War Diary March 13th to 18th, 1940 WW2

Wednesday 13th March, 1940

  • Finnish Foreign Minister, M. Tanner broadcast official confirmation of peace agreement and its terms. Later he announced that Finland, Norway and Sweden are to discuss formation of defensive alliance.
  • Fighting continued on nearly all Finnish fronts up to 11am, when hostilities ceased.
  • Statements on Russo-Finnish peace aims were made in both Houses of Parliament by Lord Halifax and Mr Chamberlain.
  • M. Guenther Swedish Foreign Minister, defended his policy of neutrality in Riksdag.
  • Nazi coal ship ‘Eschersheim’ sank off Danish Jutland coast, either mined or scuttled.
  • Mr Sumner Welles left London en route for Rome.

Thursday March 14

  • Finnish delegates arrived in Helsinki from Moscow, bringing text of peace treaty.
  • Swedish Foreign Minister announced that Sweden had promised Finland to examine possibility of making defensive alliance between the two countries. Similar promise had been given by Norway.
  • Evacuation from ceded areas began in Finland. Estimated that 470,000 persons will have lost their land and homes.
  • French Senate held a secret session devoted to discussions on Finnish situation.
  • Reported that three fishing trawlers had beaten off with machine-gun fire three Heinkel bombers in 70 minutes fight in North Sea.
  • Legislative Council of Hong Kong agreed to offer monetary gift of $100,000 to the Imperial Government for war purposes, and also to build two mine-sweepers and four harbour defence craft.
  • Mr Sumner Welles arrived in Paris. He has a talk with M. Daladier before leaving for Rome.

Friday March 15th

  • Finnish Diet ratified with Russia M. Ryti said that allied help had not been sought because that would have involved Finland in major European war.
  • Russian troops began moving into ceded areas of Finland.
  • Announced that Romania’s Iron Guard, fascist terrorist organisation, had been revived, the proscribed leaders having declared allegiance to King Carol and the Government.
  • Mass arrests were reported from Prague, where the first anniversary of Hitler’s seizure of the Czech State was being celebrated.
  • HM Trawler ‘Peridot’ sunk by striking enemy mine. No casualties.
  • British vessel ‘Melrose’ sunk off Belgian coast.
  • British trawler ‘Leukos’ reported overdue and presumed lost.
  • German merchant-ship ‘La Coruna’ scuttled after being intercepted by British cruiser.
  • Mr Sumner Welles arrived in Rome.

Saturday March 16

  • Air Ministry announced that during past 24 hours reconnaissance activities had included night flight over Polish territory by aircraft of Bomber Command.
  • There as also an engagement between aircraft of Coastal Command and an enemy bomber. The latter escaped after being damaged.
  • Aircraft of the Bomber Command carried out reconnaissance of Heligoland Bight Opposition was experienced from air and ground defences, but all British aircraft returned safely.
  • A British bomber attacked a formation of naval auxiliary vessels east of Borkum by diving from 6,000 feet and dropping a salve of bombs.
  • German aircraft made a raid on fleet anchorage at Scapa Flow, about fourteen planes reached their objective. Many bombs dropped one causing minor damage to a warship. Seven casualties of naval personnel.
  • Bombs were also dropped on land. One civilian killed and seven wounded in village of Bridge of Waith.
  • Enemy were driven off, one aircraft being shot down and others believed damaged.
  • Admiralty announced institution of system of monetary awards to non-service to non-service personnel for information concerning enemy naval activities.
  • Activity of both artilleries on region of the Saar reported from the Western Front.
  • Stated in Paris that changed were likely in the French Cabinet.
  • HM trawler ‘Maida’ sunk by striking enemy mine. Commanding officer and five ratings missing and feared lost.
  • Yugoslav ship ‘Slava’ sunk in Bristol channel.
  • Mr Sumner Welles had conversations with the King of Italy, and with Mussolini and Ciano.

Sunday March 17th

  • Attacks made by enemy aircraft on fishing trawlers and cargo boat. All replied with machine-gun fire and drove the raiders off.
  • Air Ministry announced that RAF Fighter command planes pursued two enemy aircraft engaged in attacks on shipping off east coast of Scotland. Damage believed to have been inflicted on both.
  • Hitler and Mussolini left their respective capitals accompanied by their Foreign Ministers, for a meeting on the Bremner Pass.
  • French naval sources announced that reports of the destruction of two more U-boats had been received.
  • Paris reported marked activity of reconnaissance parties west of the Vosges.
  • Dutch steamer ‘St Annaland’ sunk by mine.
  • Danish trawler ‘Wilhelmine’ sunk on Dogger Bank.
  • Ten thousand miners in Nottinghamshire decided to forgo larger part of their holidays in order to increase production of coal during the war.

Monday March 18th

  • Accompanied by Ribbentropp and Ciano Hitler and Mussolini conferred together in a bullet=proof railway train in frontier station on the Bremner Pass. The conference lasted 2½ hours, after which the Dictators returned to their own capitals.
  • From Rome came reports that Hitler had drawn up Eleven ‘Peace Points’ that Mr Sumner Welles considered unacceptable, and that Mussolini arrange the Bremner meeting to get them modified.
  • Sir John Simon stated that the 3% War Loan recently launched had been over-subscribed.
  • Italian collier ‘Tina Primo’ broke in two after explosion off South-East Coast.
  • British steamer ‘Tiberton’ reported to be long overdue and believed lost with all hands.
  • Announced that a new organization had been created to maintain permanent liaison between British Colonial Office and French Ministry of Colonies.
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