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June 21st, 1941 (SATURDAY)


ASW trawler HMS Minuet commissioned.

Destroyer HMS Heythrop commissioned. (DS)

NORTH SEA: Bombardier Henry Herbert Reed (b. 1911), Royal Artillery, was hit in an attack on the SS Cormount, but only stopped firing to carry another wounded man to safety before falling dead from his wounds. (George Cross)

GERMANY: Rastenburg, East Prussia: Hitler and his staff arrive at the Wolfsschanze [Wolf's Lair], Hitler's eastern headquarters.

In response to the failed attack on the US battleship Texas Doenitz instructs his U-boats thus:

Fuhrer orders avoidance any incident with USA during next few weeks. Orders will be rigidly obeyed in all circumstances. In addition attacks till further orders will be restricted to cruisers, battleships and aircraft carriers and then only when identified beyond doubt as hostile. Fact that warship is sailing without lights will not be regarded as proof of enemy identity.

U-264 laid down.

U-87, U-158, U-436, U-455, U-456 launched.

U-374, U-434 commissioned.

U.S.S.R.: Fighter pilots are ordered not to fire on a German plane which flies over Soviet airspace. The border guard is put on alert, but is forbidden to take any "provocative" action.

Soviet submarine M-120 launched.

ETHIOPIA: The Italian garrison at Jimma surrenders to Ethiopian troops under British command.
General Gazzera escapes capture when the British forces take Jimma, sw of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

SYRIA: Australian and Free French troops occupy Damascus, and the "Habforce" Commonwealth army advances from Syria into Iraq. Habforce is three British and Indian brigades including the British 4 Cav Bde. They are still subject to persistent French air attack on the approaches to Palmyra. (Michael Alexander)

Damascus: General Legentilhomme's Free French forces have taken Damascus, 15 days after Allied troops invaded Vichy Syria. The city, which Vichy troops evacuated yesterday, surrendered to Colonel Cateau and the Australians. It has been a bloody triumph; the bodies of 200 Punjabis in the Damascus suburb of Mezze - not to mention French, Australian and British ones on the line of advance - are testament to that.

CANADA: Corvette HMCS Oakville launched Port Arthur, Ontario.

U.S.A. : The U.S. State Department informs the Italian Ambassador that all Italian consulates in U.S. territory are to be closed by 15 July 1941 at which point all Italian diplomats will have to leave.

In baseball, the Detroit Tigers play the second game of a three game series against the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium in New York City. Yankee centre fielder Joe DiMaggio manages to hit one single off Tiger pitcher Dizzy Trout thus extending his hitting streak to 34-games.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: Royal Navy prize SS CRITON is returning to Freetown is intercepted by by Vichy warships AIR FRANCE 4 and EDITH GERMAINE. After refusing to stop and go into Conakry, she is fired upon by AIR FRANCE 4 from a range of about 50 yards. AIR FRANCE 4 fires 45 shells into CRITON along her waterline, some shells narrowly missing Peter de Neumann's boat, which is being launched on the far-side (and therefore invisible) from AIR FRANCE 4. Captain Dobeson is the last to leave CRITON, but fell into de Neumann's boat and badly injured himself. Apart from this no one suffered more than bruising and shock.

SS CRITON sinks off Conakry, French Guinea.

The crew are taken prisoner by the Vichy French and charged with piracy. They will be imprisoned successively in Conakry, Timbuctoo and Kankan. They are eventually released when Vichy West Africa changes allegiance to the Allies in December 1942. Four of the crew will die whilst prisoners and are buried in west Africa. Captain Gerald Dobeson, CRITON's Master, received the King's Commendation for Brave Conduct. (Bernard de Neumann)


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