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Air Transport Auxiliary ferry pilot Joan Hughes, age 25, stands under the nose of a Short Stirling heavy bomber. Hughes received an MBE in 1946 for her war work at the age of 28; prior to the war, she was the youngest licensed woman pilot in Britain.
Сколько он пролил крови солдатской
В землю чужую! Что ж, горевал?
Вспомнил ли их, умирающий в штатской
Белой кровати? Полный провал.
Что он ответит, встретившись в адской
Области с ними? “Я воевал”.
[How much dark blood, soldier’s blood did he spill then
on alien fields? Did he weep for his men?
As he lay dying, did he recall them–
swathed in white sheets at the end?
He gives no answer. What will he tell them,
meeting in hell? “We were fighting to win.”]
They cried their summons and the troops swiftly gathered. The heaven-born princes of the royal suite sped about, marshalling the army, and with them went bright-eyed Athene, wearing the priceless, ageless, deathless aegis, from which a hundred intricate golden tassels flutter, each worth a hundred head of oxen. Shining she passed through the ranks of the Greeks, urging them on; and every heart she inspired to fight and war on without cease. And suddenly battle was sweeter to them than sailing home in the hollow ships to their own native land.
As a raging fire lights the endless forest on a high mountain peak, and the glare is seen from afar, so, as they marched, the glittering light flashed from their gleaming bronze through the sky to heaven.
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"Santa Claus (Leading Aircraftman Fred Fazan from London) hands out presents to Dutch children at Volkel, 13 December 1944. Members of No 122 Wing had saved their sweet ration for weeks, and contributed enough money to give the children their first proper Christmas party. It was noted by the photographer that this year Santa was afraid of Messerschmitts, so he decided to come by RAF Tempest!" [IWM]
Here are fragments of three letters, found on the killed Germans:
The steward Reinhard writes to Lieutenant Otto von Shirac:
"Frenchmen were taken from us to the factory. I selected six Russians from the Minsk region. They are much more hardy than Frenchmen. Only one of them died, the rest continued to work in the field and at the farm. Their maintenance costs nothing and we must not suffer from the fact that these beasts, whose children probably kill our soldiers, eat German bread. Yesterday I subjected two Russian rogues, who secretly devoured the skim milk, which was being intended for the pig wombs, to light flogging…"
Matthias Of Tsimlikh writes its brother corporal Heinrich Tsimlikh:
“In Leyden is a camp for the Russians, there it is possible to see them. Weapons they do not fear, but we with talk to them with the good old lash…”
Someone named Otto Essman writes Lieutenant Helmut Veygand:
"We here have captured Russians. These types devour worms on the tarmac of the airfield, they rush to eat from the trash bucket. I watched as they ate grass clippings. And to think that these are people…"
Slaveholders! They want to turn our people into the slaves. They export Russians, they taunt them, they lead them by hunger to folly, to the point where dying people eat grass, worms, and some dirty German with a stinking cigar in his teeth philosophizes: “Could these be human?”
WE KNOW EVERYTHING. WE REMEMBER EVERYTHING. We understand: Germans are not people. From now on, the word “German” is for us the most terrible curse…Do not count the days. Do not count the miles. Count only the Germans you kill. Kill the German! - your aged mother pleads with you. Kill the German! - your child begs you. Kill the German! - this is the cry of your Russian earth.
Ilya Ehrenburg, “убей!” [“KILL!”], Кра́сная звезда́ [Red Star], 24 July 1942
Translations of German names are of necessity phonetic.
Soviet soldier celebrating the raising of the USSR flag atop the Reichstag, May 1945
Normandy Invasion, 1944
From the Moving Images Relating to Coast Guard Activities series.
See our past D-Day posts, including Eisenhower’s Order of the Day, and his hastily drafted “in case of failure” note, and a detailed sketch of a typical Platoon Leader in full battle dress.
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Three miles or so south of Caen the present-day tourist, driving down the arrow-straight road that leads to Falaise, sees immediately to his right a rounded bill crowned by farm buildings. If the traveller be Canadian, he would do well to stay the wheels at this point and cast his mind back to the events of 1944; for this apparently insignificant eminence is the Verrières Ridge. Well may the wheat and sugar-beet grow green and lush upon its gentle slopes, for in that now half-forgotten summer the best blood of Canada was freely poured out upon them.
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