July 1940

Jul

4

1940

HMS Foylebank bombed in Portland Harbour

HMS Foyle Bank Anti Aircraft ship

When out of the sun they came, enemy dive bombers. Diving straight down onto the guard ship, machine gunning and bombing. Hell let loose, about 20 planes, they appeared to have caught us napping. I immediately told my crew that we were going in to pick up the hands and ratings who were jumping and being blown into the water alongside of her. There was a barge with work people alongside of Foyle Bank, a bomb dropped alongside the barge turning it upside down.

Jul

3

1940

The British fire on the French at Mers el Kebir

The French destroyer Mogador on fire

FOXHOUND’s signal, summarising Admiral Gensoul’s reply (vide paragraph 37 above) and indicating the apparent intention of the French ships to put to sea and fight, was received in HOOD at 1227. Orders were then given to mine the entrance to the port and the Admiralty informed that I was preparing to open fire at 1330. A signal was also made to FOXHOUND asking Captain Holland if, in the light of his discussions, he saw any alternative to opening fire with main armament.

Jul

2

1940

The Arandora Star torpedoed and sunk

Arandora Star

About 90 Life Rafts were carried on the upper deck, more than half of these were thrown overboard as soon as way was lost, but at that time , nobody would go over the side, they were getting into the boats. The boats were eventually cleared with the help of the guard but they were immediately filled to capacity hy prisoners going down the side ladders and falls. The balance of the rafts were then thrown over. The Ship took a list to Starboard which steadily increased and at about 0715 it was apparent that she was about to sink.

Jul

1

1940

RAF attack German ships at Kiel

Aerial view of Kiel naval base 1940

The bombs dropped by the first aircraft started five large fires which provided illumination for the rest. Direct hits were seen on the ship with one 2,000-lb. bomb and with 500-lb. and 250-lb. bombs, and oil fires were started which were visible eighty miles away.

Jun

30

1940

British coastal defences prepare for invasion

The crew of a coastal gun emplacement 'somewhere in England' prepare for action.

All forward companies have completed very good defensive positions. In the interior there is plenty of room and the men are very comfortable when they have to sleep at their posts. On the exterior there is a diversity of camouflage varying from rubbish heaps to innocent looking fishing huts. Along the beach both at Dunwich and Southwold, also Walberswick, there is an imposing array of concrete anti-tank obstacles, which in some places pass right in front of the section post.

Jun

30

1940

The Germans occupy the Channel Islands

German troops soon made themselves comfortable on the Channel Islands

The islands were demilitarised by the British but this was not communicated to the Germans – they were not ‘invited in’. As a consequence the Germans bombed St Peter Port on 28th June and 44 civilians were killed. Subsequently the islanders were instructed to paint white crosses on the aerodromes and fly white flags – and the occupation proceeded without further casualties.