Learn 75 Facts about WW2, VE Day & VJ Day – Quiz 3

Jolly well done on reaching Level 3.

It’s time to Keep Calm and Carry On for those final facts.  Are you ready to expand your knowledge and find out more about;

What was the Bombes Machine?  When was VJ Day?  Who were the Special Operations Executive?  Why was the date of D-Day changed?  And just what was Rudolf Hess doing in Scotland?

A Serviceman’s Best Friend

When war started Britain was slower than some of her allies to realise the value of dogs on the frontline. The Belgians and the French had been training the dogs for guard duty and for detecting explosives.
 
During the evacuation of Dunkirk in June 1940, along with the thousands of men rescued were 200 Belgian and French dogs. In 1942 the Army set up its first War Dog Training School, taking over Greyhound Racing Kennels at Potter's Bar in London.
 
By 1944 around 7,000 dogs had graduated from the school and others were being trained for the RAF at bases in the Middle East. Dogs were also invaluable in searching for those trapped in the rubble of bombed buildings. There is no doubt that man's best friend saved many lives.

Special Operations Executive

One of the lesser known organisations of WW2 was housed in Baker Street, London. The mission of the Special Operations Executive was to support the French Resistance in its fight against German occupation.
 
Those who signed up to this organisation were sent behind enemy lines and acted as support to ensure the Resistance movement was not cut off from the Allies. This was dangerous work, but it was expected that women Agents would be less conspicuous than men simply because it would not be expected that women would do this.
 
Agents knew there would be certain death if they were caught but despite this 39 of the SOE agents in France were women.

Rudolf Hess in Scotland  

The 14th Duke of Hamilton found himself at the centre of a plot by Rudolf Hess, Hitler's Deputy, to end the war in 1941. Rudolf Hess, a leading member of the Nazi party and Hitler's Deputy Fuhrer, made a solo flight to Scotland to try to speak to the Duke of Hamilton and arrange peace talks.
 
He parachuted out of his Messerschmitt plane when it got into difficulties and landed in a field outside Eaglesham where he was apprehended by a local farmer and taken to the headquarters of the local Home Guard in Busby.
 
Hess was transferred to Maryhill Barracks in Glasgow for a while and spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner. After the end of WW2, Hess stood trial at Nuremberg for war crimes and spent the remainder of his life in Spandau Prison, Berlin.

A Corner of Pakistan in Scotland  

Buried in Kingussie are nine servicemen from Force K6, an all Muslim Transport Corps. They originated from the Punjab and arrived in France in 1939 and eventually were evacuated from Dunkirk to Britain. In the UK, they trained, provided supplies and prepared for Churchill's 'Operation Jupiter'.
 
These individuals now resting in Scottish soil provide a special and everlasting link between Scotland and South Asia and between Muslims and Britain.

Bombes Machine

The use of Bombes Machine in intelligence gathering had a huge impact across many land, sea and air campaigns. The German battleship Bismarck was located with the assistance of Enigma decrypts and sunk by air and surface attack in 1941.
 
Later, in 1944, Enigma decrypts provided details of German defensive preparations for, and reactions to the D-Day invasion.

Souvenirs and Epherma

Patriotic Scarves: During WW2, people found ways to show their support for the war effort through fashion.
 
One scarf's simple design features the RAF crest together with Winston Churchill's famous tribute to the RAF during the Battle of Britain: “Never was so much owed by so many to so few.”

When Bamse died in 1944, his naval career ended but he will forever be in the hearts of the local community. He was buried with full military honours in Montrose, a statue erected in the Montrose Harbour and a Bamse Heritage Trail established.

When was VJ Day?

Victory over Japan Day (also known as V-J Day, Victory in the Pacific Day, or V-P Day) is the day on which Imperial Japan surrendered in WW2, in effect bringing the war to an end.
 
The term has been applied to both of the days on which the initial announcement of Japan's surrender was made – to the afternoon of August 15, 1945, in Japan, and because of time zone differences, to August 14, 1945 (when it was announced in the United States and the rest of the Americas and Eastern Pacific Islands) – as well as to September 2, 1945, when the signing of the surrender document occurred, officially ending WW2.

