10 hardly known facts about WWII

  1. There were actually 25 Planned assassinations of Hitler

During 1932 – 1944 Hitler was under constant threat from some of his closest advisers and high-ranking officers, there was actually twenty-five (25) planned assassination attempts on Hitler, however, in the main, the Gestapo intercepted and stopped most of the attempts although three (3) did almost succeed.

1933 – Hitler was poisoned whilst eating with friends at the Kaiserhof hotel in Berlin, although they all became ill, none died.  1939 – Hitler was giving a speech at Burgerbraukeller/Beer Hall, Munich, bomb explodes just minutes after Hitler leaves, killing eight (8), injuring six (6) and finally 1944 – Wolf’s Lair bombing were many top ranking officers died and Hitler sustained some injuries to his right side and arm.



  1. British kill 750,000 Pets in one week

During the summer of 1939, just before the outbreak of war, the National Air Raid Precautions Animals Committee (NARPAC) was formed. It drafted a notice – Advice to Animal Owners. The pamphlet stated the following: “If at all possible, send or take your household animals into the country in advance of an emergency.” And finally stating: “If you cannot place them in the care of neighbours, it really is kindest to have them destroyed.”

At the outbreak of WWII, 750,000 pets are destroyed by their British owners in one week, their decisions to do this could only be attributed to one of three reasons, 1. they might be bombed. 2. They couldn’t afford them due to food rationing being introduced and finally due to them going off to war.




  1. Early warning and Anti-Tank Dogs


The US Marine Corps trained and used dogs for sniffing out enemy positions as well as early warnings systems for on coming soldiers attempting to sneak up on them, however, this was nothing compared to the Russian trained dogs.


Between 1941 – 1942 The Russian’s trained dogs to run/walk up to enemy tanks with explosives strapped to their backs, worked well in training, but in actual war conditions the dogs would get scared off by all the noises, once the explosive fuse was lit, they would be sent towards their target.  All the gun fire would send them running back to their handler’s trenches, at which time the explosives would detonate, killing everyone within range.



  1. British MI6 pay Spain £200 million to keep then out of WWII


Hitler had for many years developed a solid relationship with Francisco Franco, ruler of Spain, in a hope that he would join the Axis powers during WWII, but what he didn’t realise was that one of his top rank-officers, Canaris was working against this happening. Canaris would lie to both sides constantly.  The British knew that Spain favoured the Axis powers during the second world war, in fact, and so much so that Spain actually sent men to fight on the eastern front against the Russians, but Spain would not allow any of their men to fight on the western front in fear of war been declared against them from the Allies.

In an attempt to keep them out of the war British MI6 constantly gave bribes to Franco, his brother-in-law Suner and other top officials to the equivalent of £200 million pound in today’s money.  Both Franco and Suner were close friends with Hermann Wilhelm Göring know for selling stolen art taken from all over Europe, by some of the great artists of the world and sell them to Suner, they were often seen together in Berlin.  So, indirectly the British were possibly lining Goring’s pockets.



  1. Nazi Intelligence service use Berlin brothel to spy on their own


Reinhard Heydrich, police chief and the general of the SS, ordered his second in command Walter Schellenberg to take thirty (30) women, from the streets, trained them in all aspects of espionage.  Then placed them in a top-class Berlin brothel “Salon Kitty” to collect secrets and individual opinions, then report back to the officers in charge.  They had to provide a report on every client prior to taking the next one.

In 1940 and in retaliation for the bombing of London, the allied forces started bombing Berlin and the brothel was raised to the ground.  The owner of the salon Madam Katherine Schmidt was allowed to re-open another salon but this time without any interference from the SS, it was deemed that the intelligence collected was in fact insignificant and the whole mission was scrapped.



  1. US volunteers fighting with Allied forces prior to 1941


The US entered WWII in September 1941, however very few people know that American volunteers had actually been fighting with the allies well over a year prior to this date.  Eagle Squadron was an all American, fighter squadron of the RAF.  They played a major part in keeping the US ships safe crossing the Atlantic Ocean with supplies as well as later on fighting over Europe.

Three Eagle Squadrons were formed between September 1940 and July 1941. On 29 September 1942, they were turned over to the Eighth Air Force of the U.S. Army Air Forces and became the 4th Fighter Group. Of the thousands who volunteered, only 244 Americans served with the Eagle Squadrons.



