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 You must seek permission prior to publication of any of our images.

Second World War  On This Day

November 1939

1 November 1939
A Royal decree in the Netherlands established martial law in key regions, mostly along the German-Dutch border.
2 November 1939
The Polish government in exile dissolved parliament and set up a national council.
3 November 1939
The British propaganda film 'The Lion Has Wings' was rushed through production and released to the cinemas in the United Kingdom.
4 November 1939
Nearly 80 000 men had enlisted voluntarily for military service since the beginning of the war.
5 November 1939
Headquarters of the 5th Battalion, King's Own, moved from Wooler to Milfield in North Northumberland.  'A' Company was based at Doddington, 'B' and 'C' Companies were based at Lowick and 'D' Company were based near by at Barmoor Castle, all in North Northumberland.
Three German army commanders, who believed the invasion of France would fail, held a secret meeting to dissuade Adolf Hitler from ordering the attack on the Western Front.
6 November 1939
In Lancaster, public air raid shelters had been established at 42 Parliament Street, the Tramway Hotel, the King's Arms Hotel, Richmond House and Greaves House.  Public air raid trenches were available in Ryelands Park, Giant Axe Field, Quay Meadows, Scotforth Road, and Bowerham Road.
7 November 1939
It was stated in the House of Commons that since the last war the death penalty had been abolished for a number of offences including desertion, cowardice, and sleeping when on sentry duty and only remained for murder, mutiny and offences of a treacherous character.
8 November 1939
13 minutes after Adolf Hitler concluded a speech in Munich, a time bomb exploded near the speaking platform that killed 8 people.  Hitler's speech began 30 minutes earlier than expected, which meant he had left the platform when it exploded.
9 November 1939
In the months of September and October 1130 and 919 people were killed as a result of road accidents in Britain, many as a result of accidents in the blackout.
10 November 1939
Adolf Hitler flew for the first time in his new personal transport plane, a Focke-Wulf FW200.
11 November 1939
Adolf Hitler appeared unexpectedly in Munich at the funeral of those killed in the bombing on 8 November.
12 November 1939
Both Britain and France respond to a Belgian and Dutch offer of mediation with Germany by indicating that Germany would need to withdraw from Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland.
13 November 1939
The German News Agency issued a statement that Germany would respect the neutrality of Belgium and the Netherlands as long as France and Britain did, and as long as both countries showed themselves capable of pursuing neutrality.
British soil was bombed by Germany for the first time in the Shetland Islands.  There were no casualties.
HMS Blanche became the first British destroyer lost in the war when it struck a mine in the Thames Estuary with the loss of two crew members.
14 November 1939
Lord Nuffield  made a gift of £50 000 for amenities for men of the three fighting services with a desire that £15 000 be spent on providing wireless sets for the forces in France.
15 November 1939
In Lancaster the Chief Constable had purchased and converted four second hand motor vehicles as towing vehicles for brigade pumps for ARP purposes.
16 November 1939
The cargo ship 'Arlington Court' was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-43 in the Atlantic Ocean with the loss of 5 of her 34 crew.
17 November 1939
German troops stormed the university dorms in Prague and other towns in the former Czechoslovakia, attacking and arresting thousand of students.  The Nazis then executed nine Czechs by firing squads, without trial, for leading recent demonstrations.
In Britain 'How Hitler Made The War', documents concerning the outbreak of hostilities, was published at the price of 3d.
18 November 1939
The Dutch liner 'Simon Boliver' struck two mines and sank 20 miles off Harwich with the loss of 86 lives of around 400 on board.
19 November 1939
An official German communiqué announced that barricades had erected around the Warsaw Ghetto and that Jewish districts would be placed under strict control.
20 November 1939
Britain had its first submarine success of the war when HMS Sturgeon sank German patrol vessel V-209 in the Heligoland Bight, in the North Sea.
21 November 1939
The British government declared a blockade of German exports in reprisal for numerous incidents at sea.
The British destroyer HMS Gipsey struck a mine outside Harwich and sank with the loss of 30 crew.
HMS Belfast struck a mine in the Firth of Forth and was severely damaged, repairs took until November 1942 to complete.
22 November 1939
It was reported in the House of Commons there was a shortage of small batteries, known as the 3d size.  With the result that pedestrians were using much larger and brighter torches which tend to contravene the black out regulations.
23 November 1939
The British armed merchant cruiser, HMS Rawalpindi, was sunk by German warships north of the Faroe islands.  238 of the 286 crew were lost.
24 November 1939
Today the BBC Radio Home Service featured the Band of His Majesty's Coldstream Guards, 'First Steps in First Aid', 'For the Troops', A NAAFI variety programme from the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London and the Victorian thriller 'Gas Light'.
25 November 1939
The Winter Olympics, to be held in Germany in February 1940, were cancelled.
26 November 1939
Soviet troops shell the Russian village of Mainila and claim the fire has come from Finland, which was untrue, but gave the Soviet Union a propaganda boost which resulted in the start of the Winter War four days later.
27 November 1939
A secret report to the British War Cabinet indicated that 4 513 personnel  and 394 vehicles had been shipped to the British Expeditionary Force in France in the previous week.  A battalion of infantry had also been sent to the Orkney Islands.
28 November 1939
12 Bristol Blenheims of the Royal Air Force bombed the German sea plane base at Borkum.  Little damage was done, but all the planes returned safely.
29 November 1939
The Soviet Union cancelled the Soviet-Finnish Non-Aggression Pact.
German submarine U-35 surfaced and surrendered near the Shetland Islands after being depth charged by the British destroyers, HMS Icarus, HMS Kashmire and HMS Kingston.  All 43 crew were taken prisoner of war.
Adolf Hitler issued Directive Number 9, Instructions for warfare against the Economy of the Enemy, focussing on attacking British shipping and ports and blockading sea lanes and using U-boats and naval mines.
30 November 1939
The Winter War began when the Soviet Union invaded Finland.  600 000 soldiers of the Red Army began to cross the Finnish Border and Soviet aircraft bombed the capital Helsinki.

December 1939


© Images are copyright, Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum.
 You must seek permission prior to publication of any of our images.

Only a proportion of our collections are on display at anyone time.  Certain items are on loan for display in other institutions.  An appointment is required to consult any of our collections which are held in store.

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