November 21st, 1939UNITED KINGDOM:
U-20 laid 9 mines off Yarmouth, resulting in two ships sunk later that year. (Dave Shirlaw)
G Class Destroyer HMS Gipsy (H 63) is sunk by a magnetic mine whilst leaving Harwich. The crew is taken off by the Polish destroyer ORP Burza (H 37) and the British tug HMS Stronghold. The minefield in which she is sunk was laid during the night of 17/18 November by the German destroyers Hermann Künne, Bernd von Arnim and Wilhelm Heidkamp. Although the crew are able to beach the ship, it is found to be beyond repair. (Alex Gordon)(108)
The Japanese liner SS Terukinu Maru en route from Casablanca, French Morocco, to England, strikes a mine and sinks about 10 nautical miles (19 kilometers) southeast of Harwich, Essex, position 51.10N, 01.30E.
Westminster: Chamberlain says that German merchant shipping will be seized in retaliation for mine attacks.
In the evening a soldier on duty at the artillery range at Shoeburyness sees a low-flying Heinkel 111 drop an object by parachute in the nearby Thames Estuary. The admiralty is immediately informed and two mine experts, Lieutenant-Commanders R C Lewis and J G D Ouvry are dispatched to the scene. By the time they get there the tide in the Thames Estuary is on the ebb and, stepping out across the mudflats, they are able to locate the mine. Noting that it has two brass fittings, which clearly have to be removed to make it safe, they make a rubbing so that a nearby army workshop can make a non-magnetic brass tool.
RAF Bomber Command: Leaflet raids on Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Bremen. 4 Grp Leaflets and reconnaissance, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf, 10 Sq., 2 aircraft flying from Villenueve. Mission successful. Opposition light.
RAF Fighter Command: One Enemy aircraft located off Deal, Kent. Aircraft destroyed.
Destroyers HMS Eridge and Farndale laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
The German-Slovak treaty is signed in Berlin. The treaty cedes 225 square miles (583 square kilometers) of territory annexed by Poland in 1920, 1924, and 1938 to Slovakia. (Jack McKillop)
The 1938 treaty was declared void after the war, and the territory returned to Czechoslovakia as part of the general resettlement of East European boundaries enforced by the Russians. It now, of course, is part of the Slovak Republic. I think, but am less certain, that the 1920 and 1924 cessations were also included. (Henry Sirotin)
The Scharnhorst departs Wilhelmshaven with her sister-ship Gneisenau under the command of Vice-Admiral Wilhelm Marschall. (Navy News)
MALTA: U.S. freighter SS Express, detained by British authorities since 12 November, is released and allowed to proceed on her voyage after declaring the nature of her cargo. (Jack McKillop)
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