Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 379 September 13, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 66. Bad weather again restricts German attacks during the day, with single bombers coming across at a rate of about 7 per hour to drop bombs on London and RAF airfields. Bombs land in front of Buckingham Palace, slightly damaging the Victoria Memorial, and in the Palace courtyard where much damage is done. The Royal Family is at the Palace at the time but they are not injured. Luftwaffe has 3 aircraft shot down. RAF loses 2 Blenheims (1 does not return from a reconnaissance flight over Norway; the crew bales out of another near Calais and are taken prisoner). Bombing of London overnight is more widespread than previously (Westminster, Battersea, Mitcham, Clapham Junction, Wembley and Hammersmith). Cardiff is also bombed. With tides the next few nights favouring invasion by Germany, Royal Navy moves battleships HMS Nelson & Rodney to Rosyth and HMS Revenge to Plymouth, to support cruisers and destroyers defending the English Channel.

North Africa. Italian 1st Blackshirt Division (23 Marzo, in honour of the founding of the Italian Fascist Party on 23 March 1919) recapture Fort Capuzzo, taken by the British in June, just inside Libya on the border with Egypt. Soon after, Italian troops cut the barbed wire on the Libyan/Egyptian border and begin the invasion of Egypt.

Vichy French steamers carrying demilitarized troops home from North Africa to France hit mines west of Sardinia (SS Ginette Le Borgne and SS Cassidaigne are sunk and SS Cap Tourane is damaged). German minesweeping trawler Hermann Krone hits a mine and sinks off Hanstholm, Denmark.

British steam passenger ship SS City of Benares departs Liverpool bound for Quebec and Montreal, carrying 90 British children being evacuated to Canada. She is the flagship of the convoy commodore Rear Admiral Mackinnon and the first ship in the center column of convoy OB-213.

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