No Place like Home  

During the war 200,000 homes were destroyed. Even children who were not evacuated often moved homes several times. By the end of the war there had been 34 million change of addresses!

By the Light of the Moon. Astronomy & WW2

The invasion of occupied France on D-Day changed the course of WW2. Astronomy played a crucial role in the timing of the event. On 6th June 1944, Allied soldiers invaded beaches along the coast of the Normandy.
 
Troops did not want to use artificial light so that the enemy would see. They used the light reflected from the moon to guide their way.
 
The planners were particular about the timing of D-day. They wanted a full moon, with a spring tide and to land at dawn on a flood tide, when it was about half way in. That meant there were only a few days that were appropriate. June 5th was chosen but it had to be delayed 24 hours for bad weather.

Italian Prisoners of War

During the war, 200 Italian Prisoners of War were held on the island of Lambholm in the Orkney Islands. They were given permission to build a chapel using 2 old Nissan huts. The Italian Chapel which they created has become world famous and stands as a symbol of humanity and reconciliation.
 
It attracts visitors from around the world and has undergone three restorations to keep it fresh. The first restoration in the 1960's was undertaken by one of the original builders, Domenico Chiocchetti, who returned to the island to repaint his frescos. The most recent restoration was in 2017.
 
During a Mass to mark the 70th anniversary of the chapel in 2014, Domenico's daughter Angela sung Panis Angelicus.

British Honduras in Scotland

During the war one million acres of land in Scotland was set aside for training troops, commandos, members of the Home Guard and special agents.
 
Many volunteers from the Empire and Commonwealth were also based there. British Honduras (now Belize) worked making pit props - wooden beams used to support coal mines - and wood pulp for factories.

School Uniform Had to be Worn Even During the War!

The rationing of clothes during the war meant the purchase of brand- new clothes was very rare. Most families were encouraged to mend and make do. Fabric and clothing could be bought with coupons.
 
School uniforms had to last and so mothers were encouraged to think ahead and buy clothes much bigger than their child so they could grow into it!

No Party for Joseph Stalin

Russia had suffered the loss of up to 30 million soldiers and civilians during the war. Many were too shell-shocked and exhausted to celebrate.
 
In Moscow, lights were illuminated into the sky and fireworks exploded over the Kremlin. Stalin refused to join in the celebrations stating he should not be interrupted as he was too busy working!

Polish Paths to Freedom  

The Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade (2,400 men) were formed in 1944 in Scotland under the leadership of General Sosabowski.

They were included among the Allied forces taking part in Operation Market Garden. Due to a critical shortage of transport aircraft and some weather problems, the brigade was split into several parts before entering the battle. A small part of the brigade with Sosabowski was dropped near Driel in the Netherlands on  19 September, but it was not until 21 September when the rest of the brigade finally arrived in the distant town of Grave. Upon arrival they met the waiting guns of the Germans who were camped out around the area.

Between 1940 and 1947, 3000 officers and 10,000 Polish First Division Corps were stationed in Scotland. The soldiers provided support to Scottish regiments during the First World War and are part of Fife’s rich history of migration.

Sadness in OZ  

The mood across Australian cities was described a sombre as many Aussie soldiers were still fighting in the Far East and the pacific. In Melbourne, 100,000 people attended the service at the shrine of Remembrance.
 
The Sydney Morning Herald’s VE day front page asked the question: “Since when has it been customary to celebrate victory halfway through a contest?”

Screen Magic

If there was one thing as good as going to a dance, it was going to the cinema to watch a film where the men moved lightly on their feet and the women wore clothes that no amount of ration coupons could buy.
 
Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and Jack Buchanan danced across the silver screen effortlessly and with considerably more grace than could be seen in the average dance hall.
 
Dance films had been popular for a long time, but the war years saw some of the most popular; Ziegfeld Follies, Anchors Away! For Me and My Girl and Holiday Inn, the film in which Bing Crosbie introduced the ever popular song White Christmas.

BBC Entertains  

With television very much in its infancy it was radio that provided the news and entertainment for the vast majority of the British public. Music ranged from the sentimental, to the comic, the cheerful and the romantic. Names such as Vera Lynn, Flanagan and Allan, Bing Crosbie and Glenn Miller were familiar to all.
 
