Radschool Association Magazine - Vol 44

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The People I meet!!


Recently I was in Queenstown in New Zealand. Queenstown is NZ’s ski and fun capital and while I was there all the hills were covered with crisp new snow. And it was damn cold!!


Coming from Brisbane, I wasn’t all that keen on the cold so sought out a nice big log fire to keep warm, a place where I could sit in peace and quiet and just look out at the magnificent scenery.


But it wasn’t to be!!


I had no longer got myself settled when three beautiful girls, all from Ozland, spotted me and rushed over and being only human, insisted on draping themselves upon my person.


Oh well, such is the price of fame!!  (Click the pic)


L-R:  Nadine Highfield, Renee Moriarty and Emily Pateman.


Nadine is a solicitor and works for the Attorney General’s department in Canberra, Renee is a Risk Management Consultant and lives and works in Brisbane and Emily works in Hospitality in Sydney.


If you’ve never been to NZ, but if you’re thinking of going in the sometime soon, we would suggest spending as much time as you can in the South Island at the expense of the North. The North Island is a lot like Ozland, Holdens, Falcons, same shops, same pubs, the only real difference is they eat fush instead of fish – but the South is different.


The South is wonderful scenery, and if you’re game enough you can get involved in all sorts of extreme sports, including skiing and snowboarding, jet boating, whitewater rafting, bungy jumping, mountain biking, sky diving and for the not so adventurous - fly fishing. We’ve done most of the South Island before, so this time we stayed put in Queenstown.



Queenstown is not a big city, it has a permanent population of about 15,000 but that can swell to 40,000 with the addition of overseas tourists. And they come from all parts of the world, walking through the quaint little narrow streets of Queenstown you hear all sorts of different languages.


The Remarkables


Queenstown is 45 degrees south, (Hobart is 42 south), so you do need to rug up. It is situated on the 80 klm long “Z” shaped Lake Wakatipu and is bounded by magnificent mountain ranges, the best known of which is the “Remarkables”. One way to spend a few relaxing hours and to see the Remarkables at their best is to take a cruise on the lake in the 100 year old twin screw coal fired steamer TSS Earnslaw.


Queenstown water-front.


Getting in and out of NZ is a breeze too, for starters, it’s quicker and cheaper to fly to NZ from the East Coast of Oz than it is to fly to Perth and the NZ customs/immigration people usher you through as though you were at a domestic airport – all in all, a very enjoyable break!



There is no cure for birth and death except to enjoy the interval.



Bonnington’s Irish Moss.


When we were kids, one of the favourite remedies for an annoying cough was Bonnington’s Irish Moss – but what was it and where did it come from??


Many years ago, one of Christchurch’s (New Zealand) most well-known and successful chemist and druggist shops was owned by a George Bonnington.


An entrepreneur from a young age, George was living with his family when he concocted the dark brown syrupy cough mixture of vinegar and an extract of seaweed (Carrageen), sweetened with honey. He left his home town of Nelson in 1872 to set up in Christchurch, opening a small chemist shop in Colombo Street, (the main street).


Unfortunately his business was not an instant success and in 1875 he declared himself bankrupt, putting his affairs in the hands of two Trustees, one of whom was his brother, Charles.


The business was put on the market but it didn’t sell, instead it was assigned to Charles and a fellow Trustee, merchant J. J. Fletcher, and together they worked to turn the business around. Advertisements for George’s Irish Moss preparation, which had proved popular in Nelson, were placed regularly in the Star newspaper and eventually became the cornerstone product for the business. By the end of 1876,‘Bonnington’s Pectoral Oxymel of Carrageen or Irish Moss’ was being distributed and sold through stores and chemists throughout Canterbury. They relocated the business to a larger shop on High Street and advertised for ‘an experienced and steady man’ to manage the business.


Pectoral oxymel of Carrageen” known commonly as ‘Irish Moss‘, had been used as a thickening agent in jellies, blancmanges and broths for hundreds of years. Its medicinal qualities were well recognised, when mixed with milk, sugar and spices, it could be made into a nutritious and easily digested decoction for invalids suffering from consumption, coughs, asthma or dysentery.


Bonnington guaranteed that one dose was an effective cure for any cough. It’s sweet odour and taste was responsible for making it one of the most popular medicines of its day. However, the taste and popularity had probably more to do with the secret ingredients, opium and morphine, which provided a pleasant after taste and effect!


