1940

Dec

14

1940

Australian troops replace Indians in the Desert

Troops from the 4th Indian Division in Egypt. They had been in the thick of the battle during the early part of the campaign.

The decision was now made to continue the pursuit of the Italians forces into Libya. Intelligence had been discovered that showed that they had hugely overestimated the British forces that they faced. They were now falling back in disarray. Advanced elements of the British forces led by the 11th Hussars were now way out in the desert, travelling parallel to the main coast road. On the 14th December they crossed the coast road to the west of the Italian base at Bardia. Soon another huge Italian force would be trapped in their coastal garrison.

Dec

13

1940

Sheffield blitzed

The centre of Sheffield on fire

An attack lasting nearly nine hours was made on the night of the 12th-13th and was concentrated mainly on the centre, north-west and south-east of the City. Although over 200 incidents were reported, the main Steel Valley largely escaped, and onlv four cases of substantial damage have been reported. The attack on the night of the 15th-16th lasted three hours, and was mainly in the east and east centre; many factories were hit, but only nine of these suffered substantial damage.

Dec

12

1940

Italian Air Force bombed in the Desert

Indian troops encounter the remains of the Italian Air Force as they advance, in this case a Sa

Still heavier attacks by combined forces of Blenheims and Wellingtons from Egypt were made on Benina and El Adem aerodromes, where concentrations of enemy aircraft were known to exist. Considerable damage was caused to hangars, administrative buildings, bomb and petrol dumps and aircraft on the ground. It is believed that at Castel Beninto alone thirty-five aircraft were destroyed or damaged. Repeated daylight attacks have also been made on other enemy aerodromes and landing grounds.

Dec

11

1940

British capture Sidi Barrani from Italians

HMS Terror, Gun boat

08.30 direct shell burst on gun-fell flat on my side & passed out for half a minute-came to and saw my left arm jerking up and down- thought at first it had been blown off-heard someone say ‘Gawd-the Captain’s been killed’so managed to sit up and say ‘no, you bugger, fire the gun’

Dec

10

1940

German Spies executed at Pentonville Prison

The authorities display the radios carried by Waldberg and Meier. The German Abwehr had supplied them with radios that could transmit but not receive.

The first executions under the Treason Act took place on 10th December 1940. Jose Waldberg, 25, a German national, and Karl Heinrich Meier, 24, a Dutchman of German origin, were hung at Pentonville Prison following their conviction at the Old Bailey in November.

Dec

9

1940

British attack Italians in the Desert

Bren-gun-carriers advancing across Desert

We have attacked in the Western Desert. This is not an offensive and I do not think you ought to describe it as an offensive as yet. You might call it an important raid. The attack was made early this morning and I had word an hour ago that the first of the Italian camps has fallen. I cannot tell you at this moment how far we are going to go— it depends on what supplies and provisions we capture and what petrol we are able to find.

Dec

8

1940

Churchill seeks support from Roosevelt

The lookout maintains a constant from a destroyer escorting a convoy.

We can endure the shattering of our dwellings, and the slaughter of our civil population by indiscriminate air attacks, and we hope to parry these increasingly as our science develops, and to repay them upon military objectives in Germany as our Air Force more nearly approaches the strength of the enemy.
The decision for 1941 lies upon the seas.

Dec

7

1940

Repression in Lublin, Poland

A group of Jewish men hiding in a cellar are dsicovered.

A formal ghetto was not established in Lublin until March 1941 but long before then the life of the Jewish population was very difficult. Many people were rounded up on the streets and sent to the labour camp at Belzec where poor living conditions, little food and harsh work killed many. There was every incentive to hide from the regime.

Dec

6

1940

RAF assault Italian Forces in Libya

RAF reconnaissance photo interpretation showing ships on fire and sinking in Bengazi Harbour in Italian occupied Libya.

As British and Empire troops in Egypt were told to prepare for the ‘2nd Training Exercise’, the RAF mounted sustained attacks on the Italian forces in Libya and Egypt. They achieved the main objective of preventing the Italian Air Force from mounting reconnaissance flights over Egypt that would discover the build up of troops.

Dec

5

1940

Bombing attacks across Britain

A view of bomb damage and a crater on the railway line at Victoria Station

From the weekly Situation report: 28th/29th November. A short but heavy raid took place on Liverpool and neighbouring districts. A direct hit on a shelter at Durning Street killed 164 people. Forty other places in Lancashire and Cheshire were attacked, among them Chester and Manchester. Seventeen parachute mines were dropped in other parts of the country, mostly in the South and South-West.