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World War II Database

3 Feb 1940
  • The first enemy aircraft to crash in England was a Heinkel He 111 aircraft shot down near Whitby, North Yorkshire by Flight Lieutenant Peter Townsend flying a Hurricane fighter of 43 Squadron. Two of the four German crewmen were killed. After the war Townsend became a household name for his ill-fated romance with Princess Margaret. ww2dbase [Battle of Britain | AC]
  • The British Air Ministry issued specification E.28/39 to the Gloster Aircraft Company to prepare an airframe for flight testing the pioneering W.1 gas turbine designed by Frank Whittle and built by Power Jets Ltd. ww2dbase [AC]
  • Japanese 26th Division captured Wuyuan, Suiyuan Province, China. ww2dbase [Battle of Wuyuan | CPC]
  • USS Helena departed Montevideo, Uruguay. ww2dbase [Helena (St. Louis-class) | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-58 chased Estonian vessel Reet for 13 hours, sinking her with torpedoes in the North Sea halfway between Stavanger, Norway & Aberdeen, Scotland, killing 18. ww2dbase [North Sea | CPC]
  • The 6,805-ton British steam merchant Armanistan carrying a mixed cargo of 8,500 tons including chemicals, iron rails, zinc and sugar to Basrah, Iraq was spotted in Convoy OG-16 when passing west of the river Tagus, Portugal by German submarine U-25 (Korvettenkapitän Viktor SchĂĽtze). The Armanistan was torpedoed and sunk, the crew reached the lifeboats and were taken on board the Spanish merchant ship Monte Abril and taken to the island of Tenerife of the Canary Islands. ww2dbase [CPC, HM]
United Kingdom
  • British minesweeper HMS Sphinx (J69; Commander John Robert Newton Taylor), damaged by German aircraft in the previous morning and being towed by HMS Halcyon, flooded, capsized, and sank. The wreck was later washed ashore north of Lybster and was sold for scrap. The wreck was later washed ashore north of Lybster and was sold for scrap. ww2dbase [Scotland | CPC, HM]
  • The Norwegian steam ship Tempo was on a voyage from Methil, Scotland, United Kingdom to Hull, England, United Kingdom with a cargo of paper. Being a neutral the ship was marked as such. She was attacked by three German aircraft as the ship passed close to the Longstone Lighthouse, seven miles off the coast. The first attack was with machine guns after which the aircraft attacked with bombs, one of which hit the stern of the Tempo. The captain immediately ordered the ship to be abandoned as the Tempo was sinking rapidly. A third pass over the ship was made in which four bombs were dropped near missing the freighter, the survivors reported that the aircraft then fired at the lifeboats only missing them by a metre. The bombers continued to circle the area for twenty minutes as the lifeboats headed for the shore however the boat under command of the first mate capsized in the heavy surf and five of the men were drowned, the sole survivor luckily being washed onto the beach. The other boat under command of the captain were picked up by a rescue vessel. An inquiry was held in Oslo, Norway where the attack was noted and the German authorities notified of the event. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | Bamburg, England | HM]

3 Feb 1940 Interactive Map

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, Hugh Martyr, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis




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Famous WW2 Quote
"We no longer demand anything, we want war."

Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939