In 1883, Bonnington & Co. relocated to the newly constructed, ‘custom designed’ and elegant sandstone Italianate building which they named “Bonnington House.” Covering about 5,000 sq ft of floor space, Bonnington House was not only a spacious building, but the height of modernity. It was installed with a modern telephone system and the interior was furnished with large mirrors, beautiful glass showcases, handsome mahogany counters and many other fittings of the latest fashions.


It also had a Lamson pneumatic cashier machine installed, the first in the Southern hemisphere. The shop counters were connected by tubes to a central cashier to whom the customers’ payments would be despatched. The cashier would then return the change and receipts to the shop assistants in cartridges that were driven along overhead pipes by compressed air.


In about 1891, Bonnington & Co introduced their Irish Moss preparation to the Australian market, opening a factory in Harris Street, Sydney. It was advertised as containing nothing injurious and ‘there is not the least danger in giving it to children‘. Yet in 1907, a Victorian grocer was fined in the District Court for selling Bonnington’s Carrageen Irish Moss, which contained morphia, contrary to the Pure Food Act. The bottles were quickly withdrawn from the market and a fresh batch prepared which didn’t contain any opium derivative.


At the age of 64 years, George Bonnington died on December 18th, 1901. His son, Leonard was made managing director of the entire business.


Bonnington & Co continued to grow. Leonard built Bonnington’s four storey building at the corner of High and Cashel Streets, (left) and they remained in business on the ground floor until 1973. The department store magnate, William Strange purchased the elegant white Bonnington House so he could expand his adjacent department store. However Strange and Co. went into liquidation and closed down in 1929, and J. R. McKenzie acquired the building. In later years, the building became dilapidated and its decorative cornice and pediment were removed.


After Leonard retired, his brother, Louis and then Cecil took over the business in succession. About 1988, Bonnington House caught fire and the upper two floors were destroyed until restoration by the KPI Rothschild Property Group in 2007.


Bonnington’s trademark line “start that sip, sip, sip of Bonnington’s Irish Moss” was used for years to promote the continued consumption of the product, and it is still being manufactured by Glaxo Smith Kline today.





A coach load of Paddies on a mystery tour decided to run a sweepstake to guess where they were going. The driver won £52!



Invasion of Poland.


Poland had been reborn as an independent nation after World War I and the collapse of Austria-Hungary, Russia, and Germany. Polish borders had been partly re-established by the Versailles Treaty but a series of armed conflicts with Germany, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, and Ukrainian nationalists, as well as a major war with the Soviet Union, gave the borders their final shape.


During the course of the Polish-Soviet War (1919-20), Poland had been forced to rely on her own resources as help from the Western Allies had been slow in coming or had actively blocked by pro-communist unions in Europe. Because of the Polish-Soviet war and continuing Soviet efforts at infiltration thereafter, Polish military and political planning focused primarily on a future conflict with the Soviets. To this end, the Poles developed alliances with Rumania and Latvia. Poland’s policy toward Germany was based on her alliance with France, but Polish-Czech relations remained cool. The problem with the French alliance, as far as the Poles were concerned, was the instability in French politics which resulted in constant indecision about the eastern alliances. As governments rose and fell in regular succession, French policies toward Poland and other allies changed.


German military leaders had begun planning for war with Poland as early as the mid 1920s. Recovering the ethnically Polish territory of Pomerania, Poznan, and Silesia, as well as the largely German Free City of Danzig were the major objectives. Nevertheless, the restrictions of Versailles and Germany’s internal weakness made such plans impossible to realize. Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 capitalized on German’s desire to regain lost territories, to which Nazi leaders added the goal of destroying an independent Poland. According to author Alexander Rossino, prior to the war Hitler was at least as anti-Polish as anti-Semitic in his opinions. That same year, Poland’s Marshal Jozef Pilsudski proposed to the French a plan for a joint invasion to remove Hitler from power, which the French vetoed as mad warmongering.


In 1934, however, the Germans signed a non-aggression pact with Poland, providing a kind of breathing space for both countries. German efforts to woo Poland into an anti-Soviet alliance were politely deferred as Poland attempted to keep her distance from both powerful neighbours. As German power began to grow, however, and Hitler increasingly threatened his neighbours, the Poles and French began to revitalize their alliance.


