October 19th, 1943
UNITED KINGDOM: The rapid rise in venereal disease in Britain is the occasion of a long statement issued today by he archbishops of Canterbury and York on what they describe as "a moral as well as a medical problem." The chief cause of the spread of the disease is "fornication", which the church condemns as a sin. "Promiscuity threatens to destroy home life ... Moral resistance is of more value than physical precautions," they declare, and they call on Christians to take their stand against it. They also urge that more healthy recreation should be provided in camps and barracks.
Today the first antibiotic, Streptomycin, is isolated. (William L. Howard)
Frigate HMS Keats commissioned.
Minesweeper HMS Lightfoot commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
SWEDEN: Gothenburg: The exchange of thousands of sick and seriously wounded British and German PoWs began at the Swedish port of Gothenburg this afternoon. Most of the British were captured in 1940 at Dunkirk; others were taken in last year's raid on Dieppe, including Canadians. Germans from Rommel's Afrika Korps were still in desert uniform.
This is the first PoW exchange between Germany and Britain of the war; negotiations for an earlier exchange in 1941 were broken off by Germany, which this time asked for the exchange: 5,000 Germans and 5,400 British and Imperial forces are now going home.
U.S.S.R.: Pyatikhatki, west of Dnepropetrovsk is under Soviet attack also Krivoy Rog from the Kremenchug bridgehead. North of Kiev, Soviet units are consolidating their bridgeheads. Manstein is juggling units and attempting to reinforce to allow his forces holding the bend in the Dniepr River time to retreat.
Moscow: The foreign ministers of the "Big Three" Allied powers - Cordell Hull, Eden and Molotov - sat down together in the Kremlin today to tell one another, in the words of an official spokesman, "frankly and freely what is on each others' minds".
The talks, which are expected to last for ten days, will conclude with a firm pledge that the US, Britain and the Soviet Union will not consider any separate peace negotiations with Germany. Postwar co-operation between the Big Powers to guarantee peace and security will also be discussed. An outline plan for the creation of an international organization, open to all peace-loving states, has been drafted and is expected to be approved.
In a separate meeting in London today the US and Britain promised Stalin big increases in military aid in the next eight months: 2,700,000 tons will arrive via Soviet Pacific ports, 2,400,000 tons via the Persian Gulf and 1,000,000 tons by Arctic convoy.
Luftwaffe ace pilot Erich Hartmann is shot down and taken captive by Russian soldiers. However, he pretends to be wounded and when the opportunity arises he runs away. (Drew Philip HalÚvy)
ARCTIC OCEAN: The USN heavy cruiser USS Tuscaloosa (CA-37), accompanied by a U.S. and three British destroyers, transports Norwegian troops and equipment to Spitsbergen Island to re-establish bases destroyed in the German raid of 8 September 1943. A second Allied force, with aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-4) included, provides cover for the operation. (Jack McKillop)
U-737 was damaged by a collision with an enemy destroyer or an iceberg near Spitsbergen. (Dave Shirlaw)
ITALY: The German units holding Dragoni, escape just before the attack by the US 34th Infantry Division starts.
They take Dragoni, a village 28 miles (45.1 km) north of Naples.
The offensive by the US Fifth Army (Clark) along the Volturno river bogs down due to bad weather and in the face of the skilful German defenses.
The Northwest African Air Force begins an air offensive against railroad bridges in Italy in the hope that the Germans will have to rely on coastal vessels and motor transport. During a low-level raid, XII Bomber Command B-24s bomb bridges at Porto Civitanova, south of Porto Sant' Elpidio, north of Pedaso, and north of Cupra Marittima; fighters, fighter-bombers, and light bombers of the XII Air Support Command, Northwest African Tactical Bomber Force, and RAF Desert Air Force attack the town of Boiano, gun positions and troop concentrations on the outskirts of town, and an ammunition dump and railroad tunnel nearby, Viterbo and Tarquinia landing fields, the towns of Cassino and Anzio, the railroad north of Pesaro and near Pineto, trains near Barisciano, troops near Mintumo, and vehicles at several points. (John Nicholas and Jack McKillop)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Allied planes sink a German transport near Crete. The ship is carrying 2,700 British and Italian prisoners; only 566 survive. (Jack McKillop)
BORNEO: Local Chinese and native Suluks rise up against the Japanese occupation of North Borneo. The revolt, staged in the capital, Jesselton, resulted in the deaths of 40 Japanese soldiers. The revolt was dealt with quickly and brutally by the Japanese. They destroyed dozens of Suluk villages, rounded up and tortured thousands of civilians, and executed almost 200 without trial. In one extreme example of cruelty, several dozen Suluk women and children had their hands tied behind them and were hanged from their wrists from a pillar of a mosque. They were then shot down by machine-gun fire. (Jack McKillop)
SOLOMON ISLANDS: Kara and Kahili Airfields on Bougainville Island are hit by 24 Thirteenth Air Force B-24s, 14 P-38 Lightnings and 20 P-40; and 8 PV-1 Venturas, 20 SBD Dauntless dive bombers, 12 TBF Avengers and 2 F4U Corsairs. The targets include AA emplacements. One PV-1 is lost. (Jack McKillop)
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC: Fifth Air Force A-20 Havocs and RAAF airplanes hit Sattelberg, New Guinea, and surrounding areas and bomb Gasmata Island off New Britain Island; an unopposed enemy air raid against Finschhafen causes no effective damage. B-25s and RAAF Hudsons bomb Fuiloro on Timor Island. (Jack McKillop)
Patrol craft HMC HPC 32 ordered from Walter Pinaud of Baddeck , Nova Scotia.
Corvette HMCS Napanee completed forecastle extension refit Montreal, Province of Quebec.
U.S.A.: The Third London Protocol signed in Washington (extending U.S. aid to Soviet Union). (Glenn Stenberg)
Navy Secretary Frank Knox announces American subs have sunk 319 Japanese ships since Pearl Harbor. (Jack McKillop)
Destroyer escorts USS Cronin and De Long laid down.
Destroyer escort USS Cates launched.
Destroyer escort USS Ramsden commissioned.
Destroyer USS Charles S Sperry and English laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-220 sank SS Delisle and SS Penolver in Convoy WB-65. (Dave Shirlaw)
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