June 19th, 1943 (SATURDAY)UNITED KINGDOM: The Derby is run at Newmarket being won by Straight Deal. (Glenn Steinberg)
Frigates HMS Avon and Essington launched.
Minesweeper HMS Vestal launched.
Corvette HMCS Giffard (ex HMS Buddleia) launched Aberdeen, Scotland. (Dave Shirlaw)
ITALY: An evacuation of civilians from Sicily and Naples is ordered by Italian government. (Glenn Steinberg)
TUNISIA: The British sapper was the victim of a German booby trap. He was bleeding badly. The explosion had almost severed his leg. A razor-sharp piece of shrapnel had penetrated his skull. When medical orderlies reached him, his life was in the balance. Only a miracle or skilled surgery could save him.
The miracle - and the surgery - came in the form of a Dakota aircraft, complete with a surgeon, nursing orderlies and an operating theatre. Within an hour of the explosion, the fight to save Sapper X was taking place in mid-air. The shattered leg was amputated, the head wound prepared for more complex surgery in a hospital ship in Algiers. In any previous war, the victim would have stood little chance. But now, the RAF's "flying ambulance" service is playing a vital life-saving role on the battlefield.
Nearly 3,000 lives are known to have been saved by the service in the desert campaigns. Only one-tenth of head-wound cases have failed to survive. Major-General Freyberg, the New Zealand VC, owes his life to a flying ambulance after being picked up from a desert airstrip with severe neck wounds. It is a risky business for the personnel, flying in unarmed planes, often over Axis territory. One orderly received two bullets in the legs, but continued working until the patient was safely down - then collapsed from lack of blood.
NEW GUINEA: The Second Battle of Lababia Ridge commences. The Australians face Colonel Katsutoshi Araki's two battalions of the 66 Regiment at 687 and 552 strong respectively. Including technical troops there are 2,000 Japanese at Mubo and Araki is using 1500 of them in this battle. (Michael Alexander)
PACIFIC OCEAN: Three U.S. submarines sink two Japanese army cargo ships, a freighter, a coastal minesweeper and a gunboat and damage another gunboat. (Jack McKillop)
U.S.A.: The song "Sheikh Of Araby" by Spike Jones and the City Slickers makes the Pop Chart; it will peak at #19. (Jack McKillop)
Destroyer escorts USS Blessman and Christopher launched.
Submarine USS Telemachus launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
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