WWII in real time

In Normandy, counterattack by German II SS Panzer Corps has failed to crack open Allied lines near Caen; calling Berlin to report failed offensive, General Gerd Von Rundstedt (L) is asked: “What shall we do?" Rundstedt replies: "Make peace, you fools! What else can you do?" https://t.co/dx3N2JFpvr RealTimeWWII photo
In 25 days since D-Day landings in Normandy, Allies have disembarked nearly 630,000 men, 177,000 vehicles and 600,000 tons of equipment. 37,034 Americans & 24,698 British & Canadians are dead, injured, or taken prisoner in fighting so far. https://t.co/13Crert6Ci RealTimeWWII photo
In Normandy, Allied forces rely on enormous advantage in airpower & artillery to continue their advance. Near Villers Bocage, 266 British Avro Lancaster planes carpet a road junction with 1,100 tons of bombs to deny movement of German panzers. https://t.co/oYxM0Ba4Ba RealTimeWWII photo
Red Army's Operation Bagration assault is cutting deep into Axis forces on the Eastern Front; Soviet pincers now threatening to recapture Minsk, held by Germans for last three years: https://t.co/tgTPh6iVlX RealTimeWWII photo
Germans aim to crush the "Scottish Corridor" west of Caen, where British VIII Corps spearheaded by 15th Scottish Infantry Division threatens a breakthrough. Piecemeal attacks by SS-Pankerkorps fail to drive Allies back. (H/T @ReassessHistory) https://t.co/p209gxOyax RealTimeWWII photo
British in Normandy are facing 3 formidable SS panzer divisions, with heavy losses; ammo lorry explodes after direct mortar hit: https://t.co/BHuEc2UOXH RealTimeWWII photo
British offensive in Normandy aimed at capturing city of Caen, Operation Epsom, has been beaten to halt by Germans. https://t.co/iBC5TcbWbJ RealTimeWWII photo
Cherbourg has fallen, with German defenders surrendering to assault by American troops, but vital port installations have been wrecked by Wehrmacht before they could be seized by Allies. https://t.co/2hSkl3I5wk RealTimeWWII photo
British General Montgomery: "Montebourg & Valognes have been 'liberated' in the best 21st Army Group style, ie. they are both completely destroyed!" https://t.co/h6aykvu1oe RealTimeWWII photo
Faced with a tangle of German bunkers & defensive lines in Normandy, Allied troops are relying on massive artillery barrages to "soften" French towns prior to assault. https://t.co/FpSwfVdJ6Z RealTimeWWII photo
US troops are fighting way into Cherbourg, approaching harbour; panicked Germans starting to destroy port facilities: https://t.co/5eyD0gUYnL RealTimeWWII photo
Allied assault on Cherbourg has begun with bombardment by UK & US Navy; large warships in duel with German coastal guns, while smaller ships provide focused fire support for American infantry assaulting French port. https://t.co/ZO2fIHCtcU RealTimeWWII photo
French Resistance are calling on Nazi-occupied nation to rise up, unite with Allies & crush fascism "between the hammer & the anvil". https://t.co/po2fg7CXLz RealTimeWWII photo
Red Army summer offensive, Operation Bagration, is smashing German lines in north-east Europe, from Poland to the Baltic coast. New York Times map shows enormous Soviet advances of the last year: https://t.co/YSTSwnYQLV RealTimeWWII photo
Polish troops of the 1st Armoured Division in UK, ready to head to France- one of Free Europe forces fighting for Allies. https://t.co/zZDL5ZY4ES RealTimeWWII photo
Allied troops have reached the outskirts of Cherbourg, a vital Normandy port that Hitler has ordered Germans should defend to the last man. https://t.co/o6IbV2ppLQ RealTimeWWII photo
Across western France, Resistance fighters are uniting with advancing Allied troops, sabotaging & attacking German occupiers. https://t.co/Lp55RQigSY RealTimeWWII photo
Weeks of military deception by Soviets have left Germans expecting an attack in south, through Ukraine; instead, Operation Bagration (named after Russian general who fought Napoleon) aims to crush Axis Army Group Centre, stationed around Poland. https://t.co/62SFE71fxO RealTimeWWII photo
After colossal overnight artillery barrage, the largest so far in history, over 1.6 million Red Army troops are advancing into east Poland & Belorussia, dwarfing scale of Allied landings in France on D-Day. https://t.co/LpFOHtcgmO RealTimeWWII photo
Three years to the day after Germany launched an invasion of the USSR, Red Army have begun Operation Bagration: a huge offensive in east Europe, aimed at enveloping & crushing German Army Group Centre. https://t.co/KGb3t6jlyf 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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