1939

Nov

30

1939

Russia invades Finland

The prospects for Finland, a country of 3.6 million people, did not look good, she had a 1,200 km frontier with Russia to defend. Her army of 160,000 men faced an initial Russian force of 460,000 troops and over 2,000 tanks.

Nov

30

1939

HMS Rawalpindi, Magnetic Mines and an unseen ‘raider’

On receipt of the news of the sinking of H.M.S. Rawalpindi the Home Fleet took up positions in the North Sea calculated to intercept the German warships, should they be attempting to return home.

Nov

25

1939

Evelyn Waugh goes to war

‘The doctors do not think much of your eyesight. Can you read that?’, pointing to a large advertisement across the street. I could. ‘Anyway most of your work will be in the dark.’

Nov

24

1939

Ludovic Kennedy learns of the death of his father

Captain Kennedy had written to a friend ” They have given me some guns, good guns, and I am going to use them”.

Nov

24

1939

London faces the blackout

‘Coming out into the blackout these evenings is like falling into an inky well’

Nov

23

1939

Brooke ‘speaks to’ Montgomery

“There was the father-and-mother of a row. They were all after my blood at GHQ. But my Corps commander (Brooke) saved me by insisting on dealing with the matter himself. This he did in no uncertain manner and I received from him a proper backhander.”

Nov

23

1939

Hitler demands further aggression

‘At last we are in the position we have longed for for sixty years, not to have to fight a war on two fronts,’

Nov

23

1939

German mining of British waters intensifies

‘H.M.S.Belfast (10,000 ton 6 inch gun cruiser) was damaged by a mine on the morning of 21 November in the Firth of Forth’

Nov

23

1939

The British dismantle their first magnetic mine

‘There was a possibility that the mine had devices other than the magnetic one, which added to the hazard. If we were unlucky the notes which the two watchers had taken would be available for those who would have to deal with the next available specimen. ‘

Nov

23

1939

HMS Rawalpindi encounters the Scharnhorst

‘After a short while the German ships opened fire – one on each side of us. Their aim was good. They first hit the wireless cabin, then two hits demolished the bridge. Our guns opened up in retaliation, and we hit one of the ships several times causing some casualties. I had gone to the ammunition hoist to get some Star Shells, but when I returned my gun and fellow gun crew had all been blown over the side.’