War Diary October 30th to November 5th 1939

Monday, October 3oth

  • The Admiralty announced that a destroyer flotilla was in action with German bombers south of the Dogger Bank. No damage was done to the ships.
  • Nazi reconnaissance plane was seen over the north-east cost of England. Britain fighter aircraft went up, and after a machine-gun duel the Nazi planes vanished out to sea in a cloud of smoke.
  • Enemy aircraft were also reported off the south-east coast. British planes went up but did not make contact.
  • Paris reported activity by contact units on the whole front and local activity by artillery. French chaser and reconnaissance aircraft were intensely active.
  • The Air Ministry announced that RAF machines had made extensive reconnaissance of aerodromes in north Germany. All planes save one returned safely.
  • The crew of the British steamer ‘Malabar’ sunk by a U-boat on Sunday, were landed.
  • Crews of the trawlers ‘St Nidan’ and ‘Lynx II’ sunk on Friday night by a U-boat, were landed on the Scottish coast by the trawler ‘Lady Hogarth.’
  • A White Paper on the conditions in Nazi concentration camps was issued by the British Government.

Tuesday October 31st

  • Air Ministry announced the first encounter between British fighters and German bombers over French territory. One of the raiders was shot down. Paris reported greater artillery activity on both sides. The Germans made use of their heavy guns for the first time, shelling a village eight miles behind the French lines.
  • M Molotiv, addressing the Supreme Council at the Soviet Union, attacked Britain for waging war on Germany, but reaffirmed the neutrality of the USSR. He gave details of the proposals made by Finland and stated that they had been refused.
  • Important changes were made in the Italian Cabinet, the general result being to strengthen Italy’s neutrality.
  • It was stated that Britain had decided to recognise the Italian occupation of Albania by appointing a consul-general in Tirana.
  • The US Steamer “City of Flint” reported to have arrived at Tromsoe, Norway, flying the swastika, and to have left four hours later accompanied by a Norwegian warship.
  • The Prime Minister of Australia announced the abandonment of the plan for an Australian expeditionary air force in favour of a general reconnaissance squadron for service in and around Great Britain.

Wednesday, November 1st

  • Finnish delegation left Helsinki to return to Moscow.
  • Paris reported that German heavy artillery in and just behind the Siegfried Line had been shelling the French fortifications and villages several miles behind.
  • RAF Aircraft made successful reconnaissance flights over north-west Germany.
  • Dutch Royal decree proclaimed a state of siege in certain municipalities along the frontiers and in military inundation zones.
  • Two decrees were sanctioned by the Swiss Federal Government which take into account the possibility of invasion of Swiss Territory.
  • Lord Nuffield appointed Director-General of Maintenance in the Air Ministry.
  • Dominion Ministers and representatives of the Government of India met the Prime Minister and several members of the War Cabinet at the first of a series of conferences on Empire collaboration in wartime.
  • The Prime Minister of Australia announced decisions to increase the fighting power of the three services.

Thursday, November 2

  • HM the king decorated five men of the RAF
  • President Roosevelt’s Neutrality Bill passed by the House of Representatives.
  • Two German planes brought down over the Western Front by British aircraft and anti-aircraft guns in conjunction with the French.
  • Paris reported that French patrols had been active throughout the day between the rivers Blies and Rhine.
  • Germans now using shock troops for raids on the French lines.
  • German envoys to Moscow and Rome, who had been summoned to Berlin, were in consultation with Hitler.
  • Messages exchanged between Italy and Greece reaffirming their collaboration for peace.
  • Finnish delegates arrived in Moscow.

Friday November 3rd

  • Third series of talks between Finland and Russia began. A few hours earlier, “Pravda” Russia official organ made a violent attack on Finland, which later was broadcast.
  • Roosevelt’s Neutrality Bill adopted by US Senate and House of Representatives.
  • Paris reported a quiet day on the Western Front, with a few encounters between contact units.
  • Admiralty announced US ship ‘City of Flint’ had been sighted proceeding southwards inside Norwegian territorial waters.
  • General Smuts, Prime Minister of South Africa, stated that the Union would keep its promise to defend British territories in Africa if they appealed for aid.
  • Allied Contraband Control organisation have now intercepted and detained over 500,000 tons of contraband suspected of being destined for Germany.

Saturday November 4th

  • President Roosevelt signed proclamation putting new neutrality bill into effect.
  • Huge new order of wartime supplies were confirmed by British and French agents and shipment was to start immediately.
  • Norwegian Admiralty announced that the US steamer ‘City of Flint’ arrived in Haugesund on Friday afternoon accompanied by two Norwegian warships and anchored three without permission. Whereupon the German Prize crew were interned and the shop was no on her way to Glasgow, under the American flag.
  • Paris reported that on both sides light reconnoitring units had been active between the Moselle and the Saar.
  • French cargo-boat ‘Baoule’ reported to have been sunk in the Atlantic
  • Bodies of five German sailors were washed ashore in Kent.

Sunday, November 5th

  • The ‘City of Flint’ reached Bergen.
  • German Government lodged a protest in Oslo against the release of the vessel and internment of the prize crew. The protest was rejected.
  • Finnish-Soviet negotiations continued. The delegates reported to Helsinki, asking for further instructions.
  • The Western Front remained quiet.
  • Mr Churchill, who had gone to Paris on November 2nd to discuss the work of the British and French Navies, visited British General Headquarters.
  • Swedish Government protested against extension of German minefields, which are now within three miles of the Swedish coast.
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