Sunday, August 22, 2010

Day 358 August 23, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 45. Another very quiet day. Following yesterday’s gale, cloudy weather and showers prevent large German raids. British aircrews rest and recuperate, while airfields are repaired. German reconnaissance missions are flown over the Channel and single aircraft attack South coast towns in Devon and Hampshire and towns in the Midlands. Off the East coast of Scotland, Heinkel He115 torpedo bombers sink 2 merchant ships and damage another. Again, there is widespread bombing of British towns overnight. 3 German bombers are shot down (1 by antiaircraft fire) but the RAF loses no fighters. Notably, since the big raid of 15 August, RAF has added 85 fighters (20 Spitfires and 65 Hurricanes).

At 3.17 AM, British destroyer HMS Hostile hits a mine which breaks her back 18 miles off Cape Bon, Tunisia (5 killed, 3 wounded). The survivors are taken off by destroyers HMS Hero & Mohawk and landed at Malta. Hostile is sunk by torpedoes from HMS Hero.

Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney, Australian destroyer HMAS Stuart and British destroyers HMS Diamond, Ilex & Juno shell the Italian seaplane base at Bomba, Libya.

U-37 torpedoes 2 steamers in the Atlantic 500 miles West of Ireland; at 2.22 AM, Norwegian SS Keret (13 killed, 7 survivors in a lifeboat and a raft are picked up next day by British steamer Trident and taken to Sydney, Nova Scotia) and at 12.50 PM, British SS Severn Leigh (crew abandons ship in 4 lifeboats. U-37 shells Severn Leigh to silence her radio sinking 2 lifeboats, killing 32 crew and 1 gunner. 10 survivors safely reach Outer Hebrides, Scotland, on 5 September).

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