the 9.30 & was in Gamages before 11am! Have had a good day – bought Boots; 2 overalls; corsets & a dress – socks for Cyril & an everyday tea set. Poor Jill only had a 6d. book! I have enjoyed myself. Home at 4.45. Cyril said Jill had been a little angel.

Tuesday 13th January 1959
Jill has been very good today – enabling me to get on with the considerable chores this morning. Its been colder today – is foggy now. 7pm & Cyril not home yet. We went to the Green & round the  ?Halcher calling on Olive for a cuppa. Letters from Mick & Ted.

Wednesday 14th January 1959
Worst day for ages – thick fog & persistent frost which has lasted all day. We haven’t been out so I’ve not been able to post Robs card! Jill has been good – we’ve been on the lounge floor all afternoon & I’ve started a letter to Joan!
Took Cyril 2 1/2 hrs. to get to the office & another 2 1/2 to get home!

Thursday 15th January 1959
Rob (Birthday).
Better today – no fog & a bit of sunshine. I had to go out this morning – which pleased Gillian & Sue! Jill has slept very little today & is tired out now. Mrs Mac called & we went down to Frimley: letter from Mum. Henry Hutchinson came at 6.20 – good thing I was able to stretch the dinner!

Friday 16th January 1959
Cold but fine again. Jill & I had a bit of a lie in – she doesn’t want to go down for her rest these days. My washing is all frozen again! Went to the Green this afternoon with Olive & she came back for a cuppa.  

Saturday 17th January 1959
The big thaw has set in bringing rain with it – & how messy it is everywhere – sticky sand on the pavement & roads. The pram wheels get plastered. Went to Camberley this am. & took the girls to the Green on my return. Jill slept for barely an hour & is into everything  this afternoon. Cyril & I can hardly keep our eyes open. I’ve got my birthday cake in the oven.

Week 1: 1st January – 10th January 1959

 

Having followed Peggy through her 1943 War diary we’ve decided to jump forward to the late 1950s for this year’s weekly diary blog. So, welcome to Peggy in 1959, exactly sixty years ago. In 1959 Peggy and her husband Cyril had moved from Peggy’s home town of Malvern, where they met and married after the War, to Frimley in Surrey, about 35 miles south-west of London. Cyril commutes daily to his Government Ministry of Supply job in London, while Peggy stays at home with their daughter Gillian, now 14 months old, and Suzy the poodle.

Here’s what’s going on in the world this week in 1959

  • The Soviet Union successfully launched the Luna 1 satellite from Baikonur Cosmodrome. Luna 1 would become the first man-made object to escape the pull of the Earth’s gravity and orbit the Sun.
  • Alaska was proclaimed as the 49th U.S. state by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. A new American flag, with seven staggered rows, each with seven stars, was introduced. Given that a 50th state might soon be admitted, the 49-state flag was not widely produced.
  • In Bowling Green, Virginia, Mildred and Richard Loving were found guilty of a felony for violating Virginia Code §20-59, the law against miscegenation. Richard was white, Mildred was black, and they had married in Washington, D.C., on June 2, 1958, then returned to live with her parents in Central Point. They were arrested ten days later. Judge Leon M. Bazile sentenced them each to a year in jail, suspending the sentence on condition that they leave Virginia for 25 years. Mr. and Mrs. Loving moved to Washington, D.C., but in 1963 they filed a motion in the court to vacate the judgment. After Virginia’s highest court upheld the law, the Lovings appealed to the United States Supreme Court. On June 12, 1967, in the case of Loving v. Virginia, the Court ruled as unconstitutional the Virginia law, and similar laws in 15 other states.
  • Charles de Gaulle was inaugurated President of France, the first under the new constitution as the Fifth Republic, while Michel Debre became Prime Minister, the office formerly held by de Gaulle.
  • The U.S. District Court in Atlanta ordered the University System of Georgia to admit qualified African-Americans in its segregated colleges, striking down a requirement that at least two college alumni had to sign for a student to enroll. Meanwhile, the federal court in Little Rock ordered the school board to integrate and reopen the Arkansas city’s high schools, which had been closed for four months.

And here’s what was keeping Peggy busy:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday 1st January 1959
Cyril had the day off. I went to Camberley to the bank. Had a quickie at Page’s Sale, bought Jill a shower proof turquoise colour ?? suit for £2.9.11. Very high winds today. Almost Gale force.

Friday 2nd January 1959
What a rough night it was last night. T.G (thank goodness) it’s not so windy today. The sun came out so I took Gillian to the village this PM & bought her a pair of shoes – Clarks – 14/9!!! She has been good today until tea time when she started crying & she’s cried ever since – until 6pm!!

