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August 25th, 1942 (TUESDAY)


London: The Duke of Kent, an RAF air commodore and the youngest brother of King George VI, has become the first member of the Royal Family to die on active service and perhaps the first to die in an air disaster. He was killed today when a Sunderland flying boat in which he was travelling crashed in the north of Scotland. An official announcement said that the Duke, attached to the staff of the inspector-general of the RAF, was on his way to Iceland, on duty.

A total of 14 people lost their lives when the big aircraft hit a hillside at 1400 near Eagle Rock, Dunbeath in misty conditions, caused by navigational error but the exact cause is never found. Shepherds heard the engines cut and the sound of a crash, and saw a spurt of flame. The bodies were recovered at dawn today. One survivor was found wandering in the hills, burnt and shocked. He is Flight-Sergeant Andrew Jack, aged 21, of Grangemouth, the crew's rear gunner. The aircraft was en-route to Iceland. The duke, attached to the staff of the inspector-general of the RAF, was on his way to Iceland, on duty. The duke, who was born in 1902, served in the Royal Navy from 1916 to 1929 He left for medical reasons and started flying as a hobby a year later. He was married to Princess Marina of Greece. Their third child, Prince Michael, was born seven weeks ago. The death of the Duke is the first in 500 years that the son of a King of England is killed while on active duty. The investigation is classified as secret.  The records of the investigation are not released when the date for release is reached is 1957. The surviving crew member, Flight-Sergeant Andrew Jack, consistently refused to discuss the flight . Some reports show 15 people dead in the wreckage. This one additional person to the number on the manifest and the 32 minutes to travel 60 miles (97 kilometres) to the crash site result in some lingering questions.  (John Nicholas, Andy Etherington and Jack McKillop)

The aircraft was Shorts S-25 Sunderland Mk. III, msn S-2298, RAF s/n W4026 assigned to No. 228 Squadron, based at Oban Shorts S-25 Sunderland Mk. III, msn S-2298, RAF s/n W4026 assigned to No. 228 Squadron, based at Oban.

USAAF 308th Fighter Squadron moves to Westhampnett, Sussex.

Sloop HMS Whimbrel launched. Escort carrier HMS Trumpeter laid down.
Destroyer HMS Penylan commissioned.
Destroyer HMCS Haida launched Newcastle-on-Tyne.

FRANCE: German military service is made compulsory in Alsace-Lorraine.

GERMANY: U-903 laid down.
U-339 commissioned.

GREECE: US Army Middle East Air Force B-24s attack the Corinth Canal. 

U.S.S.R.: Mozdok on the Terek River is the scene of heavy fighting. 

Stalingrad: The battle for Stalingrad has begun. Paulus's Sixth Army reached the steep banks of the Volga, to the north of the city, two nights ago and it seems that the garrison formed by General Lopatin's army is in danger of being rolled up.

With the bridges over the Volga within artillery and mortar range, the Russians' problems of supply and reinforcement seem insurmountable. Rather than commit the army to costly street fighting, however, the Luftwaffe has been called in to deliver the coup de grace to the besieged city. For the last two nights von Richthofen's Luftlotte 4 has mounted the heaviest strikes since the first day of Barbarossa. He-111 and even Junkers Ju52 transports have been brought in to add their weight to the Stukas. Stalingrad has been blitzed, with 40,000 people killed by air raids.

Yet Stalingrad refuses to surrender under the hail of bombs. With the enemy at the gates of the city the regional party committee has proclaimed a state of siege today: "We shall never surrender the city of our birth to the depredations of the German invader. Each single one of us must apply himself to the task of defending our beloved town, our homes and our families. Let us barricade every street; transform every district, every house into an impregnable fortress. 

6th Army Order of Battle Stalingrad (before the encirclement as forces added afterwards from 4th Panzer Army obviously would not have been part of the "Shock Army.").

XI Corps

376th Infantry Division

44th Infantry Division

384th Infantry Division

VIII Corps

76th Infantry Division

113th Infantry Division

60th Motorized Infantry Division

XIV Panzer Corps

3d Infantry Division (Motorized)

16th Panzer Division

94th Infantry Division

LI Corps - this was the corps actually fighting in Stalingrad itself, which included so many divisions accordingly, many of which having been reduced in strength greatly by the fighting.

