King's Own Royal Regiment Museum

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Second World War  On This Day

February 1940

1 February 1940
In the Winter War in Finland, the 2nd Battle of Summa began.
The main body of the 5th Battalion, King's Own, based at Swindon, was given embarkation leave.  This comprised 20 officers and 553 other ranks.
2 February  1940
The first scrap week sponsored by the Ministry of Supply started today.
3 February  1940
A German Luftwaffe plane crashed on English soil for the first time when a Heinkel, HE 111 was shot down near Whitby, North Yorkshire.  Credited with the shooting was Flight Lieutenant Peter Townsend who was later equerry to King George VI from 1944 to 1952 and then to Queen Elizabeth II from 1952 to 1953.  He also had a romance with Princess Margaret.
4 February  1940
The BBC Radio broadcasts today featured the Central Band of the Royal Air Force; The Children's House, included the story of the building of St. Paul's Cathedral and the weeks good cause was the Empire Societies War Hospitality Committee for Overseas Troops, who provided residential clubs and social centres.
5 February  1940
The main body of the 5th Battalion, King's Own, returned from embarkation leave.
6 February  1940
The 'Careless Talk Costs Lives' propaganda campaign began in Britain, aimed at prevent the spread of rumours, gossip and important war information.
7 February 1940
The Merchant Vessel Munster struck a mine in Liverpool Bay when on the Belfast to Liverpool service.  All 134 on board were rescued.
8 February 1940
Seventeen non-commissioned officers and men of the 5th Battalion, King's Own, unfit for service overseas were posted to the 8th (Irish) Battalion, King's Regiment at Morecambe and Heysham.
9 February 1940
A German Heinkell HE 111, damaged by a Spitfire, was forced to land at North Berwick, East Midlothian, with one of the crew killed and the other three taken prisoner of war.  The aircraft was repaired and flown by the Royal Air Force as part of the Enemy Aircraft Flight, until it was lost on 10th November 1943 due to contact with the enemy.  The plan was used in the film 'Combat America' a training film for the American Air Force gunners, flown by Captain Clark Gable in July 1943.
10 February 1940
In Finland, Soviet troops broke through the Mannerheim Line.
In America the first "Tom and Jerry" cat and mouse cartoon was released.
11 February 1940
A Royal Air Force bomber from RAF Thornaby crashed on the snow covered North Yorkshire Moors, three of four crew being killed.  A carrier-pigeon called 'Polly' survived the crash and flew home for which it was awarded the 'Dicken Medal' the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross.
12 February 1940
The German submarine U33 was sunk in the Firth of Clyde by the minesweeper HMS Gleaner.
The first troops from Australia and New Zealand arrived in Egypt.
13 February 1940
Finland asked Sweden to provide troops to fight against the Soviet Union, but Sweden refused fearing that this would give both Britain and Germany grounds for invasion.
14 February 1940
The 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Battalions of the King's Own Royal Regiment were raised as Pioneer Battalions, receiving officers and men from many other units of the British Army.
The British Government announces that merchant ships in the North Sea would be armed.
15 February 1940
In Finland, the 2nd Battle of Summa ended in Soviet victory.
The German Government announces that all British merchant ships would be class was warships.
16 February 1940
The 'Altmark' incident took place when the Royal Navy seized the German merchant ship 'Altmark' in Norwegian waters, and freed 299 prisoners of war who had been taken from merchant ships attacked by the Germans.
17 February 1940
General Manstein presented a detailed war plan to Adolf Hitler for the German invasion of France and the Low Countries.
18 February 1940
The British destroyer HMS Daring was sunk by the German submarine U23 east of the Orkney Islands.
BBC Radio started broadcasting the Forces Programme as well as the Home Service, which would run until 26 February 1944 when the General Forces Programme took over, offering programmes to cater for the American soldiers now in Britain for the forth coming invasion of France.
19 February 1940
Adolf Hitler, alarmed by the 'Altmark' incident ordered the hastening of the planning for the invasion of Norway.
20 February 1940
It was reported in the House of Commons that the number of recommended candidates for commissions now serving in the ranks of the Army was approximately 17 500 of which about 10 000 were in officer cadet training units.
21 February 1940
Adolf Hitler authorised the German invasion of Norway.
22 February 1940
A German destroyer was bombed and damaged by a Heinkel HE111 and strayed into a minefield in the Dogger Bank, struck a mine and sank with the loss of 282 of her 342 crew.  Another German destroyer coming to assist struck a mine and sunk with the loss of all 308 crew.  The German aircraft had been assumed to the a Royal Air Force plane, so was fired upon by the ships, to the plane in turn returned fire with three bombs hitting the destroyer.  No allied shipping was involved in the incident, and this showed the poor co-operation between the German Navy and Airforce.
23 February 1940
The Lord Mayor of London gave a luncheon party at the Guildhall to the officers and ratings of HMS Exeter and HMS Ajax to celebrate their victory at the Battle of the River Plate over the German battleship 'Graf Spee'.
24 February 1940
Lieutenant Colonel G Oglethorpe, commanding officer of the 5th Battalion, King's Own, rejoined the battalion from sick leave and resumed command of the battalion.  24 other ranks were posted into the 5th Battalion, from the King's Own Infantry Training Centre in Lancaster.
25 February 1940
The first squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force arrived in Britain.
British summertime commenced today.
26 February 1940
In anticipation of the 5th Battalion, King's Own, receiving additional men through March, work has commenced on the erection of a new camp site at Crowdys Hill, Crickdale Road, Swindon.
27 February 1940
Both Norway and Sweden refused to allow British and French troops to cross through their territory to aid Finland.
28 February 1940
In the House of Commons a question was asked about the use of blind persons on aircraft location work, on account of that directional sense of hearing being more accurate than that of sighted persons, and if he will consider giving blind persons the opportunity to do such work.  The reply indicated that tests found that blind persons could not be recommended for this duty; listening members of a search light detachment were required to perform other duties which necessitated the use of their eyes.
29 February 1940
BBC audience research showed that 16 million people listened to the 9 o'clock news broadcast, and then 6 million switched straight over to Lord Haw-Haw's broadcast from Germany afterwards.

March 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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