September 1940

Sep

20

1940

Morrison air raid shelter invented

The patent design for an indoor air raid shelter, by Alfred E. Moss, father of Stirling Moss

On 20th September Alfred E. Moss, father of Stirling Moss, submits his patent design for an indoor air raid shelter. A modified design is soon approved by the British authorities and is called the Morrison shelter after the Minister responsible. It becomes a popular alternative to the Andersen shelter, which is designed to be half buried in the garden.

Sep

19

1940

Improved Anti-Aircraft defences help morale

In the days following the start of the Blitz large numbers of additional Anti-Aircraft guns were brought into the London area.

Enemy operations were chiefly confined to London and South-East England, although single attacks were reported in other districts and larger formations bombed Portland and Southampton on the 15th September. Several aerodromes were attacked, but none suffered damage of any importance. The main objectives appear to have been railways, public services and industrial targets : details of damage are set out in the Home Security Section. Attacks were, however, largely indiscriminate, particularly at night.

Sep

18

1940

HMS Sussex bombed

HMS-Sussex-bombed-on-the-Clyde

Peter Petts, a nineteen year old Able Seaman on HMS Sussex describes how the bomb hit: It went through the lower and platform decks and burst in the engine room near oil fuel tanks. Four members of the crew were killed, and twelve others died later of wounds. The lower deck at that point was […]

Sep

17

1940

77 children lost with City of Benares

A pre war post card of  City of Benares' produced by the Ellerman Line to publicise their passenger service to India.

All survivors were suffering from severe exposure, and varying degrees of shock, being physically and emotionally exhausted. Some were dehydrated and most were suffering from bruised and sprained bodies, limbs, and suspected fractures. Several had severe swollen legs due to prolonged exposure to sea water, the so called ‘Immersion Feet’.

Sep

16

1940

Sergeant Hannah wins the Victoria Cross

Sergeant Hannah won the Victoria Cross and Pilot Officer Connor the D.F.C. after bringing their stricken Hampden bomber back to base.

Sergeant Hannah succeeded in forcing his way through the fire in order to grab two extinguishers. He then discovered that the Rear Gunner was missing. Quite undaunted he fought the fire for 10 minutes, and when the fire extinguishers were exhausted he beat the flames with his log book. During this time, ammunition from the gunner’s magazines was exploding in all directions. In spite of this and the fact that he was almost blinded by the intense heat and fumes, he succeeded in controlling and eventually putting out the fire. During the process of fighting the flames, he had turned on his oxygen to assist him in his efforts.

Sep

15

1940

Douglas Bader leads the 'Big Wing' into attack

The RAF met successive waves of German aircraft on the 15th September and came off best, although not as decisively as the contemporary propaganda suggested.

They were directed to enemy aircraft by A.A. fire and made a perfect approach with the Spitfires between the Hurricanes and the sun and the E/A below and down sun. The Hurricanes had to wait until Spitfires and Hurricanes already engaging the enemy broke away. The Spitfire Squadrons above held the enemy fighters off and 242 Squadron went in with the other Hurricane Squadrons to destroy the bombers.

Sep

14

1940

Air Raids change everything

Many children who had been evacuated at the start of the war had returned by September 1940.

Damage to food stocks varies from negligible quantities of bacon, meat and coffee, to half a week’s consumption of sugar, 13,600 tons. Two days’ consumption of wheat and tea has been lost. These losses are less important than the destruction of flour-mills, cold storage plants, margarine factories, and oil and cake mills, situated in the London dock areas.

Sep

13

1940

The Italians attack in the Desert

The British A9 Cruiser tank as commanded by Lieutenant Rea Leakey in September 1940. It was relatively lightly armoured and only had a two pounder gun but was fast and proved effective against the Italians.

The Italians heralded the start of this venture with a heavy artillery bombardment, most of which hit the empty desert, and their bombers gave us a larger dose than usual. When the dust and smoke cleared, we saw the most fantastic spectacle.

The Italian Army was advancing towards us led by motor cyclists riding in perfect line – dressed from the right. Then came the tanks, again in parade order, and they were followed by row after row of large black lorries. Adams stared at them for a minute, then turned to me and remarked, ‘Bloody hell, Tidworth Tattoo – we can’t spoil their march past.’

Sep

12

1940

Ian Fleming proposes 'Operation Ruthless'

A German 'M Boat', a minesweeper of the type that Ian Fleming suggested that might be captured.

1. Obtain from Air Ministry an air-worthy German bomber.
2. Pick a tough crew of five, including a pilot, W/T operator and word-perfect German speaker. Dress them in German Air Force Uniform, add blood and bandages to suit.
3. Crash Plane in the Channel after making SOS to rescue service.
4. Once aboard rescue boat, shoot German crew, dump overboard, bring rescue boat back to English port.

Sep

11

1940

Spitfire versus Dornier

A rare close up aerial perspective of Battle of Britain combat.

Things are starting to get rough. Automatically I have followed my self-imposed drill that I always do at times like this. Reflector sight on; gun button to fire; airscrew pitch to 2,650 revs; better response. Press the emergency boost over- ride, lower my seat a notch and straps tight. OK, men, I’m all set. Let battle commence. Please, dear God, like me more than you do the Germans.