Gas chambers discovered at Nazi death camp Sobibor

September 19th, 2014

More than 250,000 Jews were killed at the Sobibor death camp in what is now Poland. The SS leader Heinrich Himmler ordered Sobibor to be destroyed after a successful prisoner uprising in which around 300 of those being held there escaped. He ordered all traces of the camp to be removed, and the area planted with trees.

The rooms were locked with steel doors equipped with peep-holes. It took just 20 to 30 minutes to murder each group of victims.

“These finds are all that remained of those who were murdered here,” one of the archaeologists told Süddeustche Zeitung newspaper. “We will learn more from them on how the murder in the camp was carried out and what the Jews went through before they were murdered.”

There was no chance of survival for those sent to Sobibor. Unlike other concentration camps such as Auschwitz, prisoners were not kept alive to work as forced labourers: they were all sent to the gas chambers. The camp was built expressly for the purpose of carrying out the Holocaust, and the overwhelming majority of those who died there were Jewish.

Jewish slave labourers were forced to build the camp, and shot dead the moment it was completed.

Jewish prisoners led an uprising at the camp on October 14 1943, in which they killed 11 SS officers and a number of camp guards.

Some 300 of the 600 prisoners in the camp at the time escaped, but only 50 to 70 of them are believed to have survived. Others died in the minefields that surrounded the camp, or were recaptured in the days that followed.


World War Two

How to set a honey trap

September 17th, 2014

Choose your target

Before the act of seduction begins, extensive research and meticulous planning goes into selecting the target. Paul Cornish, professor at the Strategy and Security Institute at the University of Exeter, says that preparation work is “worth the effort”, as the intelligence procured can be “very significant”. Professor Cornish says that two main psychological profiles are likely to be the targets of a honey trap: those in need of affection, and dominant characters who believe that rules don’t apply to them. He describes the beta characters as “those who lack confidence, feel insecure, harbour grievances and need affection”, while a controlling alpha type might be a dominant player who thinks “he can calculate and manage risks better than anyone else”. Although beta characters might be a more obvious target, the decidedly alpha President John Kennedy is believed to have slept with two spies, a suspected Nazi sympathiser and an East German agent, which suggests that even the most confident politicians are susceptible.


Mata Hari was found guilty of espionage

Don’t make the first approach

Despite what you see on James Bond, most femme fatales don’t approach an espionage target and start fluttering their eyelashes wildly. As Professor Wolff says, “You can’t just deliver a flood of very attractive Russian females – somebody will of course notice”. Instead, many engineer a chance meeting. During the Cold War, a security guard at the US embassy in Moscow bumped into a 25-year-old KGB officer Violetta Seina at a metro station. Sergeant Lonetree said he coincidentally ran into her again one month later and the pair were so engrossed in conversation that Seina missed her train stop as the two talked about American films and Lonetree’s life in Moscow. He eventually leaked information about life in the US embassy and was convicted of espionage.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t flirt

Nancy Wake, a British agent during the Second World War, said she would carefully dress, powder her face and have a sip of Dutch courage before cathing the eye of German soldiers. “I’d see a German officer on the train or somewhere, sometimes dressed in civvies, but you could pick ‘em. So, instead of raising suspicions I’d flirt with them, ask for a light and say my lighter was out of fuel,” she said. “I’d pass their (German) posts and wink and say, ‘Do you want to search me?’ God, what a flirtatious little bastard I was.” All’s fair in love and war, so they say.


Nancy Wake in 1945

It’s not just about sex

The most successful acts of seduction aren’t quick flings but long-term emotional manipulations, where the target often believes that they’ve fallen in love. After World War Two, there were far more women than men in West Germany, and so the East German government sent “Romeo” spies to entrap lonely secretaries. In some instances, the spy married his target and admitted that he was a double agent – but working for a friendly country. “Romeo” would tell his wife that his government was worried that West Germany wasn’t being completely honest – could she provide a few details to keep his boss happy? These marriages could last for decades.

Life is stranger than fiction

In the ‘60s, a communist mole who had infiltrated the CIA gained his colleague’s trust through wife swapping. Free love helped Karl and Hana Koecher get to know important CIA officials, and they then passed information onto the KGB. Meanwhile a French diplomat, Bernard Boursicot, was seduced by Chinese secret agent Shei Pei Pu – whom Boursciot thought was a woman, but was in fact a man. The pair were together for 18 years, and Shei Pei Pu even convinced Boursciot that he was pregnant and had given birth to their son.


