299 Admiral Hipper and the heavy cruiser Lützow; Hitler was infuriated at what he perceived as the uselessness of the surface raiders, seeing that two heavy cruisers were driven off by mere destroyers.
300 Grossadmiral Raeder resigned after an haranguing from Hitler.
301The Commando Order was issued by Hitler on 18 October 1942 stating that all Allied Commandos encountered by German forcesshould be killed immediately, even if in uniform or if they attempted to surrender
302 Major General John Dutton (Johnny) Frost (31 December 1912 – 21 May 1993) John Frost's men fought for 88 hours before capitulating to the Germans.
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303 The main reason for the operations failure was that the 9th 10th SS. were refitting near to Arnhem Bridge
304 John Frost Bridge. The bridge has been renamed the John Frost Bridge in honor of the commander and his men who attempted to hold the southern half of the bridge during operation Market Garden.
305 Market Garden cost the 1st British Airborne Division almost 8,000 men. Field Marshal Montgomery called the operation a 90% success.
306 What did the 2nd Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment win two of during the Battle of Arnhem
306 Answer Victoria Crosses. The Regiment was the only one in the entire war to receive two V Cs for one engagement. Recipients were Major Cain and Lance-Sergeant John Daniel Baskeyfield
307 Paratroopers but because of the heavy casualties Hitler never used them in that role again. From then on they were on infantry duties only.
308 Barnes Wallis
309 The Avro Lancaster, a British four-engined heavy bomber
310 The de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito, a British multi role combat aircraft used as a night fighter, fighter bomber, for reconnaissance as well as precision bombing like that at Amiens Prison. It had a two-man crew,
311 617 Squadron
312Operation Chastise ,16th to the 17 May, was 617 Squadron's raid on three German dams they were the Sorpe which sustained only minor damage, the Mohne and the Edersee which were both breached flooding the Ruhr Valley.
313 Using two spotlights to adjust altitude, a modified Lancaster bomber dropped a drum bomb that was spinning backwards it skipped over the torpedo nets protecting the dam smashed into it and sunk to the dam's base before exploding
314 The Dambusters were led by 24 year-old Wing Commander Guy Gibson, a veteran of over 170 bombing and night-fighter mission
315 The stated object of the raid was to free French resistance fighters and political prisoners
361 Codename Cerberus
362 The Second Happy Time or the 2nd Battle of the Atlantic was officially called Drumbeat by Admiral Doenitz
363 To destroy the biggest dry dock on the French coast it took place on the night of March 28, 1942
364 HMS Campbeltown a town class destroyer originally US destroyer Buchanan
365 The explosion put the dry dock out of commission until the end of the war.Of the 622 men of the Royal Navy and Commandos who took part in the raid, only 228 men returned to England. Five escaped overland via Spain and Gibraltar.. 169 men were killed (105 RN and 64 Commandos) and another 215 became POWs 5 Victoria Crosses were awarded.
368 Ships for Bases or Lease Lend.
369 Lease Lend Agreement
370 Sub Lieutenant David Balme of Bulldog led a boarding party, and the Enigma coding machine and documentation were found. This significantly assisted the work of Bletchley Park in breaking German naval codes]
371 Because of the lack of air cover.
372The Consolidated B24 Liberator
373 1st US Army Group
374 General George S Patton
375 Africa into Greece
377 Field Marshal Archibald Percival Wavell
378 The Suez Canal was the route to oil supplies and her dominions in the east
379 General Patton. Their leadership styles and battlefield tactics conflicted. The conflict over Sicily grew into a personal rivalry between Patton and Montgomery
380 To take the port of Antwerp through which supplies was reaching the Allies
Changed my mind twice today, this one's not working any better so out of my mind for the rest of the day for a bit of home surgery Back soon
381 The furthest advance in a battle 150 miles.
382 The man took who over the Third Reich, after Hitler committed suicide on 30 April, was the head of the navy, Karl Doenitz.
383. Fuel shortages meant that most were immobile.
384They gave them to his Alsatian Blondi
385 Hitler's race laws of 1935 forbade marriage between Germans and "non-Aryans".
386 A propaganda radio station set up by Josef Goebbels to encourage suicidal resistance to enemy forces
387 Radio Werewolf the Nazi propaganda radio station continuously broadcasted the message "Besser tot als rot" - "Better dead than red".
