25th of October – On this Day Special



World War 1

25th of October 1917

VC Hero at Passchendaele

Passchendaele

The third battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) is now into a third month. The British currently hold Hill 60, a spoil heap on the Ypres-Comines railway. It was during this battle that 2nd Lieutenant Hugh Colvin from Burnley Earned his Victoria Cross. Colvin started his military career as a Private in the 8th (Royal Irish) Hussars serving in India and retired from the Army as a Major having earned his commission on the battlefield in 1917. He was commissioned into the 2nd Battalion the Cheshire Regiment, and attached to the 9th Battalion in which he won his V.C. for taking command of two companies when their commanding officers were killed and leading them in an assault against German machine gun posts under heavy fire.



World War 2

25th of October 1940

RAF Coastal Blitz

AVRO Manchester

RAF bombers swept the coast of occupied France in the biggest blitz to date. Aircraft were over occupied France for more than an hour protecting a convoy from German long range guns. At the same time, German Aircraft attacked the convoy, and the escorting ships opened up with everything at their disposal including anti-aircraft guns and Lewis Guns. None of the ships suffered a direct hit.



25th of October 1941

Naples Ablaze for Fourth Successive Night

RAF Wellington Bomber

Fires burning in the Italian city of Naples are still burning for a fourth successive night, as RAF bombers continue their campaign. For more than six hours the RAF kept up the attack dropping thousands of pounds of High Explosives. The port and railway were the main targets, the reason for which is though to be to prevent the city from being used as a supply depot for German and Italian forces in Libya.

25th of October 1942

Allies Smash Rommel’s Lines

British Tanks in Egypt

After the biggest artillery barrage of the war so far, British, Dominion and Allied infantry have smashed through Rommel’s outer defences in Egypt. Tanks have been brought up and fierce fighting is now under way inside the German lines. The artillery barrage was described by an eye witness as the biggest since the Battle of the Somme.

26th of October 1943

Red Army on the Hunt

Red Army Armour

The Germans are in full retreat in the East as an avalanche of Russians tanks pursue them. Reports say that the German soldiers are ditching weapons and even loot on the roadside as they flee the Red Army’s armour.

In other News

25th of October 1950

Atomic Scientists Show of Loyalty

Many foreign born scientists now working in Britain on Atom splitting and Atomic weapons projects have handed in their passports confining themselves to Britain in a show of loyalty to their adopted nation. Following the disappearance of one scientist, and the discovery that another was betraying secrets, a group of scientist met and decided on the gesture in order to prove their loyalty and dedication to the work.

25th of October 1960

Queen in near miss with Luftwaffe

Luftwaffe Sabre Fighter Aircraft

Three dramatic moves have been made following the news that two German Sabre jet fighters narrowly missed a 1000 m.p.h. collision with an aircraft carrying the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. The West German Government issued a formal apology through its embassy in London to the Queen on behalf of the Luftwaffe; a joint investigation was set up involving the RAF and the Luftwaffe to investigate the incident, and finally the Luftwaffe have opened an internal inquiry to identify the pilots, telling all officers to stand by, all night if necessary.

25th of October 1970

Freed Briton in “Spy” Riddle

Ship’s Officer Peter Crouch , held by the Chinese for two-and-a-half years, flew back to Britain and freedom and immediately became the centre of a “spy” mystery. The riddle that he posed on his homecoming; was he or was he not spying for the Navy?

At first he said that he was and that he had made notes on Chinese warships and that the Navy had asked him to, but he later changed his mind and said that the Navy hadn’t asked him to spy, and that his actions were all carried out on his own initiative.



On this Day in…

St. Pauls Bombed

10th October 1940

In a show of defiance, Evensong was sung in the crypt of bombed St Pauls Cathedral. The choir assembled in the shadows of the crypt beneath the ruined high altar which was hit during a night time Nazi bombing raid. Canon Alexander who was sleeping in the crypt when the bomb hit and had miraculously escaped injury.

St Pauls Cathedral

Canon Alexander told reporters “After the crash I hurried up the stairs, but the place was so thick with dust that for a while I couldn’t see anything.” “I suppose the damage could have been worse, but it was quite bad enough.”

Air Arm Hit Nazi Sea Lane

10th October 1941

Halifax Bomber of Coastal Command

Naval aircraft attacked German shipping and communications along the Soviet battlefront. The attack took place over the Vestfjord area of Norway leaving a 1,000 ton supply ship burning, a 1,500 ton ship abandoned, and two escort vessels were also hit. The attack also targeted pylons supplying the Germans on Grond Island.

The mission was deemed a success, no British aircraft were damaged, and all returned home safely.

Great Air Blitz Opens on Rommel

10th October 1942

Allied air forces carried out one of the heaviest concentrated blitzes ever known in the Western desert. During the day/night offensive they destroyed two advanced enemy aerodromes plus a German supply train carrying guns and ammunition. The attack was carried out by light bombers escorted by hundreds of fighters flown by British, Canadian, American, Australian, and South African pilots.

Kittyhawk (L) and Spitfires on the Ground in the Desert (R)

Hundreds of tons of high explosive ordnance was dropped without the loss of a single bomber. The bombers were protected by formations of Kittyhawk fighters, and Spitfires which successfully fought off repeated attempts to intercept the allied formations.