The RAF - gaining the upper hand in the Desert War.

August 2, 1942 – The Death Clock – RAF Sweeps Desert, Cripples German Shipping – Party At The Beach; War Or No War.

The RAF – gaining the upper hand in the Desert War.

August 2, 1942 – News Of The World – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

August 2, 1942 – War in the Middle East was relatively quiet on the ground, but all the action was taking place in the skies above Egypt, Libya and the Mediterranean this day. The RAF was busy attacking German positions from the air, while American bombers were busy destroying German supply ships headed for Libya. The loss of supplies to the Axis forces meant a serious blow to the German plan of swift and decisive action around El Alamein.

Meanwhile, over Britain; German planes made a short but sharp attack on Norwich, while RAF bombers flew across the channel and attacked the Boulogne area overnight.

The issue in Britain on this day was the August Bank Holiday, which was a British tradition of leaving town and heading to the beach. The government urged citizens to break tradition and to stay home for the holiday. But despite pleas, this year was going to be no different and it caused many in the government to register shock and dismay. The trains were jammed with Britons heading to the beach – many waiting for hours, lined up at train stations for the limited number of running trains and seats. Trains were sold out and all the beach resorts were jammed to capacity. No hotel accommodations were available with many sold out months in advance and restaurants were quickly running out of food. Lines were forming as early as 7 in the morning at grocery stores and butchers while hundreds were lining up in front of cafés hours before opening for breakfast. The moral of the story was that, despite telling people in Britain not to do something, they will anyway and precautions don’t work.

And news from Czech sources in London spoke about the Death Clock and Dr. Sedlacek who owned the strange and deadly timepiece along with a historic collection of some 500 clocks whose histories went back to the days of Napoleon. Legend had it that the clock, so named because it was said to explode when it struck midnight, had obviously never been tried out and only a few people close to Dr. Sedlacek knew the story. When the Germans occupied the town Sedlecek and the collection were located, Gestapo agents visited Sedlacek and wanted to take possession of the collection and bring it to Berlin. Sedlacek agreed and arranged for the Gestapo to come to the house and take the collection later on that evening. Before they arrived, he made a few adjustments and wound up The Death Clock that had never struck 12. At midnight, neighbors heard a big explosion and the house went up in flames. The next morning the bodies of Dr. Sedlacek and the Gestapo agents were found among the ruins.

And that’s just a small slice of what happened, this August 2nd, 1942 as presented by NBC’s News Of The World.

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