388 He wore a German military police uniform and an eye patch
389 It is thought up to 19,000 US deserters living in France at the end of the WW2. they were known as the Lost Division
390 One of the earliest use of the phrase appears in the American National Republican Convention of 1860 who included in their electoral platform, on which Abraham Lincoln stood for President, the following statement: . 'We brand the recent re-opening of the African slave trade, under the cover of our national flag, aided by perversions of judicial power, as a crime against humanity'.
391 Grosssadmiral Karl Doenitz lost both sons killed, during the war, by the British. Peter Doenitz his youngest was killed while serving on the U954 when the boat was sunk with all hands on the19th May 1943. The other son, Klaus, was stood down from active service and studied to be a doctor in the navy. On his 24th birthday he persuaded his navy friends to take him along on an attack on Selsey on the English coast. S1241 was sunk with 6 survivors.
392 At the Nuremburg trials Doenitz was accused of war crimes. Some think that Doenitz was punished for being too good at his job. He served 11 and a half years months in prison. After his release on 1 Oct, 1956 he retired to Aumühle near Hamburg. He wrote two books, and died on Christmas Eve 1980 aged 89
393 Captain Frederic John Walker at a time when it was unusual for a convoy to sink one U Boat sank five while escorting his first convoy HG78 in December 1941.Walker is credited with 28 U Boat kills.He was of paramount importance in the victory over the U Boats, probably the most important campaign of the war.
394 There were 104 countries involved in World War II. Although nearly every country was involved in one way or another through trade etc http://t.co/mBGfjFPS
395 Q ships were merchantmen armed with concealed guns that could be brought into action if an enemy ship or submarine attacked.They were used by Germany, Great Britain and the US.
397 B29 Superfortress
398 The Normandy landings were the landing operations organised by the Royal Navy were part of Overlord the invasion itself.
399 Ordered by Adolf Hitler in Directive 51the fortification ran from Norway to Spain in varying strength, but at his strongest facing the English channel
400 Two high-profile incidents of Patton slapping subordinates during the Sicily campaign attracted national controversy as the soldiers were suffering from battle fatigue something Patton didn't understand and issued orders to his commanders to discipline any soldier complaining of it
401At a meeting in November 1942 two engineers proposed an increase the U Boat's battery supply thus increasing speed and range. the new batteries. the new boat, the electro, instead of an endurance of six knots for 45 minutes or two knots for 25 hours.would get a revolutionary 18 knots for 90 minutes or five knots for 60 hours. The design was completed in July 1943 and planned for delivery by the end of 1944.It would have devastated the Allied and perhaps turned the tide of the War
402 The Human Torpedo was the name given to the weapon that Italy first used in the Mediterranean, to attack ships in harbours. The human torpedo concept is used nowadays for recreationally for sport diving.
403 On the 9 December 1941: The Italian Decima Flottiglia ( !0th Flotilla) MAS attacked Alexandria with three 'pig'. The battleships HMS Valiant and HMS Queen Elizabeth and a tanker were sunk in shallow water putting them out of action for many months
404 On 2 October 1943: The Italian frogman-carrier,with a crew of 4, the Siluro San Bartolomeo, was on route to attack Gibraltar, when Italy surrendered and the attack was called off.
405 A midget submarine is under150 tons manned by from one to eight people with little or no on-board living accommodation.
406 It was a British-Italian joint operation mounted by ex belligerents against shipping in La Spezia harbour.
407 The Thompson was infamous because of its use by criminals during the US period of prohibition but it was rightly favored by soldiers and police for its ergonomics, compactness reliability and very large .45 cartridge as well as its high rate of fire 600 to 1500 depending on the model.
408 The Thompson sub machine gun was also variously known as the "Tommy Gun", "Trench Sweeper", "Chicago Typewriter", "Chicago Piano", "Chicago Style", "Chicago Organ Grinder", and "The Chopper"
409 She was a converted merchant ship the only escort of 37 merchant ships, Convoy HX-84 from Nova to Britain when the convoy encountered the Admiral Scheer. Captain Edward Fegen, ordered the convoy to scatter, and sent his ship after the warship to draw its fire, guns blazing The Jervis Bay was hopelessly outgunned and outranged by the 10 inch guns of the German ship
410 HMS Ark Royal was torpedoed on 13 November 1941 by the German submarine U81 and sank the following day
411 The King George V Class battleship were the most modern British battleships used during WW2 Five ships were built Anson, Prince of Wales ,Duke of York and the Howe were the others.