Special programmes were created to boost morale. One played requests and passed messages to servicemen and another was broadcast live from different factories around the country three days a week. When VE Day finally came the BBC had to tread a very fine line to capture all the moods of the day.
 
Its programming schedule covered speeches by the King and by Churchill, mixed with music and outside broadcast teams hearing from people around the country.

Jack Buchanan - a Stage and Screen Legend

The name Jack Buchanan is not always recognised these days but during WW2 he was one of the most sought-after stage stars of his day. With the suave demeanour of Cary Grant, he was the epitome of style.
 
He could act, he could dance, he could sing, he was an impresario and appeared in West End and Broadway shows. Born in Helensburgh in 1891, Jack started in Glasgow theatres - where audiences were not always appreciative.
 
Fred Astaire was a huge fan of Jack's, he gave dancing lessons to Laurence Olivier, he was an entrepreneur and a superstar. Today, he is largely unknown, but in the dark years of WW2 he gave audiences a few hours of release from the harsh world outside the theatre.

Doing Their Bit for the War Effort

Boys aged 17 and over joined the Home Guard to help defend the country against an invasion. Girl Guides and Boy Scouts over 16 worked with the Air Raid Precautions unit as messengers and fire watchers.
 
They became the embodiment of the Home Front spirit, digging shelters, and pushing trek-carts around to collect jam jars for recycling and feeding bombed-out families and Air-Raid Wardens. They held bazaars and in 1940 they raised £50,000 in one week to buy ambulances and a lifeboat which saved lives at Dunkirk.

The Home Guard in Scotland

The Home Guard had 1.5 million local volunteers who were not eligible for military service, such as those who were too young or too old to join the regular armed services (18-41 years old) or those in reserved occupations e.g. doctors, farmers and police officers. One in five men became volunteers, their role was to act as secondary defence force in case of invasion.
 
The Home Guard trained in preparation for the possible invasion of Scotland. There is film footage of Home Guard on parade in a barracks yard, practising manoeuvres, target practice, a mock battle, bayonet charge, air raid, and camouflage, hand to hand fighting and finally relaxing.

National Military Appreciation Month USA

In America VE Day is part of month-long recognition of armed forces. In 1999 the US Congress designated May as National Military Appreciation Month in America.
 
Throughout the month there are special dates aimed at encouraging unity. It starts on the 1st of May with Loyalty Day, then the first full week is Public Service Recognition Week, 8 May is V-E Day, the Friday before Mothering Sunday is Military Spouse Appreciation Day, the third Saturday in the month is Armed Forces Day and the last Monday in May is Memorial Day, a Federal Holiday.

Mourning in the USA

VE Day Celebrations in the US were low key because of the death of President Roosevelt on the 12th April. During the official mourning period of 30 days, flags remained at half-mast. Despite this 15,000 extra police-officers were sent to NY Times Square to control celebrating crowds.

Dance, Dance, Dance!

One of the most popular pastimes to help forget the greyness of wartime life was dancing. Whether it was a big city ballroom or a village hall, a dance would draw people in. It was a chance to dress up, to relax and enjoy the music - and perhaps for romance.
 
The range of dances went from traditional waltzes and the foxtrot to the Lindy Hop and the Jitterbug introduced by the influx of Americans. If you were lucky there would be a full-size band, but a trio of musicians or a single piano was just as welcome.

Marking Victory on the Eastern Front

VE Day is known simply as V Day or Victory Day in Russia and is celebrated on 9 May due to the time difference between Russia and Central Europe. It is marked officially by military parades, most famously in Red Square in Moscow.
 
To the Soviet Union, as Russia and the Soviet Bloc countries were known at the time, the war was known as The Great Patriotic War, and cost the lives of 27 million of their soldiers and civilians.
 
Victory Day is a national holiday and a feature in recent years has been whole families marching through towns and cities carrying photos of their ancestors who fought in the war. This is known as the March of the Immortal Regiment.

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle was used as an Infantry Training Camp during the war where recruits would complete their basic training.