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

Second World War  On This Day

March 1940


1 March 1940
It was reported in the House of Commons that there were 73 353 German aliens registered in Great Britain, 569 of which had been interned.  55 457 of the total were known to be refugees from Nazi oppression.  There were also 11 989 Austrians registered.
2 March 1940
The British cargo liner, SS Domala, was bombed off the Isle of Wight by a Heinkel He111 with the loss of 108 of the 291 people on board.  The ship was carrying passengers to India, including people released from Germany for repatriation.
The brand new RMS Queen Elizabeth departed the Clyde for a secret destination, escorted for more than 200 miles by the destroyers HMS Mohawk, HMS Punjabi, HMS Fortune, HMS Foxhound, and HMS Tartar replacing HMS Mohawk.  The stated destination was Southampton, where as part of the cover, accommodation had been booked for members of the ships crew.  The ship actually crossed the Atlantic for New York.  It included on board a Southampton pilot!
3 March 1940
The Italian Government objected to the British blockade of German coal shipments to Italy.
4 March 1940
A draft of forty men arrived from the King's Own Infantry Training Centre, Middleton Towers, Heysham, by train to Swindon Junction.  They were split up between the rifle companies.
5 March 1940
The Royal Navy seized seven Italian ships in the English Channel which were taking coal from Germany to Italy.
6 March 1940
The German cargo ship, 'Urugary' was stopped by HMS Berwick and scuttled by her crew.
7 March 1940
The RMS Queen Elizabeth completed her secret maiden voyage from England to New York.
It was reported in the House of Commons that 21 349 men claimed registration as conscientious objectors under the Military Training Act, 1939.
8 March 1940
It was reported in the House of Commons that the number of German combatant prisoners of war were 257 and the number of German merchant seamen was 1271.
The City of Lancaster Soldiers' Welfare Committee held a dance in Ashton Hall, Lancaster Town Hall, for the benefit of the Soldiers and Auxiliary Territorial Service Clubs.
9 March 1940
An England versus Wales war time charity rugby match was played at Cardiff Arms Park
10 March 1940
Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, King's Own Royal Regiment, stationed in Palestine received the medal ribbon for the General Service Medal with clasp 'Palestine'.
11 March 1940
The French battleship 'Bretagne' and the cruiser 'Algerie' departed Toulon with 147 tons of gold for safekeeping in Canada.
In Britain all meat was to be rationed.
12 March 1940
The Moscow Peace Treaty ended the Winter War with Finland.  Russia received 16 000 square miles of Finnish territory.
13 March 1940
Hostilities between the Soviet Union and Finland ceased at 11 a.m.
The King's Own Infantry Training Centre held an evening concert in the Ashton Hall, Lancaster Town Hall.
14 March 1940
The evacuation of Finish Karelia took place.  More than 450 000 Finns displaced by the Moscow Peace Treaty began to cross Finland's new border, some burned their homes leaving as little as possible for the Soviets.
15 March 1940
In the House of Commons 700 million was allowed for the financial year up to 31st March 1941 for the conduct of the war.
16 March 1940
The first British civilian was killed in a German air raid when fourteen Junkers Ju88 bombers attacked the British Fleet at Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands.
The King's Own Infantry Training Centre held an evening concert in the Ashton Hall, Lancaster Town Hall.
17 March 1940
Fritz Todt is named as German Minister for Armaments and Munitions.  The 'Todt Organisation' was a military engineering company which provided forced labour for German industry, general and military related construction and also the building of the 'Atlantic Wall' defences.
18 March 1940
German leader Adolf Hitler met Italian ruler Mussolini at the Brenner Pass in the Alps.  He made clear that his troops were poised for an offensive in the west.
19 March 1940
The Royal Air Force attacked the German sea plane base at Hoernum on the island of Sylt.
A British force of 100 000 men were ready to go to support Finland, but they were refused right of passage through Norway and Sweden.
20 March 1940
One third of the 5th Battalion, King's Own, were sent on special privilege leave for Easter.
21 March 1940
The RMS Queen Mary sailed from New York for Sydney, Australia, to be refitted as a troopship.
22 March 1940
The aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal sailed from Plymouth for the Mediterranean Sea, escorted by the destroyers HMS Imogen and HMS Isis.
23 March 1940
BBC Radio's broadcasts today including music from the Band of the Royal Marines, Plymouth Division, second half commentary of the West Ham versus Charlton Athletic match from Upton Park, and the crazy comedy 'The Colonel's been murdered at last'.
24 March 1940
One third of the 5th Battalion, King's Own, returned from special Easter leave.
25 March 1940
The British government ordered its troops not to participate in German radio broadcasts if they became a prisoner of war.  Britons had been tuning into the German radio to learn of the capture of family members by hearing their voices on the radio.
26 March 1940
The 5th Battalion, King's Own, took part in a Brigade parade which was held at Chisledon Camp, where His Majesty King George VI inspected the Brigade.
A draft of 150 men joined the 5th Battalion from the 7th Holding Battalion at Rhyl.
27 March 1940
Three months after the event the Admiralty published a report that a mutiny had occurred on board the German cruiser 'Admiral Graf Spee' on 16 December 1939, two days before the Captain scuttled her following the Battle of the River Plate.
28 March 1940
The Anglo-French Supreme War Council met in London and agreed that neither Britain nor France would make a separate peace with Germany.  It was also agreed that mines would be laid in Norwegian coastal waters.
29 March 1940
Acting Pilot Officer Prince Alexander Obolensky, a natural born Russian and naturalised Britain, who played Rugby for England and the Leicester Tigers was killed when his Hawker Hurricane overshot the runway on landing.
30 March 1940
A British high altitude reconnaissance flight from RAF Habbaniya in Iraq flew unchallenged for several hours over Soviet oilfields on the Absheron Peninsular.  This was part of a plan to destroy by strategic bombing the Soviet oil industry, as Moscow had signed the Nazi-Soviet Pact, they were in effect supporting Hitler against the Allies.  The plan was discovered in May 1940 when the Germans captured a train full of secret documents which were being evacuated from Paris.
31 March 1940
Rationing of paper to publishing and printing industries was introduced in Great Britain.

April 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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