September 2nd, 1940 (MONDAY)UNITED KINGDOM:
Llandarcy, Glamorganshire: Lt Bertram Stuart Trevelyan Archer (b. 1915), Royal Engineers, defused the most dangerous of several bombs at a refinery, despite explosions and blazing oil. (George Cross)
Battle of Britain: The weather continues fine and warm with early-morning mist and fog patches. Once again, there are four main phases of airfield attacks during the day. The German's effort consisted mainly of five attacks in the East Kent-Thames Estuary area. In the North and East, little activity took place. Four reconnaissance flights were made off the Norfolk Coast by single aircraft flying at about 10,000 feet (3 048 meters) between 1629 and 2055 hours. In the Southeast, at 0750 and 0752 hours the Coast was crossed at Dover and Lympne by 40 and 30 aircraft respectively at 20,000 feet (6 096 meters) while a small formation came in at Deal at 8,000 feet (2 438 meters).
The raids split inland and proceeded to Eastchurch, North Weald, Ochford and Biggin Hill. A further raid of thirty aircraft flying at 10,000 feet (3 048 meters) was intercepted near Hawkinge and turned back. Seven squadrons were detailed for this attack and inflicted casualties. At 1220 hour
s two waves of 12+ and 30+ aircraft crossed the Coast at Folkestone and North Foreland and flew into the Estuary. Other raids penetrated to Maidstone. The battle was confined to East Kent from Rye to Shoeburyness. About 100 aircraft were involved and dispersal to France took place at 1330 hour. Several Luftwaffe aircraft were shot down but strong hostile formations continued to cruise in the Straits for about an hour. At 1612 hours raids crossed the Coast at points North of Dungeness and Deal. One raid flew towards Biggin Hill and the remainder to the Thames Estuary and Essex flying over Hornchurch, North Weald and Colchester to Harwich. Some 30 aircraft appeared to concentrate 10 miles (16 kilometers) southeast of Central London where they turned back. In all some 100 aircraft took part. Four Fighter squadrons were in the air and successful interceptions were made. Immediately after the above attackers had returned to France further raids amounting to 70 aircraft came in over Sheppey, Thames Estuary and East Kent at 1720 hours. This attack was of short duration and ended at 1750 hours. At 1800 hours other raids totaling 80 enemy aircraft approached the Coast between North Foreland and Dungeness. They did not penetrate inland and after patrolling the Coast returned to France at 1830 hours. Strong patrols were maintained on the French side of the Channel. In the West, at 1045 hours a single aircraft made a reconnaissance over South Wales and at 1400 hours one raid of two aircraft was plotted in the Bristol Channel.
RAF Fighter Command:
Several airfields attacked including Biggin Hill, Lympne, Detling, Eastchurch (three times), Hornchurch (twice) and Gravesend. An aircraft factory at Rochester (Shorts) is bombed. At night Merseyside, Midlands, Manchester, Sheffield are all bombed.
The first of four major daylight raids was carried out by KG 3 Do17s heavily escorted by Bf109s which approached Kent at 07:00. Although Park scrambled five squadrons few contacted the enemy, for close protection of Sector Stations was now prescribed. The Dornier formations parted near Maidstone and headed for Rochford, North Weald, Biggin Hill and Gravesend; at the latter 11 bombs fell around the airfield at 08:00. At the same time 48 bombs caused considerable damage to houses at Rochester and 20 minutes later Chatham received ten HEs.
At the initial division point No. 72 Squadron had been busy dealing with some Do17s and Bf110s at around 13,000 feet as another nine Do17s, contour hugging, again struck Biggin Hill. No. 603 Squadron, patrolling over Hornchurch was vectored to withdrawing Bf109s and bagged one which fell to Pilot Officer Richard Hillary (X4277) later to become famous as the author of the book 'The Last Enemy'.
Around noon with about 250 enemy aircraft approaching, Park decided this time to order his squadrons forward. While resultant scores were not high, the tactic diminished the military effectiveness of the operation although it caused the bombing of Maidstone, where many houses suffered and 15 casualties resulted.
More raids in similar strength followed, taxing the defenders to the extreme, and at 16:40 Maidstone endured a second onslaught. Soon after 17:00 a tremendous battle resulted when about 90 RAF fighters took on 160 Bf109s.
During the night, there were scattered raids on Liverpool, the Midlands and South Wales. German activity was extensive and was not so confined to specific areas as on recent nights. A feature was the early termination (0130 hours) of all the main attacks. By dusk the Luftwaffe was operating along the East Coast, Wash to Tyne (mostly believed to be mine-laying), over Derby, in the Liverpool and in the Barrow-in-Furness areas. From 2200 to 0030 hours a steady stream of raids crossed the Coast between Beachy Head and Swanage and flew to the industrial Midlands as far as Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield. Many enemy aircraft passed to and from these areas over London Central. Others flew in over the Wash. The number of raids towards South Wales was rather less than recently. Off North East Scotland there was increased activity and a number of raids were plotted between Rattray Head and as far north as Scapa. A convoy off Kinnairds Head called for help at 2240 hours.
Today, the RAF claimed 37-18-32 Luftwaffe aircraft; the RAF lost 20 aircraft with ten pilots killed or missing.
The British battleship HMS Valiant (02) and aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (87) arrive from Gibraltar to reinforce Admiral Cunningham's Royal Navy Fleet.
Losses: Luftwaffe, 35; RAF, 31.
Corvette HMS Rhododendron launched.
Submarine HMS P 38 laid down.
Minesweeper HMS Bude launched.
FRANCE: The government is ordered to pay 400 million francs per day to maintain German troops.
The battleship HMS Valiant and carrier HMS Illustrious arrive from Gibraltar to reinforce Admiral Cunningham's Royal Navy Fleet.
Junkers 87 (Stuka) equipped 236a and 237a Squadriglia of 96 Gruppo,
Regia Aeronautica attack British ships using this aircraft for the first time. (Ferdinando
FRENCH POLYNESIA: On Papeete in the Society Islands, the Provisional Government of the French Settlements in Oceania announces the colonys adhesion to Free France.
Washington: Britain and the US sign the deal giving Britain 50 aged destroyers in exchange for permission for the US to make use of British naval bases in the West Indies.
(". . . in view of the friendly and sympathetic interest of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom in the national security of the United States and their desire to strengthen the ability of the United. States to cooperate effectively with the other nations of the Americas in defense of the Western Hemisphere, . . . in view of the desire of the United States to acquire additional air and naval bases in the Caribbean and in British. Guiana . . ." US Secretary of State Cordell Hull and British Ambassador Lord Lothian conclude the destroyers for bases agreement. The USN will transfer 50 over-age destroyers to the RN in exchange for 99-year leases on bases in the Bahamas, Antigua, St Lucia, Trinidad, Jamaica and British Guiana. In addition, bases in Newfoundland and Bermuda are provided as gifts.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 2204 hours local, the German
submarine U-46 attacks two
British merchant ships, SS Bibury and SS Thornlea, which stayed together after the convoy OB-205 was
dispersed on 30 August, and sinks both west of Ireland. A second submarine, U-47,
sinks a Belgium merchant ship, the SS Ville de Mons, further north. (Jack McKillop
and Dave Shirlaw)
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