The Munich Pact dramatically increased Poland’s danger. At the last minute, the Poles and Czechs had attempted to patch up their differences. The Czechs would give up disputed territory taken in 1919 and half ownership in the Skoda arms works in exchange for Polish military intervention in the case of German attack. The Munich Pact, however, closed this option and Poland sent its troops to forcibly occupy the territory of Teschen and the nearby Bohumin rail junction to keep it out of German hands.


After Hitler violated the Munich treaty, Poland was able to extract guarantees of military assistance from France, and significantly, Britain. In March 1939, Hitler began to make demands on Poland for the return of territory in the Polish Corridor, cessation of Polish rights in Danzig, and annexation of the Free City to Germany. These Poland categorically rejected. As negotiations continued, both sides prepared for war. German demands sent to Poland on 25 Aug 1939 were the following.


  • The return of Danzig to Germany.

  • Rail and road access across the corridor between Germany and East Prussia.

  • The cession to Germany any Polish territory formerly of pre-WW1 Germany that hosted 75% or more ethnic Germans.

  • An international board to discuss the cession of the Polish Corridor to Germany


Hitler, however, again altered the strategic landscape again in August 1939 when Germany and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact which contained secret protocols designed to partition Poland and divide up most of eastern Europe between the two dictators.


Strategic Considerations.


Poland’s strategic position in 1939 was weak, but not hopeless. German control over Slovakia added significantly to Poland’s already overly long frontier. German forces could attack Poland from virtually any direction. Poland’s major weakness, however, was its lack of a modernized military. In the 1920s, Poland had the world’s first all-metal air force, but had since fallen behind other powers. Poland was a poor, agrarian nation without significant industry. While Polish weapons design was often equal or superior to German and Soviet design, it simply lacked the capacity to produce equipment in the needed quantities. One example was the P-37 Łos bomber, which at start of the war was the world’s best medium bomber. Another example was the "Ur" anti-tank rifle which was the first weapon to use tungsten-core ammunition.


To motorize a single division to German standards would have required use of all the civilian cars and trucks in the country. This occurred despite heroic efforts by Polish society to create a modern military which included fundraising among civilians and the Polish communities in the USA to buy modern equipment. As a percentage of GNP, Polish defence spending in the 1930s was second in Europe, behind the Soviet Union but ahead of Germany. Yet, in real dollar terms, the budget of the Luftwaffe alone in 1939 was ten times greater than the entire Polish defence budget. Yet even this did not give the full picture, since the Polish defence budget included money to upgrade roads and bridges and to build arms factories.


The Polish leadership was also hamstrung by political rifts and by the legacy of Pilsudski’s authoritarian rule which had retarded the development of modern strategic thinking and command. The top leadership was held by Marshal Edward Smigly-Rydz (right), who had been an able corps commander in 1920 but lacked the ability to command a complex modern army. Yet there were many able officers, such as Gen. Tadeusz Kutrzeba and Gen. Kazimierz Sosnkowski. Although overburdened by military brass, Poland had a solid corps of junior officers. The Polish Air Force, by contrast, was a very strong service.


Poland’s one major advantage was in intelligence, beginning in the early 1930s, a group of young mathematicians had managed to break the German military codes of the supposedly unbreakable Enigma encoding machine. Until 1938, virtually all German radio traffic could be read by Polish intelligence. Thereafter, the Germans began to add new wrinkles to their systems, complicating the task. On the eve of the war, the Poles could read about ten percent of Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe traffic and nothing from the Kriegsmarine. However, the German military police frequencies continued to use the older system and were fully readable. This was augmented by human intelligence efforts. By September 1, 1939, the Polish high command knew the location and disposition of 90 percent of German combat units on the eastern front.


Polish doctrine had developed during the Polish-Soviet War and emphasized manoeuvre with little reliance placed on static defences, aside from a few key points. Unfortunately, the Polish army’s ability to manoeuvre was far less than the more mechanized German army.


Much mythology surrounds Poland’s use of cavalry, mostly due to Nazi propaganda absorbed by Western historians. About 10 percent of the Polish army was horse cavalry, a smaller percentage than the U.S. army in 1939. Poland had more tanks than Italy, a country with a well-developed automotive industry. Polish cavalry were used as form of mobile infantry and rarely fought mounted, and never with lances. The cavalry attracted high-calibre recruits and the forces trained alongside tanks and possessed greater tank-fighting ability than comparable infantry units. Their use was also envisioned in any conflict with the USSR in eastern Poland where the terrain was mainly forest, swamp, and mountain.