412 The last time was the Battle of North Cape 26 Dec 1943 When the 'Scharnhorst' crossed swords with HMS King George V
413 The Prince of Wales was sunk by Japanese aircraft.
414 The Battle of Midway was the most important naval battle of the entire Pacific Campaign.It took place between 4 and 7 June 1942, only six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbour. It inflicted irreparable damage on the Japanese fleet.
415 The Japan plan was to lure the US aircraft carriers into a trap and to occupy Midway as part of an overall plan to extend their defensive perimeter in response to the Doolittle Raid and in readiness for raids against Fiji and Samoa
416 American code breakers were able to determine the date and location of the attack, enabling the U.S. Navy to set up an ambush of its own. Four Japanese aircraft carriers and a heavy cruiser were sunk the US lost one carrier and a destroyer.
417The Battle of Coral Sea took place in May 1942. If the Japanese had won the battle the way would have been open for them to attack and capture New Guinea and thus leave Australia open to a Japanese attack. It was fought entirely by planes – no ship on either side made visual contact.
418 The battle for Wake Island was fought December 8-23, 1941. First landing by the Japanese was on December 11, the Japanese were repulsed by the Marines but reinforced, they returned on the 23rd and succeeded in taking the Island.
419 The Battle of the Java Sea occurred on February 27, 1942 when Allied naval forces attempted to block the Japanese invasion of Java. It was led by Dutch Vice Admiral Karl Doorman.He commanded a combined US, UK, Dutch and Australian naval force against a Japanese invasion fleet in the Java Sea. It was intended to halt the Japanese naval invasion of the Netherlands East Indies, it ended in disaster for the Allied fleet, Doorman himself perished.
420 The Battle of the Philippine Sea was fought June 19-20, 1944 it was a decisive victory for the Allies the Japanese lost three carriers. it is often referred to as the "Marianas Turkey Shoot" due to the large number of Japanese planes shot down
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421 It was the longest battle in history and lasted six years
422 66 Cruisers, mainly post-World War 1 with some older ships converted for AA duties. Includes cruiser-minelayers, 23 new ones had been laid down.
423 184 Destroyers. Over half were modern, with 15 of the old 'V' and 'W' classes modified as escorts. Under construction or on order were 32 fleet destroyers and 20 escort types of the 'Hunt' class.
424 60 Submarines, mainly modern with nine being constructed
425 45 escort and patrol vessels with nine building, and the first 56 'Flower' class corvettes on order to add to the converted 'V' and 'W's' and 'Hunts'. However, there were few fast, long-endurance convoy escorts.
426 The Royal Navy - 50,758 killed, 820 missing, 14,663 wounded. Women's Royal Naval Service - 102 killed, 22 wounded. Merchant Navy - 30,248 lost through enemy action
427 17 million Allied soldiers were killed during WW@
428 At the end of the War the Royal Navy had 885 ships
429 278 ships had been lost by the end of the War.
430 780 U boats were sunk in WW2
431 Yes It comprised 4 battleships and 6 fleet aircraft carriers, together with 15 smaller aircraft carriers, 11 cruisers, and numerous smaller warships, submarines,
432 The Hood was named after First Viscount Samuel Hood. 12 December 1724 – 27 January 1816) A British Admiral mentor to Nelson well known for his servive in the American War of Independence and the French Revolutionary Wars. .
433 When the USS Niblack, a destroyer, fired on a marauding German U-boat that was violating the US security zone.
434 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,402 Americans were killed and 1,282 wounded.
435 The Imperial Japanese Navy attack consisted of 423 aircraft
436 Malta was the lynch-pin provided a much needed stop for Allied convoys and a base from which to attack the Axis supply routes
437 The Casablanca Conference of the Allies was held in January 1943 between Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin to discuss the eventual invasion of mainland Europe, the impending invasion of Sicily and Italy, and the wisdom of the principle of "unconditional surrender".
