War Diary March 19th to 27th 1940

Tuesday March 19th 1940

  • Air Ministry announced that, following German raid on Orkneys RAF bombers damaged German air base at Hornum on island of Sylt. Action was still in progress at midnight.
  • Important debates took place in both House of Parliament on Finnish ‘Peace’ and progress of the war.
  • French Cabinet met in secret session.
  • Complete official reserve was maintained in Rome over subject of Bemner conversations.
  • Mr Sumner Welles left Rome after further conversations with Count Ciano.
  • French vessel ‘Capitaine Augustin’ and trawler ‘Rose Effeuillee’ reported sunk.
  • Finnish Army Command issued tabulated list of war casualties. in total of 58,500, 15,700 were killed.
  • Announced that up to March 13, 12816 ships had been convoyed by the british Navy and of those only 28 sunk whilst under protection.

Wednesday March 30th

  • Reported that RAF raid on previous night on Sylt lasted size hours. One plane failed to return.
  • Reconnaissance machines had since confirmed reports of extensive damage done to hangars, jetty, oil tanks, etc.
  • M Daldier resigned after a resolution in the Chamber demanding a more vigorous prosecution of the war.
  • Ten German bombers attacked a convoy, consisting almost entirely of neutral ships, off Scottish coast.  They were engages by escorting warships and planess of Fleet Air Arm and coastal Command.
  • No damage or casualties incurred by HM ships or aircraft.  Three small neutral vesels damaged: Norwegian ‘Svinta’ and ‘Tora Elise’ and Swedish ‘Utklippan.’
  • One Heinkel was damaged and several others during the engagement.
  • GHQ of BEF announced that British patrol has successful encounter with enemy patrol, five of latter being killed.
  • Dutch tanker, ‘Phobos’ mined off South East Coast.
  • Danish ships ‘Bothal’ ‘Viking’ and ‘Algier’ sunk.
  • British steamer in ‘Barnhill’ bombed by German aeroplane in English Channel. She was later beached and broke in two.
  • Mr Sumner Welles sailed from Genoa.

Thursday March 21st

  • M Paul Reynaud formed a new cabinet in which his French Minister as well as Prime Minister. Nine members are to form an inner War Cabinet. M Daladier remains as Minister for National defence and War and three Socialists are included.
  • Admiralty announced that two more ships in raided convoy had been damaged: British Steamer ‘Northern Coast’ and Norwegian ‘Erling Lindoe’
  • Norwegian ships ‘Svinta’ damaged whilst in convoy on Wednesday, was bunk by U-boat.
  • Danish ships ‘Christiansborg’ ‘Minsk’ and ‘Charkow’ sunk by U-boat.
  • Enemy aircraft appeared over Shetlands and was chased away by British fighters.
  • No bombs dropped.
  • The ‘Queen Mary’ left New York for a secret destination.

Friday March 22nd

  • Admiralty announced that on previous evening a British submarine intercepted Nazi iron-ore ship ‘Hiddernheim’ 8 miles north of Denmark and sank her, after ensuring safety of crew.
  • Attempt made by enemy plane to bomb Cromer Knoll lightship.
  • After air fight near Dutch frontier, one British plane crashed on Netherlands territory.
  • All Turkish steamers of over 150 tons in foreign waters ordered to return to Turkish ports at an early date.
  • Kins Carol emphasized Romania’s determined to defend her frontiers.

Saturday March 23rd

  • Planes, believed to be hostile, appeared off east coast of Scotland.
  • M Reynauld held a meeting of the Inner Cabinet at which General Gamelin and Admiral Darlan were present.
  • Count Teleki, Premier of Hungary, arrived in Rome.
  • French war communique announed patrol activity to east of Saar.
  • British trawlers ‘Salacon’ ‘Recordo’ and ‘Helios’ reported attacks by machine guns and bombs from German planes.
  • Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that a Note of protest to GErmany against the sinking of Norwegian ships had been delivered to the German government on March 8th. Nothing is known of any German reply.
  • Officially announced in Prague that two German frontier guards had been murdered the night before at Birke.
  • Twenty-first anniversary of foundation of Fascist movement celebrated throughout Italy.
  • German mission headed by Dr Clodius in Bucharest negotiating for economic domination.

Sunday March 24th

  • British submarine sunk German collier ‘Edmund Hugo Stinnes IV’ off north coast of Denmark, after ensuring crew’s safety.
  • RAF carried out reconnaissance flights over north-west Germany during night of March 23-24. One plane failed to return.
  • Admiralty announced that HM trawler ‘Loch Assater’ had been sunk by mine. Entire crew was rescued.
  • Helsinki reported that Red Army had taken over Hango, which was formally handed over at midnight on March 22nd.
  • Announced that Norwegian Government lodged protests in Berlin on March 18 and 19 against German air attacks on Norwegian steamers ‘Lysaker’ and ‘Bott.’

Monday March 25th

  • Paris reported local artillery actions on various points of the front, and air activity on both sides.
  • Count Teleki, Premier of Hungary, has long interview with Count Ciano, Italian Foreign Minister.
  • Official British order issued forbidding British prisoners of war in Germany to broadcast.
  • Danish steamer ‘Britta’ sunk of north coast of Scotland.
  • Announced that automatic light floats with lamps that burn for two months, are to replace lightships which have suffered from Nazi bombing’

Tuesday March 26th

  • M. Reynaud, new French Premier, broadcast stirring appeal to French nation to carry on total war against Germany.
  • Paris reported marked increase in air activity over Western Front, particularly in Saar and Vosges regions.
  • French machines made reconnaissance flights far into enemy territory; German aircraft flew over Northern and Eastern France.
  • Further sector of the Allied front in France taken over by the BEF from French troops. Highlanders being first to replace the French.
  • Soviet Ambassador to France M. Souritz, recalled after demand by French Government who complained of contents of telegram addressed by him to Stalin.
  • Count Teleki had interview with Mussolini/
  • ‘Mauretannia’ passed through Panama Canal to Pacific Ocean. Reported that she is going to Australia to serve as a troopship.
  • Mr Savage, Prime minister of New Zealand, died.

Wednesday March 17th

  • Air Ministry announced that aircraft of RAF Coastal Command attacked and sank enemy patrol vessel in North Sea.
  • RAF brought down five Messerschmitts after day of intense aerial activity over Maginot Line. Reported that two other enemy planes may also have crashed.
  • Survivors of the British tanker ‘Daghestan’ sunk in North Sea on March 24th reached land.
  • British steamer ‘Castlemoor’ reported overdue and presumed lost.
  • Survivors of sunk Norwegian steamer ‘Cometa’ landed at Scottish port.
  • New Finnish Government formed, M. Ryti retaining the premiership.
  • Stated that protest by Norway against alleged British infringement of territorial waters had been received and were being examined.
  • Liberals gained sweeping victory in Canadian General Election.
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