Saturday 3rd January 1959
Gillian had a much better night last night – didn’t wake until 05.15. We were glad of the nights sleep!!! The sweep was here pretty well on time & it didn’t take long to sweep the chimney. It’s not smoking now!!! Cyril went to Camberley this am. and I’m going in this afternoon for an hour. Jill behaved quite well while I was out – I was home just after 3.30. She’s very tired & was quite bad tempered at bed time. She & I have an invitation to tea at Jacksons tomorrow.

Sunday 4th January 1959
Tea with Elaine. We woke up to a white world – we’d had a heavy fall of snow overnight. It’s been quite sunny though & this afternoon I took Gillian & Sue for a walk before Jill & I went to tea at Jacksons. Cyril cold isn’t much better yet. 

Monday 5th January 1959
A dull damp & miserable day – no hope of drying the washing so I’ve brought it all in. Jill has been good this morning – didn’t want to go in her cot at 11 – so she’s been in the pram in the lounge since midday – quarter to two now! Letters from Mum (Cyril’s), Joan

Tuesday 6th January 1959
Lousy day again so we haven’t been out at all. Cyril came home soaked last night so that won’t have done his cold much good. I don’t know why but I’m feeling down in the dumps these days! Gillian played up a bit this am. so was all behind with my chores. Letters from Jim, Eileen, & Mutty – ? dog ?tumblers Xmapresent from Dick & Phyllis. 

Wednesday 7th January 1959
It has been a bit brighter today & I was able to hang out the pyjamas. Gillian has been so good – a little angel in fact. We went out this morning & afternoon. Had a cup of tea with Mrs. Mac – Olive too. Letter from Dick & Phyllis

Thursday 8th January 1959
Fine & cold today – very cold in fact but I’ve dried quite a big wash & shall finish ironing it tonight. Jill has been very good. Mrs Mac & Marion called in this afternoon Jill is always pleased to see Marion. No letters. Must write some.

Friday 9th January 1959
Gillian’s 2nd Polio injection. Cold & snowy but fine – I’d made up my mind to walk to the Doc – Olive was coming too – But Mrs. Mac came up & said she would take us. Gillian didn’t cry at the injection but I wonder what will happen tonight. Afterwards we went to the clinic & found she had lost 2ozs in weight. 

Saturday 10th January 1959
Bitterly cold this morning – all day in fact. I nearly went down on my bot several times this morning. Cyril had fun & games with Jill while I was out & couldn’t get on with anything. I took her (& Sue) up to the Green – Jill went to sleep when we got back until 2pm. We haven’t been out this afternoon – I’ve had the first baking session since Christmas. It was a great effort. Written to Mur & Dave & Dick & Phyllis.

Week 52: 26th December – 31st December 1943

 

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

  • The German battleship Scharnhorst was torpedoed and sunk during the Battle of the North Cape by the British battleship HMS Duke of York, with the loss of all but 36 of her crew of 1,943 German officers and sailors. Among the dead was Konteradmiral (Rear Admiral) Erich Bey, 45, the commander of the German Navy’s destroyer forces.
  • One day after abolishing the Kalmyk Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, the Soviet Union began the forced relocation of the roughly 100,000 people of the Kalmyk ethnic group to various locations in Siberia, after accusing members of the predominantly Buddhist minority of collaboration with the Germans during the war. The surviving exiles would be allowed to return in 1957, and the Kalmyk ASSR would be granted autonomy again in 1958.
  • Leo Pasvolsky of the U.S. State Department finished the draft proposal for the basic organization of the United Nations Charter, which Secretary of State Cordell Hull presented to President Roosevelt. Under Pasvolsky’s plan, a “General Assembly”, with representatives from all nations, would vote on most matters; a four-member “Executive Council” (composed of the four Allied Powers, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and France) would vote on security matters, with the right of any one member to veto a decision. In the final version of the UN Charter, the Executive Council would be renamed the Security Council, and would include China as a fifth member.
  • Hitler delivered a New Year’s message to the German people admitting that 1943, “brought us our heaviest reverses,” and that 1944, “will make heavy demands on all Germans. This vast war will approach a crisis this year. We have every confidence that we will survive.” Hitler stated that it was no news that the English intended to carry out a landing somewhere, but assured the German people that defences had been prepared that would, “surprise our enemies more than their landings would surprise us.”
  • British Deputy Prime Minister Clement Attlee broadcast a New Year’s Eve message of his own to the people of the United Kingdom. Attlee declared that the, “hour of reckoning has come” for the Nazis but urged the British people not to be complacent, stating: “We do know that in 1944 the war will blaze up into greater intensity than ever before, and that we must be prepared to face heavier casualties. 1944 may be the victory year; it will only be so if we continue to put forward our utmost efforts, and if we allow nothing to divert us from our main purpose.”