Shi was a man but told Boursicot that he had been born female

Having sex for your country may not sound like the most patriotic act, but spy agencies believe that seductive espionage can be a valuable way of ensuring national security. As Oleg Kalugin, a former KGB general, once said: “In America, in the West, occasionally you ask your men to stand up for their country. In Russia, we just ask our young women to lay down.”


World War Two

Revealed: identity of Fifi the stunning wartime spy

September 17th, 2014

Posing as a French journalist – she was fluent in several European languages – she was tasked with charming young trainees and engaging them in conversation over drinks or dinner, gaining their confidence and extracting information from them. The reports she wrote decided whether the trainees could be trusted on foreign assignments, and for some she was their downfall.

One would-be agent from Belgium, well-regarded by his instructors, was dismissed after spending a day in Chilver’s company. “By the evening,” she wrote in one of her meticulous reports, “I had learnt practically all there was to know about him.”

Jonathan Cole, researcher at the National Archives, said: “Fifi was somewhat of a legend of the Special Operations Executive. Until now, her existence and the deployment of her services had been dismissed.

“With the release of her file, her identity, impressive skills and the important role she played in Second World War secret operations is now finally revealed.”

Chilver, who went by her middle name of Christine, was born in London but grew up in her mother’s native Latvia, where she was privately educated at a German school in Riga.

She studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, and when war broke out was interned at Besancon. She escaped and made her way to the UK, where in 1942 she offered her services “for active work under conditions of danger”, according to her file.

Her role was known to only three people because, in the words of her superior, “the English public was very sensitive to the idea of people snooping”.

Trainee agents were placed on 96-hour undercover assignments around Britain, and Chilver was sent there to test them. Her instructions included where she should bump into them and a brief description. One target in Newcastle was described as having “uneven front teeth, large feet… carrying a Penguin novel”.

The job was far from glamorous: Chilvers noted wryly in one of her reports that her hotel consisted of “plush curtains, fried fish smell and aspidistras”. Despite the serious nature of her work, humour was a feature of her correspondence with superiors. Dispatching her to Wolverhampton, her boss wrote: “A room will be booked for you at the Victoria Hotel, which is the only hotel, and a very bad one at that, in that revolting town.”

After leaving the service, Chilver lived first in Chelsea, west London, and latterly in Lydney, Gloucestershire, close to the Welsh border. She spent her last decades with her companion, Jean ‘Alex’ Felgate, who died in 2011.

Hugo Whatley, current occupier of the house, said: “Alex and Christine lived here together. I believe they met during the war and that Alex may also have been in the SOE.

“Their garden was extraordinary. They had so many plants here. It’s run-down a little now but you still find the odd wonderful plant they planted. After what they went through in the war, I think this was a way for them to get away.”

Chilver did not forget her Latvian roots and in 2001 set up an animal shelter in Riga. Staff there were amazed to hear of her wartime past and said she had led an intensely private life.

“She was devoted to animal welfare and that was what she spoke about on the few occasions that she came here. She lived in England and rarely visited us.

“She didn’t have many friends. I think she led a lonely life with just one companion, Alex. She didn’t like to visit public places and told us she lived far out of town,” an employee said last night.

Chilver’s file is one of more than 3,000 Second World War intelligence records made available online on the National Archives website.


World War Two

Germany charges 93-year-old over 300,000 Auschwitz murders

September 16th, 2014

Prosecutors said the accused was aware that the predominantly Jewish prisoners deemed unfit to work “were murdered directly after their arrival in the gas chambers of Auschwitz”.

A regional court must now decide whether the accused will go on trial.

The German office investigating Nazi war crimes last year sent files on 30 former Auschwitz personnel to state prosecutors with a recommendation to bring charges against them.

The renewed drive to bring to justice the last surviving perpetrators of the Holocaust follows a 2011 landmark court ruling.

For more than 60 years German courts had only prosecuted Nazi war criminals if evidence showed they had personally committed atrocities.

But in 2011 a Munich court sentenced John Demjanjuk to five years in prison for complicity in the extermination of Jews at the Sobibor camp, where he had served as a guard, establishing that all former camp guards can be tried.

More than one million people, mostly European Jews, perished at Auschwitz-Birkenau, operated by the Nazis from 1940 until it was liberated by Russian forces on January 27, 1945.


