WWII in real time


Goebbel's diary: "We sent neutral journalists & Polish intellectuals to the spot where they [the Polish bodies] were found. Their reports now reaching us from ahead are gruesome... We shall be able to live on it for a couple of weeks.”

German minister Goebbels is delighted by discovery of mass graves of Poles murdered by Poles in Katyn Forest; gloats at creating "anti-Bolshevik propaganda on a grand style."

Nazis occupiers of France announce evacuation of all children & non-working civilians in Atlantic ports of Le Havre, Dieppe, Cherbourg, St Malo & Brest, fleeing increasingly heavy Allied bombing.

Furious Sikorski visits 10 Downing Street. Churchill: "He told me he had proofs that the Soviets had murdered the 15,000 Polish officers... had a wealth of evidence. I said, 'If they are dead nothing you can do will bring them back.'" https://t.co/GTIPgyaFuQ RealTimeWWII photo

Stalin told General Sikorski, leader of Polish free govt. in London, that the USSR had "lost track" of his officers amidst the chaos of Soviet occupation of Poland followed by German invasion. https://t.co/PvtgwmWWvw RealTimeWWII photo

News of mass graves of murdered Polish officers, found near Smolensk, has been published by the Germans. Anti-Nazi Polish government-in-exile, based in London, is demanding explanations from the Soviet government.

8 days after crash of his plane Lady Be Good in the Libyan desert, US Army Lt. Robert Toner writes final entry in his journal: "No help yet, very cold nite". He & his 8 fellow aircrew have perished deep in the Saharan sands.

Nazis denouncing the killings of Poles by Soviet secret police, NKVD, as "typical Bolshevik brutality"- Germans claim they have found 10,000 corpses, with identification as Polish officers. https://t.co/FHw4ZXm4lD RealTimeWWII photo

Nazi Germany announces grisly discover in the territory of the USSR: the bodies of thousands of Polish officers & intellectuals, apparently murdered by Soviets & dumped in mass graves around Katyn forest. https://t.co/F7YmbQ3D8l RealTimeWWII photo

As well as borrowing historically high levels of debt, British government are urging population to buy war bonds; essentially lending savings money to Treasury for the duration of war. https://t.co/1x8CUfY23D RealTimeWWII photo

On UK Budget Day, Chancellor of the Exchequer announces war is now costing Britain £15 million a day, up from £5 million three years ago. British government will increase taxes & borrowing to cover unprecedented annual deficit of £2,848,614,000.

Göring, head of Luftwaffe, is widely mocked in Germany. 3 years ago he announced: “No enemy bomber can reach the Ruhr. If one reaches the Ruhr, my name is not Göring. You can call me Meyer [a common German name].” Berliners call air-raid sirens “Meyer’s trumpets”.

As Allied bombing campaign on German homeland mounts, Reichsmarschall Göring has decreed all adult Germans must now work as air raid wardens, fire-watching & enforcing blackout at night. https://t.co/nTH2Grl2tR RealTimeWWII photo

British troops have captured the town of Sfax, a Tunisian port facing Sicily. Watch Allied forces greeted by Tunisians & French as they arrive: https://t.co/FZ814tgzut

Lady Be Good, an American B-24 "Liberator" plane, has been lost over the Sahara Desert returning from a bombing mission. 8 of the 9 crew survived the crash, but have been stranded with only a single canteen of water, given up for dead by US military. https://t.co/4KKIOQcSCL RealTimeWWII photo

Axis forces in North Africa now trapped on the narrow Tunis peninsula, with Allied armies closing in, and bombers cutting off sea rescue. https://t.co/hCMx8CSmv6 RealTimeWWII photo

Silk has run out in Britain- all precious, imported supplies are reserved to make parachutes. Women now paint their legs with gravy browning, to fake wearing stockings: https://t.co/YFjnq6kJM3 RealTimeWWII photo

Germans Otto & Elise Hampel have been executed by the German government, guillotined for "high treason". Their crime was distributing 200 postcards denouncing the Nazi regime as killers of workers & urging non-cooperation. https://t.co/JtjILzY8uB RealTimeWWII photo

British & American armies have met in North Africa below Djebel Chemsi (1 on map), while breakthrough on the defensive Mareth Line has left nothing but open plains before Allied forces in southern Tunisia; Axis now have their backs to the sea. https://t.co/acLFXj5cKJ RealTimeWWII photo