438 January 1943
439 On the night of 22/23 December 1942, the 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards mounted an attack on Longstop hill in Tunisia , capturing what was thought to be all of the massif, before being relieved by the 18th US Regimental Combat Team while heavy rain fell. The Germans counter-attacked driving the Americans off Djebel el Ahmera. The next night the Guards successfully recaptured the hill only to find, when daylight came, that another summit, Djebel Rhar, remained to be assaulted. During the night the Guards once again attacked but, after capturing the second hill, were driven off by a furious counter-attack by the Germans on Christmas Day.
440 February 1943
441 13th May 1943 The Aliies take 250,000 prisoners
442 The ghetto was destroyed in May 1943
443February 12th 1941
444 April 6th 1941
445 Operation Barbarossa began on June 22nd 1941
446 June 1941
447 It was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany between June 30 and July 2 1934, when the Nazis carried out a series of political murders.
448 On August 19th 1934
449 March 7th 1936
450 August 1 1936
451 October 1938
.At my age my back goes out more than I do http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0063NGM4Q for the best in WW2 sea stories.
452 Was a series of coordinated attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria on 9–10 November 1938, carried out by SA paramilitary
453 March 15th-16th 1939
454 1st September 1939
455 Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand
456 Canada declared war on Germany on 10th September 1939
457 1st March 1943 the US and Australian forces sink eight Japanese troop transports off New Guinea.
458 Members of the Calcutta Light Horse carried out a covert attack against a German merchantman, the 'Ehrenfels' ,which had been transmitting Allied positions to U Boats from its anchorage in Mormugao Harbour in Portugese Goa. the Regiment had been part of the Indian Army Reserve since the Boar War. The operation was organised by the S.O.E's India Mission.
459 The Great Escape as it was known was on the night of March 24-25 when 76 Allied POWs escape from Stalag Luft III in Saganm Stalag Luft III in Sagan. 73 were later recaptured; 50 wer e executed, 23 were sent back to various prison camps and three escaped to freedom.
460 May 27th 1941 the sinking of the Bismarck by the British Navy took place
461 Yes on On June 8 1941
462 Einsatzgruppen were SS paramilitary death squads responsible for mass killings
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463 Babi Yar is a ravine in the Ukrainian capital Kiev the site of a series of massacres carried out by the Einsatzgruppen The most notorious and the best documented of these massacres took place on September 29–30, 1941, wherein 33,771 Jews were killed in a single operation. The order to kill all the Jews in Kiev was given by Major General Kurt Eberhard
464 May 24th 1941 in the Denmark Straits
465 December 11th 1941
466 Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich was attacked by a British-trained team of Czech and Slovak soldiers in an operation code named Operation Anthropoid He died from his injuries a week later.
467 The Commando Order was issued by Hitler on 18 October 1942 stating that ali Allied commandoes encountered by German forces should be killed immediately, even if in uniform or if they attempted to surrender
470 Eden told the British House of Commons of the mass executions of Jews by Nazis;
471 Japan signed the surrender agreement on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay officially bringing to an end WWII on September 2, 1945
472 More than 650,000 Jeeps were built during WWII.
473 American factories produced 300,000 military aircraft; 89,000 tanks; 3 million machine guns; and 7 million rifles.c
474 3 million machine guns were manufactured by the US
475 The Germans used the first jet fighters in World War II. However, they were developed too late to change the course of the war.c
476 Joseph Kramer a commander of Bergen-Belsen, was known as the “Beast of Belsen.”
477Members of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle allegedly called Rudolf Hess “Fraulein Anna” because he was reportedly a homosexual.
478 Dr. Josef Mengele was known as the 'Angel of Death' he experimented on 3,000 twins, mostly Romany and Jewish children in painful genetic experiments. Only about 200 survived. They included taking one twin’s eyeball and attaching it on the back of the other twin’s head , two Romany twins were sewn together in an attempt to create conjoined twins
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479 Jehovah's Witnesse ssuffered persecution by the Nazi's between 1933 and 1945 after refusing to perform military service, join the Nazi party or swear allegiance to Hitler 10,000 Witnesses—half of the number of members in Germany imprisoned, including 2000 went to concentration camps.
480 Anne Frank and her sister died at Bergen-Belsen one month before the camp was liberated in April 1945. During its existence, nearly 50,000 people died.
481 The gun was named Karl after its designer General Karl Becker. Used against the Russians, it could send a 2.5 ton shell over three miles.
