There were no showers, bathing tubs even galvanized tubs for U-Boat men to utilize to cleanse themselves. Because they were unable to bathe, most U-Boat crewmen developed skin rashes, boils, and all other manner of skin diseases. Also contributing to skin diseases among the men was the sickening miasma of air inside the uboat which clung to their skin and often infected their lungs. U-boats were not well ventilated so when they were on the surface, the only way to get fresh air into the boat was to keep the bridge hatches open, close the outboard air intakes to the diesels, open the e-motor interior hatch and interior engine room hatch. This arrangement didn’t help as much as one might think since there was no way to vent the bad air except by opening the engine room deck hatch or the forward hatch to the deck in the crew compartment. This smell was a combination of the body odor of 45 or more unwashed men, their exhalations, rotting food, diesel oil, cooking odors, and worst of all, the smell of urine and excrement in the bilges. While the most common types of uboat, the type VII and type IX had two toilets or water closets, one was always used for storage and wasn’t available. Below 25 meters the toilet did not work because the water pressure was such that one could not open the outboard toilet valve to discharge the contents of the toilet. Even if you could manage to open it, doing so was forbidden since it would create a weak spot and comprise the water-tight integrity of the boat. Being in a Uboat was like serving time in a public latrine that was never sanitized in spite of constant efforts by the crew to keep the interior of the boat clean. As an aside, the founder of the U-Boot Archiv in Cuxhaven, the late Horst Bredow, an officer in the UBootwaffe, had made one war patrol in the last months of World War Two. Stanislaw Skalski DSO, DFC and two Bars* (27 November 1915 – 12 November 2004) was a Polish fighter ace of the Polish Air Force in World War II, later rising to the rank of General. He shot down 22 Luftwaffe aircraft during World War Two, including the German planes he shot down in Poland, and was the second highest scoring Polish ace. He was decorated for gallantry four times by the British,  three times by the Free French and six times by the Polish government in exile, according to the Daily Mail.
In 1947 he returned to Poland, was arrested in 1949 on trumped up charges of espionage orchestra by the Soviets. He was decorated for gallantry four times by the British, six times by the Polish government in exile and three times by the Free French. Many Polish Air Force pilots made their way to Great Britain after the German’s over ran Poland. Better, given what the Nazis were doing to their homeland, the Poles had a visceral hatred of the Germans. The Spitfire XII had been in service for over a year when this shot was taken on 12 April 1944 of two Friston-based aircraft from No 41 Squadron.
1 August 1943, a helpful German soldier showing a copy of Signal in Greek to an orthodox resident of the ancient monastic state of Mount Athos. All propaganda publications in the Third Reich, were written by professional journalists and illustrated by professional artists and photographers.
The famous US publication Life Magazine, whose format was copied by Signal,  was printed on glossy paper. During the barbarous reign of the Nazi empire, approximately 32,000 news vendors in 20,000 towns and cities and  sold Signal. Signal Magazine in French 1940 showing German soldiers walking on the beaches of Dunkirk from which the British Expeditionary Force was rescued and taken off at significant loss by the Royal Navy.
After being told, he gave them the best course to steer for land and apologized for sinking them. In 1984, Karl Merten was invited, and attended, a reunion of some of the survivors of the SS City of Cairo. Author Charles McCain sitting in the Captain’s chair on the bridge of HMS Belfast in November 2014. The Ellerman Line hosted the reunion aboard the World War Two British cruiser, HMS Belfast, preserved as a museum ship in London by the Imperial War Museum. Karl-Friedrich Merten was one of the most successful U-boat kommandants of World War Two. Merten ranks as number seven in the list of U-Boat aces, having sunk 27 ships totaling 170,151 GRT during his five patrols. He commanded U-68, a Type IX C boat on five war patrols between 11 February 1941 through 21 January 1943.
He was born in the city of Posen in 1905,  at that time the capital of the Prussia Province of Posen. He was a member of Crew 26, which in the German naval academy signifies the year one enters and not the year one graduates. This was- and remains-a major dividing line in the German Navy with the zur See having far greater prestige. Karl-Friedrich Merten was awarded the Knights Cross in June 1942 and the Knights Cross with Oak Leaves in November of 1942. Merten survived the war and had a successful career as a shipbuilder, somewhat ironic given all the ships he sunk.
Yes, the Royal Air Force deployed homing pigeons or carrier pigeons on bombers and other planes in the event planes had to ditch in the sea. The RAF Pigeon Service was established shortly before World War Twobecause RAF reconnaissance aircraft had begun flying longer missions and spending large amounts of time over the sea. This enabled the receiving end to get a good fix on your position. However, this only worked if the plane was in the air. If the pilot announced he was going to ditch the aircraft into the water, then the radio operator began signalling the position of the aircraft as well as transmitting “Mayday.” War made all of this more difficult. WWII French General Charles De Gaulle A WWII photo portrait of General Charles de Gaulle of the Free French Forces and first president of the Fifth Republic serving from 1959 to 1969. I have put this detailed photo information in because I came across this photo (before I went directly to the Library of Congress)  on a website called Maritime Quest.