World War Two

Alan Turing biopic takes top prize at Toronto film festival

September 15th, 2014

Cumberbatch, one of the most sought-after actors in film and television, gave an immediate “yes” to playing Turing, he told Reuters last week.

“There is a huge burden, an onus of responsibility,” the 38-year-old Englishman said. “This was an extraordinary man and sadly, bizarrely not that well known a man of his achievements.”

The runner-up for the prize was “Learning to Drive,” a film about a Manhattan writer, played by Patricia Clarkson, who finds comfort in her lessons with a Sikh driving instructor, played by Ben Kingsley.

St. Vincent, starring Bill Murray, took second runner-up.

The People’s Choice award for top film in the Midnight Madness programme, which often showcases horror and offbeat films, went to “What We Do in the Shadows,” a mockumentary about vampires living in a New Zealand suburb.

“I’d like to use this forum to bring attention to a more serious matter: the disgusting sport of vampire hunting,” said co-director and co-star Jemaine Clement.

The People’s Choice award for top documentary went to Beats of the Antonov, which follows refugees from the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains in Sudan.

Started in 1976, the Toronto festival now ranks with Cannes and Sundance as one of the world’s top movie gatherings. The festival often serves as a launching point for films and performances that go on to win Academy Awards, as well as international films seeking distribution deals.

This year saw the festival’s highest film sales after a bidding war ended with Paramount buying Chris Rock’s Top Five for a reported $ 12.5 million, organisers said. Forty-one film sales have been announced so far, including 24 major sales to US distributors.

- 100 jokes by 100 top comedians


World War Two

British Second World War bomb forces evacuation in Germany

September 9th, 2014

Germany is still littered with unexploded ordnance from the Second World War. The Allies dropped 2.7m tons of bombs on Germany between 1940 and 1944.

Estimates vary on how many failed to go off, but unexploded bombs are found almost weekly in Germany, and on average 2,000 tons of unexploded ordnance are found each year.

In January, a construction worker was killed when his mechanical digger accidentally triggered a bomb buried beneath a building site in western Germany.

Three bomb disposal workers were killed in 2010 when a bomb went off before they could defuse it, and in 2006 an autobahn construction worker was killed when his bulldozer hit an unexploded bomb.

In Germany’s largest ever peacetime evacuation, more than 45,000 people had to be cleared from Koblenz in 2011 after falling water levels on the Rhine revealed two massive unexploded RAF bombs.

In 2012, a 500-pound American bomb discovered in Munich was deemed too unsafe to move, and had to be detonated in situ.

The resulting explosion shattered windows over a wide area and caused structural damage to several homes.


World War Two

World’s last airworthy Lancaster Bombers fly over the Lake District

September 8th, 2014

The world’s last two airworthy Lancaster Bombers were filmed flying over Windermere in the Lake District on Sunday.

The flyover was organised in honour of Britain’s last surviving Bomber Command veteran, Archie Johnstone, of Grange-over-Sands, who died in April this year.

Vera and Thumper, the two planes seen in the footage, glided across Thirlmere reservoir in Cumbria before flying the length of Windermere.

The Bombers are famous for their ‘bouncing bombs’ used in Dambusters raids against German dams during World War Two.


World War Two

Hellraisers with deadly intent: the hard-living war heroes who captured a Nazi general

September 7th, 2014

Sophie remembered that whenever an agent left for the field, “there would be a big party and a car would call and those who were going to be parachuted into enemy territory left just like that, without a goodbye, without anything. We never allowed ourselves to be anxious. We believed that to be anxious was to accept the possibility of something dreadful happening to them.”

A few weeks after the bathroom conference, a German Junkers Ju 52 flew over the bright-blue Mediterranean towards Crete. On board was Major General Heinrich Kreipe, the newly appointed second in command of the island. The plane landed, Kreipe climbed from the aircraft and a soft breeze wafted the smell of thyme across the field. He was unaware that he had entered a trap that would soon spring shut, ruining his career, destroying his reputation and nearly costing him his life.

Meanwhile in Cairo, the New Year was seen in at Tara with high-octane revelry. The house was the hottest social spot in the city; its guests included diplomats, war correspondents and royalty.

Moss wrote in his diary about “the night we had the bullfight?.?.?. the night we broke 19 windows”. The bullfight in the ballroom ended with a blazing sofa being hurled through a window and a Polish officer was encouraged to shoot out the lights. For their Christmas lunch, Leigh Fermor cooked turkey stuffed with Benzedrine tablets. Sophie remembered that, in Poland, they had made liqueurs by adding soft fruit to vodka. She tried to recreate this with prunes and raw alcohol. After 48 hours, someone tried the cocktail and collapsed. Sophie complained that he should have waited for three weeks before drinking it.