482 William Hitler, a nephew of Adolf Hitler, was in the U.S. Navy during WWII.
483 The ace of all fighter aces was the German fighter pilot Erich Hartmann with 352 kills.
I wish I could remember that joke about Alzheimer’s http://anthonymolloy.weebly.co.uk/ Home to WW2 stories in volume form, making the longest WW2 saga ever484 Italian Fascists took as their symbol the “fasces,” a bundle of bound rods that symbolized the power of ancient Rome 485 'My Ignatius Loyola'. Hitler called him this because of Himmler's admiration of Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits486 1750487 Schutzstaffel or protection squad 488 A corporal in the SS was called a Rottenfuehrer.\ 489 From hunting the snipe a type of bird notorious for being hard to find and kill490 Sniping occurred on September 19, 1777 at the Battle of Saratoga when the Colonists hid in the trees and used early model rifles to shoot British officers.491 428,335 individuals received Red Army sniper training.
492 The Soviet 1077 anti-aircraft regiment made was up entirely of young women. In the fight for a tank factory they were wiped out but not before they had destroyed 83 tanks, 15 infantry vehicles, killing 3 battalions of infantry and shooting down 14 aircraft.
493 Life expectancy was I day increasing to 3 if you were an officer
494 It was the largest armoured clash in History and included the costliest single day of in aerial warfare it was also the last strategic offensive that the Nazis were able to mount
495 1,011,500 Germans and 1,000,500 Soviets
496 Only 5,000 Germans made it back to Germany alive
497In honor of the defenders of Stalingrad, King George VI commissioned a ceremonial longsword to be presented to the Soviet Union.
498 Rob Furlong a former corporal in the Canadian Forces, holds the record for the longest confirmed sniper kill in history at 1.51 miles or 2,430 metres.
499 32,925 US sailors died in WW2?
500 Six former U.S. Presidents served in the U.S. Navy
501The Lion Class were to be enlarged "King George V" Class with 16" guns. But work was suspended due to other
needs. Two were scrapped in 1942 and two were never started.
502 The loss of the Sydney and her complement of 645 remains Australia’s worst naval disaster. The Kormoran was sunk, but 317 of its crew of 397 were rescued. The fate of the Sydney remains Australia’s greatest wartime disaster.
503 There were two in the Royal Sovereign Class HMS Nelson and HMS Rodney
504 Simo Häyhä during the‘winter war’ (1939-1940) between Russia and Finland. During the conflict Häyhä endured freezing temperatures up to -40 degrees Celsius. In less than 100 days he was credited with 505 confirmed kills. The unofficial figures has it at over 800. He was also credited with 200 with his Suomi KP/31 Sub-machine gun, making 705 confirmed kills.
484 Italian Fascists took as their symbol the “fasces,” a bundle of bound rods that symbolized the power of ancient Rome
485 'My Ignatius Loyola'. Hitler called him this because of Himmler's admiration of Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits
487 Schutzstaffel or protection squad
488 A corporal in the SS was called a Rottenfuehrer.
Excerpt from Dead Reckoning, Book 2 in the ‘Orca Series’
Captain’s Requestman and Defaulters, Wardroom Flat. HMS Nishga, 2nd September; 1940.
The coxswain stood to attention, chin on his chest, red neck moving in and out of a perfectly starched collar in time with his perfectly starched orders.
“Left-right-left-right…Halt! Left turn! Salute the Captain!…Ordinary Seaman Goddard, sir! Official Number P056335, sir, Requests permission to marry.”
“Thank you coxswain,” Barr turned to the line of officers and petty officers, squeezed into the narrow confines of the passageway.
“Which of you is this requestman's Divisional Officer?”
Lieutenant Grant stepped forward, “I am, sir.”
“There's a coincidence, Mr Grant, You are also getting married this leave, is that not correct.”
“That is correct, sir.”
“Then you should be able to plead an airtight case.”
“Just so, sir.”
“Two marriages in the same Division eh… Not catching I hope?”
“Shouldn't think so, sir.”
“I've already had my dose!"”said Barr.
“In that case , sir. You are almost certainly immune.”
“Quite so, quite so.”
During the whole of this exchange Goddard had remained at attention in front of the pulpit-like captain's table, not daring to speak, or smile. in front of his officers.
His officers, for their part, only seemed to notice Goddard's presence when the Captain eventually spoke directly to him.
Goddard opened his mouth but nothing came out…
“Answer the officer!” threatened the coxswain.
