first

May

30

1940

First aerial reconnaissance at night

30th may 1940 photoflash-aerial image of Courtrai

This is the first successful operational photograph taken at night, using the latest photoflash. Developed at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, the 8 inch flash can be seen exploding in the middle of the picture, creating sufficient illumination over a wide area for much detail to be recorded.

May

5

1940

Royal Navy submarine HMS Seal is captured

HMS Seal showing battle damage

Two ratings just managed to escape from the flooded rear compartments before the watertight doors were sealed. The seriously damaged submarine now lay with her aft end wedged in the mud unable to surface, despite frantic efforts from the crew. After nearly 24 hours submerged the whole crew were seriously affected by lack of oxygen and some were nearly comatose.

May

1

1940

First Civilian Deaths in England

The ARP and police were to stand on a large 'water tank' during their rescue of casualties in Victoria Road, Clacton.

Frederick Gill and his wife Dorothy became the first civilian fatal casualties of the war in England, when a Heinkel bomber crash landed on their house, No. 25 Victoriia Road, Clacton. Moments later there was an enormous explosion. The plane had been circling over Clacton in Essex for about half an hour before it came down, and many people looking out of the windows were injured in the blast.

Oct

16

1939

First German air raid on UK

Aerial view of HMS Southampton being bombed near the Forth Bridge

‘Almost simultaneously there was a giant waterspout as high as the bridge alongside one of the capital ships and a barge tied up alongside; it seemed to fly up in the air! In later life I discovered it was HMS Southampton.’