Early in January, Paddy Leigh Fermor got clearance to carry out his plan to kidnap a Nazi general; Billy was to be his second in command and they were joined by two Cretan guerrillas, Manolis Paterakis, Leigh Fermor’s right-hand man, and George Tyrakis. The equipment list read like something out of an adventure comic and included pistols, bombs, coshes, commando daggers, knuckle-dusters, knock-out drops and suicide pills.

Moss remembered sitting around a small red lacquer table at the Tara farewell party, faces lit by four tall candles, drinking and singing, as they waited to leave on the first leg of the adventure. Just before sunrise, Billy McLean appeared, a shy, nearly naked figure. He presented them with the complete works of Shakespeare and The Oxford Book of English Verse, which he thought had brought him luck in Albania; he hoped that the books would work the same magic for his friends.

When they flew over the rendezvous, Leigh Fermor jumped first, and was greeted by a party of guerrillas and an SOE agent, Sandy Rendel. Suddenly the weather closed in and clouds hid the ground, making it impossible to drop the others – they arrived by motor launch nearly two months later.

They were met on the beach by what Moss thought was a group of pantomime pirates. One, filthy, unshaven and dressed in rags, shook his hand, saying: “Hello Billy. You don’t know me. Paddy will be along in a minute.” It was Rendel. Leigh Fermor wore clothes that included a bolero, a maroon cummerbund that held an ivory-handled pistol and a dagger. He told Moss: “I like the locals to think of me as a sort o’ duke.”

The next fortnight was spent in planning and wild living. Moss found that “wine takes the place of one’s morning cup of tea and one often drinks a liberal quantity before brushing one’s teeth”.


Gentleman warrior: Patrick Leigh Fermor on the roof of Tara in Cairo

The original target had been Lieutenant General Friedrich-Wilhelm Müller – “the Butcher of Crete” – but he had been transferred and his place taken by Kreipe. With the help of the Cretan underground intelligence, the kidnappers devised a plan to capture the general on his way home from his headquarters.

On the night of April 26 1944, Leigh Fermor and Moss, disguised as military policemen, flagged down the general’s car. As it stopped, the doors were torn open, 11 guerrillas leapt out of ditches along the sides of the road, and 90 seconds later, Kreipe was on his way towards Heraklion, handcuffed on the floor in the back of the Opel. Moss drove fast, bluffing the car through 22 German roadblocks, after which it was abandoned with a note saying that the abduction was a British commando initiative and that no Cretans were involved. Leigh Fermor hoped that this would stop any reprisals. Sometime that night, the guerrillas killed Kreipe’s driver.

It took nearly three weeks to get Kreipe to the rendezvous beach on the south coast. The kidnappers climbed Mount Ida, trudging above the snow line, over the summit and across some of the most rugged terrain in Europe. The general was dressed in the uniform he had put on for a quiet day at the office. Thousands of German soldiers surrounded the mountain, cutting off escape routes and access to the beaches. For several days, radio contact was lost with Cairo. When it was re-established, Leigh Fermor sent a signal that ended with the words “situation ugly”.

Sometimes the kidnap team passed within yards of enemy patrols, while in the distance they heard the thud of explosives as German engineers blew up villages. Throughout the journey, the kidnappers were led and protected by the guerrillas, who had risked their lives and those of their families to help the group escape. Kreipe was astonished at the loyalty and friendship shown towards the British. One guerrilla explained that “it is because the British are fighting for our freedom, while you Germans have deprived us of it in a barbarous way”.

Leigh Fermor and Moss developed a love-hate relationship with their captive. At one point, Kreipe looked at the snow-covered mountains and quoted from Horace; “Vides ut alta?.?.?.” Leigh Fermor knew the ode and completed it, thinking that, for an instant, the war had ceased to exist and finding a strange bond with the general. Kreipe spent a lot of time complaining that he was not well, causing Moss to lose his temper and shout at him to be quiet. He later wrote in his diary: “I could have killed him.”

On May 14, they reached the only rendezvous beach not occupied by German patrols. Near midnight, they heard the noise of a motor launch, but when they tried to flash the recognition signal “Sugar Baker”, Leigh Fermor and Moss realised that they did not know the Morse for Baker. They were saved by Dennis Ciclitira, another SOE agent who had been ordered to return to Cairo. He appeared, grabbed the torch and, shouting “bloody fools”, flashed the code.

