E158 - We Shall Fight to the Last Shell

Dec 22, 2023, 01:22 AM

December 2023

Eighty years ago this month Britain was marking its fifth Christmas of the war with still no end in sight. D-Day still lay in the future and the campaigns in Italy and on the Eastern Front ground on.

However on Boxing Day 1943 the Royal Navy achieved a significant, if grim success over the German Navy, sinking the Scharnhorst, one of the few last remaining large warships in the enemy fleet. This victory would help to secure the safety of Allied convoys to Russia for the remaining 18 months of the war.

The codebreakers of Bletchley Park played a key role in helping the navy to locate Scharnhorst and were spectators on the final battle via German messages read in Naval Section at BP.

For this It Happened Here episode we are joined by Bletchley Park’s Research Historian Dr David Kenyon who’s recently published a book on the subject entitled, Arctic Convoys; Bletchley Park and the War for the Seas.

Many thanks to Dr Ben Thomson & Sarah Langston for voicing our archival documents.

Image: © Bundesarchiv, DVM 10 Bild-23-63-46 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

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