Poland’s primary strategic goal was to draw France and Britain into the war on her side in the event of an attack by Germany. Poland’s defence strategy in 1939, developed by Gen. Kutrzeba, envisioned a fighting withdrawal to the south-eastern part of the country, the "Rumanian bridgehead." There, the high command stockpiled reserve supplies of equipment and fuel. In the rougher terrain north of the Rumanian and Hungarian borders, the army would make its stand. If all went well, an Anglo-French counterattack in the west would reduce German pressure and Polish forces could be re-supplied by the allies through friendly Rumania.


Hitler’s political tactics, however, forced a modification of this plan. Fearing the Germans might attempt to seize the Polish Corridor or Danzig and then declare the war over, Polish forces were ordered closer to the border to ensure that any German attack would be immediately engaged in major combat. In so doing they would ensure that Poland’s allies could not wriggle out of their treaty obligations.



For its part, Germany’s planners sought to deliver a rapid knockout blow to Poland within the first two weeks. German forces would launch deep armoured attacks into Poland along two main routes: Lodz-Piotrkow-Warsaw and from Prussia across the Narew River into eastern Mazovia. There would be secondary attacks in the south and against the Polish coastal defences in the north. The primary objective would be to cut off Polish forces in northern and western Poland and seize the capital. To further deter France from entering the soon-to-begin German-Polish conflict, Hitler made several public visits to the West Wall on the German-French border beginning from Aug 1938 to survey the construction of bunkers, blockhouses, and other fortifications. (This wall was called the Siegfried Line by the Allies). The Nazi propaganda machine elabourated on these visits to form a picture of an invincible defensive line to deter French attacks when Germany invades.


On paper, Poland’s full mobilized army would have numbered about 2.5 million. Due to allied pressure and mismanagement, however, only about 600,000 Polish troops were in place to meet the German invasion on September 1, 1939. These forces were organized into 7 armies and 5 independent operational groups. The typical Polish infantry division was roughly equal in numbers to its German counterpart, but weaker in terms of anti-tank guns, artillery support, and transport. Poland had 30 active and 7 reserve divisions. In addition there were 12 cavalry brigades and one mechanized cavalry brigade. These forces were supplemented by units of the Border Defence Corps (KOP), an elite force designed to secure the frontiers from infiltration and engage in small unit actions, diversion, sabotage, and intelligence gathering. There was also a National Guard used for local defence and equipped with older model weapons. Armoured train groups and river flotillas operated under army command.


German forces were organized in two Army Groups, with a total of 5 armies. The Germans fielded about 1.8 million troops. The Germans had 2,600 tanks against the Polish 180, and over 2,000 aircraft against the Polish 420. German forces were supplemented by a Slovak brigade.


Armed clashes along the border became increasingly frequent in August 1939 as Abwehr operations worked to penetrate Polish forward areas and were opposed by the Polish Border Defence Corps, an elite unit originally designed to halt Soviet penetration of the eastern frontier. These clashes alarmed the French who urged the Poles to avoid "provoking" Hitler. Polish forces had been partly mobilized in secret in the summer of 1939. Full mobilization was to be declared in late August, but was halted at French insistence. Mobilization was again declared on August 30, but halted to French threats to withhold assistance, and then re-issued the following day. As a result of this, only about a third of Polish forces were equipped and in place on Sept. 1.


On August 31, operational Polish air units were dispersed to secret airfields. The navy’s three most modern destroyers executed Operation Peking and slipped out of the Baltic Sea to join the Royal Navy. Polish submarines dispersed to commence mine laying operations.


As Hitler gathered his generals, he ordered them to "kill without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of Polish descent or language... only in this way can we achieve the living space we need." Mobile killing squads Einsatzgruppen would follow the main body of troops, shooting POWs and any Poles who might organize resistance. On the night of August 31, Nazi agents staged a mock Polish attack on a German radio station in Silesia, dressing concentration camp prisoners in Polish uniforms and then shooting them. Hitler declared that Germany would respond to "Polish aggression."


The invasion began at 4.45 A.M. The battleship Schleswig-Holstein was moored at the port of the Free City of Danzig on a "courtesy visit" near the Polish military transit station of Westerplatte. The station was on a sandy, narrow peninsula in the harbor, garrisoned by a small force of 182 men. At quarter to five on September 1, 1939, the giant guns of the battleship opened up on the Polish outpost at point-blank range.



