The original quarterly journal of personal reminiscences - written by the veterans of World War II Wartime News﷯

Established 1995

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founded 1995 and still going......

The August Edition of Wartime News is now available
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70TH ANNIVERSARY OF

D-DAY

D-Day holds a very special memory in our hearts for it signified the launch of Wartime News just after the 50th Anniversary in 1994.  Now 20 years later, the Wartime News website is publishing a "Special Feature",  highlighting some of the vivid memories recalled by our veteran readers.

 

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Click on the links below to a few personal accounts in Wartime News Fighting the Blitz A fireman’s life in the London Blitz and the horrors of the bombings

Escape from the Lancastria

The tragic account of the sinking of the cruise ship off the French Coast near St Nazaire, June 1940

Kings of Lampedusa

Three Brits accept the surrender of 4,500 Italians

Wingate's Men hold Indaw

A Chinditz story and their hard life in the jungle

151 Wing to Murmansk

Operation Dervish - Churchill's pledge to Stalin to help fight Hitler

Raid on Dresden

149 Squadron - Bomber Command

HEADLINE NEWS
August 1944 A new Pipeline under the sea is supplying petrol from the Isle of Wight to Normandy American and British troops are forcing the German army back from Normandy 50,000 Germans are taken prisoner at Falaise. Paris is liberated as French troops flood into the Capital. Allies force the Germans out of the French Riviera

 

Operation Market Garden 17 September 1944

A Pilot's story....

Operation Market Garden commenced on 17 September 1944.  The British 1st Airborne Division's mission was to open up the way for the British 2nd Army to cross the bridge and push into Germany, all the way to Berlin.  The Glider Pilot Regiment would carry British infantry­men, weapons, tanks, vehicles, etc, together with ammunition.  British paratroopers would drop at the same time, and simultaneously two US Para­troop Divisions would drop at Nijmegen and Grave, and, after mopping up the enemy there, would meet up with the British Airborne forces to give them support.

Intelligence had reported only modest German defences in the area.  Air protection was given by RAF fighter planes across the North Sea, but not over Holland in case they became entangled with the British and American Airborne forces there. Gliders would take off from a number of airfields in England and assemble over Aldeburgh, Suffolk, to make the crossing to Holland together.

Reveille was at 0500 hrs and pilots checked their kit and the two containers of rations.

When the order came to go, I grabbed my kit and helmet and, followed by Alan my co-pilot, dashed off.  We soon found our glider, with its Halifax tug-plane in front, among the many lined up in rows.  While I climbed into the cockpit to check the controls, Alan supervised the loading of the Lieutenant and the 27 men of the South Staffordshire Regiment we were to carry, together with their arms and ammunition.

Take-off was signalled. A voice came over the intercom, and we began to roll forward.  Horsas did not carry radio.  Communication with the tug-plane was by telephone, the  line to which ran along the tow rope.  Sometimes, if the line became stretched, contact was broken.   We were soon airborne.  It was a bright morning and we were soon through some low cloud at about 500 feet and into the clear sky above.  Flying east, we reached Felixstowe and turned towards the assembly point over Aldeburgh.  From the ground the huge airborne armada must have looked quite a sight.  We crossed the coast, and headed across the North Sea.  We could see the great underside of the Halifax above us, but we also had an uninterrupted view forward as well as on both sides.

Nearing the Dutch coast, we saw that the tow-rope of one glider had broken, and we watched the Horsa go down towards the sea.  The last part of its descent was lost to us, as we flew on our way, breathing a prayer.  Not long afterwards, some puffs of dark smoke came up, followed by explosions.  The enemy anti-aircraft batteries had seen us and were firing.  They would also, no doubt, have sent news back to troops further inland that we were coming.  One tug-plane ahead was hit and went down in flames.  Its glider was released, but I could not see what became of it.

Approaching Arnhem, with me at the controls, The tow pilot announced that we were five miles from the landing area and, wishing us good luck, said we should release.  Visibility was good and there was not too much wind. Gliders were beginning to descend and we saw one hit.  One or two Horsas collided on the ground as I was making my approach, and just before I touched down a great Hamilcar, carrying a tank, crew and ammunition, hit the ground hard, dug its nose in and turned turtle.  All aboard were undoubtedly killed.  I touched down safely and, as we were unloading the Horsa, we came under fire from small arms.  We were, however, able to complete the unloading without casualty, and set up a defensive position temporarily.  We were six miles from our target, with Oosterbeek between us, and the German Commander there had time to organise an attack on us...............

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Special D-Day (June 2014) edition NOW available, email for details to: wartime@mac.com

 

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