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September 2nd, 1940

RAF Bomber Command: 4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - industrial targets at Genoa - oil plant at Frankfurt.
58 Sqn. Six aircraft
to Genoa. Five got off, three bombed primary, two bombed alternatives. Two ditched on return, crews safe.
77 Sqn. Six aircraft
to Frankfurt. Five got off, all bombed.

Llandarcy, Glamorganshire: Lt Bertram Stuart Trevelyan Archer (b. 1915), Royal Engineers, defused the most dangerous of several bombs at a refinery, despite explosions and blazing oil. (George Cross)

Battle of Britain:
RAF Fighter Command: 
Several airfields attacked including Biggin Hill, Lympne, Detling, Eastchurch (three times), Hornchurch (twice) and Gravesend. An aircraft factory at Rochester (Shorts) is bombed. At night Merseyside, Midlands, Manchester, Sheffield are all bombed.

The first of four major daylight raids was carried out by KG 3 Do17s heavily escorted by Bf109s which approached Kent at 07:00. Although Park scrambled five squadrons few contacted the enemy, for close protection of Sector Stations was now prescribed. The Dornier formations parted near Maidstone and headed for Rochford, North Weald, Biggin Hill and Gravesend; at the latter 11 bombs fell around the airfield at 08:00. At the same time 48 bombs caused considerable damage to houses at Rochester and 20 minutes later Chatham received ten HEs. 

At the initial division point No. 72 Squadron had been busy dealing with some Do17s and Bf110s at around 13,000 feet as another nine Do17s, contour hugging, again struck Biggin Hill. No. 603 Squadron, patrolling over Hornchurch was vectored to withdrawing Bf109s and bagged one which fell to Pilot Officer Richard Hillary (X4277) later to become famous as the author of the book 'The Last Enemy'.

Around noon with about 250 enemy aircraft approaching, Park decided this time to order his squadrons forward. While resultant scores were not high, the tactic diminished the military effectiveness of the operation although it caused the bombing of Maidstone, where many houses suffered and 15 casualties resulted. 

More raids in similar strength followed, taxing the defenders to the extreme, and at 16:40 Maidstone endured a second onslaught. Soon after 17:00 a tremendous battle resulted when about 90 RAF fighters took on 160 Bf109s.

Losses: Luftwaffe, 35; RAF, 31.

Corvette HMS Rhododendron launched.

Submarine HMS P 38 laid down.

Minesweeper HMS Bude launched. (Dave Shirlaw)


FRANCE: The government is ordered to pay 400 million francs per day to maintain German troops. (Jack McKillop)

The battleship HMS Valiant and carrier HMS Illustrious arrive from Gibraltar to reinforce Admiral Cunningham's Royal Navy Fleet.

Junkers 87 (Stuka) equipped 236a and 237a Squadriglia of 96 Gruppo, Regia Aeronautica attack British ships using this aircraft for the first time. (Ferdinando D'Amico)


FRENCH POLYNESIA: On Papeete in the Society Islands, the Provisional Government of the French Settlements in Oceania announces the colonys adhesion to Free France.  (Jack McKillop)

Washington: Britain and the US sign the deal giving Britain 50 aged destroyers in exchange for permission for the US to make use of British naval bases in the West Indies.
(". . . in view of the friendly and sympathetic interest of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom in the national security of the United States and their desire to strengthen the ability of the United. States to cooperate effectively with the other nations of the Americas in defense of the Western Hemisphere, . . . in view of the desire of the United States to acquire additional air and naval bases in the Caribbean and in British. Guiana . . ."  US Secretary of State Cordell Hull and British Ambassador Lord Lothian conclude the destroyers for bases agreement. The USN will transfer 50 over-age destroyers to the RN in exchange for 99-year leases on bases in the Bahamas, Antigua, St Lucia, Trinidad, Jamaica and British Guiana. In addition, bases in Newfoundland and Bermuda are provided as gifts. (Jack McKillop) 

ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 2204 hours local, the German submarine U-46 attacks two British merchant ships, SS Bibury and SS Thornlea, which stayed together after the convoy OB-205 was dispersed on 30 August, and sinks both west of Ireland. A second submarine, U-47, sinks a Belgium merchant ship, the SS Ville de Mons, further north.  (Jack McKillop and Dave Shirlaw)

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