Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 367 September 1, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 54. Luftwaffe again targets RAF airfields, using the same tactics but on a reduced scale compared to the last 2 days. RAF ignores probing flights of Messerschmitts only in the morning. 3 large raids come across the Channel at 11 AM, 1.30 PM and 5.30. As usual they split up. Airfields at Hawkinge, Lympne, Kenley, Detling & Sherburn and docks in the East End of London are attacked. Biggin Hill is bombed again, in the middle of funerals for those killed in the last 2 days. Luftwaffe loses 17 fighters but the fighter screen is so dense that only 8 bombers are shot down. RAF loses 15 fighters (6 pilots killed). There is less bombing than previous nights, with attacks in Kent, Bristol Channel and South Wales plus Tyne and Tees in the Northeast of England. Oil tanks at Llandarcy, South Wales are bombed and set afire. http://www.battleofbritain1940.net/0032.html

Just after midnight, U-101 sinks Greek SS Efploia, 100 miles Northwest of Ireland. The entire crew abandons ship in two lifeboats and are picked up by destroyer HMS Anthony. At 5.25 PM, U-32 hits British cruiser HMS Fiji with the last torpedo (5 killed) 200 miles West of Isle of Lewis, Scotland. Fiji is badly damaged but returns to the Clyde under her own power escorted by 4 destroyers (out of service until February 1941). Fiji's place in the expedition to Dakar (Operation Menace) will be taken by Australian cruiser HMAS Australia. http://uboat.net/allies/merchants/ships/507.html

Cruisers HMS Orion & HMAS Sydney and destroyers HMS Decoy & Ilex shell the Italian Dodecanese islands of Scarpanto (now Karpathos) and Stampalia (now Astypalea) in the Southern Aegean Sea. HMS Ilex rams and sinks Italian motor torpedo boat MAS537.

British submarine HMS Tigris sinks the small French fishing vessel Sancte Michael with the deck gun near Brest, France. Submarine HMS Sunfish, leaving Grangemouth at 11.30 PM, collides with patrol launch Mesme which sinks (all 3 crew lost).

British minesweeping trawler HMT Royalo sinks on a mine off Penzance, Cornwall, England (7 killed).

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