Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 378 September 12, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 65. Cloudy weather restricts flying to a minimum. Only German reconnaissance flights take place during the day and 50 bombers attack London overnight (compared to about 300 on previous nights). 2 German bombers are shot down and Wing Commander J.S. Dewar (airfield commander at Exeter) is lost on a pleasure flight to Tangmere in his Hurricane. A delayed action high-explosive bomb hits St. Paul’s Cathedral but does not explode and is buried 30 feet into the ground. Royal Engineers Lieutenant R. Davies and Sapper J. Wylie defuse the bomb and are awarded the George Cross, becoming the first military personnel to receive this medal for “bravery not in the face of the enemy”. St. Paul’s Cathedral will become a symbol of London’s resilience during the Blitz.

Vichy French cruisers depart Casablanca at 4 AM, leaving behind their destroyer escorts. 3 British destroyers join HMS Renown and 3 other destroyers off Casablanca, searching for the French cruisers which are now well on their way South, steaming for Dakar at full speed.

North Africa. Italian 10th Army continues to make slow progress towards the Libyan border with Egypt to begin their invasion. British light covering forces fall back slowly fighting delaying actions.

In the Indian Ocean 330 miles East of Madagascar, German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin stops British steamer Benavon with a shot across the bows. Benavon tries to escape and returns fire with her 4 inch gun but the inexperienced crew does not fit the shells with fuse caps (1 shell hits Pinguin, lodging next to the magazine containing 300 high-explosive mines; a lethal hit if it had exploded). Pinguin shells Benavon into submission (24 killed, 25 crew taken prisoner).

No comments:

Post a Comment