  1. Calvin Leon Graham(April 3, 1930 – November 6, 1992)

Graham was the youngest serviceman to enlist in the US Navy.  Enlisting on August 15, 1942, at the age of 12 in Houston, Texas after the attack on Pearl Harbour, having to lie about his age, he was excepted.  After basic training lasting six weeks in San Diego, California, he was sent to Pearl Harbour and was assigned to USS South Dakota. The whole crew of the South Dakota was given a Navy commendation for their role in the battle of Saint Cruz Island in 1942. Graham was in fact wounded during the Battle of Guadalcanal, receiving fragmentation wounds but he still managed to help pull others from the sea.  He was awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Heart during his service.

Without permission from the US Navy he visited his grandmother’s funeral, although a day late, at this time his mother revealed his true age, subsequently he ended up serving three (3) months in a Texas brig.  He was discharged in 1943 after attempting to return to his ship, he also had all his medals revoked.  He then re-enlisted in 1948, aged 17, into the US Marine Corps which also ended early after an accident resulting in him breaking his back in 1951. Although now a veteran, he spent the rest of his life fighting for full medical benefits and clearing his military record.



  1. Hitler’s direct family living in Britain and the US during WWII

William Patrick Stuart-Houston ( Hitler; 12 March 1911 – 14 July 1987) William was born to Hitler’s half-brother (Alois Hilter) and his wife (Bridget Dowling, in Liverpool.   Hitler’s half-nephew lived in Liverpool, in 1930 he moved to Germany looking for a chance to ride on his uncle’s success tails, uncle Hitler gave him a job in the Reichskreditbank in Berlin which he held for many years, however he became dissatisfied any went from one dead end job to another for a few years.  William soon graved a position of power and started sending blackmail letters to his uncle, threatening to provide newspapers with family secrets if he didn’t provide assistance.  Hitler responded 1938 by requesting William revoke his British citizenship in exchange for a high-ranking position, but he thought it was a trap and so fled Germany to the UK.

In 1939 a US newspaper magnate paid for William and his mother to travel to the USA to give lectures, war broke out and they became stranded there.  The then president (Roosevelt) gave in to a special request by William to join the US Navy in 1944 as a Pharmacist’s Mate. In 1947  he was discharged from the Navy, William Hitler changed his surname to “Stuart-Houston,” which was in fact, one of Adolf Hitler’s role models.



  1. Project Pigeon, pigeon guided bombs.


During WWII American behaviourist B.F.Skinner launched a program to train pigeons to guide bombs to their targets.  One pigeon was placed at the front of the missile, in front of them was a picture of the target, as long as the pigeon kept pecking at the target the missile would continue towards the target.

The national defence committee thought the idea was eccentric to say the least, but that didn’t stop them investing $25,000.  Skinner did have some success though.



  1. Queen Elizabeth trained as a driver/mechanic during WWII

September 1939 and Britain enters the second world war, it is suggested by one of the lords that the royal children should be evacuated to Canada.  This was however dismissed by their mother, stating, they will not go without me, I will not go without my husband (the King) and he is staying, so then are we.

During the first year of the war the royal children moved around the country and at fourteen years old princess Elizabeth gave her first ever radio announcement addressing other children who have had to go through the ordeal of evacuating the cities in to the countryside, leaving their families.

February 1945, Elizabeth was appointed an honorary  position in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, army number 230873 and was trained as a driver and mechanic.



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B&W WWII images

Today I have had a little play around with image over laying in an attempt to produce some moody B&W pictures of WWII.

Below are my creations, let me know your thoughts folks….

Picture8Picture3 - CopyPicture3Picture11

I will be producing more in the future…

Here is a couple more…


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UK Directorate of Military Intelligence MI1 to MI19 sections a brief history

UK Directorate of Military Intelligence

MI1 to MI19 sections a brief history

Watch this in Video Format: https://youtu.be/nF-jntVlOkM


Part of the British War Office the first glimpse of the DMI was back in 1854 when Major Thomas Best Jarvis formed the  Department of Topography & Statistics during the Crimean War.

An intelligence branch was formed in 1873 under the leadership of Henry Brackenbury and attached to the Quartermaster General’s Department and comprising of seven (7) officers, their main objectives where intelligence gathering and advising the decision makers.


Brackenbury’s title changed when in 1888 the section was transferred to the Adjutant General’s Department, from then on, he was known as the Director of Military Intelligence.

1899 and the section now had thirteen (13) officer who produced some very credible intelligence prior to the second Boar war.  In 1904 there was a complete reshuffle at the top which resulted in the Commander-in-Chief post being abolished and replace with the Chief of General Staff.

During WWI the British Secret Service was reformed and the Military Intelligence (MI) sections where born each branch, section, sub-section where given numbers, example of which is currently still in use today with MI6 & MI5.

Throughout the early period including WWI they had sections raging from MI1 to MI19 with each section having a different objective.



