|1 January 1940
In Finland the Battle of
Raate Road began in the Winter War with the Soviet Union.
Great Britain the age of conscription was raised to 27 years.
|2 January 1940
Townspeople of Bangor in
Northern Ireland got a shock when gunners on board the Royal
Fleet Auxiliary tank 'Serbol' fired off several rounds at houses
in the town during gunnery training in heavy fog. There
were no casualties in the accidental shooting.
|3 January 1940
British socialite Unity
Mitford, returned to England from Germany. She was known
for her relationship with Adolf Hitler, and a prominent support
of Nazism. After war between Germany and Britain was
declared she attempted suicide with a pearl handled pistol give
to her by Adolf Hitler for her own protection. She was
hospitalised in Munich and was then allowed home to England,
still with the bullet lodged in her head. She died in May
1948 at the age of 33 never fully recovering from her injury.
|4 January 1940
The Polish Government in
exile reached an agreement with the French to establish Polish
Military Units in France.
|5 January 1940
Oliver Stanley became the
Secretary of State for War.
|6 January 1940
In Lancaster the Chief
Constable reported that 1290 babies protective helmets and 630
small children's respirators had been received, in addition to
the 1053 babies protective helmets which had already been
distributed by the lady air wardens.
|7 January 1940
The submarine HMS Seahorse
was depth charged and sunk north west of Heligoland with the
loss of all 39 crew. The submarine HMS Undine was depth
charged south west of Heligoland and all crew were rescued by
In Finland the Battle of Raate Road ended with
|8 January 1940
In Britain rationing of
bacon, butter and sugar was introduced.
In Finland the Battle
of Suomussalmin ended in Finnish victory.
|9 January 1940
The submarine HMS Starfish
was depth charged and damaged in the Heligoland Bight and all
crew were taken prisoner of war.
|10 January 1940
A German aircraft with an
officer on board carrying the secret plans for the invasion of
the Low Countries crash landed in neutral Belgium, and the plans
fell into the hands of Belgian Intelligence.
|11 January 1940
In London the Victoria and
Albert Museum reopened after closure at the start of the war as
they expected aerial bombardment, which did not happen.
|12 January 1940
BBC Radio broadcast the
play "Aladdin and his wonderful lamp" and there was a programme
'Men of the Hour' which featured Soviet leader Stalin.
|13 January 1940
In Belgium and the
Netherlands partial mobilisation was ordered in response to the
German invasion plans.
|14 January 1940
In Germany Adolf Hitler
ordered that no one would be allowed to know more than he did
about any secret matter.
|15 January 1940
The British government
took control of the meat industry.
|16 January 1940
Prime Minister Neville
Chamberlain made it clear about reports of executions of Poles
in German occupied Poland could be confirmed from the evidence
|17 January 1940
Cold weather across Europe
saw the River Thames freeze for the first time since 1888.
was reported in the House of Commons that 39 Members of
Parliament were serving in the Army.
|18 January 1940
In the House of Commons
the attempted escape of 17 Germans from an internment camp in
the south of England was reported. A tunnel was made from
below the floor of one of the huts, progress was about 6 feet
each night, and there was still a long way to go when the tunnel
|19 January 1940
The destroyer HMS
Grenville was sunk by a mine in the Thames estuary with the loss
of 77 of the 175 crew.
|20 January 1940
In the Winter War the
Soviets bomb Oulu and the Finns respond by bombing Kronstadt.
|21 January 1940
The destroyer HMS Exmouth
was torpedoed and sunk in the Moray Firth, off Inverness, with
the loss of all 175 crew.
|22 January 1940
After heavy snow fall in
North West England, many railway lines were closed by deep snow
drifts. Soldiers of the Regimental Depot at Lancaster were
sent to clear the railway line between Lancaster and Preston of
snow. The scale of the snow fall and the line closures was
kept secret at the time.
|23 January 1940
In Britain the speed limit
in populated areas was reduced to 20 miles per hour due to the
number of accidents in the blackout. In the last four
months of 1939 4123 people had been killed in road accidents,
despite the reduced amount of traffic. Most accidents
occurred during the blackout.
|24 January 1940
The German government
ordered the registration of all Jewish owned property in Poland.
In the House of Commons the Prime Minister stated that 74
British subjects and 268 Palestinians were in Poland, either in
parts occupied by the Germans or the Soviet Union. Attempts were
being made to evacuate those in the Soviet part.
|25 January 1940
It was reported in the
House of Commons that due to shortages, Army recruits would only
be issued with one set of uniform and boots until sufficient
supplies became available.
The Prime Minister reported in the
House of Commons of the execution of 136 students, some said to
be as young as 12 or 13, in German occupied Poland.
|26 January 1940
The former passenger ship,
RMS Durham Castle, struck a mine off Cromarty in Scotland and
sank. Used as a store ship, it was under tow bound of
Scarpa Flow as base accommodation ship.
In Germany the Nazis
warned that listening to foreign radio was punishable by death.
|27 January 1940
The German government
demanded at least one million industrial and agricultural
workers be provided from Nazi-occupied Poland to work for the
|28 January 1940
In Lancaster the City of
Lancaster Soldiers Welfare Committee used the Ashton Hall in the
Town Hall for a religious service.
|29 January 1940
In Lancaster 1140 armlets
for the various Air Raid Precautions service had been purchased
at 9d each.
|30 January 1940
The German submarine U-55
was depth charged, shelled and sunk off the Shetland Islands by
two French destroyers, a Royal Navy destroyer and a sloop, with
assistance from a Short Sunderland aircraft.
It was stated in
the House of Commons that corrugated asbestos sheets would be
used as roofing for army hutments, as they do not ignite readily
and in now way contribute to the spread of fire.
|31 January 1940
In the House of Commons it
was stated that where troops occupy huts a single wireless
licence would cover all the wireless sets in use.