UNITED KINGDOM: The Rolls-Royce Merlin aircraft engine is started for the first time. The Merlin powered the Hawker Hurricane, Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire, North American P-51 Mustang, Avro Lancaster and many other aircraft during World War II. (Jack McKillop)
CHINA: The beginning of the Long March of Communist Chinese. Under pressure from Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists, the Communist Chinese, under Mao Zedong and Zhu De, break through the Nationalist lines and march westward. Approximately 100,000 Communist Chinese endured Nationalist bombardment and air attacks, which result in the loss of half of Mao's force. The Communists marched 6,000 miles (9 556 kilometers), crossing 18 mountain ranges and 24 rivers before reaching safe haven in the northwestern province of Shensi in October 1935. As a result of this redeployment, the Communists move beyond the range of the Nationalists and Mao emerged as the undisputed leader of the Chinese Communist movement. (Jack McKillop)
UNITED KINGDOM: The prototype of the Bristol Beaufort, s/n L4441, makes it's first flight. Total Beaurfort production is 2,129 machines including 700 built in Australia. The Beaufort served as a general reconnaissance and torpedo bomber in RAF Coastal Command and in the Middle East and Indian Ocean. (Jack McKillop)
October 15th, 1939 (SUNDAY)UNITED KINGDOM: RAF: 10 Sqn. 9 aircraft (Whitley) sent on a leaflet raid to Hamburg and reconnaissance over the Elbe. One aircraft returned early U/S. Only one successful due to severe weather. K9023 force landed due to oil on windscreen. AC Donnelly hurt due to ventral turret remaining extended when landing.
London: The news blackout by
censors has left people eager to listen to rumour. On the propaganda front the Ministry of
Information (MOI) is being beaten by Germany. The MOI's posters are disliked. Saying
"YOUR Courage, YOUR Cheerfulness, YOUR Resolution will bring US Victory". People
ask whom they mean by "US"? The government and it's friends? The patronising
slogans are also irritating, "Kill that Rumour - It's Helping Hitler".
"Fred Karno's Army has nothing on the MOI," says the Daily Mirror.
Meanwhile an estimated one million are tuning into "Lord Haw-Haw", broadcasting from Hamburg. He was nicknamed this by the Daily Express because of his upper-class drawl which announces "Jairmany Calling!". He presents amusing skits of old buffers in a London club grousing about the war or "the blasted socialists". Sir Jasper Murgatroyd and Bumbleby Mannering (a clergyman) are two more of his characters. Posing as a well-meaning adviser to the British, Haw-Haw needles them about food prices, war profiteers and censors who keep them in the dark. "Where is the Ark Royal? Britons, ask your government!" He says working men should "demand social justice and call for peace".
Armed merchant cruisers HMS Aurania, Ausonia and Cilicia commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
POLAND: Of the 16,000 Polish civilians executed in the first six weeks of the war, 5,000 are Jewish. About 250,000 Jews escape from the Germans into the Soviet Union. Some are immediately deported to labor camps in Siberia, where many of them later died. (Jack McKillop)
ESTONIA: The government signs a treaty to return Estonians of German origin to the Reich.
FINLAND: Compulsory national service is introduced.
U.S.A.: 325,000 people attend the dedication of New York City's New York Municipal Airport by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. This airport, the former North Beach Airport, is renamed New York Municipal Airport - LaGuardia Field on 2 November 1939 but it is not opened to airline traffic until 2 December 1939. [The first aircraft to land is a Transcontinental and Western Airlines (TWA) DC-3 from Chicago which lands at 0001 hours local.] The airport will be renamed LaGuardia Field in 1947. In the meantime, Newark Municipal Airport in New Jersey, remains the only commercial airport in the New York City metropolitan area, a function it has admirably performed since 1928. (Jack McKillop)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-37 sank SS Vermont. (Dave Shirlaw)
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