The War in Dorset - August 1942
During August the propaganda film ‘Victory’ was shot on the Dorsetshire heaths using old First World War tanks rescued by Rudyard Kipling for the Armoured Fighting School at Bovington Camp. Many had been turned into scrap in June 1940 but some remained as stationary pillboxes and were used in the film.
Bridport was attacked by air on Sunday 2nd August and two people were killed.
No 4 Commando trained for the raid on Dieppe with landings on the South Dorset coast from 5th August. They successfully took a battery during the raid but had to withdraw (see the raid on Dieppe on 19th August). Boats from Poole and Weymouth operated as support vessels for the raid.
On 14th/15th August the Small Scale Raiding Force (also known as No 62 Commando), based in Poole, staged a small successful raid on an anti-aircraft gun and radar station at Pointe de Saire, near Barfleur in France.
Luftwaffe bombers killed 13 people and injured 48 in attacks on Swanage on Monday 17th and Sunday 23rd August.
On 31st August the Royal Australian Air Force arrived at R.A.F. Hamworthy to fly anti-submarine patrols over the South Western Approaches and the Bay of Biscay in Sunderland flying-boats. Initially they suffered heavy losses because the Allied Navy signal code that operated their patrols had been deciphered by German Naval Intelligence. but their success improved when a new wavelength radar was introduced, which the German Navy failed to pick up.
By the end of August 1942 the X-3 midget submarine had completed testing at Portland and later caused extensive damage to the Tirpitz, Germany’s mega-battleship, when she was moved along the Norwegian coast.
(From ‘Dorset’s War Diary - Battle of Britain to D Day’ by Rodney Legg, 2004 and ‘Poole and World War II’ written by Derek Beamish, Harold Bennett and John Hillier and published by Poole Historical Trust in 1980.)
3rd August 1942 – Churchill arrives in Cairo and makes staff changes which result in General Bernard Montgomery taking command of the 8th Army.
The 43rd Reconnaissance Regiment was still based in Dover during August 1943, although mobilisation had been completed.
Training was resumed with Squadron Exercises involving 2-3 nights out of barracks testing ‘vehicle cooking’ as well as Section and Troop operations. Some Field Firing exercises were carried out on the range at Sandwich. On 6th and 7th August ‘C’ Squadron participated in ‘Black Bull’, a Brigade Exercise on the South Downs.
Major A.W.E. Crawford, now a Lieutenant-Colonel, took full command of the Regiment on 9th August, with Major H.G. Mason as second in command. On 12th August the senior officers were involved in “Reorganise”, a simulation or ‘cloth model’ tactical exercise without troops and the new Lieutenant-Colonel attended a General Headquarters’ Battle School Course at the School of Infantry from 13th-20th August. 21 officers went to Worthing on 19th August for a demonstration of tanks working with infantry in battle drill.
43rd Recce Regiment lost the Inter Regimental Athletics Meeting on Saturday 22nd August to 1/8th Middlesex, the Division’s Machine Gun battalion. On 26th August the Recce took part in Exercise “Beaver”, a 43rd (Wessex) Division training exercise.
(From the War Diary of the 43rd Reconnaissance Regiment held by the Archive and Reference Library, the Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset.)
Dick, meanwhile, was training to be a Driver Mechanic
at the Dreadnought Garage and Motor Engineering Works, Hove.
BRIGHTON. PROMENADE GARDENS.
Just a few lines to let you know I’m still alive & kicking. My arm’s all right now so I’ll write again tomorrow. Having a good time here – change from Bulford! I shall probably go back to Dover when I finish this course. I had a week there before coming here.
© Chotie Darling
6th August 1942 - General Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed as Commander-in-Chief of the Allied forces preparing to invade North Africa. (From WW2-net Timelines.)
The World Jewish Congress British section announces that one million Jews have been killed in Nazi occupied Europe. (From WW2-net Timelines.)
7th August 1942 – 19,000 US Marines are landed on the islands of Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the southern Solomon Islands, held by the Japanese since May. Despite heavy losses, American and Australian ships continued to bring in troops and supplies. Fierce fighting was focused around the Guadalcanal aerodrome begun by the Japanese but 'Henderson's Field' was held by the Allies. The Guadalcanal Campaign was the first major offensive by Allied forces against Japan. Land, sea and air battles continued around the islands until the Japanese finally withdrew on 7th February 1943, having reached the high-water mark of their conquests in the Pacific. (From WW2-net Timelines and ‘The Second World War’ by Antony Beevor, published by Weidenfield and Nicolson 2012 .)
8th August 1942 – Gandhi and other leaders in the Congress Party issue a call for the British to ‘Quit India’, leading to their arrest. India finally achieved independence from the British five years later on 15th August 1947.
9th August 1942 – Leningrad (now, again, St. Petersburg)in northern Russia, which had now been virtually under siege since September 1941 broadcasts Shostakovich’s 7th (Leningrad) Symphony to the world on radio – a great boost to Russian morale. On 19th August this was followed by the Sinyavino counter-offensive, which wrecked German plans to strangle Leningrad’s only supply route across Lake Ladoga.