Aug

18

1940

Soviet Agents investigate bombing of Britain

The U.S. Army's Signal Intelligence Service decrypt of a Soviet Diplomatic message sent in 1940.

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

1940

Churchill’s ‘Defence Against Invasion’ memo

Armoured cars and tanks from Britain's mobile defence on exercise 'somewhere in Britain' during 1940. The unit insignia have been covered by the censor.

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

1940

Flight Lieutenant Nicolson wins V.C.

Flight Lieutenant James Brindley NICOLSON 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

1940

RAF Tangmere bombed by Ju 87

The Ju 87 'Stuka' dive bomber was itself very vulnerable to air attack  and required close protection from escorting fighters.

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

1945

“War … not necessarily to Japan’s advantage”

In London's Piccadilly Circus,a group of servicemen and women, and a civilian woman, link arms as they walk towards the camera, singing as they dance in celebration around Eros (not pictured), on the news that the war in Japan is over. Behind them, crowds of people are gathered in the sunshine. Several buses can also be seen. This photograph was taken from beside Eros, looking towards Piccadilly (left) and Regent Street (right).

But now the war has lasted for nearly four years. Despite the best that has been done by everyone — the gallant fighting of the military and naval forces, the diligence and assiduity of Our servants of the State, and the devoted service of Our one hundred million people — the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest.

Aug

15

1940

The Luftwaffe’s ‘Black Thursday’

Seventy two Heinkel III bombers from Norway sought to attack RAF airfields at Usworth and Dishforth on the 15th August.

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

1945

Last, and largest, bombing mission to Japan

Leaflet delivered to Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and 33 other Japanese cities on 1 August 1945. The Japanese text on the reverse side of the leaflet carried the following warning: “Read this carefully as it may save your life or the life of a relative or friend. In the next few days, some or all of the cities named on the reverse side will be destroyed by American bombs. These cities contain military installations and workshops or factories which produce military goods. We are determined to destroy all of the tools of the military clique which they are using to prolong this useless war. But, unfortunately, bombs have no eyes. So, in accordance with America's humanitarian policies, the American Air Force, which does not wish to injure innocent people, now gives you warning to evacuate the cities named and save your lives. America is not fighting the Japanese people but is fighting the military clique which has enslaved the Japanese people. The peace which America will bring will free the people from the oppression of the military clique and mean the emergence of a new and better Japan. You can restore peace by demanding new and good leaders who will end the war. We cannot promise that only these cities will be among those attacked but some or all of them will be, so heed this warning and evacuate these cities immediately.”

The thunderhead wasn’t a rain cloud. It was a violent thermal cloud of smoke and debris that was drawn thousands of feet into the air by the heat of the huge fires and explosions from the bombing on the refinery. The sparking that I had seen on the plexiglas was akin to St. Elmo’s fire that sailors see in the rigging of ships in a storm, it was electrical discharges from all the charged particles thrown up into the cloud from the explosions on the ground.

Aug

14

1940

RAF Middle Wallop bombed

A hangar at Middle Wallop after being 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.

Aug

13

1940

The Luftwaffe launch ‘Adler Tag’ – Eagle Day

A fleet of Dornier 17 bombers in flight

We had been briefed the day previous to Adler Tag that we would be going across the Channel in strong formations to attack England. At last, we would be concentrating in large bomber formations with a fighter escort. For so long, we had been flying our individual missions on simple operations like photographic reconnaissance or minelaying duties.

Aug

13

1940

RAF Bomber Squadron disaster over Denmark

The RAF Bristol Blenheim two engined bomber

Wing Commander Lart decided to press on with the attack. When they reached the target all 11 aircraft making the attack were shot down, either by Me 109 fighters or by Anti-Aircraft fire. Only 13 of the 33 crewmen taking part in the raid survived to become prisoners of war.