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

Second World War  On This Day

September 1940

1 September 1940
RAF Biggin Hill airfield, in Kent, was heavily damaged in a bombing raid
2 September 1940
The oil tanker 'Cymbeline' was torpedoed and sunk in the Atlantic Ocean, south west of the Cape Verde islands by the German Auxiliary cruiser 'Widder', with the loss of 7 crew.  26 survivors were taken prisoner of war.  This included 14 year old deck boy Kenneth Berry who later became a member of the 'British Free Corps' which recruited from prisoner of war and internment camps in Germany, with the purpose of fighting against the communist forces on the Eastern Front.  In May 1945 Berry was captured by the Red Army who thought he was a British prisoner of war out of uniform, and handed him to the American Army, who flew him to England on 12th May 1945.  For his treason he was sentenced to 9 months imprisonment.
3 September 1940
Adolf Hitler sets the date for Operation Sealion, the German invasion of Britain, as 21st September 1940.
4 September 1940
Adolf Hitler told a crowd at a rally in Berlin: "When the British air force drops two or three thousand kilograms of bombs, then we will in one night drop 150, 230, 300, or 400 thousand kilograms, we will raise their cities to the ground"
5 September 1940
Oil storage tanks at Thameshaven, Essex, were targeted by German bombers.  The fire could be seen from London.
6 September 1940
The Germans bombed Grantham, the Headquarters of No 5 Group Royal Air Force.
7 September 1940
The Blitz began when the German air force stopped bombing air fields and aircraft factories, and started bombing London and other cities in response to the RAF bombing Berlin.  This allowed RAF fighter command to re-group.
The 8th Battalion, King's Own, received the signal 'Cromwell' which was the signal that a German invasion was imminent.  'Cromwell' remained in place until 19 September with the battalion stood at full readiness.
The 7th Battalion, King's Own, also received the signal 'Cromwell'.  All road blocks were manned and all guards and detachments to 'stand to'.
8 September 1940
London woke up to the damage from a night of saturation bombing.  Bombing took place both during the day and over night.  London would experience 57 consecutive nights of bombing.
9 September 1940
The Italian invasion of Egypt began.  Advancing from Libya the aim was to seize the Suez Canal, but in effect the aim on the first day was Sidi Barrani, 60 miles from the Libyan border. 
The Italian air force also bombed Tel Aviv in Mandatory Palestine, killed 137 people.
10 September 1940
A German bomb exploded at Buckingham Palace for the first time.
It was reported in the House of Commons, that in the 12 months to this day sales of National Savings Certificates had been 152 million (compared to 22 million in the previous 12 months) and 149 million had been raised from the sale of Defence Bonds.  Small investors were supporting the war effort by the purchase of these certificates and bonds.
11 September 1940
Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave a radio address saying that a German invasion of Britain could not be delayed for much longer.
12 September 1940
In Lancaster there were many basement air raid shelters established around the town, including the Old Town Hall; 13 Great John Street; Slip Hotel, James Street; Hodgsons Corn Warehouse; Mansergh's Warehouse, Cable Street; King's Arms Hotel; Greaves Hotel; and the Tramway Hotel.
13 September 1940
Italian forces in Egypt capture Sollum.
14 September 1940
Adolf Hitler postponed Operation Sealion to 27th September 1940.
The Royal Air Force carried out a heavy bombing raid of Antwerp.
15 September 1940
A large scale air battle took place over the south east of England.  The Luftwaffe mounted an all-out offensive, sending 500 bombers to attack London and the south east.  The Royal Air Force managed to break the German formations and shoot down 61 planes for losses of 31.  This was a major defeat to the Germans.
Adolf Hitler asked Spain's General Franco for the use of naval bases in the Canary Islands and other places.  General Franco declined the request.
16 September 1940
The Italian forces in the Western Desert capture Sidi Barrani. 
Aircraft from the carrier HMS Illustrious attacked Benghazi in Libya and sank four Italian ships.
17 September 1940
Adolf Hitler postponed Operation Sealion, the German invasion of Britain.
In the Western Desert, facing the Italian advance from Libya, British forces evacuate Sidi Barrani.  The 2nd Battalion, King's Own, cover the withdrawal of British troops.  The battalion now started coastal patrols.
In Lancaster arrangements for Corporation Transport buses to be on stand by for use by both the police and Home Guard in the event of an emergency.
The Parks and Recreation Committee in Lancaster were advised that any war time casualties should be buried and the grave marked with a temporary wooden cross, which would be replaced after the war by a permanent marker by the Imperial War Graves Commission.
18 September 1940
The British passenger ship City of Benares was torpedoed and sunk in the Atlantic Ocean by the German submarine U48.  It was an evacuee ship going to Canada, and saw the death of 77 of the 90 evacuee children.  Public outrage at the loss ended the evacuation scheme.  Of the 407 people on board, 260 were lost.  105 survivors were picked up by the destroyer HMS Hurricane.
19 September 1940
The Royal Air Force bombed the German invasion barges in ports along the French coast.
20 September 1940
The SS City of Simla was torpedoed and sunk in the Atlantic Ocean by German submarine U138 with the loss of 350 people on board.
21 September 1940
The use of London Underground as air raid shelters was officially approved, after many civilians had been using it as such for some days.
The 8th Battalion, King's Own, defending the coast in the Bournemouth area, again received the order 'Cromwell' which indicated that a German invasion was imminent.  This alert continued to 24 September.
22 September 1940
The British destroyers HMS Jervis, HMS Janus, HMS Juno and HMS Mohawk bombarded Italian positions at Sidi Barrani in Egypt.
Bombers were launched from the aircraft carrier HMS Furious, and attacked German positions at Trondheim in Norway.
Radio Moscow reported that RAF bombing had largely destroyed the German invasion fleet in the Channel ports.
23 September 1940
His Majesty King George VI made a broadcast speech on the BBC Radio and announced the creation of The George Cross medal for civilian gallantry.
The Battle of Dakar took place off the coast of French West Africa, with the aim of capturing the strategic port and overthrow the pro-German Vichy French authorities.
24 September 1940
The King's Own Royal Regiment Active Service Comforts Fund was approved under the War Charities Act, 1940, by the Watch Committee of Lancaster City Council.
Vichy French air forces attacked Gibraltar.
25 September 1940
The Battle of Dakar ended in victory for the Vichy French.
26 September 1940
54 Vichy French air bombers raid Gibraltar.
27 September 1940
Germany, Italy and Japan signed the Tripartite Pact, which was a defensive military alliance.
28 September 1940
In Lancaster, Home Guardsman Thomas Eric Rowland Hazeldine, aged 22, was fined 2 for trespassing and 10 for firing a rifle at a sitting grouse.  This matter was raised with the Home Secretary, in the House of Commons on 17 October 1940 asking if the fine would be cancelled.  Mr Herbert Morrison, the Home Secretary, said he was make inquiries in to the case.
Radio Belgique transmitted from London to Nazi occupied Belgium for the first time.
29 September 1940
British warships again bombed the coastal road in Libya to disrupt Italian lines of communication.
Randolph Churchill, the son of the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, was elected member of parliament for the Borough of Preston.
The Lancaster Home Guard paraded at Giant Axe Field, Lancaster, and were inspected by General Sir James O'Dowda, Commanding Number 2 Zone, East Lancashire Area, Home Guard.
30 September 1940
An Italian Adua class submarine was depth charged and sunk off Alexandria, Egypt, by HMAS Stuart and a Short Sunderland Flying boat based at RAF Alexandria.  All on board, including four frogmen who were to pilot manned torpedoes, and 43 crew were rescued by allied shipping.

October 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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