Main objective was code breaking but it also had seven (7) sub-sections which were has follows:

Its sub-sections in World War I were:

  • MI1a: Distribution of reports, intelligence records.
  • MI1b: Interception and cryptanalysis.
  • MI1c: The Secret Service/SIS.
  • MI1d: Communications security.
  • MI1e: Wireless telegraphy.
  • MI1f: Personnel and finance.
  • MI1g: Security, deception and counter intelligence

This section was closed down and merged with Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) which later became Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) at Cheltenham.


Originally set up to handle geographic information gathering, it had two (2) sub-sections which were:

  • MI2a: handled the Americas (excluding Canada), Spain, Portugal, Italy, Liberia, Tangier, and the Balkans
  • MI2b: handled the Ottoman Empire, Trans-Caucasus, Arabia, Sinai, Abyssinia, North Africa excluding French and Spanish possessions, Egypt, and the Sudan

In 1941 its sections were merged with MI3.


Originally set up to handle geographic information gathering, it had five (5) sub-sections which were:

  • MI3a: France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Morocco.
  • MI3b: Austria-Hungary and Switzerland.
  • MI3c: Germany.
  • MI3d: Holland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
  • MI3e: Military translations.

In 1945 its sections were merged with MI6


Its main objection was aerial reconnaissance and interpretation. Today is it known as the Defence Intelligence Fusion Centre and part of GCHQ


This sections main objective is Counter-espionage and military policy in dealing with the civil population and still active today.


Legal and economic section dealing with the MI finance as well as economic intelligence and personnel records. Monitoring arms trafficking and still active today.


This section had four (4) sub-sections which were as follows:

  • MI7 (a) – censorship.
  • MI7 (b) – foreign and domestic propaganda, including press releases concerning army matters.
  • MI7 (c) – translation and (from 1917) regulation of foreign visitors.
  • MI7 (d) – foreign press propaganda and review (part of subsection (b) until subsection (d) was formed in late 1916).

During WWI its main objective was press liaison and propaganda, it was defunked after the signing of the Armistice but then reformed after the outbreak of WWII with its new objective being necessary liaison link between the War Office and the Ministry of Information and Political Warfare Executive.


Main objective was illicit radio transmissions during WWII, their brief was to “intercept, locate and close down illicit wireless stations operated either by enemy agents in Great Britain or by other persons not being licensed to do so under Defence Regulations, 1939”. As a security precaution, RSS was given the cover designation of MI8(c).

They actually worked out of prison cells in Wormwood Scrubs prison in London.


This section was tasked with supporting available European Resistance networks and making use of them to assist Allied airmen shot down over Europe in returning to Britain.  Mi9 agents would be dropped by parachute into occupied Europe, link up with resistance cells in that area and help organize escape-and-evasion for downed airmen.  They would carry false papers, money and maps to assist the downed airmen.

Later they worked in every area of conflict to include, Africa and China.


During WWII this section was responsible for weapons and technical analysis, it was later merge with MI16 (scientific and technical intelligence) later MI10 was responsible for road intelligence.


Main objective was to protect British military personnel from enemy agents, field security, this section was closed down after WWII.


This sections objective was Liaison with censorship organisations, military censorship, operational status, unknown.


This section specialised in German (and any of the countries they occupied) intelligence gathering, including aerial photography.  They also used pigeons during WWII to carry information to agents in occupied countries.  Closed down after WWII, all foreign intelligence is now handle by MI6.


Established 1942 with a primary objective of aerial photography, in 1943 this responsibility was transferred to the Air Ministry and MI15 became responsible for coordination of intelligence about enemy anti-aircraft facilities.  Closed down after WWII.


 Main objective was the gathering of scientific intelligence, it was formed in 1945, current operational status, unknown.


 No longer operational this section handle all departmental administration duties.


Not used


 Main objective was the gathering and collection of intelligence from POW’s during WWII,   created in 1940, this section had interrogation centres around the UK, these were called Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centres (CSDIC) based at Beaconsfield, Wilton Park, and Latimer, they also had centres in Belgium, Italy and Germany.



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WWII Clothes Rationing In Britain

Following in the footsteps of the British people during WWII and their fight against fashion and clothes rationing.

Some background stuff

At the outbreak of WWII all raw materials were redirected including those required for clothing, the demand for military uniforms was growing at a vast rate and so civilian clothing and the fabrics required for their manufacture was rationed.  Many other fabrics and materials were also redirected, including but not limited to Tarpaulins and Rubber.

Shoe and boot manufactures were under tremendous pressure to produce footwear for the armed services, so much so that even the military suffered shortages, however, it was the civilian population that suffered the most.