As dawn broke, Danzig SS men advanced on Westerplatte expecting to find only the pulverized remains of the Polish garrison. Instead, they found the defenders very much alive. In moments the German attack was cut to pieces. Further attacks followed. Polish defenders duelled the mighty battleship with a small field gun. At the Polish Post Office in Danzig, postal workers and Polish boy scouts held off Nazi forces for most of the day before surrendering. The post office defenders were summarily executed. A similar fate awaited Polish railway workers south of the city after they foiled an attempt to use an armoured train to seize a bridge over the Vistula.


German forces and their Danzig and Slovak allies attacked Poland across most sectors of the border. In the north, they attacked the Polish Corridor. In southern and central Poland, Nazi armoured spearheads attacked toward Łódź and Kraków. In the skies, German planes commenced terror bombing of cities and villages. Nazi armies massacred civilians and used women and children as human shields. Everywhere were scenes of savage fighting and unbelievable carnage. Polish forces defending the borders gave a good account of themselves. At Mokra, near Częstochowa, the Nazi 4th Panzer Division attacked two regiments of the Wolynska Cavalry Brigade. The Polish defenders drew the Germans into a tank trap and destroyed over 50 tanks and armoured cars.


The battle in the Polish Corridor was especially intense. It was here that the myth of the Polish cavalry charging German tanks was born. As Gen. Heinz Guderian’s panzer and motorized forces pressed the weaker Polish forces back, a unit of Pomorska Cavalry Brigade slipped through German lines late in the day on Sept. 1 in an effort to counterattack and slow the German advance. The unit happened on a German infantry battalion making camp. The Polish cavalry mounted a sabre charge, sending the Germans fleeing but at that moment, a group of German armoured cars arrived on the scene and opened fire on the cavalry, killing several troopers and forcing the rest to retreat. Nazi propagandists made this into "cavalry charging tanks" and even made a movie to embellish their claims. While historians remembered the propaganda, they forgot that on September 1, Gen. Guderian had to personally intervene to stop the German 20th motorized division from retreating under what it described as "intense cavalry pressure." This pressure was being applied by the Polish 18th Lancer Regiment, a unit one tenth its size.


Where the Poles were in position, they usually got the better of the fight, but due to the delay in mobilization, their forces were too few to defend all sectors. The effectiveness of German mechanized forces proved to be their ability to bypass Polish strong points, cutting them off and isolating them. By September 3, although the country was cheered by the news that France and Britain had declared war on Germany, the Poles were unable to contain the Nazi breakthroughs. Army Łódź, despite furious resistance, was pushed back and lost contact with its neighbouring armies. German tanks drove through the gap directly toward Warsaw. In the Polish Corridor, Polish forces tried to stage a fighting withdrawal but suffered heavy losses to German tanks and dive-bombers. In the air, the outnumbered Polish fighter command fought with skill and courage, especially around Warsaw. Nevertheless, Nazi aircraft systematically targeted Polish civilians, especially refugees. Bombing and shelling sent tens of thousands of people fleeing for their lives, crowding the roads, hindering military traffic.


Realizing that escaping civilians crowded up important transportation routes and disrupted Polish military movement, the Germans began to broadcast fake Polish news programs that either falsely reported the position of German armies or to encourage civilians of certain areas to evacuate. With both methods, the Germans were able to exploit the fear of the Polish civilians and render Polish transportation systems nearly useless.


The effects of the Poles’ lack of mobility and the fateful decision to position forces closer to the border now began to tell. On September 5, the Polish High Command, fearing Warsaw was threatened, decided to relocate to south-eastern Poland. This proved a huge mistake as the commanders soon lost contact with their major field armies. Warsaw itself was thrown into panic at the news.


Although the situation was grim, it was not yet hopeless. Following the High Command’s departure, the mayor of Warsaw Stefan Starzyński and General Walerian Czuma rallied the city’s defenders. Citizen volunteers built barricades and trenches. An initial German attack on the city’s outskirts was repulsed.


