The War in Dorset - June 1942
On the night of 3rd/4th June 1942 decoy fires and explosions on the Purbeck heathland (see HH1 and HH2) saved the Royal Navy cordite factory at Holton Heath, near Poole, from 112 high explosive bombs and 5,000 incendiaries. No bombs hit the cordite factory and there were no casualties on the decoys.
Poole also suffered a heavy bombing attack on the 4th of June. Early incendiaries started fires on the heathland west of the town, diverting many of the 50 Luftwaffe bombers. However, they also caused numerous fires in the town and several buildings were hit by bombs. Dedicated effort by the fire and civil defence forces (presumably including Chotie’s father, an ARP* warden) meant that only three people were killed.
An underground petrol tank at the Hamworthy RAF depot was blown open and a huge slick of petrol covered the adjacent land and harbour. Fortunately these highly inflammable lakes didn’t catch fire and the petrol gradually evaporated (the explosion would have destroyed all the RAF petrol supplies for Dorset and West Hampshire).
One of the 139 tons of bombs released over the town hit the Sona, a Naval Headquarters ship moored at Poole Quay. It went through the ship and lodged unexploded in the mud below until 7th June when it destroyed the Sona and several evacuated buildings on the Quay.
On 6th June bombing aimed at the railway track in Bournemouth damaged 454 properties although only one bomb hit the track.
Whitley planes arrived at RAF Hurn (now Bournemouth airport) in June 1942 to fly Special Operations Executive agents and supplies for Resistance groups across the Channel. They also supported Airborne training on Salisbury Plain. A satellite aerodrome for the Fleet Air Arm station at Yeovilton was established at Sigwell’s Farm, north of Sherborne.
(From ‘The Book of Poole Harbour’ edited by Bernard Dyer and Timothy Darvill and published by The Dovecote press Ltd 2010, ‘Poole and World War II’ written by Derek Beamish, Harold Bennett and John Hillier and published by Poole Historical Trust in 1980 and ‘Dorset’s War Diary - Battle of Britain to D Day’ by Rodney Legg, Dorset Publishing Company.)
*ARP = Air Raid Precautions
June 1942 - 1st Air Landing Squadron were based on the Bulford ranges of Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire.
1st Air Landing Squadron Officers listed for June 1942: Major C.J.H. Gough;
Captains: A.S.Baker, G.L. Falkim, G.C. Roberts, J.P. Royle, C.W. Suter;
Lieutenants: D.Allsop, R.W.Clough, D.M.Freegard, T.J. Firbank, M.W. Grubb, J.A.Hay, L.A.W.Hayes, F.D.E.Imes (Quartermaster), R.W.Jahren, G.L.Millar and F.D.Slater;
2nd Lieutenants: R.J.Clark, Kindersley, H. Poole, and A.J. Waterman
On Monday 1st June the Squadron had lectures and training at Bulford and on 3rd June they were on night operations – a compass march.
On Sunday 7th June 1942 1st Air Landing Squadron were training on Ogbourne St George Mortar Range, Wiltshire and on 8th June were flying in Tiger Moth (biplanes).
(From the War Diary of 1st Air Landing Reconnaissance Squadron, National Archives, Kew)
2nd June – The German Army 11th Army advances in the Crimea and attacks the port and fortress of Sebastapol. The fierce battle ends with German victory on 9th July.
4th-7th June 1942 – the battle over Midway Atoll, the US base in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, near Hawaii, was won by the US Navy. This crucial battle turned the tide and the Allies took over the offensive from the Japanese in the Pacific. Again US codebreakers had intercepted signals revealing that Japanese invasion fleets were heading for the Midway Islands , enabling timely launching of US Naval task forces from Hawaii to defend the base. Four Japanese aircraft carriers were sunk and 250 Japanese planes destroyed with the loss of only one US aircraft carrier, the Yorktown.
Dick visited the dentist again on Friday 5th June 1942, attending Dental Centre 363.
Dental Treatment Card – 5/6/42
5th June 1942 – an SS (Shutzstaffel – Nazi paramilitary and police) report states that 97,000 persons have been “processed” ie killed, in mobile gas vans. (From WW2-net Timelines)
Telegram - 9th June 1942
CHALKLEY KNITWEAR DEPT BEALES* BOURNEMOUTH =
= = = LEAVE TODAY 9 DAYS WIRE PAGHAM = RICHARD
++ CT9 QKP BEALES + PAGHAM +
*By this time Chotie had transferred from Plummer’s Knitwear Department back to Beales.
On 10th June 1942 Dick was granted 10 days leave.
Copy of Record
SERVICE AND CASUALTY FORM
10.6.42 Granted 10 days leave Army Rank Trooper Place Field
10th June 1942 – After the gallant defence of Bir Hakeim in the Battle of the Gazala line , most of the Free French escape to the British lines. General de Gaulle hails Bir Hakeim as the start of the resurrection of France.