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

Second World War  On This Day

October 1939

1 October 1939
All British men between the ages of 20 and 22 years were to report of Army registration on 21st October.
2 October 1939
In Poland, the Battle of Hel ended with German victory and the Battle of Kock began which was the final battle in the invasion of Poland.
3 October 1939
In the House of Commons it was stated that members of the Army Cadets would be encouraged to undertake voluntary work as messengers and clerks etc as long as it did not interfere with their hours of school or work.
4 October 1939
Adolf Hitler issued a secret decree granting an amnesty to all German military and police personnel in Poland between 1st September and 4th October.
5 October 1939
Adolf Hitler flew to Warsaw and reviewed a victory parade.
6 October 1939
Adolf Hitler addressed the Reichstag and spoke at great length about the victory in Poland and hinted at a desire for an armistice.  Both Britain and France rejected these overtures for peace.
7 October 1939
The British Expeditionary Force completed its crossing of the English Channel to France.
HMS Emerald sailed from Plymouth in convoy for Halifax, Nova Scotia, carrying 2 million in gold bar for the purchase of war materials in North America.
8 October 1939
German submarine U-12 was lost to a mine in the Straits of Dover.
9 October 1939
Adolf Hitler issued Directive number 6, operations in the west were to start on 12th November but protests by his service chiefs, and very cold weather would cause the date to be postponed many times.
10 October 1939
Admiral Erich Raeder urged Adolf Hitler to invade Norway to protect Germay's vital ore traffic from Sweden.
11 October 1939
In the House of Commons the Secretary of State for War, Mr Hore-Belisha gave an update on the War.  Within five weeks of the outbreak 158 000 men had been transferred to France with the British Expeditionary Force.  25 000 vehicles of more than 50 types had been sent.  At home more than 50 000 men had volunteered for war service.  At the same time pressure from industry saw the temporary release of 10 000 Regular Reserves and 12 000 Territorials back to their jobs.
12 October 1939
In the House of Commons, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain rejected Adolf Hitler's peace offer.
13 October 1939
Two German submarines were sunk today: U-40 was sunk by a mine in the English Channel and  U-42 was sunk south west of Ireland by depth charges from HMS Imogen and Ilex.
14 October 1939
German submarine U-47 sunk HMS Royal Oak at Scapa Flow, with 833 men killed.
U-45 was sunk south west of Ireland by depth charges from HMS Inglefield, Ivanhoe and Intrepid.
15 October 1939
In the first six weeks of the war, the Blockade of Germany had intercepted and detained 338 000 tons of good destined for Germany.  This included 76 500 tons of petroleum products; 65 000 tons of iron ore; 38 500 tons of manganese ore; 24 500 tons of phosphate; 21 500 tons of aluminium; 16 500 tons of haematite ore; 13 000 tons of copra and 10 000 tons of oil seed.
16 October 1939
Nine planes of the Luftwaffe conducted an air raid on the Firth of Forth, damaging three British ships and killing 16 Royal Navy crew.  Three of the enemy were shot down by Spitfires.
17 October 1939
HMS Iron Duke was attacked by four Junker Ju88s at Scapa Flow, and twenty five crew were killed.
18 October 1939
The Soviet Union began its occupation of Estonia.

Adolf Hitler issued Directive Number 7, preparations for attack in the West.
19 October 1939
A German organisation was established to confiscate Jewish and Polish assets in Nazi occupied Poland.
20 October 1939
Some 2000 Jews were deported from Nazi controlled Vienna to Poland.
21 October 1939
Germany and Italy made the South Tryol Option Agreement.  Ethnic Germans in the region would be allowed to emigrate to the Reich of remain to be Italianized.
22 October 1939
BBC Radio featured Bing Crosby Album, Mozart, the Fairey Aviation Works band, 'Knitting for men' and in the evening the Annual National Service for Seafarers.
23 October 1939
With the German Western Offensive increasingly unlikely the French announced that soldiers would have 8 to 10 days leave every four months.  Blackout regulations in many French cities were eased.
24 October 1939
The German submarine U-37 sinks three cargo ships in the same day, 100 miles west of Gibraltar.  The 'Ledbury', 'Menin Ridge' and 'Tafna' were all lost.
25 October 1939
The German submarine U-16 was lost in the Straits of Dover when it ran aground to avoid depth charges.  U-boats were subsequently ordered to stop using the Straits of Dover as a deployment route.
26 October 1939
In Nazi occupied Poland, Jewish males  between the ages of 14 and 60 were drafted to perform forced labour.
27 October 1939
In the Mediterranean all Italian ships were to call at Malta or Haifa, Palestine, for contraband control.  Limits may also be place on their transit of the Suez Canal.
28 October 1939
BBC Radio featured "Bee keeping in wartime" to help both the experienced bee keeper and novice. There was also commentary on the second half of the Portsmouth - Brentford football match from Fratton Park.
29 October 1939
In France at Beroit Plage, Calais, the body of Captain Lieutenant Von Der Ropp, Captain of German submarine U-12, with respirator apparatus marked 'U-12' was found.  The body had been in the sea for about three weeks.
30 October 1939
West of the Orkney Islands, German submarine U-56 encountered the battleship HMS Nelson, with the First Lord of Admiralty, Winston Churchill, on board.  All three torpedoes failed to explode.
31 October 1939
The Soviet foreign minister, Molotov, sent a Soviet ultimatum to Finland, making various demands including Hanko to be handed over for use as a Soviet naval base.

November 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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