By midnight, Kreipe and his kidnappers were at sea, heading for Egypt and eating lobster sandwiches. The general told his captors: “It’s all very well, but this hussar stunt of yours has ruined my career.”

Back in Cairo, Leigh Fermor and Moss went straight to Tara, where they were given a hero’s welcome. News of the kidnap flashed around the world and quickly became a sensation. Newspapers carried pictures of the gneral, his arm in a sling, chatting to a group of senior British officers. Leigh Fermor was decorated with a Distinguished Service Order and Moss won a Military Cross. Kreipe was taken to London and interrogated. The interviewing officer described him as “rather unimportant and unimaginative”. He spent the rest of the war in Canada and was released in 1947.

In 1945, Moss married Sophie and, in 1950, published his account of the kidnap. Kreipe sued him for defamation of character, and won an injunction stopping the book’s publication in Germany. For the rest of his life, Leigh Fermor agonised over two things: the death of Kreipe’s driver and whether the “hussar stunt” had brought reprisals on to the heads of his friends, the heroic people of Crete.

‘Kidnap in Crete’ by Rick Stroud (Bloomsbury) is published on Thursday, and available from Telegraph Books at £15.29 + £1.95 p&p. Call 0844 871 1514 or visit books.telegraph.co.uk


World War Two

‘We felt as if we were being let into the future’

September 6th, 2014

The restoration at Langham comes at a time when the British public are being treated to a host of activities to commemorate the country’s time at war. Last month, the UK joined the rest of the world in marking the outbreak of the First World War; and thousands are expected to turn out on Sunday in Preston, Windermere, Morecambe and Holmfirth in Yorkshire to watch a fly-past of the last two Lancaster bomber planes in existence. The bombers were the legendary stars of the Dambusters raids, in which 19 Lancasters attacked German dams with Sir Barnes Wallis’s “bouncing bombs” during the Second World War in 1943.

“We came up by train to Holt,” Martin remembers of his first journey to Langham seven decades ago. “I was in ground-to-air command on the signals side at RAF Debden in Essex. There must have been 20 or 30 of us brought in. We stayed in a Nissen Hut. I can still taste how terrible the food was. We spent some time in a classroom, learning how to assemble and disassemble a Browning, and some time on the beach at Weybourne [just along the coast from Langham], firing at a flag of material towed behind a radio-controlled plane. From memory, there were only three bullet holes in it when we’d finished, and probably more than that in the plane itself. Then we came in here to the dome. We were very excited. We felt as if we were being let into the future. It was a wonderful thing.”

In 1939 Henry Stephens of the Royal Navy’s School of Gunnery in Portsmouth had first come up with the new fangled concept of the “dome-trainer”. A film projector stood in the centre of a rounded concrete structure and, by ingenious use of moveable mirrors, beamed up an image of an attacking aircraft onto the curves of the ceiling. The trainee stood behind the projector, as Martin is now, with a dummy Browning, and fired at the target, all accompanied by realistic sound effects. An instructor would mark each effort hit or miss, and give advice on how to improve your aim.

“We all lined up along there,” Martin recalls. He points to the partition wall – restored to its original form – that carves out a small entrance hall to the Dome. “We stepped forward one by one and were all told that the thing to do was to fire in front of the plane, so it flew on to the bullets.”

Can he remember how well he scored back then? He laughs. The passage of time has apparently wiped away the tally. “All I can say is that I hope we all did better than on the beach. What it is making me remember, though, is how you always felt like you were on the front line here on these East Anglian bases. There were always planes flying off on missions and enemy plans flying overhead.”

It is that wartime atmosphere that the gleaming white semi-circular displays in the Tardis-like interior of the restored Langham Dome seek to capture. It is helped by three specially-commissioned short films that are shown on the role the region played in the battle for air supremacy, narrated by local resident, the actor Stephen Fry.

The extent to which East Anglia became one enormous airbase in those years quickly becomes apparent from the maps on show. There was a proliferation of RAF runways in just this one small, flat corner of Norfolk, a stone’s throw across the North Sea to Germany: Little Snoring, Bircham Newton, Docking, North Creake and Sculthorpe, all cheek-by-jowl with Langham.