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1940 saw a replacement of the earlier service dress by the “Battle dress” or “Utility dress” which was designed and modified to make it more efficient to produce, hidden buttons and pleats replaced with normal buttons on pockets and so forth.

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Almost a quarter of the British population were wearing some form of military uniform by 1940 including the women’s auxiliary forces and uniformed voluntary services.

Clothes Rationing Introduced

On June 1st 1941 the British Government announced the introduction of clothes rationing in an effort to save raw materials and workers for the much needed military clothing production.

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The introduction of clothes rationing ment everyone had a fair shot at getting new clothing, this also aided in the distribution and availability in the shops.

How it Worked

Each adult was allocated with 66 points via a ration book “Coupons” every year for clothing items, when purchasing the shopper would hand over the required coupons “Points value” as well as some money.

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Each type of clothing was allocated “Points value” which varied according to how much material and labour went into its manufacture, examples:

Female Dress    –    11 Coupons

Stockings           –     2 Coupons

Male Shirt          –    8 Coupons

Female Shoes    –    5 Coupons

Men’s Shoes       –    7 Coupons

Make do Mend It

Many people had to make do by altering clothing, mending it and handing down clothes to family members and even friends and neighbours.   The British  Government even started producing posters in an effort to motivate the population.

Make do mand it poster

Clothes rationing ended in Britain on 15th March 1949.


London, Churchill War Rooms & WWII Memorials

Yesterday I went to London for the day, I decided it was time to visit the Churchill War rooms.



So the first thing I had to do was get to London….Train ride for an hour..not bad at all.  So I did look online about purchasing an Oyster Travel card…


these run out from around £75 and will give you 3 days unlimited travel and free or discounted entry into many attraction.

The issue for me was and maybe for others also, I don’t want to visit many of the attractions this card covers.

So what is the alternative, I purchased a one day trail travel card, cost £13.10, this card gives you unlimited underground/overground travel in London for one day only.


Although many of the WWII museums are free to enter in London the ques can be long.  The Churchill War Rooms actually has an admission charge of £22.50 per Adult. Instead of paying that I purchased a IWM membership, this cost £35.00, however it is well worth it, I can know join the priority ques, so not a lot of waiting around and it is good for any IWM site across the country.


You are also allowed to re-visit for free as many times as you like throughout the year and i have to say that the Churchill War Rooms really does warrant a re-visit as there is so much to see and do one day just is not long enough.

Churchill War Rooms

Once you have sorted your entry, pick up your personal digital guide machine which will guide you through the rooms.  Go through the first door and look up, you will see this..


I have to say its a reminder of what London and other cities in the UK went through during the war….imagine hundreds of these dropping out of the sky, never knowing really if its going to land and explode on or near you!!

As soon as you enter the room you are presented with everything you think your going to see and more…its packed with all sorts of rooms, sleeping quarters, Map room, Churchill dining room and kitchen, just to mention a few…check out the photo gallery to see all the pictures from this visit.




Following in the footsteps of the people and Churchill himself was a great experience, you get a feel for what is must have being like during WWII in these dark and windowless rooms…

This place is full of great exhibits ranging from Churchill memorabilia to WWII documentation and all manner of other great things to see and read.




The table above is fully interactive and you just tap on a file and it opens up so you can read it…there is just so much of it, it would take hours to read them all…but worth spending a few minutes looking through.  see photo gallery for all pictures..

So I think it would take several days to fully see and interact with everything in this place….I only had a few hours and I certainly will be returning for more….

There is a great gift shop on site too.

As you come out of the museum if you head for the Palace, Northerly direction


Memorials & Monuments

just cross the road and head up the park, cross the front of the Palace and turn left, just on the right is the Canadian Memorial,


walk up the park and you will see the RAF memorial…now it was closed today for cleaning but I still managed to get a picture..


There is loads of seating and places for food in the parks…I then headed back towards the Themes to visit the Battle if Britain Memorial, on route I saw the Women of WWII memorial


and the Monty Statue,


these memorials are basically between Churchill War rooms and the Themes, very close by…

The Churchill Statue is opposite the houses of parliament, from the embankment head towards Big Ben and turn right, cross the road and you will see it.



My next visit to London I will be going to the Imperial War Museum and then on my way home calling at Duxford Air Museum the next day…so watch out for that…

What is happening next, well on the 5th April we are going to see the D Day Darlings in concert..