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

Sunday 26th December 1943
Got a terrific head – guess I ate too much yesterday. Went skating or trying to. Had great fun! Met two Yanks – stayed at Red Shield Club. Not bad.  

Monday 27th December 1943
Spent the morning eating! Very tired after Christmas! On Guard – feeling quite low & depressed. No news of Les yet. To bed early after ENSA show.

Tuesday 28th December 1943
On guard this morning. Very cold & still tired. Nothing much happened. Hear I’m to go on a Course ?? I for the course have to have a Local acting Unpaid Stripe! Went to Regt. to interview with s/e – was an hour late!!! 

Wednesday 29th December 1943
back to BHQ ? & after tea went skating – had great fun. Back in about 2200hrs! 

Thursday 30th December 1943
On Guard again today. Hear Doreen going on a course too so it won’t be too bad. Our Joan is going to Beaumaris so we shan’t be far away. 

Friday 31st December 1943
New Years Eve concert & dance. Concert went down quite OK Dance was just a repetition of Christmas We saw the New Year in sitting round our fire!! Very tired. Had to come over to BHQ today (Sat.) Went to the Ice Rink & had a very nice time – all the gang of us. Caught the 2230 back to B.H.Q. Am just about getting the hang of skating! And here I am at the end of this diary. I never thought when I started it that I would ever keep it up. But now I’m going to miss writing in it. 

It’s Sunday now & I’m still at B.H.Q! I’m beginning to feel a wee bit nervous about this course as I think there will be only Snr. W.C.O’s on it. Poor me. Anyway I’m hoping I shall see something of Joan while I’m up there.

Much to my disappointment I still haven’t heard from Les. Can’t quite understand it as he seemed so genuine. I’m very disappointed but guess I’ll soon get over it!

Am now going to have forty winks. No doubt in Years to come – when the world is at Peace I shall enjoy reading this diary – and all ?? my army life.

So – in the words of C/r Temple Green (friend of Renées)

This is It

Week 51: 19th December – 25th December 1943

 

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

  • On the Philippines’ Panay Island, ten American Baptist missionaries, three other Americans and two children were captured by the Japanese Army after having hidden for two years, and became the Hopevale Martyrs the next day, volunteering to be executed in return for the Japanese allowing their Filipino captives to go free. The following day, after being granted an hour to pray, the adults, ranging in age from 39 to 59, were beheaded by sword, and the two children, including a nine-year-old boy, were bayoneted.
  • In an act of mercy that would be written about nearly 70 years later in the popular book A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II, German Luftwaffe Oberleutnant Franz Stigler, a fighter ace with 22 victories, declined to shoot down the severely damaged American B-17 bomber  Ye Olde Pub, and instead escorted the plane until it left German airspace. The American plane, piloted by 2nd Lieutenant Charlie Brown, had been on its first mission and was shot up before it could release its cargo of bombs. Flying back to England, it landed safely at its base at RAF Seething. Forty-seven years later, Brown would locate his benefactor, and he and Stigler would remain close friends until the death of both of them in 2008.
  • Pierre-Étienne Flandin, a former Prime Minister of France, was arrested in Algiers along with four other one-time Vichy France government officials who had collaborated with the German occupiers of France. Flandin had headed the government in 1934 and 1935, and then served again for two months as premier of the Vichy government. Jailed also were former Interior Minister Marcel Peyrouton, Information Secretary Pierre Tixler-Vignacourt, member of parliament André Albert, and Pierre François Boisson, the recent Governor-General of French West Africa.
  • Beatrix Potter, 77, children’s book author known for the Peter Rabbit series, died of leukaemia.
  • Allied bombardment of Berlin was temporarily halted after a week of raids by the Royal Air Force and the U.S. Army Air Forces that had ended with a heavy attack on the morning of Christmas Eve that had killed more than 2,000 people. At the same time, no German bombers flew over the United Kingdom.

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

Sunday 19th November July 1943
More or less settled down. On Church Parade to Speke Church. Practising for concert tonight. Concert went down VERY WELL But can’t get rid of the soot!! 

Monday 20th November 1943
Clean at last! Thank goodness. ? show at night by No. 1 factory – quite good – though not so good as ours!! Modest! Changed the buttons onto my ?Oldest? uniform – bed about 2315.

