On 7 May Allied armies took Tunis. The remaining German and Italian forces were now hemmed in a tight pocket on the Tunisian coast, and some units began independently to surrender. On 9 May Japanese soldiers initiated one of the most shocking atrocities of the war, massacring some 30,000 Chinese civilians over three days at Changjiao. Also on 9 May Germany imposed martial law on the Netherlands.
All across the north Highlands, farmers were busy laying down crops. In Halladale, as the John O’Groat Journal reported, “Oat-sowing is also well advanced and potato-planting is proceeding. In spite of the recent cold winds, grass and clover fields are coming along nicely… Moorland pasture also looks promising. Grouse are busy nesting.”
The Head Teacher of Bower School recorded an accident outside the school on 5 May, which luckily was not serious: “A pupil while coming to School today met with an accident. Alighting from the “bus” he was involved in a collision with a van but most fortunately his injuries appear to be slight. The van driver took him along for medical attention.” According to the police report, “the accident was due to the boy rushing into the roadway from behind the bus”.
The children of Ackergill School were in for a shock on Friday 7 May: “Dr Bruce and Nurse Spencer were at school on Tuesday for diphtheria immunisation. All the pupils who had not been previously immunised were done but one.”
The Head Teacher of Pulteneytown Academy wrote in his log book with justifiable pride the same day, “In connection with “Wings for Victory” week, information has been received from the Manager, Aberdeen Savings Bank, that in their essay competition for primary pupils, out of 8 prizes for the County, three have been awarded to pupils from Pulteneytown Academy”.
Finally this week, the John O’Groat Journal reported an interview with some soldiers from the Seaforth Highlanders who had recently held the ridge at Jebel Manara in Tunisia against German attack. “There was a sniper in a ridge above us, and four or five Germans just over our heads,” said 32 Year-old Pte. James Smith, former ghillie, of Wester Cottage, Keiss, Caithness. “They were so close they could lob grenades down on us. One just missed the company commander. But they hadn’t many of these, thank goodness. Then we could see some jouking [i.e., dodging] round our back, and managed to shoot some.”
Coming soon! Week 193, 10th – 16th May 1943, will be published on Monday 9th May 2016. To view previous issues please use the menus on the right hand side of the page.
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