The fast German advance took little account of Army Poznań under the command of Gen. Kutrzeba which had been bypassed on the Nazis’ quick drive toward Warsaw. On September 8-9, Army Poznań counterattacked from the north against the flank of the German forces moving on Warsaw. The Nazi advance halted in the face of the initial Polish success on the River Bzura. The Nazis’ superiority in tanks and aircraft, however, allowed them to regroup and stop Army Poznań’s southward push. The counterattack turned into a battle of encirclement. Although some forces managed to escape to Warsaw, by September 13, the Battle of Bzura was over and Polish forces destroyed. The delay, however, had allowed Warsaw to marshal its defences, turning the perimeter of the city into a series of makeshift forts. In the south, German forces had captured Kraków early in the campaign but their advance slowed down as they approached Lwów. The defenders of Westerplatte had surrendered after seven days of fighting against overwhelming odds, but the city of Gdynia and the Hel Peninsula still held as Polish coastal batteries kept German warships at bay.




By the middle of September, Polish losses had been severe and the German advance had captured half of the country. The high command’s fateful decision to leave Warsaw had resulted in more than a week of confusion, rescued only by the courage of Army Poznań’s doomed counterattack. By the middle of September, however, Polish defences were stiffening. Local commanders and army-level generals now directed defences around the key bastions of Warsaw, the Seacoast, and Lwów. German losses began to rise (reaching their peak during the third week of the campaign). Small Polish units isolated by the rapid advance regrouped and struck at vulnerable rear-area forces.


This thin ray of hope, however, was extinguished on September 17 when Red Army forces crossed Poland’s eastern border as Stalin moved to assist his Nazi ally and to seize his share of Polish territory. Nearly all Polish troops had been withdrawn from the eastern border to fight the Nazi onslaught. Only a few units of the Border Defence Corps aided by local volunteers stood in the way of Stalin’s might. Although often outnumbered 100 to 1, these forces refused to surrender.


One such force commanded by Lt. Jan Bolbot was attacked by tens of thousands of Red Army troops in their bunkers near Sarny. Bolbot’s surrounded men mowed down thousands of Soviet attackers who advanced in human waves. Finally, communist forces piled debris around the bunkers and set them on fire. Lt. Bolbot, who remained in telephone contact with his commander, reported that the neighbouring bunker had been breached and he could see hand to hand fighting there. He told his commander that his own bunker was on fire and filling with thick smoke but all his men were still at their posts and shooting back. Then the line went dead. The entire Sarny garrison fought to the last man. Bolbot was posthumously awarded the Virtuti Militari, Poland’s highest military decoration.


Polish defences in the southeast fell apart as formations were ordered to fall back across the relatively friendly Rumanian and Hungarian borders to avoid capture. Fighting raged around Warsaw, the fortress of Modlin, and on the seacoast. On September 28, Warsaw capitulated. Polish forces on the Hel Peninsula staved off surrender until October 1. In the marshes of east central Poland, Group Polesie continued to mount effective resistance until October 5. When this final organized force gave up, its ammunition was gone and its active duty soldiers were outnumbered by the prisoners it had taken.


Throughout the first two and half weeks of September 1939, Germany threw its entire air force, all of panzer forces, and all of its frontline infantry and artillery against Poland. Its border with France was held by a relatively thin force of second and third string divisions. The French army, from its secure base behind the Maginot Line, had overwhelming superiority in men, tanks, aircraft, and artillery. A concerted push into western Germany would have been a disaster for Hitler. Yet the French stood aside and did nothing. The British were equally inactive, sending their bombers to drop propaganda leaflets over a few German cities. Had the Allies acted, the bloodiest and most terrible war in human history could have been averted.



The Western Betrayal.


Since Britain and France had given Germany a freehand in annexing Czechoslovakia, some people of Central and Eastern Europe placed a distrust on the democratic nations of Western Europe. They used the word "betrayal" to describe their western allies who failed to fulfil their treaty responsibilities to stand by the countries they swore to protect. Britain and France's lack of initial response to the German invasion convinced them that their western allies had indeed betrayed them.


Britain simply did not wish to give up the notion that Germany could be courted as a powerful ally. After a note was sent from London to Berlin regarding to the invasion of her ally, Lord Halifax followed up by sending British Ambassador in Berlin Nevile Henderson a note stating that the note was "in the nature of a warning and is not to be considered as an ultimatum." Deep in its pacifist fantasies, Britain did not consider the violation of her allies borders a valid cause for war. France's response to the invasion was similar, expressing a willingness to negotiate though refusing to send any deadline for a German response. At 1930 London time on 1 Sep 1939, the British parliament gathered for a statement from Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, expecting a declaration of war as dictated by the terms of the pact between Britain and Poland, or minimally the announcement of an ultimatum for Berlin. Instead, Chamberlain noted that Hitler was a busy man and might not have had the time to review the note from Berlin yet. When he sat down after his speech, there were no cheers; even the parliament characterized by its support for appeasement was stunned by Chamberlain's lack of action.


