WWII in real time

Leningrad has been encircled, with supplies of food severely restricted, under German assault & artillery barrage, for 924 days. Over a million Soviet civilians have died during one of the longest sieges in history. https://t.co/yszbjQ91ig RealTimeWWII photo
Red Army have decisively broken the German lines around the city of Leningrad. Jubilant Leningrad defenders greet Soviet forces who have cracked Axis blockade. More on the city's liberation: https://t.co/torDTASoKr https://t.co/A6EOuZuhpQ RealTimeWWII photo
British landing craft LST-422 has hit a German mine off Anzio beach, Italy, ripping a 50 metre hole in her hull & setting the ship's fuel supply alight. 483 Allied troops, mostly asleep alongside vehicles in lower decks, have died, trapped in the sinking, burning vessel. https://t.co/uZTqMJNUFN RealTimeWWII photo
From the Allied beachhead at Anzio, Italy, BBC reporter Wynford Vaughan-Thomas broadcasts on radio as a German air raid strikes British forces. Listen now: https://t.co/B14n6HmAeH
Red Army troops have driven German Army back from the outskirts of Leningrad, breaking nearly 900 days of siege & starvation. https://t.co/mOFbXHpNZl RealTimeWWII photo
Allied forces are pouring into the beachheads at Anzio, Italy, almost unopposed by Germans. One American reconnaissance jeep even briefly reached outskirts of Rome- but Allies are fortifying Anzio rather than moving forward to take advantage of surprise. https://t.co/850aTBLam8 RealTimeWWII photo
Allied landings at Anzio, Italy, completely surprise the Germans: 36,000 men now ashore, just 13 killed seizing beaches. https://t.co/Cs8MWY4Q1o RealTimeWWII photo
Hoping to break the stalemate in southern Italy, Allied forces are making an amphibious landing on beach at Anzio, north of the main German "Winter line" of defences. They hope to catch Axis from north & south. https://t.co/HQbsxpI4lY RealTimeWWII photo
“Kinabalu Guerrillas”, many armed with only melee weapons, arrows & blowdarts, managed to seize three towns in Borneo & kill ~90 Japanese occupiers. Leader Albert Kwok eventually surrendered after Japanese began indiscriminate killing of civilians. More: https://t.co/etJ2KqbTbb https://t.co/0NQnLU1RAe RealTimeWWII photo
On Japanese-occupied North Borneo, a three-month long revolt by a multi-ethnic resistance movement has been brutally crushed. Japanese Kenpeitai police have murdered 176 suspected rebels, mostly local civilians, by bayoneting, beheading, & burying alive in mass graves. https://t.co/lfSRdjfhWg RealTimeWWII photo
Newly released Alfred Hitchcock film "Lifeboat" is in cinemas now, telling story of survivors adrift in the Atlantic after their ship is torpedoed by a German U-boat- who discover one of the submarine's crew is with them: https://t.co/9bxAksp1l8
As fresh waves of US infantrymen approach Rapido, trying to cross freezing river, one of them, Lt. J.E. Phillips observes: "Ground became spongy- we found it was dead GIs, stacked sometimes six feet high. German fire raked the boats midstream- my men yelled, shot or drowning".
US 36th Infantry Division are trying to bridge Rapido river- both banks & cliffs heavily mined- under German artillery & machine-gun fire. https://t.co/90DlnMFYOX RealTimeWWII photo
As Allies attack at the Axis defensive lines at Monte Cassino, American troops have been ordered to make a "diversionary" frontal assault on Germans over River Rapido. https://t.co/hSRJLi3Jl4 RealTimeWWII photo
Australian government has introduced meat rationing, allowing no more than one kilo of beef per week per person. Fish, sausages, chicken, ham & rabbits are not rationed. https://t.co/tqtnNY59SQ RealTimeWWII photo
Soviet newspaper Pravda reports that American & British diplomats have met with Nazi authorities in Spain to negotiate a separate peace with the Western Allies. UK & USA, confused, deny rumoured discussions ever took place.
Morgenthau warns Roosevelt that American officials tasked with saving Jewish refugees are committing "gross procrastination... even willful attempts to prevent action from being taken to rescue Jews from Hitler." https://t.co/42jTU02eXE
US Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau reports to President Roosevelt that Hitler is massacring Jews- & State Department does nothing: "One of the greatest crimes in history, the slaughter of the Jewish people in Europe, is continuing unabated..." https://t.co/GfV7Tk4ijN RealTimeWWII photo
Allied troops in Italy have begun an assault on the Axis Winter Line, through mountain valleys overlooked by historic Monte Cassino abbey. https://t.co/m4qa1ShW71 RealTimeWWII photo
"Road of Life" built into besieged Leningrad over the frozen Lake Ladoga to funnel vital supplies is now ferrying Red Army into they city; 1,241,000 Soviet troops are attacking 74,000 encircling Germans. https://t.co/2XOmDQFmjY 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.

 

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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.

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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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