Tuesday 21st November 1943
Had Boxing Exhibition in Nissen. Very good & interesting. Al won a prize! Boxing lasted until nearly 2200hrs. Very tired.

Wednesday 22nd December 1943
On guard this morning so had to be up with the lark! Still no letter from Les – but maybe it(s) the Christmas rush. Do hope I hear from him. Show by R. 205.

Thursday 23rd December August 1943
Manning. Did some ?An Coop?? A/G from Jim – but no word from Les. On Evening leave. Went to ?Gawston – back to dance Quite good fun – but I’d a sore throat. 

Friday 24th December 1943
Christmas Eve – might as well be in the Workhouse!! Very depressing here. Still no letters from Les! No letter from home. Very dull in the evening. Not a bit like Xmas.  

Saturday 25th December 1943
Most depressing! Good food though got the tea & supper. Everyone direct and disgusting. Went to bed at 2300! Party broke up at 0400!

Week 50: 12th December – 18th December 1943

 

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

  • The German 117th Jäger Division carried out the destruction of Kalavryta in Greece, rounding up to 460 adult men in the town and executing them with machine gun fire, then burning the town.
  • A wave of 1,462 American airplanes flew an early afternoon carpet bombing raid over the German cities of Bremen, Hamburg and Kiel. In a departure from previous missions, all bombers in a unit would release their high explosive bombs and incendiaries, simultaneously, on the population centres.
  • The French Committee of National Liberation, government in exile for France, issued a decree granting full French citizenship to those Arabs in Algeria who were classified as “Moslem elites”, the criterion being the ability to fluently read and write the French language, and dropped previous requirement that a prospective citizen “renounce the Koranic law”, and added that the attainment of the same rights as “non-Moslem French” people would be granted to Arab Algerians “without abandonment of their personal Koranic status”. The order was expected to enfranchise at between 20,000 and 30,000 Algerian Muslims.
  • The first war crimes trial of World War II began at Kharkov in the Soviet Union, when three German officers and a Russian collaborator were tried for “crimes and atrocities [that are] … links in a long chain of crimes which have been, and are still being, committed by the German invaders on the direct instructions of the German Government and of the Supreme Command of the German Army.” The four men (Abwehr Captain Wilhelm Langheld, SS Lieutenant Hans Ritz, Corporal Reinhard Retzlaff of the Secret Field Police, and Mikhail Bulanov of Kharkov) would be found guilty on December 17 and hanged the next day, in public, in front of thousands of spectators at Kharkov’s main square.
  • The sister of Erich Maria Remarque, the German-born author of All Quiet on the Western Front, was beheaded after being convicted in the German “People’s Court” (Volksgerichtshof) of “undermining the war effort” by failing to denounce her famous brother, who had become successful in the United States. Judge Roland Freisler told Elfriede Remark Scholz, “Your brother is beyond our reach, but you will not escape us.”
  • On the fortieth anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ historic first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, President Roosevelt announced that the Wrights’ airplane would be returned to the United States from storage in England, and donated to the Smithsonian Institution. The Wrights had allowed the aircraft to go overseas after the Smithsonian had refused to recognize the Wrights as the makers of the first flight, crediting Samuel Langley instead.

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

Sunday 12th November July 1943
Took Ted & Rob for a walk. After tea went to flicks, saw ‘Convoy’ – very good. Terribly cold – came straight home & to bed early.

Monday 13th November 1943
Up about 09.30! Very nice too. Went to flicks saw ‘The Great Waltz’ – not very good – except music. Met a friend of Mur’s Yank – named Leslie. Very nice! Home about 2300

Tuesday 14th November 1943
Went down the Link – then to dance. Danced a lot with Yoda
(!) till Les came. Came home with him – didn’t get in till 00.10! Les awfully nice. Very tall.

Wednesday 15th December 1943
Went up town. Still very cold. Met Les at 1830. Went to the flicks. Saw Humphrey Bogart in “Action in N. Atlantic”. Les is so nice – I shall miss him a hell of a lot.

Thursday 16th December August 1943
Stayed in bed till 1100. Didn’t go out as Les couldn’t get out. Pressed my frock.

Friday 17th December 1943
Found out trains. Packed. Met Les at 1830. Went to flicks and saw Bing in ‘Sing you Sinners’ for the 3rd time! I didn’t mind – was with Les. Wore my civvies – pouring with rain when we came out. Very downhearted leaving my Les! Hope he writes to me!

Saturday 18th December 1943
Train two hours late! Terribly cold & very very browned off.