Category: ww2

A Fine Blue Day – WH ‘Dizzy’ Allen

A Fine Blue Day – WH ‘Dizzy’ Allen:

We had Peirs Plowright on today’s show, and he is a legend to us in Radio land. Sadly, not much of his content in the archive has yet to be digitised (seriously, that needs to be done), but I did manage to find this gem for you lovely Digihuman fans. Enjoy some great radio storytelling done by a true master.

Wing Commander Allen speaks openly about how he feels the battle was managed. In this unedited interview for ‘A Fine Blue Day’, he has high praise for his fellow pilots and the ground staff (‘marvellous chaps’), but is less impressed by the top brass. He also paints a vivid portrait of daily life in the squadron and reveals how pilots spent their spare time, as well as giving details about handling oneself in a dogfight. The inflatable life jackets worn by pilots (as pictured above) were nicknamed ‘Mae Wests’ after the voluptuous American stage and film actress of that name. She was famous for portraying women of dubious virtue and quick wit, ‘I used to be Snow White, but I drifted’ being one noted example of her repartee.

Originally broadcast circa August 1978.


Digital Human, Series 17, Ep 2: The Analogue Human

The National Archives Learning Curve | World W…

The National Archives Learning Curve | World War II | Western Europe 1939-1945: Occupation | How did occupation affect peoples’ lives?:

Letters written by a young girl in Poland, similar age to Aleks’ badass Nazi bamboozling granny.

Digital Human, Series 13. Episode 1 – Resist.

Silent, unseen but not forgotten: Poland’s res…

Silent, unseen but not forgotten: Poland’s resistance fighters honoured:

Senior officers and veterans from Polish and British special forces are to gather in London to mark the 75th anniversary of a little-known chapter of the secret war against the Nazis.

The soldiers will on Saturday be honouring the Cichociemni (the Silent and Unseen) – Polish guerrilla fighters trained in Britain. They were parachuted at night into occupied Poland from 1941 onwards, the first such air drops behind German lines, to lead the resistance movement against the Nazi occupation.

The Armia Krajowa (the “home army”) had 300,000 men and women fighting for it at its peak, by far the biggest resistance movement under the Third Reich, and it temporarily succeeded in liberating Warsaw in the summer of 1944. Many of its leaders were Cichociemni. However, their history was suppressed even before the war was over by Poland’s new Soviet occupiers, who saw them as British agents.

Of the 316 Cichociemni who parachuted into occupied Poland, 103 were killed in the war, either in combat or in camps or under Gestapo torture. Nine were killed by the Soviet secret police after the war, and many more were imprisoned. Some managed to avoid capture by melting back into postwar Polish life, either changing their names or keeping their wartime exploits a secret.

Just one of the 316 is still alive. Aleksander Tarnawski, who flew to London for this weekend’s event, is 95 but evidently still fit. Less than two years ago, he carried out a parachute jump.

Digital Human, Series 13. Episode 1 – Resist.