389th Infantry Division

14th Panzer Division

305th Infantry Division

24th Panzer Division

100th Jäger Division

295th Infantry Division

71st Infantry Division

79th Infantry Division

(John McGrath)

U-209 and U-255 shelled a radio station at Cape Zhelania, Novaya Zemlya.

PORTUGUESE SOUTH AFRICA: Five USN nurses, who had been held as POWs by the Japanese, are repatriated to the diplomatic corps at Mozambique. The five, Lieutenants (jg) Leona Jackson, Lorraine Christiansen, Virginia Fogerty and Doris Yetter, under the command of Chief Nurse Marion Olds, had been captured on Guam on 10 December 1941. They continued caring for casualties at the U.S. Naval Hospital on Guam until 10 January 1942 when they were transported to Japan. Held for three months in the Zentsuji Prison on Shikoku Island, they were moved to the Eastern Lodge in Kobe on 12 March until being placed on the Swedish-America line ship SS Gripsholm and brought to Mozambique.

NEW GUINEA: IJA troops landed on Goodenough Island from Buna, last night. They are heading for a landing at Milne Bay, New Guinea.  7 Japanese landing barges bound for Milne Bay from Buna are stranded on Goodenough Island when USAAF P-40s of the Allied Air Force based at Milne Bay destroy all of them. P-40s also attack a convoy proceeding from New Ireland Island toward Milne Bay but are hampered by bad weather and fail to halt landings at 3 points east of Rabi during the night of 25/26 August. P-400 Airacobras hit the airfield and AA positions at Buna.
DD HMAS Voyager (I) lost and demolished following grounding at Betano, East Timor (Daniel Ross)

SOLOMON ISLANDS: The last act of the Battle of the Eastern Solomons is played out today. The convoy bearing elements of General Kawaguchi's 35th Brigade, under command of Admiral Tanaka in Jintsu, is turned back. The convoy, intended to reinforce Guadalcanal, is bombed with two transports, light cruiser Jintsu damaged and one destroyer, Mitsuki, sunk. Jintsu is damaged by a Marine SBD from Henderson Field, Admiral Tanaka is knocked unconscious in the explosion. Mitsuki is sunk during a level bombing by B-17s. The Japanese, realizing the cost of daylight naval operations within range of Henderson Field, turn to high speed destroyer runs at night for resupply efforts. These will become known as "The Tokyo Express".

The IJN and USN aircraft carriers have retired but the Japanese invasion force sailing towards Guadalcanal is hit hard by 4 USMC and 3 USN SBD Dauntlesses, and 4 USMC F4F Wildcats 125 mi (201 km) from the island at 0835 hours; a Marine SBD pilot hits the light cruiser HIJMS Jintsu and another damages the transport Boston Maru while a USN SBD pilot mortally damages the large transport Kinryu Maru. At 1015 hours, 8 B-17s from Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides Island sink the destroyer HIJMS Mutsuki as it is attempting to sink the damaged transport. In the afternoon, USN SBDs attack 2 transports and their 5 escorts as they retreat back to Rabaul.  Thus this battle ends as a clear victory, both tactical and strategic, for the US.

Japanese troops occupy Nauru Island in the Gilbert Islands and Goodenough Island in the D'Entrecasteaux Islands.

NAURU ISLAND: Japanese troops occupy undefended Nauru Island. Nauru, an 8 square mile (21 square kilometre) island located about 380 nautical miles (704 kilometres) west-southwest of Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands (now Kiribati), has large phosphate deposits.

TERRITORY OF ALASKA: Aleutians: A US 11th Air Force photo reconnaissance B-24 Liberator flies over Kiska, Attu and Adak Islands, then turns back because of mechanical failure.

CANADA: Submarines HMCS Venturer and Telemachus laid down. Minesweeper HMCS Fort William commissioned.

U.S.A.: Destroyer USS Gansevoort commissioned.
Escort carrier USS Sangamon commissioned.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-130 sank SS Viking Star.
U-164 sank SS Stad Amsterdam in Convoy WAT-15.
U-558 sank SS Amakura in Convoy WAT-15.
U-176 damaged SS Empire Breeze in Convoy ON-122.
U-438 sank SS Empire Breeze and damaged SS Trolla in Convoy ON-122.
U-605 sank SS Katvaldis and SS Sheaf Mountain in Convoy ON-122.
U-604 sank SS Abbekerk.

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