Mid April going the visit the Dambuster memorial at Woodhall Spa and visit the Hotel they used during the war.  Also on the same day, Visiting RAF Conningsby to see the Lancaster museum.  So loads more to come..

for all my pictures check out the London Visit Photo’s in the gallery







Prague, Czech Republic Visit

I start my journey by entering the Czech Republic from the south, Slovakia to be exact..

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And on to visit the Milose Sykora memorial….He was shot dead by the Nazi’s during an heroic and some would say suicide mission to prevent the Germans from blowing the bridge to kingdom come.

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Miloš Sýkora bridge is steel arched bridge over the Ostravice river. Its total length is 92m and width is 16m. The Bridge was named after Miloš Sýkora. On April 30 1945  when Soviet tanks wanted to cross the bridge the Nazis undermined the bridge to stop the Soviets. At that time 24 years old Miloš Sýkora and his friend Olšák volunteered to cut the wires connected to demolition bombs and they were successful. Unfortunately Miloš Sýkora was shot dead during fallback.

next to the bridge stands a memorial in his honour..

Milose Sykora memorial

From here I decided I would go straight to Prague, I was running out of time.  Prague can only be describe (in my view) as one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited, with its architecture, people combined brings together a most memorable few days.

The city is also infamous for one other event from history… The assassination of one of the Nazi’s top brass…SS-Obergruppenfuhrer Reinhard Heydrich.  Which was the main reason for my visit.


He was certainly a brutal and sadistic man, and so the  Czech Resistance  decided it was time for him to go….when I say go I mean be killed!!

Reinhard Heydrich

Reinhard Heydrich Background

Born: 7th March 1904, Halle, Germany

He was a high-ranking German Naziofficial during World War II, and a main architect of the holocaust. He was an SSObergruppenführer und General der Polizei (Senior Group Leader and General of Police) as well as chief of the Reich Main Security office(including the GestapoKripo, and SD). He was also Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor (Deputy/Acting Reich-Protector) of Bohemia and Moravia. Heydrich served as president of the International Criminal Police Commission(ICPC; later known as Interpol) and chaired the January 1942 Wannsee Conference, which formalised plans for the Final Solution to the Jewish Question.  He was the founding head of the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service; SD), an intelligence organisation charged with seeking out and neutralising resistance to the Nazi Party via arrests, deportations, and murders.

Adolf Hitler described him as the (“Man with an Iron Heart”) others knew him as “The Blonde Beast” whilst one of his best known nicknames was ” The Butcher of Prague”.

He was certainly a brutal and sadistic man, and so the  Czech Resistance  decided it was time for him to go….when I say go I mean be killed!!

Operation Anthropoid – The Assassination of Heydrich

Between 1941 and 1942 several small teams of Czechoslovak parachutists were trained at Cholmondeley Castle and Park in Malpas, Cheshire, UK. These teams were dropped into Czechoslovakia to organise the Czechoslovak Resistance and to orchestrate the assassination with the full backing of their exiled Czechoslovak Government in England.

Several initial ideas having either failed or proved not feasible, four parachutists, 2/Lt.Adolf Opalka (Commanding Officer), Sgt Jozef ValcikSgt Jan Kubis and Sgt Jozef Gabchik, managed on May 27th 1942 to mount an attack on Heydrich’s open staff car, which included a bomb.


And this was the car afterwards..


Following in the footsteps of these individuals from the Czech Resistance I visited the very corner… it has changed a lot but I have attempted to show where it happened on this upto date map..


the co-ordinates are

50.118092 / 14.464536 Heydrich assassination point

During the attack there was an exchange of small arms gun fire, Heydrich was down, but gave the order to his personal protection to chase down the men.  He did and a chase began through the street, exchanging fire from time to time. Heydrich was fatally wounded and would die a few days later.

The resistance man got away and later formed up with his comrades in arms in a small church..the Church of Sts. Cyril and Methodius (Karel Boromejsky) in Resslova Street, Prague.. co-ordinates 50.076935 / 14.416998

It wasn’t too long before the Nazi’s found them and they wasn’t about to let them get out either… several hours pass with many exchanges of fire until finally the Nazi’s had killed them all.

Arrows show bullet holes that are still clearly visible

As a result of the assassination the Nazi’s Gestapo officials retaliated for his death by executing hundreds of Czechs and wiping out the entire village of Lidice.

There now an exhibition which is located in the underground crypt of the church,

national museum 1

It is well worth a visit to this place…. here are the opening days and times…

Tuesday 9am–5pm
Wednesday 9am–5pm
Thursday 9am–5pm
Friday 9am–5pm
Saturday 9am–5pm
Sunday 9am–5pm
Monday Closed

So that is my visit to this great country and some of its WWII historical sites..

See the picture gallery for all pictures….