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June 2nd, 1941 (MONDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: RAF Bomber Command: 2 Group: 9 Blenheims of 105 Sqn. attack the Kiel Canal. Seven ships are attacked and several villages and the naval barracks at Friedrichskoog are bombed. Two ships are sunk blocking the Canal for the next ten days. At the same time 107 Sqn. bombs towns between the Ems and Elbe and 110 Sqn. try to hit the liner Europa berthed at Bremerhaven.

VICHY FRANCE: The government grants the use of Bizerta port facilities in Tunis to the Axis.

ITALY/AUSTRIA: Brenner Pass: The Führer called Mussolini">Mussolini to a summit meeting at the Brenner Pass today, supposedly to review the war situation. For two hours the two dictators were alone, and Hitler did most of the talking, dropping hints about German plans for action "if the shipping losses do not suffice" to knock Britain out of the war. At the end Mussolini">Mussolini departed for Rome no wiser than when he had arrived. Not so the Japanese ambassador in Berlin, Hiroshi Oshima who was given the same "hint hint" treatment by Hitler. Oshima told his foreign ministry in Tokyo that Hitler was about to attack Russia.

GREECE: CRETE: The Wehrmacht High Command announced:-

The battle for Crete is over. The whole island has been freed from the enemy. Yesterday German troops occupied the last base of the beaten British, the port of Sfakion, capturing 3,000 more prisoners in the process.

The German Luftwaffe effectively supported these final mopping-up actions. In the sea territory between Crete and Alexandria, German bombers demolished a British destroyer with three direct hits as it was travelling with a naval formation.

CYPRUS: Nicosia:

Under a top-secret order from Winston Churchill, Cyprus is being prepared for long-term guerrilla warfare. After a string of disasters in the Middle East, few believe that the island could hold out for more than a few weeks against the kind of assault that took Crete.

Engineers are building a series of "hides " in the Troodos mountains - filling them with weapons, ammunition and medical supplies - to acts as "mini-bases" for clandestine British hill fighters. Churchill believes that several German divisions could be pinned down by a "ghost army" should Cyprus be invaded.

COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: Grunert asks the US War Department to call up Philippine Army and to dedicate $52 million in the Sugar Excise Fund to Philippine defence.  This was rejected. (Marc Small)


Bangor Class minesweepers HMCS Port Hope, Sarnia, Stratford and Westmount ordered.

HMCS Vegreville and Grandmere laid down in Montreal.

HMCS Suderoy V commissioned.

HMCS Caraquet launched North Vancouver, British Columbia.

U.S.A.: USS Long Island, Aircraft Escort Vessel Number 1 (AVG-1), the first escort aircraft carrier, is commissioned at Newport News, Virginia. Long Island was a flush-deck escort aircraft carrier converted from the cargo ship SS Mormacmail in 67 working days. She was redesignated Auxiliary Aircraft Carrier Number 1 (ACV-1) on 20 August 1942 and Escort Aircraft Carrier Number 1 (CVE-1) on 15 July 1943. During WWII, she served as an aircraft transport hauling airplanes to the Pacific and as a training ship for new pilots.

The new vessel begins operating out of Norfolk, Virginia, conducting experiments to prove the feasibility of aircraft operations from converted cargo ships. The data gathered by USS Long Island greatly improved the combat readiness of later "baby flattops." USS Long Island will see action August 19, 1942. US Marine SBD Douglas Dauntless dive-bombers and Grumman F-4F3 Wildcat fighters will launch from her deck headed for Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. They become the first aircraft of the "Cactus Air Force"

Baseball superstar Lou Gehrig dies of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or "Lou Gehrig's disease," in New York City at age 37. Gehrig, the son of German immigrants, was signed by the New York Yankees and played in the minor leagues in 1923 and 1924; he was brought up to the Yankees at the end of both seasons and played in 23-games. In 1925, he became the regular first baseman, replacing Wally Pipp, and held the position until 1939 when he retired due to his illness. At the time of his death, he held the record for the number of consecutive games played, 2,130; this record held for 59-years until Cal Ripken, Jr. broke it in 1998. "The Iron Horse," as he was known, had a lifetime batting average of .340 with 493 home runs; he batted over .300 every season between 1926 and 1937. He also appeared in 34 World Series games batting .361 and hitting ten home runs. Gehrig was admitted to baseball's Hall of Fame in 1939.

United States announced policy on French possessions in the Western Hemisphere.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: The escorts Wanderer and Periwinkle sink U-147 northwest of Ireland during a convoy attack.

First escort of a convoy by the NEF (Newfoundland Escort Force) undertaken when HMCS Chambly, Collingwood and Orillia joined the 57-ship Halifax to Liverpool convoy HX129. The convoy, which left Halifax on 27 May, was the first to have continuous close escort all the way across the Atlantic. It arrived safely in Liverpool on 12 Jun 41.

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