As Britain and France idled, the German Luftwaffe bombed Polish cities. They submitted messages to Berlin noting that if German troops were withdrawn, they were willing to forget the whole ordeal and return things to the status quo. It was a clear violation of the military pacts that they had signed with Poland. Finally, on 3 Sep, after thousands of Polish military and civilian personnel had already perished, Britain declared war on Germany at 1115. France followed suit at 1700 on the same day. Even after they had declared war, however, the sentiment did not steer far from that of appeasement. The two western Allies remained mostly idle. While Poland desperately requested the French Army to advance into Germany to tie down German divisions and requested Britain to bomb German industrial centres, Britain and especially France did nothing in fear of German reprisals.


In one of the biggest "what-if" scenarios of WW2, even Wilhelm Keitel noted that had France reacted by conducting a full-scale invasion of Germany, Germany would have fallen immediately. "We soldiers always expected an attack by France during the Polish campaign, and were very surprised that nothing happened.... A French attack would have encountered only a German military screen, not a real defence", he said. The invasion was not mounted; instead, token advances were made under the order of Maurice Gamelin of France, where a few divisions marched into Saarbrücken and were immediately withdrawn. The minor French expedition was embellished in Gamelin's communique as an invasion, and falsely gave the impression that France was fully committed and was meeting stiff German resistance. While the Polish ambassy in London reported several times that Polish civilians were being targeted by German aerial attacks, Britain continued to insist that the German military had been attacking only military targets.



Occupation and Escape.


Both German and Soviet occupations began with murder and brutality. Many prisoners of war were executed on the spot or later during the war. Countless civilians were also shot or sent to concentration camps, including political leaders, clergy, boy scouts, professors, teachers, government officials, doctors, and professional athletes. Among them was Mayor Starzynski of Warsaw who had rallied his city to resist the Nazi onslaught. In the German sector, Jews were singled out for special brutality.


Many small army units continued to fight from remote forests. Among the most famous was the legendary "Major Hubal," the pseudonym of Major Henryk Dobrzański. Major Hubal and his band of 70-100 men waged unrelenting guerilla warfare on both occupiers until they were cornered by German forces in April 1940 and wiped out. Hubal’s body was burned by the Germans and buried in secret so he would not become a martyr, but others soon took his place.


POWs captured by the Germans were to be sent to labour and prison camps. Many soldiers escaped and disappeared into the local population. Those who remained in German custody were frequently abused, used for slave labour, or shot. POWs captured by the Soviets suffered an even worse fate. Officers were separated from the enlisted men and an estimated 22,000 were massacred by the Soviets. Enlisted men were often sent to Siberian gulags where many died.



Large numbers of Polish soldiers had fled into neighboring Hungary and Rumania where they were interned. While both countries were officially allied to Germany, both had strong sympathy for the Poles. This was especially true in Hungary. Polish soldiers began to disappear from internment camps as bribable or sympathetic guards and officials pretended to look the other way. Individually and in small groups, they made their way to France and Britain. German diplomats raged at their Hungarian and Rumanian counterparts, but officials in neither country had much interest in enforcing Berlin’s decrees. As a result, within months a new Polish army had begun to form in the West.



Wife's Diary:


Tonight, I thought my husband was acting weird. We had made plans to meet at a nice restaurant for dinner. I was shopping with my friends all day long, so I thought he was upset at the fact that I was a bit late, but he made no comment on it. Conversation wasn't flowing, so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet so we could talk. He agreed, but he didn't say much. I asked him what was wrong; He said, 'Nothing. I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset. He said he wasn't upset, that it had nothing to do with me, and not to worry about it. On the way home, I told him that I loved him. He smiled slightly, and kept driving. I can't explain his behaviour. I don't know why he didn't say, 'I love you, too.' When we got home, I felt as if I had lost him completely, as if he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. He just sat there quietly, and watched TV. He continued to seem distant and absent. Finally, with silence all around us, I decided to go to bed. About 15 minutes later, he came to bed. But I still felt that he was distracted, and his thoughts were somewhere else. He fell asleep; I cried. I don't know what to do. I'm almost sure that his thoughts are with someone else. My life is a disaster.



Husband's Diary:


A two-foot putt..........who the hell misses a two-foot putt!



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