Royal Air Force ground crew “bombing up” a Vickers Wellington MkIII  strategic bomber with a 4,000 pound “cookie”.


Prior to D-Day, the Allies wanted to bomb and keep bombing important French rail junctions to make movement on the railroads difficult for the Germans. The Allies sought the permission of the Free French under de Gaulle to bomb these rail junctions knowing that many thousands of Frenchmen would be killed. While the efforts of the French Resistance are wildly overestimated, it is worth noting that not one train moved on the French rail network on 6 June 1944.
An excellent piece on the number of French civilians killed in Allied bombing can be found on the BBC website here. I sincerely doubt the Allied combat soldiers who were in the front line moving into attack after the bombing would agree.
It has been a taboo subject in France for 70 years but in his D-Day commemoration speech on 6 June, President Francois Hollande will pay tribute to the terrible civilian casualties suffered by the French due to Allied bombing up to and during the liberation of France. Historians believe Allied bombardments killed almost as many French people as German bombs killed Britons during the Blitz. Almost 100 trained fighter pilots from Czechoslovakia made their way to Great Britain after the Germans invaded their country and volunteered to fight for the RAF. Rudolf Ptacek, one of the many Czech pilots who had made their way to Great Britain to serve in the Royal Air Force, and the Spitfire he flew. Ptacek was killed in action against the Nazi Luftwaffe in March of 1942 in a fight over the English Channel. Information below taken from an official RAF report on Rudolf Ptacek who crashed into the English Channel.
Jagdgeschwader 26 (Fighter Wing 26) was the most famous German fighter formation of the air war in the West.
In December 1941, Galland by then a full colonel, was promoted to General Commanding Fighter Pilots or General der Jagdflieger.
In the first months of the long air battle over Great Britain between the Royal Air Force and the Nazi Luftwaffe, only 20% of RAF pilots who ditched into the English Channel survived. They were either killed in the air or in their crash into the Channel or by hypothermia brought on by immersion in the cold water of the English Channel. The condensation trails from German and British fighter planes engaged in an aerial battle appear in the sky over Kent, along the southeastern coast of England, on September 3, 1940. In the 20 or 30 seconds the air crew had before the plane sank, they had to both grab and then push or pull through the upper hatches whatever emergency equipment they could: inflatable small rubber dinghies, emergency ration packs with fresh water, flare pistol if they had one, a portable radio transmitter if they had one and, of course, the pigeons. An immersion switch triggered the release mechanism of the large outboard dinghy which then automatically broke free of the aircraft and inflated.
For example, from 10 July to 31 July 1940 during the Battle of Britain, 220 RAF aircrew were totaled as missing presumed dead, mostly because they had come down in the English Channel. RAF Spitfire shot down over the beach at Dunkirk during the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force. While the US Navy called it the PBY, the British called it the Catalina and the Canadians called it the Canso.
This particular shot is of the engine room with the two 12 cylinder MAN diesels usually found in German U-Boats of the era. The UBootwaffe had a special medical department which did nothing but study the skin diseases of Uboot crewmen. When boats returned from patrol and the flotilla engineers went aboard to make an inspection, they usually vomited because of the horrible smell. The author of every U-Boat memoir I have ever read remarks on the horrible fugue of noxious air and the the disgusting smell which no one ever completely adjusted to. He had to be hospitalized upon returning to port because he had developed a skin rash covering his entire body. The London Daily Mail says he was the “Poland’s most successful fighter pilot” so sources conflict. If they ran out of ammunition and were over England, Polish pilots often rammed German planes then baled out.
303 Polish Fighter Squadron RAF dip their wings as they pass the saluting base during a visit by the Polish President, Wladyslaw Raczkiewicz, to Northolt, Middlesex.
222 Squadron, Royal Air Force warming up Supermarine Spitfire Mark V, BM202 ‘ZD-H’ “Flying Scotsman”, at North Weald, Essex. Essentially a Mk V airframe mated to Rolls-Royce’s powerful 1,735hp Griffon engine (which gave it a top speed of about 390mph at 18,00ft), the Mk XII was a low-level interceptor, equipping two home-defence squadrons.
Through late 1944 the Kriegsmarine produced its own highly sophisticated five color magazine. Signal was quite a sophisticated publication and presented German soldiers as being tough against their military opponents but gentle and fun with civilians. The Germans didn’t have the capacity to produce large amounts of glossy paper for magazines so  Signal was printed on newsprint paper. This was a major propaganda effort by the Nazis and the scope of it is revealed in these statistics from the website of Signal researcher and scholar, Andrew Zoller. After the ship went down he surfaced, came close abeam one of the lifeboats, and made enquiry of what ship he had sunk.
