War Diary, 1st to 6th December, 1939

Friday, December 1st, 1939

  • There were two further air raids on Helsinki and other towns.
  • Finnish communique claimed that all the south eastern frontier and nearly all on the Karelian Isthmus; that 1,200 prisoners were captured, a destroyer sunk by a Finnish coast battery, 19 tanks destroyed and at least 16 planes shot down.
  • New Finnish Cabinet formed with Dr Risto Ryti as Prime Minister. Molotiv refused to negotiate with it.
  • Soviet set up a Puppet ‘Finnish People’s Government’ at Terijoki, in the Karelina Isthmus.
  • President Roosevelt formally condemned the action of Soviet Russia in Finnish territory.
  • British steamer ‘Darylan’ mined off South-East Coast.
  • Finnish steamer ‘Mercator’ mined off Scottish coast.
  • Norwegian steamer ‘Realf’ reported sunk in North Sea.
  • Men of third age group liable for service called up.
  • Announced that a full Royal Australian Air Force squadron would be ready for active service with Coastal Command early in the new year.

Saturday, December 2nd

  • Soviet Government signed a pact of Mutual Assistance and Friendship with the ‘Finnish People’s Government’.
  • Finns claimed that since the invasion 36 soviet tanks had been destroyed and 19 planes shot down.
  • New Finnish Cabinet submitted an Appeal to the league of Nations.
  • Anti-Soviet and pro-Finnish demonstrations were made in Rome.
  • Swedish Government called up reserves. Germans Press campaign launched against Sweden.
  • Reported that a former Grimsby trawler had sunk a U-boat off the East Coast.
  • British tanker ‘San Calisto’ reported sunk by mine.
  • German liner ‘Watussi’ was scuttled by her crew after being intercepted by South African Air Force bombers.
  • Forty-two U-boat prisoners landed at Scottish port.
  • USA Government asked for a ‘moral embargo’ on sale by American manufacturers or arms to nations guilty of ‘unprovoked’ bombing from the air.

Sunday, December 3rd

  • Finnish resistance to Russian advance continued. Finns claimed that they had retaken Petsamo.
  • Soviet claimed capture of islands Hogland, Seiskari, Lavansaari, and Tytarsaari in the Gulf of Finland.
  • RAF Bombers attacked German warships in vicinity of Heglioland. Direct hits were obtained with heavy bombs. A Messerschmitt fighter was show down. All aircraft returned.
  • RAF patrol plane destroyed a U-boat in the North Sea.
  • Reports were to hand of the destruction of three other U-boats and the capture of a fourth in the Bristol Channel.
  • Through the Swedish Government the New Finnish Cabinet inquired whether the Soviet Government was prepared to open peace negotiations.
  • There was minor artillery action on the Western Front.
  • Swedish steamer ‘Rudolf’ sunk off British coast.

Monday, December 4th

  • The King went to France to make a tour of the British Forces
  • Fighters in Finland brought to a standstill by snow.
  • Finnish Government announced the decision to fortify the Aaland islands.
  • British Government notified their intention of being represented at the meeting of the League of Nations Council on December 9th, when Finnish Appeal will be considered Soviet Government refused to attend.
  • Soviet Government refused Sweden’s offer of mediation on grounds that it does not recognise present Finnish Government.
  • Announced that the British Navy had lost, since the beginning of the warm 4% of her tonnage.
  • Total number of German merchant ships put out of action from September 3rd to December 2nd was 33, a total tonnage of 171,300. U-boats losses estimated at a minimum of 30; 144 prisoners of war from U=boats interned in this country.
  • British steamer ‘Doric Star’ sunk by German raider.
  • Paris reported patrol activity on Western Front.

Tuesday, December 5th

  • The king visited the troops and went up to front line positions.
  • Helsinki announced that Finnish planes carried out a surprise attack on soviet air base at Murmansk and much damage was done to Russion planes by small incendiary bombs.
  • It was further claimed that in three days fighting on the Karelian Isthmus 64 Russian tanks ahd been taken. Also that the FInnish air Force had brought down 24 Russian planes in the past two days.
  • Evacuation of Helsinki practically complete.
  • Germany announced tat the former Polish port of Gydnia (called Gotenhafen) is now a naval base.
  • Report from the Western Front stated that the enemy attempted a number of raids all of which failed.
  • British steamer ‘Horsted’ sunk by U-boat of East Coast.
  • Announced that the munitions output had been doubled in past six months adn would be doubled again in coming six months.

Wednesday, December 6th

  • Independence Day celebrated by few still in Helsinki. President Roosevelt sent message of sympathy to President Kallio.
  • Finns retreated slowly to main line of defences in Karelian Isthmus. Elsewhere Soviet troops made little progress.
  • Fifty planes have arrived in Finland from Italy, Great Britain and other countries have also dispatched planes and armaments.
  • Air Ministry announced enemy air activity during proceeding night of East Coast. Owing to weather conditions, fighter aircraft were unable to makke contact.
  • Wreckage of a Heinkel plane and the body of a German airman were recovered on East Anglian coast.
  • Enemy plane sighted over Orkneys
  • RAF aircraft carried out successful fight over North Germany.
  • Berlin issued a Note to Foreign Press in which neutral countries, especially Holland, were attacked for lack of resistance to British blockade. Holland later made a semi-official protest against German criticism.
  • German ship ‘Ussukama’ captured by British warships i South Atlantic.
  • Greek steamer ‘Paralos’ sunk in Thames estuary.
  • Danish steamer ‘Ove Toft’ mined in North Sea.
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