Yesterday                               Tomorrow

September 24th, 1940


RAF Fighter Command: By day attacks take place on Tilbury Docks, and the Supermarine Spitfire factory at Woolston, Southampton, by fighter-bombers. At night London and Merseyside are raided.

Two groups of bombers operated today over the Medway area - one entering over Dover and the other by way of the River Crouch. They were challenged by 18 fighter squadrons. Soon after 13:00 from the Cherbourg direction came 18 Bf110s of Erpro 210 with ZG 76 providing top cover and making direct for Supermarine's Woolston works, upon which each dived delivering a 250-kg bomb. Five scored hits on the factory area without causing serious damage. One bomb, however, killed and wounded skilled and senior staff in a shelter, and for the loss south of the Isle of Wight of only one bomber. Higher level raiders also tried unsuccessfully for Woolston.

London was under Red Alert from 20:10 to 05:30. Some raiders over the IAZ trying to fire the colours of the day. That did not discourage the gunners from firing another 5,480 rounds. Very heavy bombing commenced at midnight causing incidents at Camberwell, Chelsea, Islington, Kensington, St. Mary's Hospital, Chancery Lane, Queen's Hall, University College, Lambeth, Marylebone Road, St. Pancras, Waterloo Station, Wormwood Scrubs, Earl's Court Station, Kew Bridge and The Times building in Queen Victoria Street.

Losses: Luftwaffe, 11; RAF, 4.


GERMANY: The Luftwaffe ace Adolf Galland receives the Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross; Hitler agrees with his admiration for the RAF.

RAF Bomber Command: 4 Group. 10 Sqn. Whitley P5055 Damaged by Flak, Plt Off Steyn and crew unhurt. 10 Sqn. T4130 force landed out of fuel. Damaged attempting to take-off after refuelling. Sgt V. Snell and crew unhurt. 58 Sqn. N1470 crashed on take-off. Sgt H. Cornish, Plt Off A.I. Waterson and Sgt L.H.Taylor killed, Sgts Fowlie and Chamberlain injured. aircraft burnt.

Bombing - industrial targets at Berlin and Finkenheerd.

10 Sqn. Twelve aircraft to Finkenheerd. Primary obscured, alternatives bombed. Two aircraft damaged.

58 Sqn. Seven aircraft to Berlin. One crashed on take-off with three killed. Primary obscured, alternatives bombed.

77 Sqn. Two aircraft to Berlin. Both bombed with good results.

After dark Berlin was bombed and a Wellington delivered 91,500 propaganda leaflets to residents there and at Hanover and Hamburg.

U-106 commissioned.
U-508 laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)


FRENCH WEST AFRICA: Dakar: Dakar is bombarded by the RN warships of "Force M", and 'Richilieu' is attacked by HMS Ark Royal's aircraft. Vichy submarine Ajax is sunk by destroyer HMS Fortune. Battleship HMS BARHAM is hit by the coast batteries but suffers little damage. (Jack McKillop)


GIBRALTAR: The Rock of Gibraltar has been hit by bombs for the first time in the war - dropped by a former ally. It was inevitable, after the British operation in Dakar, that the Vichy government would have to make some reprisal. Six bomber groups of the former Armee de l'Air and 4 escadrilles of the French naval air arm took part. The bombers were all stationed at the bases of Oran and Tafaroui in Algeria and Merknes, Mediouna and Port Lyautey in Morocco. The operation was approved by the German and Italian cease-fire commissions, and directed by Air Force Brigadier General Tarnier, commander of the French Air Force in Morocco. Just after 12:20 pm the first LeO 45 bomber groups (I/23 and II/23) took off from Merknes airfield and headed for Gibraltar. They reached their target at 1:00pm and bombed from 19,500 feet. No RAF fighter cover was detected. Between 1:30 and 2:15 pm a number of French fighter planes were deployed over Gibraltar to provide protection for the bombers. They included 12 Dewoitine 520s of GC II/3 based on Mediouna, 12 Curtiss Hawks of GC II/5 based on Casablanca and 12 Hawks of GC I/5 based on Rabat. Two escadrilles (2B and 3B) of Glenn Martin bombers from Port Lyautey concluded operations at 4:15 pm. The 64-bomber raid should have wrecked the port, 41 metric tons of bombs being dropped, but a large number of the French pilots appear to have deliberately dropped their loads into the sea, and a larger number of the fuses of the bombs that did land had apparently been tampered with so that they would not explode. The authorities are now strenuously applying themselves to retrieving the unexploded bombs, but these are the least of their problems. It is the diplomatic efforts of Hitler to bring Spain into the Axis, and of President Roosevelt to browbeat Spain back into neutrality, that are most concentrating their minds. If Spain does come in then Gibraltar's anti-aircraft gun toll of three planes last night is not a good sign. Gibraltar remains Britain's most vital strategic outpost; a key base for convoy escorts. Now, with Mussolini's fleet menacing the Mediterranean, any threat to the Rock must be viewed seriously.

CANADA: The third group of 6 overageUSNdestroyers exchanged for bases in the Western Hemisphere are turned over to the RCN at Halifax, Nova Scotia. (Jack McKillop)

USS Bancroft (DD-256), commissioned as HMCS St Francis (I-93) USS McCook (DD-252), commissioned as HMCS St Croix (I-81), and USS Haraden (DD-183), commissioned as HMCS Columbia (I-49), part of the destroyers-for-bases deal. (Ron Babuka)

Minelayer HMCS Sankaty commissioned Halifax, Nova Scotia. Built Quincy Massachusetts, 459/11, 195x38x9.75ft, 8kts, crew 3/39, 1-.303mg. ex-Staford, Oyster Bay Massachusetts, Staten Island ferry, employed minelaying, loop laying, maintenance vessel. Pendant's (FY61)>(Z29)>(M01) Post WW.II, sold 1947, renamed Charles A Dunning, Prince Edward Island ferry.

Destroyers HMCS St Francis, St Croix, Niagara, Columbia, St Clair and Annapolis commissioned at Halifax. (Dave Shirlaw)

U.S.A.: C-46A-5-CU, AAF s/n 41-12302, msn 26429 ordered on Contract AC-15999. First C46 to be ordered by the USAAF.  (Jack McKillop)

Top of Page

Yesterday        Tomorrow