August 1940

Aug

12

1940

Bomber Command’s first Victoria Cross

An earlier RAF photo reconnaissance photograph of the Dortmund Ems canal with the aqueduct that passes over a river. Barges can clearly be seen passing along the canal.

The low level, staggered approach of aircraft along a predicted route made for a hazardous operation. This was especially the case on a target that had previously been attacked, where the Germans were known to adding to their Anti-Aircraft defences.

Aug

11

1940

Captain Wilson defends Observation Hill

The British Somaliland camel Corps was led by only 14 British officers. Although only lightly armed they inflicted significant casualties on the invading Italians.

He inflicted such heavy casualties that the enemy, determined to put his guns out of action, brought up a pack battery to within seven hundred yards, and scored two direct hits through the loopholes of his defences, which, bursting within the post, wounded Captain Wilson severely in the right shoulder and in the left eye, several of his team also being wounded. His guns were blown off their stands but he repaired and replaced them and, regardless of his wounds, carried on, whilst his Somali sergeant was killed beside him.

Aug

9

1940

Australian troops train in Britain

An Australian soldier shows his familiarity with the Vickers machine gun by assembling it while blindfold. Only when he finishes is he told that the demonstration is for the benefit of King George VI

An Australian soldier shows his familiarity with the Vickers machine gun by assembling it while blindfold.

Aug

8

1940

Air attacks 'comparatively few and mostly unsuccessful'

Downed aircraft became a familiar site, especially in south east England. Photographs of downed enemy aircraft were given wide publicity.

On numerous other occasions formations of aircraft approached our coast but turned back on sighting British fighters. On the 5th August a threatened attack in the Dover area was driven off before it could develop, and three of the escorting fighters were shot down by Spitfires, a further four probably being destroyed. Except on two occasions land objectives were attacked at night, but these raids were sporadic and caused little damage.

Aug

7

1940

Troopship SS Mohamed Ali el-Kebir torpedoed

The SS Mohamed Ali el-Kebir had previously operated out of Alexandria before being requisitioned as a troopship in 1940.

Open fractures were reduced under local anaesthesia (2% novatex) roughly splinted and debridement followed by instillation of powdered sulphonamide. Debridement was assisted by staining the wound with an alcoholic solution of 1/1000 Gentian Violet – all stained and dead tissue being removed. Only one death occurred – a naval rating, name unknown (body transferred to Naval Authorities, Greenock) from multiple fractures of tibia, femur, pelvis and humerus.

Aug

6

1940

Air raid warnings ignored

In the absence of conventional weapons the Home Guard prepared 'Molotov cocktails'.

The siren controversy continues. From various regions come reports showing concern that people do not take cover in the daylight raids, and there is some evidence that taking cover is ceasing to have the sanction of public opinion.

Aug

5

1940

Condor aircraft join the Battle of the Atlantic

Focke-Wulf Fw 200 C Condor

The FW 200 Condor began patrols from Bordeaux-Merignac airfield in western France in August 1940. Flying in wide sweeps out over the Bay of Biscay and into the Atlantic west of Ireland it would continue round the north of Britain and land in Norway, a route that encompassed most of the possible convoy routes. It proved highly effective not only because of its bomb load, but also in its capacity as a reconnaissance aircraft capable of calling in U-Boat attacks.

Aug

3

1940

Italy invades British Somaliland

Italian forces move into British Somaliland

The Somaliland Camel Corps had only 14 British officers commanding just over 1400 native troops. In total a British Force of around 4,000 faced 24,000 Italians. The invaders had light tanks and armoured cars, the British forces had none, and no anti-tank weapons or artillery.

Aug

2

1940

Operation Hurry reinforces Malta

HMS Argus, launched in 1918 as the first full length air craft carrier. Slow and vulnerable she was mainly used to convey aircraft, before being retired in 1943.

The British force in the Western Mediterranean has been employed in covering the landing of Hurricane aircraft at Malta from H.M.S. Argus, which was carried out successfully on the 2nd August. On the previous day the ships were unsuccessfully attacked by enemy aircraft, one of which was shot down by Skuas and another hit by anti-aircraft fire.

Aug

1

1940

Hitler orders a final push against England

Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring

1. The German Air Force is to overpower the English Air Force with all the forces at its command, in the shortest time possible. The attacks are to be directed primarily against flying units, their ground installations, and their supply organizations, but also against the aircraft industry, including that manufacturing anti-aircraft equipment.
2. After achieving temporary or local air superiority the air war is to be continued against ports, in particular against stores of food, and also against stores of provisions in the interior of the country.
Attacks on the south coast ports will be made on the smallest possible scale, in view of our own forthcoming operations.