September 1939

Sep

9

1939

‘We went out singing, but we didn’t sing for long’

‘They’re singing now, but they won’t be singing when they come back. Hearing , em sing reminds me of when I went out to fight in them trenches. We went out singing, but we didn’t sing for long.’

Sep

8

1939

RAF aircraft ‘flying with impunity over Germany’

A discussion took place as to whether the dropping of leaflets should be continued. It was pointed out that there was a strong feeling in some quarters that it was not right that, while Poland was being severely bombed by Germany, our operations should be confined to the dropping of propaganda. On the other hand, there was good reason to believe that the German authorities feared the effect of propaganda, and the fact that aircraft were able to fly with impunity all over the North West of Germany would have a depressing effect on the morale of the German people.

Sep

7

1939

The first ‘Situation Report’ given to the War Cabinet

The Royal Navy has been fully engaged in its task of securing sea communications, escorting military and air reinforcements, giving protection to British and Allied shipping, and in interrupting the enemy’s seaborne trade.

Sep

7

1939

Hitler reviews troops in Poland

Sep

6

1939

The War Cabinet discusses an air raid warning

Two German merchant ships had been sunk by H. M. S. Ajax on the previous day. The sinking had been in accordance with the rules of war, but it was not clear why H. M. S. Ajax had been unable to find prize crews and take the ships into port. The Admiralty would take steps to ensure that wherever possible enemy merchant ships were captured and not sunk.

Sep

6

1939

The first British pilots are shot down in the 'Battle of Barking Creek'

Twelve Spitfire aircraft (6 of ‘A’ flt and 6 of ‘B’ flt) ordered to intercept enemy air raid which turned out to be a friendly formation of Hurricanes of No. 56 Squadron, North Weald. P/O BYRNE and a and P/O FREEBORN opened fire on two Hurricanes thinking they were Hostile Escort Fighters.

Sep

4

1939

The German Army advances towards Krakow

Following night patrol, we proceed at 5.00 towards Krakow. Yesterday some of us were killed, and many wounded. Enemy artillery fires against us. We destroy it. Altogether, I’ve a great deal of faith in our weapons. Yesterday the Poles were [not] ready for battle for the umpteenth time. They continue to withdraw. They should face and fight us in a decent and manly way. But not a bit of it!

Sep

4

1939

The British Prime Minister addresses the German people

From the ‘Broadcast Talk to the German People’ made by Neville Chamberlain GERMAN PEOPLE.-Your country and mine are now at war. Your Government has bombed and invaded the free and independent State of Poland, which this country is in honour bound to defend. Because your troops were not withdrawn in response to the Note which […]

Sep

4

1939

Athenia sinking "should have helpful effect" on US opinion

The First Lord of the Admiralty reported that steamship Athenia outward bound with 300 Americans on board had been sunk 200 miles north-west of Ireland at 2 PM on 3 September, 1939. It was understood that the passengers and crew were in the ship’s boats. Two destroyers were hastening to the rescue and should be near the scene. The occurrence should have a helpful effect as regards public opinion in the United States.

Sep

4

1939

Blitzkrieg: German divebombers support their army

A major German innovation was to use dive bombing aircraft, ‘sturzkamfflugzeu’, in close support of their front line troops. The Ju-87 or ‘Stuka’ became notorious as a terror weapon partly because it was fitted with a siren that wailed as the plane dived. It was a sturdy short range bomber capable of very accurate attacks on ground targets such as tanks or troop convoys