June 21, 2018




After the end of World War I,  the German fleet was scuttled at Scapa Flow, in Scotland. The High Seas Fleet was interned there under the terms of the Armistice during negotiations took place over the fate of the ships.  Ludwig won Reuter, the German commander, fearing that all the ships would be seized and divided among the Allied powers, decided to scuttle the fleet, which he carried out on June 21, 1919. Intervening British guard ships were able to beach a number of the ships, but 52 of the 74 interned vessels sank. Many of the wrecks were salvaged over the next two decades and were towed away for scrapping.


Polish Government in Exile moved to London: After the invasion of Poland by Germany on September 1, 1939, the leaders of the Polish government evacuated Poland and made their way to France.  The Polish Government in Exile wielded considerable influence in Poland during World War Two, through the establishment of the Polish Underground State (Secret State) and an enormous network of the Home Army (Armia Krajowa). Polish army units took part in virtually every Allied military operation during the War, in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.  The Polish government-in-Exile was based in France during 1939 and 1940, first in Paris and then in Angers. From 1940, following the Fall of France, the Polish Government-in-Exile moved to London, and remained in the United Kingdom until its dissolution in 1990.  (see January 1, 1945 and July 6 1945)

Palmiry Massacre of Poles:  For two days, the German SS conducted mass executions of Polish citizens near the village of Palmiry in the Kampinos Forest, located northwest of Warsaw.  In a single operation, the Nazis executed 358 members of the Polish political, cultural and social elite. Among them were Janusz Kusociński, 33, Polish athlete, Mieczysław Niedziałkowski, Polish politician and writer,  Maciej Rataj, 56, Polish politician and writer, Tomasz Stankiewicz, 37, Polish track cyclist.  Between December 1939 and July 1941 more than 1,700 Poles and Jews – mostly the inmates of Pawiak prison – were executed by the SS.


Himmler ordered the liquidation of remaining ghettos in the General Government, and removal of Jews capable of working to forced labor camps and those incapable of work to Nazi German death camps in Poland. After the joint invasion of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union in September 1939, Poland was divided into three sectors - the center was called General Government, the west was annexed to Germany, and the east was occupied by the Soviet Union. The General government was a Nazi administrative and logistical center. Their ultimate objective was to eliminate the intelligentsia (Jews and Poles), reduce the Polish population to subservient slaves, and repopulate the area with Germans. Here is the order in a memo from Himmler, dated June 21, 1943, " To: The Higher SS and Police Leader (Hoherer SS- und Polizeifuehrer) Ostland;  Chief of the SS Economic and Administrative Main Office (Chef des SS-Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamtes)  1)  I order that all Jews still remaining in ghettos in the Ostland area be collected in concentration camps.   2)  I prohibit the withdrawal of Jews from concentration camps for [outside] work from August 1, 1943.  3)   A concentration camp is to be built near Riga to which will be transferred the entire manufacture of clothing and equipment now operated by the Wehrmacht outside. All private firms will be eliminated. The workshops are to be solely concentration camp workshops. The Chief of the SS Economic and Administrative Main Office is requested to see to it that there will be no shortfall in the production required by the Wehrmacht as the result of this reorganization.  4)   Inmates of the Jewish ghettos who are not required are to be evacuated to the East.  5)   As many male Jews as possible are to be taken to the concentration camp in the oil-shale area for the mining of oil-shale.    6)  The date set for the reorganization of the concentration camps is August 1, 1943.    signed H. Himmler"

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  1. Extract from the Master’s Log of M.T. “Alderpool”

    M.T. “Alderpool”
    23rd June, 1940
    Letter to Sir R Ropner & Co.Ltd

    Dear Sirs

    ​I beg to advise you of my arrival at this port today with about 3000 Polish troops and 528 civilians from La Pallice.

    The following is a history of the voyage.

    14.6.40​p.m.​Left Cowes Road for Brest

    16.6.40​a.m.​Arrived Brest. Port closed on account of magnetic mines. Ordered ​to Glenan Island (about 90 miles down coast)
    16.6.40​p.m.​Arrived at Glenan Island and anchored awaiting orders.
    16.6.40​p.m.​Admiralty message received stating that Brest now clear of mines​and all ships ordered to Brest to proceed there.

    17.6.40​p.m. ​Arrived at Brest and anchored off breakwater.
    17.6.40​p.m.​Brest evacuated by all British ships. This S/S ordered to Clyde​
    ​(with a wink).
    17.6.40​p.m.​Proceeded as ordered.
    17.6.40​p.m.​Making for Ushante. Received orders from British destroyer to ​proceed to La Pallice.

    18.6.40​11.50 p.m. Anchored in La Pallice Harbour.

    19.6.40​a.m.​Hove up anchor and proceeded towards port.
    19.6.40​a.m.​Ordered to anchor by British destroyer.
    19.6.40​p.m.​Asked by British destroyer if I would take risk of entering port
    ​which was closed on account of mines. Also warned that S/S would
    ​be bombed.
    19.6.40​p.m.​Proceeded into port. Ordered to anchor by French examination
    ​vessel and refused to anchor.
    19.6.40 8.00 p.m. Polish troops embarking. Air Force first.
    19.6.40 8.20 p.m. Requested General in Charge Poles to have all machine guns
    erected ready for firing.
    19.6.40 8.30 p.m. Twenty five machine guns fitted.
    19.6.40 10.20 p.m. First air raid. Some bombs. French fired two shots only from
    big AA gun and then quit. Drove off raider with machine gun fire. Raids continuous throughout night. Guns only silent for five minute intervals. Several bombs dropped. Only defence against raiders were guns of this vessel. No other guns firing in harbour.

    20.6.40 4.45 a.m. All troops and civilians aboard possible to collect. Let go and
    proceeded. Last raid. Raider at about 1600 feet hit repeatedly by machine guns. Tracer bullets could be seen entering wings and fuselage. Raider when turning to get out of fire, wobbled and side-slipped. Last see to N.E. of port losing altitude.
    Left La Pallice with only ten tons of water aboard. Could not get any at that port. Ordered to Falmouth. Escort small sloop. Complimented by destroyer, who when he saw number aboard also signalled “You hog”.

    21.6.40 4.00 p.m. All food and water finished. Ordered to Liverpool, a further ​
    run of 45 hours. Requested sloop to get change of orders. In meantime, proceeding towards Falmouth. Later received orders for Plymouth.

    22.6.40 4.10 a.m. Let go anchor in Plymouth harbour.
    8.10 p.m. In berth. Disembarking troops.
    2.00 p.m. All troops and civilians ashore.
    6.30 p.m. Left berth and proceeded to anchorage.
    7.00 p.m. At anchor in harbour awaiting orders.

    Received from Polish General : - One machine gun and 1000 rounds.
    From O.C. Air Force : - One machine gun and 1000 rounds.
    From Ordinance Officer : - 6 machine guns and several thousand rounds.
    From O.C. Troops : - Three rifles and about 150 rounds.

    The first two guns are my own property. The other six belong to ship.


    ​T. V. Frank