Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day 410 October 14, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 97. Clouds and rain limit flying to reconnaissance over the English Channel, Straits of Dover and Thames Estuary and isolated raids on the English coast (from East Anglia to Portsmouth, Hampshire). No British or German aircraft are lost. Anti-submarine trawler HMT Lord Stamp hits a mine and sinks off Dorset in the English Channel (25 lives lost). Overnight, London is bombed as well as Birmingham, Coventry, Liverpool, Blackburn and Preston. At 8.02 PM, a 1400kg armour piercing bomb hits Balham Tube Station, part of the London Underground, which is being used as an air raid shelter. Fractured water mains and sewers flood the Station killing 66 civilians but over 500 escape from shoulder-high water in darkness.

British Mediterranean Fleet is returning from Malta to Alexandria. Aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious detaches to launch air strikes against the Italian Dodecanese island of Leros (now part of Greece), escorted by cruisers HMS Gloucester & Liverpool and 4 destroyers. The group then heads for Alexandria. At 6.55 PM, 50 miles South of Crete, an Italian Savoia-Marchetti SM79 bomber hits cruiser HMS Liverpool with a torpedo, causing an explosion in the aviation fuel store which blows off her bow (30 crew killed, 35 wounded). Liverpool will be towed to Alexandria and then sail with a false bow across the Pacific Ocean to California to be repaired, not returning to service until December 1941.

At 9.28 PM, 100 miles Northwest of Ireland, British armed merchant cruiser HMS Cheshire is hit by one torpedo from U-137, but does not sink. 220 crew members are taken off by Canadian destroyer HMCS Skeena and British corvette HMS Periwinkle. HMS Cheshire will be beached at Belfast and then taken to Liverpool for repairs lasting 6 months.

German armed merchant cruiser Orion stops and scuttles Norwegian steamer Ringwood in the Pacific 600 miles Northwest of New Ireland, Papua New Guinea (35 crew and 1 cat taken prisoner).

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