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

Second World War  On This Day

October 1940

1 October 1940
In Great Britain the sale of cream was prohibited.
2 October 1940
The Italian submarine 'Berlillo' was scuttled after it was attached by British destroyer in the Mediterranean Sea.
3 October 1940
In France the Vichy Government introduced laws requiring all Jews to register, and banned Jews from professions such as the law, universities, medicine and public service.
4 October 1940
Hitler and Mussolini met at the Brenner Pass to discuss war strategy and the possibility of Francoist Spain entering the war.  Mussolini hinted at his idea to invade Greece which was brushed aside by Hitler who saw it as un-necessary. 
5 October 1940
In the City of Lancaster the Chief Engineer reported work on shelters was progressing.  There were 5121 public shelters; 1852 domestic shelters and 5830 shelters for schools.  This represented 25% of the population of 47 200.
6 October 1940
The BBC Radio Forces programme included a programme for the Indian Forces; news in Dutch and 'Calling the Canadians'.  The Home Service included the Fairey Aviation Works Band.
7 October 1940
The Royal Air Force conducted its heaviest raid on Berlin to date.
In Lancaster the Home Guard received Browning Machine Guns and steel helmets.
8 October 1940
A large number of German troops enter Romania to train the Romania Army and to protect the countries oil fields.
9 October 1940
It was reported in the House of Commons, that 84 technical advisers were employed at the Civil Defence Camouflage Establishment working on counter shading, disruption, coincident pattern and deflection.
10 October 1940
The 10th Battalion, King's Own, was formed, with 9 officers and 840 other ranks.  The majority of the battalion was based at Heysham Towers, with 'D' Company located at Borwick Hall near Carnforth, Lancashire.
Hitler ordered the emergency programme to build shelters for the civilian population aiming to build 6 000 bunkers in 92 cities.
11 October 1940
HMS Revenge and 6 destroyers bomber Cherbourg, France.
12 October 1940
The Battle of Cape Passero was fought south east of Sicily, resulting in British victory.
13 October 1940
14 year old Princess Elizabeth made her first public speech on the BBC Radio and addressed children of the British Commonwealth.  Her 10 year old sister, Prince Margaret, joined in at the end.
14 October 1940
A German bomb exploded on the road above Balham Station in South London, creating a large crated which a double decker bus drove into in black out conditions.  A total of 66 people were killed.
15 October 1940
A delayed action bomb landed on BBC Broadcasting House in London.  The 500 lb bomb destroyed the switchboard and penetrated the music library on the 5th Floor.  Staff tried to move the bomb, but it exploded killing seven.  The 9 o'clock news was being read when the bomb exploded and radio newscaster Bruce Belfrage, in the basement, continued after a slight pause, and listeners heard the muted bomb blast live on air.
16 October 1940
In London two Air Raid Precaution workers were jailed for one year each, for looting after they took 16 they found in a bombed out house.
17 October 1940
The Prolongation of Parliament was agreed in the House of Commons, which meant that there would be no General Election until after the war was over.
It was reported in the House of Commons that an official statement had been made on the BBC and reproduced in the press some time ago, that members of the public were advised to carry with them, written on a piece of paper carried inside their identity card, the name and address of their next of kin or some other person whom they would wish to be notified in the event of their becoming an air raid casualty.
18 October 1940
An allied convoy was attacked by a five U-boat 'wolfpack' in the Western Approaches and twenty out of the 35 cargo vessels were sunk in the battle. 
19 October 1940
An allied convoy was attacked in the North Atlantic, with the loss of twelve out of 49 ships.  These two days represented the worst two days for shipping losses in the entire Atlantic Campaign.
20 October 1940
Italian planes attacked oil fields in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
The Italian submarine 'Lafole' was sunk by Mediterranean Sea by three British destroyers.
The 10th Battalion, King's Own, received the signal 'Ypres' which was Western Command's code word for the imminent German invasion.  First contingents were place on half an hours notice.
21 October 1940
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made a radio broadcast directed at the French people.  He appealed to them not to hinder Britain in the war against Germany.
22 October 1940
It was reported to the House of Commons that the number of parcels sent to prisoners of war in Germany was 62 560 in August and 43 529 in September.  It takes two to three months to get a parcel out to a prisoner via Lisbon, Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland and then on to Germany.  It took a further six weeks for a reply back.
The Belgian Prime Minister, Hubert Pierlot arrived in London after evading French and Spanish authorities.  This was the beginning of the Belgian Government in Exile in London.
23 October 1940
Adolf Hitler and Francisco Franco met at Hendaye train station for 7 hours of talks to discuss the conditions under which Spain would join Germany and Italy in the war.
A question in the House of Commons was raised about the ration allowance for a soldier billeted in a house and the house holders.  A soldier was allowed 16 oz of sugar, 8 oz of butter and 7 oz of meat, compared to the householder's allowance of 8 oz, 4 oz, and 2s 2d retail cost.  The question was posed "does the minister think a soldier requires so much more bacon than a collier who has to get the coal to keep the country going?"
24 October 1940
British Summer Time, which should have ended tonight was extended to assist the war effort.
25 October 1940
The Royal Air Force bombed Berlin and Hamburg.
26 October 1940
The SS Empress of Britain travelling from South Africa was bombed by enemy aircraft and set on fire 70 miles north west of Ireland.  Most of the troops, civilians and crew were picked up by other ships in the convoy and a skeleton crew remained on board.   
27 October 1940
Lostock Hall, in Lancashire, was bombed with the death of 25 people.  It was suspected that the single German bomber was aiming for the Leyland Motor factory in Leyland.
28 October 1940
Whilst under tow the SS Empress of Britain, despite being protected by Sunderland flying boats and HMS Broke, was fired upon and sunk by a German U-Boat U-32.
Italy invaded Greece.  Hitler and Mussolini met in Florence to exchange the latest war information.  Hitler thought the attack on Greece was madness and that he should have attacked Malta instead.
29 October 1940
British forces occupied Crete and began to mine waters around Greece.
The 7th Battalion, King's Own moved to Stamford and came under the command of 2nd Infantry Brigade.
30 October 1940
The German submarine U32 was sunk north west of Ireland by depth charges from the destroyers HMS Harvester and HMS Highlander.
31 October 1940
The Battle of Britain ended.  Between 8th August and 31st October 1940 the German Luftwaffe lost 2375 planes with the RAF losing 800.
An Italian submarine attacked Gibraltar naval base with manned torpedoes but none of them successful deployed successfully and the British were able to recover one for analysis.

November 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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