1939

Nov

21

1939

HMS Belfast is mined

“Suddenly there was terrific thud, and then there was dead silence and then a shaking up and down, as if you were shaking a doll up and down. That was the power of a magnetic mine.”

Nov

18

1939

Hitler rejects ‘infantile’ complaint about Polish repression

‘He read through it calmly then lashed out furiously against ‘infantile attitude’ in Army High Command. The war couldn’t be run with Salvation Army methods.’

Nov

18

1939

News of HMS Oxley is made public

A big boat, 1,380/1,850 tons, and not much about it in the papers. We weren’t told how it happened either; perhaps we’ll know afterwards.

Nov

16

1939

More losses to Mines, Increasing Russian-Finnish tension

During the past week in Home Waters four ships have been sunk by mine and two by direct submarine action. Of these, five were British (total tonnage in 11,359) and one Norwegian (1,019 tonnes). These figures, as do last week’s losses, suggests the increasing use of the mine in the attack on trade.

Nov

15

1939

HMS Isis attempts to salvage SS Arne Kjode

‘The weather was overcast, wind force 4 and squally, but swell and sea, although breaking and rising, were still moderate when boarding commenced.’

Nov

14

1939

Torpedoed and in lifeboats off the Hebrides

‘One of the crew saw a torpedo coming without any warning, and next moment the ship was blown up. In about half a minute she broke into two and commenced sinking amidships.’

Nov

12

1939

Churchill makes a rousing broadcast on the BBC

‘conscripts are being crowded in vast numbers upon the frontiers of Holland and Belgium. To both these States the Nazis have given most recent and solemn guarantees. No wonder anxiety is great. No one believes one word Hitler and the Nazi Party say’

Nov

11

1939

Britain receives the "Oslo Report"

On 4 November 1939, Captain Hector Boyes, the Naval Attaché at the British Embassy in Oslo, received an anonymous letter offering him a secret report on the latest German technical developments.

Nov

9

1939

British agents are abducted in ‘The Venlo Incident’

Somehow or other, it seemed to me that things looked different from what they had on the previous days. Then I noticed that the German barrier across the road which had always been closed, was now lifted; there seemed to be nothing between us and the enemy. My feeling of impending danger was very strong. Yet the scene was peaceful enough.

Nov

9

1939

More ships torpedoed and the state of the Red Army

On an average 17 convoys have been at sea each day, requiring the daily employment on this service of one battleship, four cruisers and twenty-one destroyers, besides escort vessels and trawlers. In addition the French have five destroyers or Scouts at sea daily escorting between Gibraltar and Western Approaches. Armed Merchant Cruisers have been taken into service for ocean escort duties.