Only Sculthorpe remains operational today, albeit in mothballs. The concrete runway that replaced Langham’s original grass strip was sold off after the base closed in 1958 to Bernard Matthews and still accommodates his turkey sheds. All around, trees have been planted and fields farmed. The old control tower remains – used today by the Bernard Matthews’ caretakers – but the distinctive shape once made on the landscape by RAF Langham is slowly but surely being eroded. “In another 20 years,” says Patrick Allen, local farmer and chairman of the Friends of Langham Dome, “you won’t even know there was ever an airfield here. That’s why we have fought so hard to preserve the Dome and open it.” In the grassy area behind it stands a memorial to all those who served and lost their lives at the base.

Not all signs of the site’s airborne past have been quite obliterated, however. Tucked away behind the turkey sheds, and next stop for Douglas Martin once he’s finished in the Dome, is a hanger that still contains two Tiger Moths, lovingly preserved by local resident Henry Labouchere, who is also vice-chairman of the Friends of Langham Dome.

Langham’s RAF past still has a resonance locally, he says, and that was part of the push to save the Dome. It really started gathering speed, Labouchere explains, back in 1986 when it was declared a Scheduled Ancient Monument by English Heritage. “Until then the Dome had been more or less abandoned. A lot of people driving past had no idea at all what it was. And if you did ever get the chance to look inside, as local youths occasionally managed to do, all you would have seen was a block and an old car.”

“I think the first push,” Allen adds, “came from another local resident, Air Commodore Bertie Wootten, who flew his Spitfire in the Battle of Britain. His wife was a district councillor and, every time they drove past the Dome, he’d say, ‘what are you going to do about that building?’ Once it had been declared a Scheduled Ancient Monument – the youngest, we believe, in the whole county – the parish council took up the challenge.”

With the help of local conservation charities, the Friends of Langham Dome was established, Bernard Mathews signed the building over, plans were drawn up and funding secured, not just for the restoration and the high-tech refit, but also for three years of running it as a visitor attraction.

Plans are well underway to arrange school visits in the autumn, and holidaymakers on the way to the beaches dropped in during the summer. Once Douglas Martin relinquishes his seat at Browning gun, there are plenty of youngsters, and dads, only too eager to try their hand at the recreated simulator and shoot down the procession of aircraft that looms up on the roof.

His return has put Douglas Martin reflective mood. “You know, I never actually got to use whatever skills I leaned here, “ he says. “I don’t think I ever fired an anti-aircraft gun again.”

His wartime service was spent in signals, latterly in Burma with the 14th Army as it liberated the country in a radar unit. “I have always feel ashamed at my service. So many people had it so much worse. The bomber crews in those planes” – he gestures up towards the images flying across the ceiling – “they had the worst job in the war. Fifty per cent of them didn’t survive. We should remember them.”

For more information visit langhamdome.org or contact development manager Kate Faire ?at kate@friendsoflanghamdome.org


World War Two

World War 2: Great Britain at war

September 5th, 2014

Premier sees the King

At 6 o’clock in the evening the King broadcast a rallying call to the Empire. An hour later Mr. Chamberlain had an audience of his Majesty. It was later announced that the Prime Minister has established a War Cabinet, consisting of eight members in addition to himself. It includes Mr. Winston Churchill, who has joined the Government as First Lord of the Admiralty, the post he held at the outbreak of war in 1914. Mr. Eden returns to the Government as Dominions Secretary, without a seat in the War Cabinet, to which he will have special access.

New chief of staff

It was also announced that the King has appointed:

Gen. Viscount Gort, V.C., Chief of the Imperial General Staff, to be Commander-in-Chief of British Field Forces;

Gen. Sir Edmund Ironside to succeed as Chief of the Imperial General Staff; and

Gen. Sir Walter Kirke to be Commander-in-Chief of Home Forces.

False raid alarm

Half an hour after Britain entered the war there was an air raid warning. It proved to be a false alarm, but it provided a test for the machinery.

An Order in Council makes to-day a banking holiday and no savings bank business will be transacted.

New regulations for motorists provide that the running boards and bumpers of cars must be painted white. Petrol is to be rationed from Sept. 16.

The Admiralty announced that all British merchant ships are liable to be examined for contraband. The Navy is at the war stations in full strength, supplemented by armed merchant ships as auxiliary cruisers. The naval convoy system has already been reintroduced.

Hitler is to take over supreme command of the German forces on the Eastern front. In a proclamation to the German people he found it necessary to state that whoever offended against national unity “need expect nothing other than annihilation as an enemy of the nation.”


World War Two