November 23rd, 1939UNITED KINGDOM: The magnetic mine dropped at Shoeburyness arrives at HMS Vernon. This marks a vital step in the battle against these particular mines which are causing heavy losses and long delays. In November alone 27 ships of 121,000 tons are sunk, and for a time the Thames is virtually closed to shipping.
AMC HMS Esperance Bay commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
In London, R. G. Casey, Australian Minister for Supply and Development, sends a message to Australian Prime Minister R. G. Menzies in Canberra, ACT, that the British Government has promised that in the event of war with Japan, "the Admiralty will make such dispositions as would enable them to offer timely resistance either to a serious upon Singapore or to the invasion of Australia and New Zealand." Based on this statement, Casey recommends that :the wisest conclusion in our own and general British interests" is to send the Australian Expeditionary Force to Africa as soon as possible. (Jack McKillop)
GERMANY: Food rationing for pets is announced.
Berlin: Hitler today gave his senior generals a dressing down for their plans for launching an offensive against Britain and France. Summoning them to the chancellery, he told them that he had led the German people to great heights, while they had only shown lack of faith in him. "I am irreplaceable," he stormed at the generals, "I shall attack France and England at the quickest moment. My decision is unchangeable."
POLAND: Cracow: Dr. Frank orders all Jews over the age of ten in the General Government area to wear armbands marked with the Star of David.
GIBRALTAR: U.S. Consul William E. Chapman declines to consent to execute the agreement wherein the master of the U.S. freighter SS Nishmaha (detained since 11 November) will agree to proceed via Barcelona, Spain, to Marseilles, France, to unload cargo deemed contraband by the Gibraltar Contraband Control board. U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull subsequently approves Consul Chapman's action with respect to U.S. merchantmen which left the U.S. with cargoes prior to the Neutrality Act of 4 November. (Jack McKillop)
MALTA: U.S. freighter SS Express, released from her detention at Malta on 21 November by British authorities, continues on her voyage to Greece, Turkey, and Romania. (Jack McKillop)
NEW ZEALAND: Major General Bernard Freyberg is appointed to command 2 New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (Jack McKillop)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: Armed merchant cruiser Rawalpindi
(16,697-tons) (Capt. Edward .C. Kennedy) on Northern
Patrol is sunk by gunfire from the 11in battlecruiser Scharnhorst as she and sister ship Gneisenau try
to break out into the Atlantic. The AMC was on blockade duty when she is sighted by the BC,
and armed with only four 6-inch guns against the BC nine 11-inch guns could
not adequately defend herself. Every gun is put out of action and the ship
is ablaze from end to end before she sinks.. Three boats carrying 37
survivors are able to get away: one with 11 survivors is found by AMC
Chitral, whilst the other two are picked up by Scharnhorst. There were 270
U-33 torpedoed SS Borkum. Total loss. (Dave Shirlaw)
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