WWII in real time

German city of Kassel has been devastated by Royal Air Force bombing raid, with over 1800 tons of bombs causing a vast firestorm. https://t.co/D4lJQAwquO RealTimeWWII photo
The first exchange of prisoners of war between UK & Germany has begun in Sweden: most of the 4340 Allied troops released today have been captives for over 3 years. Over 3000 are seriously ill, & are being swapped for German PoWs in similar condition.
17 Allied countries have formed a new body, the United Nations War Crimes Commission, to investigate reports of Axis atrocities. https://t.co/kX5xmfhvGX RealTimeWWII photo
After pursuing retreating Axis forces across Ukraine, Red Army have reached the Dnieper river- Russians are at the gates of Kiev. https://t.co/iLMrqlmLhy RealTimeWWII photo
~110,000 people, 16,000 of them Allied prisoners of war, have died laying 258 miles of track across the Thai-Burmese border: horrific conditions including brutality from Japanese guards, sickness, & starvation. https://t.co/VRGajWc3yo RealTimeWWII photo
Japanese occupiers have opened a new railway linking Burma to Thailand, built in three years of breakneck construction by conscripted labourers & Allied prisoners of war, who call it the “Death Railway”. https://t.co/r4Ws4NAhEa RealTimeWWII photo
On Hitler’s orders, German police in Rome have arrested 1,259 Jewish Italians, for deportation to death camps in Reich. Most of the city’s 8000 Jews have fled into hiding, forewarned by friendly Italian officials.
Nazi propaganda brands those Italians who have chosen to join fight against Germans "fratricides" (kin-slayers) & shows Americans & British laughing at them. Germans still occupy most of Italy & keep over 1 million disarmed Italian soldiers as prisoners. https://t.co/C7T9Mm2UyN RealTimeWWII photo
Sobibor prisoners must cross two barbed-wire fences & run across a minefield to flee the camp, under machine-gun fire from SS & collaborator guards. ~300 Jewish escapees die in the attempt, ~150 remain behind. Just over a hundred escape into surrounding forest.
As SS begin to miss the dead officers, inmates begin their breakout, inspired by inmate Alexander Pechersky, a Jewish Soviet commissar: "Our day has come. Most of the Germans are dead. Let's die with honour. Remember, if anyone survives, he must tell the world what happened!" https://t.co/7w4nsBGfHY RealTimeWWII photo
Sobibor conspirators spend afternoon killing SS officers, incl. acting Commandant Johann Niemann. Camp's head tailor, a prisoner, asked SS-Untersturmführer to remove his pistol, to try on a leather jacket taken from a murdered Jew. Other inmates then slew the Nazi with an axe. https://t.co/JUfy5hDk6p RealTimeWWII photo
Sobibor will soon be closed; slave labourers know they will be killed, from labels found sewn inside clothes of Jewish "Sonderkommandos" of other camps: "We worked at Bełżec for one year and did not know where we would be sent next… Be aware you will be killed also! Avenge us!"
Sobibor is the fourth most deadly Nazi death camp: ~200,000 people have been killed here in last 18 months, with almost all Jewish inmates gassed on arrival. 600 are kept as slave labour, worked to death while helping to maintain camp & dispose of corpses. https://t.co/Ri4NHgPByP RealTimeWWII photo
Prisoners of Sobibor extermination camp, in German-occupied Poland, have rebelled against their Nazi guards, killing 11 SS men & staging a breakout. 300 inmates have rushed the camp wire under machine-gun fire. https://t.co/yhAaz2ilqs RealTimeWWII photo
Mussolini, now the puppet dictator of northern Italy, "rules" from small town of Salò, with a few loyal Italian troops, unable to command German forces occupying most of the country. https://t.co/wlWZMyxXC0 RealTimeWWII photo
Italian troops who have escaped capture by Germans will now march alongside Allied armies to recapture their country from the Nazis: https://t.co/RJJjlcrONw RealTimeWWII photo
One month after surrendering to Allied forces, government of Italy has switched sides & declared war on Nazi Germany, its former Axis partner. https://t.co/7JNBsVWkV0 RealTimeWWII photo
Portugal has agreed to permit bases for British warships & planes in the Azores, off Atlantic coast of Africa; despite officially being neutral between Axis & Allies, Portuguese government references 570-year-old treaty with UK, signed in 1373, to justify military bases. https://t.co/roFQbBE4R4 RealTimeWWII photo
Nazis struck on Jewish New Year, assuming Danish Jews would be praying at home. SS raids across Copenhagen have arrested ~400 people, but 1000s are in hiding or have already escaped. 90% of Denmark's Jewish population are safe. https://t.co/ZKmjCJaMgY RealTimeWWII photo
Thousands of Danish Jews have now fled to neutral Sweden to avoid arrest by the Nazis, hidden from German occupiers & smuggled out of country on fishing boats by their fellow Danes. https://t.co/hLMKYGFXEW 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.

uxbridge 1

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

Our Twitter Feed

Donate

Help Preserve The Bunker