The War Illustrated No 39 Vol 2 May 31st 1940

590 The War Illustrated May 31s<, 1940 in this remark ably dram a tic photo graph, H .M.S .“Bittern ”is seen inflames after she had beaten off Nazi bombers for many hours on the coast o f Norway .Even tu ally the survivors were rescued by another warship and the “Bittern ”was sunk to prevent her becoming a danger t o navigation. Tht> “Bitter n,”an escort vessel, a sloop ,was complete din 1937. She had a anton geo f 1,190 normand ally carried a complement o f 125. Photo. Central Press. 1 WAS THERE 'iiiiiiiiiiiiiiuiiiMmimiiimmiiiiiimiimimiiiiiiimimiiiiiiiiiiiiimmiiiiimm Miss Jane Elizabeth Seddon, who is nearly seventy, and has been an English teacher in the Sacred Heart Convent, Brussels, for twenty-one years, told how she saw the little brother of one of her pupils standing on a balcony watching the German ’planes. “Then the bombs came down,” she said. “One went through the balcony and the boy was killed.” .An English-born manager of a drugstore in Brussels brought over his wife and four children. He determined to leave when they had had as many as fifteen air bombardments in one day. “One of many dramatic incidents was the landing of one parachutist near the railway station,” he said. “Despite the short machine-gun which the German carried, a man rushed at him before he could bring it int*> use, seized him by the ears and banged his head on the ground until he was dead.” —(“‘E vening New Is.”) Filmed the British Troops in Norway An American newsreel cameraman, Mr. Bonney M. Powell, was with the British troops at Namsos, was machine-gunned by German bombers, and saw the sinking o f the“ Afridi ”and the “Bittern.” Here is his own story o f his adventures in Norway IV/T s. Powell was originally assigned to 1 ¦film the war in Finland and spent three months there before the invasion of Norway.“ I then got instructions togo onto Norway,” he said.“ I was aiming for Namsos. When I arrived there the whole town was in ruins. There was not a chimney-pot standing.“ I had filmed most of this and sent niy results down to the quay. I learned afterwards that this film had been put on board the ‘Bittern.’ I was on top of a hill when the ‘Bittern ’was attacked by enemy aircraft. One aeroplane dived to within about 100 ft. of the British vessel and scored a hit, and I watched my film togo the bottom.” Mr. Powell made his way from Namsos towards Steinkjer to take pictures of the withdrawal of the British troops. “Th.e journey was one incessant attack from the air by German bombers,” he said.“ I was machine-gunned 14 times on the journey. They dived so close to our car that, I could look into the eyes of the pilot as the ’plane flew overhead. “We had a close shave when one bomb dropped only a few feet in front of our car. It did not busst but bounced away from the road. The Nazi airmen came from behind the mountains arid were on top of us in a second.“ I got to within six miles of Steinkjer and watched the British troops with­drawing. Their movements were watched by wave after wave of German bombers, who flew just above the treetops, forcing them undercover. The troops had no backing from British fighters to keep the bombers off, and were helpless. “Wherever the British were they were not only bombed and machine-gunned mercilessly, but their positions were radioed to German ships lying in the fjords, who were able to shell them at the given range. But the withdrawal tactics were wonderful. “The heroism of a captain in charge of a company of one regiment was remark­able. He brought out his company of 200 men through the German underlines continuous bombing attacks, and man­aged to cover 47 miles through snow across two valleys and mostly at’ night without a single casualty. “These men eventually had to aban­don their steel helmets to avoid detection. “One man belonging to this company who acted as a runner cradled through Here ,after their arrival home ,are some of the British soldiers who (as relate din this page) threw away their steel helmets in Nor ­way ,so that they should not bede te c ted by Nazi ’planes. Photo. Keystone snow under continuous machine-gun and rifle fire to bring news to his company when the road was clear. “The pier was the last structure left in Namsos to be bombed,” concluded Mr. Powell.“ I was only a few hundred yards away when a German bomber over,came went into a vertical dive and scored a direct hit with a 500 lb. bomb. There were a lot of stores bn the pier at the time. The lot went up. It almost destroyed the pier, but we managed to make our way along what was left to embark for Britain.“ I embarked in the early hours of- May 3 and in several hours we were bombed by 39 aeroplanes. The‘ Afridi ’was attacked by two German ’planes. They missed and then a third swooped from out of the sun and got her. Other warships went to her rescue. That was the last we saw of any German ’planes.”
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