The Deutsche Marine is the only Western navy to still observe this custom, originating in the era of the first steam warships when engineers were not thought to be gentlemen. Lest we forget, they fought for Adolf Hitler, one of the most evil men of the 20th Century. Merten was one of the few men in the German Ubootwaffe to be awarded the U-boat War Badge with Diamonds or in German, U-Boot-Kriegsabzeichen mit Brillanten. This was a major handicap since U-Boat lookouts could see dark smoke at a great distance on a sunny day. SS City of Cairo and should have been in a convoy. Theoretically, the carrier pigeons served as a method of emergency communication to send the position of the downed plane.
53 Squadron RAF handling carriers containing homing pigeons at St Eval, Cornwall, after a patrol over the Bay of Biscay.
Once below a certain altitude and most certainly after they hit the water, the aircraft’s long range transmitter would not work.
If the RAF bomber had sustained critical damage in the engagement and could not remain in the air long enough to make it home, then the pilot would ditch into the English Channel.


Canadian PO (A) S Jess, wireless operator of an Avro Lancaster bomber operating from Waddington, Lincolnshire carrying two pigeon boxes. This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3b42159.
These people constantly slap their copyright on photographs which are in the public domain. Since railroad tracks are easy to repair, we had to keep bombing them over many months and bomb rail junctions all over France so as not to give away that we were going to invade in Normandy. Many more French civilians were killed in Allied bombings of German military installations in German occupied France.
A British historian calculates 57,000 French civilians were killed by Allied bombing of France in WW Two.
It was commanded from August 1940 through November of 1941 by the famous Adolf Galland, who was promoted to command the unit at age 28 while only a major. As the war went on, bombers were fitted with larger inflatable rubber dinghies stored outboard. If the men only had their life jackets and weren’t in a dinghies, they could only survive in the English Channel for two to four hours.
If the men only had their life jackets and weren’t in a dinghies, they could only survive in the English Channel for two to four hours. The boats were not originally designed to operate for long periods at sea which is how they eventually came to be used.
As you might imagine, in the heat of action or action drills, these containers were often kicked over or in an emergency dive tipped over, spilling their contents.
Some sources, including Skalski himself, give a number of 22+ victories.(Colorised by Tomek Iwanowski from Poland). The site with his full biography shows he was decorated as many as ten times by the Polish government in exile.
In 1956 he was released, returned to England and resumed his career in the Royal Air Force, rising to the rank of General. The home which is located in the London Borough of Harrow was purchased by the RAF in 1926. The British Government continues to sell of its historic heritage to private interest which immediately close them to the public. This newly-arrived example was one of the few Spitfire Mark IIs to fly operationally with a front-line squadron before the end of the Battle of Britain. This aircraft was the second bearing this name to be paid for from donations made by LNER personnel, arranged through the company’s wartime headquarters at Hitchin. By 1944, however, enemy fighter-bomber incursions were rare and the Mk XIIs were being employed on offensive sweeps over northern France.
But the best known was the Life Magazine knockoff, Signal which was produced by the Ministry of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment.  This ministry was run by the evil, criminal and despicable toad, Joseph Goebbels.
While only a handful of passengers and crew had been killed in the initial torpedo attack, 104 people out of a total of 311 passengers and crew died in lifeboats as they tried to reach the nearest land which was 1,000 miles away. At age 21, he entered the German Naval Academy at Murwick and became a regular naval officer. Sergeant J Knapp of Toronto, Canada, (in the hatchway) hands a carrier to Sergeant W Tatum of London, while Warrant Officer A Mackinnon of Auckland, New Zealand, holds a second carrier.
Homing pigeons served as a means of communications in the event of a crash, ditching or radio failure. (Photo and caption courtesy of the Imperial War Museum. We bombed to many areas in France that it is hard to say exactly how many French civilians were killed in Allied bombing raids on just rail junctions.
He makes some disparging remarks about why we bombed certain French cities which subsequently were quickly taken by Allied troops which they could have done without having the city bombed. He is thought to be to the youngest man promoted to general officer of any country in World War Two.
But procedures for ditching were not well established when the war began and the men were not trained in what actions to take in event of a ditching. In rough seas, these large dinghies had a tendency to flip over before the men got in them.
Our Allies would call planes received from Lend-Lease a different name than Americans used.
For large sums of money you can now rent historic rooms in the Palace of Westminster which is the seat of the House of Commons for private parties.
This type of propaganda tried to counter the reality of the bloody, evil, and murderous nature of the Third Reich.
However, a number of people collect them and some have ammassed every single issue published.
The low estimate is approximately one million with other estimates going as high as three million.
Any photograph which is released to the public taken by a photographer working for the US Government is immediately in the public domain and no one can copyright one of said photographs.
It is worth noting that according to Anthony Beevor’s history of D-Day, more French civilians were killed by Allied friendly fire on D-Day than Allied soldiers. Complicating matters, portable emergency radios were not available at the beginning of the war and when they became available they were unreliable and often didn’t work if they got wet. Complicating matters, portable emergency radios were not available at the beginning of the war and when they became available they were unreliable and often didn’t work if they got wet. As it turned out, they learned English quickly and since they had been professional airmen and flying for a number of years they were some of the most experienced fighter pilots the RAF had.




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