Goddard , very red, frozen in terror, did not utter a word.
“You won't be able to make a request without speaking, Goddard,” said the Captain gently.
The coxswain, possibly confusing the requestman Goddard with a defaulter Goddard. ( In his book all ratings were potential defaulters they just hadn't been caught yet. Or possibly thinking Goddard had been struck deaf rather than mute, took one regulation step forward and screamed in his ear.
“Speak up! When an officer asks you a question, You horrible! little sailor!”
Goddard took an involuntary step to his right away from the terrible onslaught.
The coxswain, his face even redder than Goddard's, yelled this time in a high falsetto, “Stand still!”
“Thank you coxswain… “ said Barr, “I think I can hear some defaulters talking in the flat outside. Would you be so kind as to keep them quiet. You'd better close the door behind you… I don't want defaulters hearing the private business of my requestmen.”
The coxswain's eyes became saucers. His defaulter's talking! And in the hearing of his officers! “Yes, sir, certainly, sir. Leave it to me, sir.” He turned smartly and marched out of the flat, already reaching for his report book. He closed the watertight door behind him, a door that might have been watertight but certainly wasn't soundproof. They could still hear the Coxswain screaming at the unfortunate defaulters.
“Arh, that's better,” said Barr a small smile on his face, “Terrible noise the defaulters were making. Stand at ease Goddard. What's your fiancée name?”
Goddard's face had quenched to a healthy pink, but still he did not speak.
Lieutenant Grant bent to Goddard's ear. For a second Goddard thought he was going to shout in it as well. But instead he whispered, “Your girlfriend's name, Blur.”
The use of his nickname surprised and settled the youngster.
“Jenny, sir…Jennifer Mott.”
“And how long have you known her?” asked the Captain.
“Long time, sir… We were at school together.”
“That's nice, so you're about the same age?"
“Oh yes, sir,”
“Have you her parent’s permission for the marriage?”
“Oh yes, sir,”
“Where will you live?”
“Here , sir,” said Goddard, nodding slightly to help affirm the fact.
“No I meant… together. Where will you live once your married. Where will your home, together, be?”
“With her mum, sir. She's got a spare room, we ain't, I mean my mum ain’t.”
“Ain't …I mean… Haven't you a room at your mother's house?”
“Not now, sir…She let it out…When she learnt we were getting married. She said no use letting a good room go to waste.”
“I see…" Barr turned to Grant. Can I have a private word, over here, if you please Mr Grant.” Barr led Grant through into the empty Wardroom pantry. “Isn't Goddard a bit old to still be an Ordinary Seaman, Robert?”
“He's taken the test? Surely, hasn't he?”
“Yes, sir, on three occasions, or is it four? I can't remember off hand, sir, I'm sorry.”
“Good Lord! Is he that bad?”
“He's not bad, sir, he lacks confidence. In action, he's reliable…As steady as they come. But in a verbal examination, for some reason, he goes to pieces.”
“Thank you," Barr exhaled as if he been holding his breath for some time, “right, let's go back in.”
They returned to the flat, Barr scratched at the back of his neck. “So Goddard, tell me how can you possibly hope to support two on your present wage as an ordinary seaman?”
“Oh… me and Jenny have worked it out, sir. If we stay at her mum's, we will be able to get by, maybe even save a little.” Goddard was worried now, it didn't seem to be going too well.
“Can someone ask the coxswain to come back in…if he has the situation outside under control, that is.”
The coxswain sprang to attention as soon as he was through the door. “Every thing all right outside, Coxswain.”
Oh yes, sir… perfectly under control, sir.” he said with emphasis.
The Coxswain positively glowed with pride, “Thank, you, sir,” he simpered, a smile of arrogant pleasure on his face.
“Goddard, I'm a married man myself and know perfectly well that the saying 'two can live as cheaply as one' is a load of poppycock. Women, like ships, are very expensive things to run.”
Goddard's heart sank to the bottom of his boots.
“On your pay, as an ordinary seaman, you would find it extremely hard, if not impossible to get by. Therefore it is my painful duty to say, that for as long as you remain an ordinary seaman, I will be unable to give you and Jennifer permission to marry.”
Goddard felt his eyes stinging.
“When you are finally rated Able Seaman, I will give you permission to marry, you have my word on that.”
