The War in Dorset - November 1942
A flight from RAF Hurn on 3rd November took General Dwight D. Eisenhower and top-ranking American officers to Gibraltar for the commencement of Operation Torch. The pilot was Major Paul Tibbets, who later flew the plane (Enola Gay) that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, in August 1945. RAF Hurn (now Bournemouth Airport) was a main base for the movement of troops to the Western Desert via Gibraltar for the Allied Landings of Operation Torch.
On 25th November a Lancaster bomber crashed at Sturminster Newton, North Dorse, killing the crew of seven.
North Poole suffered incessant machine gun noise in November 1942 while the munitions factory at Creekmoor tested its guns.
(From Dorset’s War Diary - Battle of Britain to D Day’ by Rodney Legg, Dorset Publishing Company 2004)
On 1st November 43rd Recce commenced a period of intense individual training scheduled to continue until 15th December. Officers were set examinations every Wednesday. During the month the regiment received armoured cars and 6pr Anti-Tank Guns.
(From the War Diary of the 43rd Reconnaissance Regiment held by the Archive and Reference Library, the Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset.)
5th November 1942
My Darling Chotie,
Many thanks for letter. I expect you’ve given me up by now, for not having written before, but as usual I didn’t receive your letter until I got back from another scheme.
I was very sorry to hear about Reinelt, as I’d always looked on him as being my oldest friend in Poole – for our friendship seemed to prosper despite various differences of opinion in diverse subjects. I need scarce say that had it not been for him I should never have met you. As you say, we can only hope that he is safe – somewhere.
Eric (White), I know, will be shaken by the loss of Boody – a rather remarkable fellow. He was hit by Bill’s death, so this comes as a double loss. I can’t say I really knew either. I’m afraid we will all miss someone before this wretched show is over. War has always been an ugly business, with none of the glamour it is customary to connect with it.
However, it is of no avail to become morbid.
The weather here has been really wretched – nothing but rain, and if I don’t get pneumonia it won’t be for want of trying.
I met that subaltern again last week who introduced me to ‘Lolita’ a strip-tease artist who was appearing at the ‘Hip’* last week. We had supper at the Café Royal which has left me broke all the week. She was French, and not Spanish, as billed.
Have you heard anymore re joining the colours? I expect to hear any minute that you’re in the Wrens or ATS or something. Nous allons voi**, we shall see, as the French have it.
I’ve just had a letter from home – also one from Brinner – he’ll strain himself soon if he’s not careful.
I’ve seen quite a few well-known personages lately – tell you about them when I get on leave.
Must close now
All my love Precious
P.S. Excuse pencil – run out of ink.
*The Hippodrome theatre, Dover – bombed in September 1944
** French – “We shall see”.
© Chotie Darling
5th November 1942 – Madagascar, which threatened Allied convoy routes off south-east Africa, is captured from Vichy France by British marines (who’d landed in May) and handed to General de Gaulle for the Free French to govern. (From ‘The Second World War’ by Antony Beevor, published by Weidenfield and Nicolson 2012)
8th November 1942 - Operation Torch begins with the landing of Eisenhower’s Allied troops in Morocco and Algeria. A Western Task Force led by Major General George S. Patton met Vichy French resistance at Casablanca. Two other task forces landed at Oran and Algiers, the latter including 56th Recce ‘Chavasse’s Light Horse’ – the first Recce Regiment to see action in a true reconnaissance role. They were also responsible for the survival of No 6 Commando (the SSRF) in February 1943. 46th, 1st, 4th and 44th Recce also saw action in the Western Desert.
(From WW2-net Timelines and ‘The British Reconnaissance Corps in World War II’ by Richard Doherty, Osprey Publishing 2007.)
9th November – as the Vichy French fight US troops at Oran in Algeria and in Morocco, Eisenhower’s deputy, General Mark Clarke tries to negotiate a ceasefire with Admiral Darlan and General Giraud in Algiers. German troops begin landing in Vichy French Tunisia and by 25th November had deployed 25,000 men.
Hitler establishes Erik Scavenius as Prime Minister of Denmark following King Christian X’s refusal of anti-Jewish legislation in Denmark.
(From ‘The Second World War’ by Antony Beevor, published by Weidenfield and Nicolson 2012)
10th November – British recapture Sidi Barrani in Egypt.
Churchill’s speech at the Mansion House in London celebrated the “glorious and decisive victory” at El Alamein:
“Now this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end, but it is perhaps the end of the beginning.”
(From The Churchill Society.)