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31 May 1941
  • At 0200 hours, Dublin, Ireland was accidentally bombed by German bombers intending to hit Liverpool, England, United Kingdom; 28 were killed and 87 were wounded, while about 25 homes were destroyed and about 300 homes were seriously damaged. Germany would later offer compensation. ww2dbase [TH]
  • Destroyers HMAS Napier and HMAS Nizam embarked 1,510 troops at Sphakia, Crete, Greece and departed before dawn for Egypt; they were attacked by Axis aircraft en route, causing minor damage. At 0600 hours, cruiser HMS Phoebe, minelayer HMS Abdiel, and destroyers HMS Jackal, HMS Kimberley, and HMS Hotspur departed Alexandria, Egypt for Sphakia to evacuate more troops. On the same day, 54 senior level Allied officers, including General Freyberg, were evacuated from Crete by aircraft. ww2dbase [Balkans Campaign | CPC]
  • The mayor of Baghdad, Iraq surrendered to British Ambassador Sir Kinahan Cornwallis at the Washash Bridge. As a sign of good faith, the British allowed the Iraqi Army to return to their barracks, and all captured equipment were returned. Both sides released captured prisoners of war with the exception of German and Italian troops captured by the British. ww2dbase [Campaigns in the Middle East | CPC]
  • German submarine U-69 sank British ship Sangara at Accra harbor, Gold Coast at 0025 hours. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • German submarine U-38 sank Norwegian ship Rinda off Liberia at 0024 hours; 13 were killed, 18 survived and were rescued by British anti-submarine trawler HMS Pict. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • German submarine U-106 sank British ship Clan MacDougall near Cape Verde Islands at 0334 hours; 2 were killed, 85 survived. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • German submarine U-107 sank British ship Sire off Sierra Leone, British West Africa at 0739 hours; 3 were killed, 46 survived and were rescued by British corvette HMS Marguerite. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • German submarine U-147 sank British ship Gravelines 100 miles northwest of Ireland; 11 were killed, 25 survived and were rescued by British sloop HMS Deptford. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • German submarine U-204 sank small Icelandic fishing boat Holmsteinn northwest of Iceland at 0515 hours, killing the entire crew of 4. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Before dawn, German bombers attacked Merseyside, England, United Kingdom in the early hours of the day. ww2dbase [Battle of Britain | CPC]
  • Walther von Brauchitsch was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Kingdom of Hungary with Swords. ww2dbase [Walther von Brauchitsch | CPC]
  • After successfully escaping the Oflag IV-C prisoner of war camp at Colditz Castle, Germany earlier in the month, British Lieutenant Anthony "Peter" Allan failed to secure assistance from the US Consulate at Vienna in occupied Austria. Giving up, he turned himself in at a local police station and was eventually returned to Colditz. ww2dbase [Vienna | CPC]
  • In Crete, Greece, German Luftwaffe General Kurt Student issued an order authorizing reprisals against the civilian population, including women and boys, proven of involvement in fighting, committing sabotage, or mutilating or killing wounded soldiers. The reprisals were to consist of shooting, fines, burning villages or extermination of the male population. Several senior officers stormed out of the conference in protest of the order but there were a few officers who were quite prepared to lead execution squads. ww2dbase [Balkans Campaign | Kurt Student | Crete | AC]
  • Georgios Poulos and his group National Union of Greece was ordered by the police of Thessaloniki, Greece to cease the publication of the group's newspaper. ww2dbase [Georgios Poulos | Thssaloniki, Kentrik√≠ Makedon√≠a | CPC]
  • A Soviet decree stated that children of traitors could be criminally charged after they reached the age of 15. ww2dbase [CPC]
US Virgin Islands
  • US 22nd and 23rd Fighter Squadrons, both operating P-40 Warhawk fighters, was assigned to St. Croix Airfield, US Virgin Islands. ww2dbase [St. Croix Airfield | St. Croix | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 31 May 1941
Wounded British troops disembarking at an Egyptian port after being evacuated from Crete, Greece, 31 May 1941Map depicting the German assault on Crete, Greece, 20-31 May 1941

31 May 1941 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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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945

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