British & American soldiers now meet in the Tunisian desert, completing encirclement of Axis in North Africa- British have fought west from Egypt, Americans east from Morocco: https://t.co/Jmz5aKaSqs RealTimeWWII photo

News Letter

Highs and Lows of 2010

A bad winter in 2009 saw the bunker suffering an influx of water which threatened the Operations Room floor, the only wooden floor in the whole complex. Luckily contractors were quick enough to dry the bunker out. November/December of 2010 saw an abundance of heavy snow and with access to the bunker off limits to everyone; it is unknown what lies within. guardhouse

The early part of 2010 started slowly for Bunker Thirteen as we had expected. We have now become used to such periods of little or no activity, but in the meantime members of Bunker Thirteen continued to drum up support and locate existing veterans who served in 13 Group Headquarters.
A boost to our list of supporters came from the Newcastle branch of the Royal Air Force Association and we had some interest in our project from 617 Squadron.
Bunker Thirteen became close associates of Blyth Battery Volunteers who invited us back to their events on a regular basis.
May 2011 will see Bunker Thirteen back at Blyth and also back to our biggest supporter’s event for the second year running. Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington Air Field has supported Bunker Thirteen since day one, back in 2008 when we first started out and Ian Reed and his staff still continue to do so.

2010 saw Bunker Thirteen’s first appearance at Yorkshire Air Museum followed closely by Blyth Battery. It was also our first attempt at fund raising, which started slowly but as we met more and more people, the fund raising improved.

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Invites emerged from various sources such as the Old Hartley Heritage Fair, Shiremoor Library and Blyth Social Club, where we spoke to local History groups and gathered a generous following. When Bunker Thirteen wasn’t attending events, negotiations and meetings were on going with Taylor Wimpy as to the future of the Bunker. The local residents also expressed an interest in the future of the bunker and how it would benefit them.
2010 also saw Bunker Thirteen on a fact finding mission to the 11 Group bunker at RAF Uxbridge. Also attending were the owners of the 1940’s UK Radio, Shaun & Lynda Moncaster. Video and audio recordings were made around the Battle of Britain Ops Room as well as with WAAF Rita Spence.

 

service1
September saw the bunker receiving its first recognition in the way of a Remembrance Service conducted by Rev. Ronald Black. 617 Squadron were going to attend. They asked us if we would want a fly-past but 617 were told it wasn’t worth their while as the service was only to last fifteen minutes. However they did say that they would try and make it next time, if and when we erect a memorial stone to 13 Group Fighter Command. The Lord Mayor of Newcastle upon Tyne attended the service along with veterans from the Royal Air Force Association. Bunker Thirteen’s own two WAAFs, Rita Spence and Catherine (Kitty) Brightwell also attended and were given the honour of laying the wreath. Radio Newcastle attended during the afternoon and interviewed members of Bunker Thirteen, journalists and photographers from Newcastle’s Evening Chronicle attended the service.
A contingent from 733 Squadron (Newcastle Airport) Sqn formed the guard of Honour, led by Warrant Officer Phil Greenwood.

rita
2010 also saw the return of WAAF Rita Spence to the former 13 Group Fighter Command Headquarters after she left in 1943 on another posting. She was joined by her daughter Judith and son in law John, along with representatives from Taylor Wimpy and their management company. Rita visited areas inside the headquarters that she would have never been allowed to see during her time there. She spoke briefly about her time in the headquarters and said that it was a privilege to return.
Plans were in progress for a top producer from the BBC to make a documentary with Rita and fellow WAAF Kitty Brightwell inside of the headquarters but alas, tragedy struck. Rita had to have an operation and sadly, she passed away leaving a huge sense of loss, both for her family and for Bunker Thirteen.
Her funeral was held at a Crematorium in South Shields, attended by her family and representatives from the Newcastle Branch of the WAAFs Association and Bunker Thirteen. Her coffin was draped in a Union Jack.
Nearing the end of 2010 saw yet another slow period with no activity at all but still, behind the scenes, support for the bunker project was looked for.
Out of the blue, one person emerged that was quite enthusiastic about the bunker project. The only professional, female band leader in the UK, with a massive following, Debbie Curtis was only too keen to lend her support and to help in any way that she could. John from Bunker Thirteen continues to converse with her on a regular basis and mentioned that Bunker Thirteen would like to involve a celebrity as a patron but the search had been fruitless so far. Debbie had said that she may help on that score but so far nothing has happened yet – but confidence is high. bandleader

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