August 1940

Aug

20

1940

"Never in the field of human conflict …"

Battle of Britain poster with Churchill's 'the few'

“we must never forget that all the time, night after night, month after month, our bomber squadrons travel far into Germany, find their targets in the darkness by the highest navigational skill, aim their attacks, often under the heaviest fire, often with serious loss, with deliberate careful discrimination, and inflict shattering blows upon the whole of the technical and war-making structure of the Nazi power.”

Aug

19

1940

Royal Navy evacuates British Somaliland

The italian Flag flies over the former British Governor's bomb damaged residence.

The British completed their evacuation of British Somaliland on 19th August 1940, following the invasion on 3rd August and the Battle of the Tug Argan Gap. There were some 250 British forces casualties and over 2,000 on the Italian side. It was the only campaign during the Second World war that the Italian fascist regime successfully concluded without the assistance of German armed forces.

Aug

18

1940

Soviet Agents investigate bombing of Britain

The U.S. Army's Signal Intelligence Service decrypt of a Soviet Diplomatic message sent in 1940.

On 18th August I was in MORDEN in south east LONDON. The SAUSAGE-DEALERS bombed during daylight [16th] August the factories located there. The police do not permit entry into this area. Some houses near the factories have been badly smashed. From outside I could not see any particularly bad damage when I went round the other side of the factories.

Aug

17

1940

Churchill's 'Defence Against Invasion' memo

Armoured cars and tanks from Britain's mobile defence on exercise 'somewhere in Britain' during 1940. The unit insignia have been covered by the censor.

The defence of any part of the coast must be measured not by the forces on the coast, but by the number of hours within which strong counter-attacks by mobile troops can be brought to bear upon the landing places. Such attacks should be hurled with the utmost speed and fury upon the enemy at his weakest moment, which is not, as is sometimes suggested, when actually getting out of his boats, but when sprawled upon the shore with his communications cut and his supplies running short.

Aug

16

1940

RAF Tangmere bombed by Ju 87

The Ju 87 'Stuka' dive bomber was itself very vulnerable to air attack  and required close protection from escorting fighters.

We were surprised to be given the order to scramble from a state of ‘released’, but the reason was all too apparent as we rushed helter-skelter from the mess to see thirty Ju 87 dive-bombers screaming vertically on to Tangmere. The noise was terrifying as the explosions of the bombs mingled with the din of ack-ack guns which were firing from positions all round us. We could hear the rattle of spent bullets as they fell on the metal-covered nissens where we hurriedly donned our flying kit.

Aug

16

1940

Flight Lieutenant Nicolson wins V.C.

Flight Lieutenant James Brindley NICOLSON V.C.

Flight Lieutenant Nicolson has always displayed great enthusiasm for air fighting and this incident shows that he possesses courage and determination of a high order. By continuing to engage the enemy after he had been wounded and his aircraft set on fire, he displayed exceptional gallantry and disregard for the safety of his own life.

Aug

15

1940

The Luftwaffe's 'Black Thursday'

Seventy two Heinkel III bombers from Norway sought to attack RAF airfields at Usworth and Dishforth on the 15th August.

There on our port side at 9,000 ft must have been 120 bombers, all with the swastika and German crosses as large as life, having the gross impertinence to cruise down Northumberland and Durham’s NE coast. These were the people who were going to bomb Newcastle and Sunderland and our friends and relations who lived there.

Aug

14

1940

RAF Middle Wallop bombed

A hangar at Middle Wallop after being bombed

My head was spinning, it felt as though I had a permanent ringing in my ears, I felt the blast go over me as I lay there flattened on the ground. I got up and my instinct was to run towards the hangar. It was carnage.

Aug

13

1940

No. 82 Squadron almost wiped out

The RAF Bristol Blenheim two engined bomber

Wing Commander Lart decided to press on with the attack. When they reached the target all 11 aircraft making the attack were shot down, either by Me 109 fighters or by Anti-Aircraft fire. Only 13 of the 33 crewmen taking part in the raid survived to become prisoners of war.

Aug

13

1940

The Luftwaffe launch 'Adler Tag' – Eagle Day

A fleet of Dornier 17 bombers in flight

We had been briefed the day previous to Adler Tag that we would be going across the Channel in strong formations to attack England. At last, we would be concentrating in large bomber formations with a fighter escort. For so long, we had been flying our individual missions on simple operations like photographic reconnaissance or minelaying duties.