Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day 337 August 2, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 24. Overnight, steamer Highlander in convoy FN.239 is attacked by 2 He115 torpedo bombers, 20 miles south of Aberdeen, Scotland. 1 He115 is shot down by escort sloop HMS Weston. The other clips Highlander’s mast while strafing her, crash landing onto Highlander’s poop deck. Clouds again restrict flying during the day. Germans bomb convoys in the English Channel and along the East coast, sinking anti-submarine trawler HMT Cape Finesterre off Harwich (1 sailor killed). 2 Spitfires crash on take off at Hornchurch and 1 Hurricane crashes on landing (1 pilot killed).

Overnight, British submarine HMS Thames hits a mine and sinks Southwest of Stavanger, Norway (all 62 crew lost). U-60 has another lucky escape, suffering no damage when bombed in error off Hagesund, Norway, by Stukas flying from Stavanger. U-99 torpedoes 3 empty tankers in convoy OB-191 (British MV Alexia and MV Lucerna, Norwegian MV Strinda). All 3 are damaged but none sink and no lives are lost.

French military court sentences General Charles de Gaulle to death in absentia for leading the Free French movement in London.

Operation Hurry. At 4.45 AM, 12 Hurricanes launch from aircraft carrier HMS Argus Southwest of Sardinia and fly about 300 miles to Malta, forming new 261 Squadron. Admiral Somerville’s Force H returns safely to Gibraltar (arriving August 4) or to England (arriving August 10). Meanwhile, to prevent Italian air attacks on the carrier group, 8 Swordfish torpedo bombers from aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (escorted by battlecruiser HMS Hood, cruiser HMS Enterprise and 4 destroyers) attack an Italian airfield at Cagliari on the South coast of Sardinia, destroying several Italian aircraft and laying mines in the harbour.

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