King's Own Royal Regiment Museum

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


Second World War  On This Day

April 1940

1 April 1940
The British Broadcasting Corporation broadcast an April Fools' Day Hoax with German leader Adolf Hitler being impersonated by the action Martin Miller.
2 April 1940
The advance party of the 5th Battalion, King's Own Royal Regiment depart for France to join the British Expeditionary Force.
Adolf Hitler signed the order for the invasion of Denmark and Norway.  The German Luftwaffe made an air raid on Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands.
3 April 1940
The British Cabinet approved Winston Churchill's plan to mine the sea routes between Norway, Sweden and Germany and for Anglo-French landings in Norway to forestall a German invasion.  British intelligence advised of a German military build up in Northern German ports.
4 April 1940
In response to a question in the House of Commons, the Secretary of State for war stated that when available all army recruits under going training would be issued with a second pair of boots.
Neville Chamberlain gave a speech to the Conservative Party in London stating that he was confident of victory.
5 April 1940
The British begin to mine Norwegian waters.
6 April 1940
The German invasion force for Norway set sail.
7 April 1940
British reconnaissance aircraft spotted a large German naval force heading northwards.
8 April 1940
Norway protested the British Naval mining of its territorial waters. 
The British destroyer HMS Glowworm was sunk by the German cruiser 'Admiral Hipper' in the Norwegian Sea.  Despite being out gunned Glowworm managed to ram 'Admiral Hipper' and inflict considerable damage.  Captain Gerard Broadmead Roope earned the first Victoria Cross of the war for his conduct - but it was only awarded after the war when the 'Admiral Hipper's' log describing the battle was read by the Royal Navy.
9 April 1940
At 5.20 a.m. in Norway and 4.20 a.m. in Denmark, German envoys presented the Norwegian and Danish Governments with a German ultimatum that they accept the "Protection of the Reich".  Denmark capitulated to avoid bloodshed, and the Germans invaded within 6 hours.
The Norwegian Government refused and German forces quickly took control of the ports of Narvik, Trondheim, Bergan, Stavenger and Oslo.
10 April 1940
With Denmark occupied by the Germans, Iceland declared independence.
In Norway, the first Battle of Narvik took place.  Two German destroyers were sunk, but HMS Hardy and HMS Hunter were lost by the British.
The German cruiser Koningsberg was sunk at Bergan by Blackburn Skua dive bombers of the British Fleet Air Arm flying from the Orkney Islands.
11 April 1940
The British occupied the Danish Faroe Islands.
12 April 1940
In Norway, at 19:00 a dive bombing attack was made by aircraft from HMS Furious on ships in Narvik.  Five destroyers and 11 merchant ships were seen, two destroyers were hit, one seriously.  One aircraft was forced to land and two failed to return.
The Cyprus Regiment was formed on this day.
13 April 1940
In Norway, eight German destroyers and the submarine U64 were sunk or scuttled in the Second Battle of Narvik.
RAF Bomber Command mounted aerial mine laying operations to lay sea mines off Denmark.
14 April 1940
In Norway, 350 Royal Marines landed at Namsos, the first British troops to land in the country.
15 April 1940
In Norway, 146th Infantry Brigade landed at Namsos, and advanced south to Trondheim.  The units included the 4th Lincolnshire Regiment, 1st/4th King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and 4th York and Lancaster Regiment.
16 April 1940
In Norway, 24th Guards Brigade landed at Harstad, north of Narvik.  The Brigade included 1st Scots Guards, 1st Irish Guards and 2nd South Wales Borderers.
In response to a question in the House of Commons, the Secretary of State for War stated that the issued relating to inadequate supply of camouflage material for anti-tank guns, helmets, huts, tents and tanks was improving
17 April 1940
The British ocean liner, Queen Mary arrived in Sydney to be refitted as a troopship.
18 April 1940
In Norway, 148th Infantry Brigade landed at Andalsnes to support the Norwegian army units defending the city of Trondheim.  The Brigade included 1st/5th Leicestershire Regiment and 8th Sherwood Foresters.
In response to a question in the House of Commons it was stated that leave could not be given to a soldier of the British Expeditionary Force for the purpose of attending a funeral, including the death of a parent.
19 April 1940
In Norway, the Battle of Dombas ended in a tactical victory for the Norwegians.
The Germans captured Hamar and Elveram.  At Verda British and German land forces engaged each other for the first time in the war.
20 April 1940
In Norway, the 148th Infantry Brigade arrived at Lillehammer and began moving south.
Adolf Hitler celebrated his 51st birthday.
21 April 1940
In Norway, German troops landed at Verdal and Kirknessvag.  The British 146th Brigade near Trondheim was in danger of being encircled. 
22 April 1940
In Norway, the 146th Brigade was ordered to withdrawn to Namsos to avoid being encircled by the Germans.
23 April 1940
In Norway, the 148th Brigade tried to make a stand at the strategic village of Tretten, but could not hold back the German forces and by the end of the day was in full retreat.
The Battle of Gratangen started.
In the House of Commons there was a question about the German enemy parachutists landing in Norway with machine guns and collapsible bicycles and what arrangements existed in Great Britain for such landings.
It was stated that there were about 74000 aliens (German or Austrian) in Great Britain.  The policy was to intern any if there was doubt as to his attitude and disposal to the Allied cause.  Members of Nazi organisations had been interned at the outbreak of the war.
24 April 1940
In Norway, the British 15th Infantry Brigade landed at Andalsnes, including the 1st Green Howards, 1st King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and 1st York and Lancaster Regiment.
25 April 1940
7th Battalion, King's Own Royal Regiment arrive in France to join the British Expeditionary Force.
In Norway, the Battle of Gratangen ended in German victory.  The British 15th Brigade repulsed an attack by the 196th Division of the German Army at Kvam.
26 April 1940
The 6th, 8th and 9th Battalions of the King's Own Royal Regiment arrive in France to join the British Expeditionary Force.
In Norway, 15th Brigade fell back to Kjorem after there supplied were destroyed by a full day of bombing from the Germans who had complete air superiority.
In London consideration was given to a full withdrawal from Norway.
9th Battalion, King's Own Royal Regiment, arrive at Le Havre for service in France.
27 April 1940
In Norway, the 15th Brigade fell back 10 miles to Otta.
Germany declared war on Norway.
28 April 1940
In Norway, the British government ordered troops at Trondheim to withdraw, as the 15th Brigade fell back further to Dombas.
29 April 1940
British destroyers were despatched from Scapa Flow, Orkney, to evacuate British troops from Namos.
The submarine HMS Unity sailed from the port of Blyth, Northumberland, to patrol off Norway, on leaving the port, with visibility down to 50 yards, she collided with the 'Atle Jarl' a Norwegian ship heading to the Tyne.  HMS Unity sank in only five minutes, two members of the crew died in the flooded control room, they gave their lives so that rest of the crew could escape the sinking vessel.
30 April 1940
In Norway, the German 196th Division captured Dombas as the British retreated to Andalsnes.
The first British casualties of the German bombing of England occurred at Clacton on Sea when a German Heinkel Bomber, carrying sea mines, crashed on the town, killing Frederick and Dorothy Gill of number 25 Victoria Road and injuring 156 others. 67 houses were badly damaged.

May 1940

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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