“Permission denied!" yelled the Coxswain," left turn…”
“Just a minute Coxswain."
“Sorry, sir… Goddard!…As you were!”
“What's today's date ,Coxswain?”
“Second of September, sir.”
Barr turned back to face Goddard, “As from today, the second of September, 1940, you are promoted to Able Seaman… permission to marry granted.”
Automatically the coxswain bawled,” Promoted Able Seaman. Permission to marry granted, left turn quick mar…. " For the first time, in his twenty two years of service, the Coxswain wound down like an old gramophone …"Erh..Sorry, sir… did I hear correct?”
“You did , Coxswain…The old sailor regained his composure. “Promoted “Able Seaman. Permission to marry granted. Left turn…Quick march…left-right- left-right- right wheel. Carry on!”
A long line of requestmen and an even longer line of defaulters were looking in his direction. They all knew why he was there and the smile on his face told the result better than any words. Goddard walked down the line and back to the messdeck muttering. 'Oh my! Oh my!' over and over again.
Within the hour every man aboard had heard the story; in one version or another.
Dawn, Sunday 20th October, 1940.
On the bridge of the 'Nishga' the sound powered telephone screamed. The bridge messenger lifted the receiver. "Depth charge crews closed up, sir."
Lieutenant Usbourne, newly promoted to Acting First Lieutenant, in the absence of Lieutenant Hilt made a tick on his crib sheet and saluted the Captain.
" Crew closed up at dawn action stations, sir."
" Very Good ,Number One."
The ship had fallen silent, in sharp contrast to the orderly chaos when the men had rushed and clattered to their stations. Barr could feel the tension. The ship's company knew they would be in for a pounding this morning. The gun crews checked and double-checked their weapons; turrets swung on oiled runners, ready use lockers were topped up. Below the surgeon cast an eye over his neatly laid out instruments. The steward stretcher-bearers sat in the flat outside the sick bay anti-flash hoods pulled down in grim anticipation. Damage control teams had their hoses run out along the passageways. Deep in the bowels of the ship, stokers checked water pressures and greased bearings. Everyone was ready.
Barr began pacing across the front of the bridge watched by his men. The air cover was late. He snatched a look out over the bow.
Abruptly the starboard lookout yelled, " Aircraft! Aircraft! Aircraft!"
Barr had his glasses to his eyes before the report had been finished.
"Green one seven oh! Aircraft! Aircraft! Aircraft! Angle of sight one five"
No need for glasses, there they were, two Messerschmitt 109's diving in out of the dawn sun.
The gunnery speaker burst into life in a whine of feedback. "Target bearing green one seven oh, angle of sight one five. Commence! Commence! Commence!" Immediately 'X' and 'Y' turrets crashed out, joined seconds later by the rapid fire of the after pom-pom. Black mushrooms flowered in the sky. The two 109's began to weave, swaying in the sky like the weights of pendulums. Still they came on, in and out of the black smoke of the exploding Ack Ack, eerily, soundlessly, the roar of their powerful engines swamped by the rolling thunder of 'Nishga's' guns. As the Messerschmitts came in range of the bridge machine guns they ripped and rattled into life. Tracer lifted into the sky in bright arcs. The target’s wings flickered orange and red as their cannon rippled in deadly reply. Aft feathery spouts of water clawed hungrily at Nishga's stern. Suddenly there was a tinny rapping on the mast and on the gun director, something hummed past Barr's ear. He ducked instinctively, looking up he saw jagged holes in the gun director. Someone was screaming, the noise seemed to build to an ear-splitting crescendo, black shadows flashed by as the two aircraft ripped the air above their heads and then they where gone, climbing higher and higher to escape the hornet’s nest.
The after guns fell abruptly silent, but for'ard 'A' and 'B' turrets were in waiting, their training motors purring . There was a ripple-crash and acrid cordite fumes inundated the open bridge.
The quick smoke from the salvo whipped away on the west wind to show only one Messerschmitt. In the sea between it and the 'Nishga' a welter of white spray marked the others' passing.
A third salvo winged its way after the fleeing 109 just as the 'Nishga's' bow sliced through the still burning pyre of the wingman, the climbing wave lifting the wreckage on high as if to say look, look what you have done.
Barr heard muffled cheering from the turrets. He envied them their optimism. He had a feeling they had merely tasted the entrée; the main course was yet to come.