August 1940

Aug

21

August 1940

British morale reported to be ‘excellent’

Reports from all areas show morale to be excellent. Recent air-raid alarms proved that confidence has greatly increased since the beginning of the war and people showing more neighbourliness towards each other. Citizens’ Advice Bureaux and similar offices which were besieged by anxious people after first alarms in September were practically empty after last week’s raids. Many people did not take shelter when the siren went; even men in uniform in Kensington Gardens took no notice and civilians are inclined to follow their example. Confusion still exists as to what people should do when siren goes; some employers grudge wasting time and don’t encourage their staff to take shelter.

Aug

20

August 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

August 1940

Royal Navy evacuates British Somaliland

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

August 1940

Battle of Britain – ‘the hardest day’

We were enjoying a chat and a smoke outside the shelter as we had done in the past weeks for, although there was plenty of air activity, nothing much up to now had happened. However, on this day, not many minutes had elapsed before we realised we were being attacked by machine gun and cannon shell fire as three Dornier aircraft, at low level, flew over the rooftops of our billets. There was a mad scramble to get underground and, from then on, all hell let loose.

Aug

18

August 1940

Soviet Agents investigate bombing of Britain

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

August 1940

Churchill’s ‘Defence Against Invasion’ memo

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

August 1940

Flight Lieutenant Nicolson wins 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

16

August 1940

RAF Tangmere bombed by Ju 87

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

15

August 1940

The Luftwaffe’s ‘Black Thursday’

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

August 1940

RAF Middle Wallop 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.