October 13th, 1939UNITED KINGDOM: Bletchley: Three people die when two express trains collide in the blackout.
The German submarine U-47 penetrates the defences of the RN fleet base at Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands, shortly before midnight, surfaces and attacks. She fires off three torpedoes, only one of which exploded when it hit an anchor chain, and U-47 remained undisturbed on the surface of the Fleet anchorage to reload its torpedoes. The second salvo fired about an hour after the first sank the aircraft repair vessel HMS PEGASUS and the battleship HMS ROYAL OAK with 833 crew lost.
This penetration of the RN Home Fleet base gave Germany a major propaganda victory, and the Home Fleet was temporarily relocated to Loch Ewe on the west coast of Scotland until Scapa's defences were improved. On his return to base, Cmdr. Prien and his entire crew were taken to Berlin, and fÍted after Hitler personally presented GŁnther Prien with the award of the Knight's Cross.
At Scapa Flow, HMS Royal Oak and her 833 dead remain a war grave and a memorial of this incident. (Alex Gordon)
U.S. freighters SS Iberville and SS Oakman are detained by British authorities.
FRANCE: 3 Div. BEF takes up defensive positions, priority is given to anti-tank obstacles and emplacements, with minefields being laid to 'shepherd enemy tanks into areas covered by AT weapons', and all 'positions, defences, Observation Posts, etc. will be examined from the enemy point of view.'
POLAND: Warsaw: Diplomats of neutral nations fear that the Germans are committing the most appalling, degrading cruelties against Polish Jewry. In one incident on the Day of Atonement, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, several thousand were imprisoned in the synagogue at Bydgoszcz and, refused permission to use the lavatories, were forced to use their prayer shawls to clean up the resulting mess.
Hundreds are shot every day with casual brutality, but there are signs that the Gestapo's campaign of terror is becoming more organised. Jews, even farmers, are being herded into ghettos in the cities and allowed no contact with the rest of the city. They are thus under the complete control of the Gestapo and there must be fears for their ultimate fate.
U.S.A.: President Franklin D. Roosevelt rejects a plea by Adolf Hitler for mediation between Britain, France and Germany.
Harry James and his Orchestra record "On a Little Street in Singapore" for Columbia Records. A 23-year-old singer named Frank Sinatra is the featured vocalist on what was his seventh recording.
U-40 under commander Barten is sunk by a mine in the Strait of Dover,
in position 50.41,6N, 00.15,1E.
She sinks in 140 feet of water. 39 crew die but 9 crew survive by self escaping with Drager gear from the forward hatch, no surface rescue is at hand and only 3 survive 9 hours in the water.
U-42 damaged SS Stonepool in Convoy OB-17.
U-42 under commander Gau is sunk by HMS Imogen and HMS Ilex when it attacks Liverpool-out convoy OB17 southwest of Ireland. (Mark Horan)
U-48 sank SS Heronspool and SS Louisiane in Convoy OB-17. (Dave Shirlaw)
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