Source 1 Timeline 1939-1941







Conscription introduced

27 April


Evacuation of children started; German invasion of Poland.

1 Sept


One and a half million people evacuated 1-3 September

2 Sept

Walberswick School re-opened for reception of evacuated children. 32 mothers, babies and children arrived.

Britain declares war on Germany. First air raid siren sounds in London.

3 Sept

Another party of evacuees arrived. First air raid siren on the east coast sounds at Southwold


14 Sept

Circular for parents on air raid precautions during school hours


18 Sept

Walberswick School has 45 children on the roll

Petrol rationing begins

22 Sept



Late Sept

School windows being covered with brown paper and cellophane as protection for the children from window splinters

HMS Royal Oak torpedoed by a German U boat in Orkneys, 833 lives lost

13/14 Oct



27 Oct

11 evacuated children left Walberswick to return home



 Food rationing introduced

8 January


Heavy anti-aircraft batteries in place in Felixstowe



 Meat rationing starts



German aircraft carrying two parachute mines crashed into a house in Clacton, Essex killing its 4 crew. One of the mines exploded and killed Mr and Mrs Gill - the first civilian casualties of the war

30 April


Nazis invade Denmark, Denmark surrenders, Norway Campaign

April  - May

"A" and "C" Companies the South Lancashire Regiment at Walberswick.

558 Company Royal Engineers arrive to support 164 Infantry Brigade - building coastal defence works.

German forces advance into Holland (neutral), and landed in Belgium, Winston Churchill becomes Britain's Prime Minister

10 May

Warning that invasion was possible received. Code Word (a) issued.

Air raid warnings "yellow" in force at Kessingland, Wrentham and Southwold.

"A" Company Emergency Platoon takes up position at Darsham

"C" Company road block party in position.


11 May

Conference of Company Commanders at Battalion HQ. Issue of orders to take up war positions. "C" Company at Walberswick.


12 May

Battalion commence to dig in and wire. Standing to daily for half an hour at 0330 and 2115 hours.

German troops cross into France

13 May


Holland surrenders

14 May

School re-opened after all holidays cancelled. Children told to bring gas masks daily.

Formation of the Local Defence Volunteers LDV

19 May



20 May

Flooding of marshes started and completed at Walberswick. Bridges over dykes removed or destroyed. Entrance to River Blyth at Walberswick blocked by means of block-ships.


25 May

"A" Company moved to Dunwich

Belgium sues for peace

27 May


Sir Edmund 'Tiny' Ironside appointed Commander in Chief Home Forces - introduced notion of a system of static defences to delay invading German troops on the beaches

27 May


Evacuation of British, French and Belgian troops from Dunkirk 350,000 troops evacuated in Operation Dynamo

Churchill's "we shall fight on the beaches" speech

26 May - 4 June


30 May

On orders received from Brigade the Battalion manned all positions and road blocks during the hours of darkness.

31 May

Bridge mined at Point 906933. Battalion strength 901 men.

1 June

All companies busy digging and wiring their defensive positions. Have had uninterrupted sunny weather for a month.


9 June

Battalion completes firing of the Bren Gun and every man has now been through the Gas Chamber.


15 June

Operation Posts set up in the lighthouse at Southwold and on top of the church at Walberswick


18 June

164 HQ moved to Darsham House. Great improvement in defences, construction of concrete pillboxes and anti-tank blocks, laying of minefields and underwater obstacles.


19 June

Enemy bombing raids begin. More than 100 bombs dropped during next two weeks but no casualties and no damage.

Following the fall of Paris, France signs an armistice with Germany and Germany occupies Northern France

22 June


Channel Islands invaded by Germany

28 June - 4 July



31 June


Ironside retires. King visits Felixstowe.




3 July

Daylight air raid, aircraft drop bombs but no air raid warning given.

Hitler issued a directive ordering the preparation of, and if necessary, the execution of a plan for the invasion of Great Britain - Operation Sealion

16 July



17 July

Air raid warning sounds at 10am.

LDVs become known as the Home Guard, a phrase coined by Winston Churchill - by end July 1.5 million men had volunteered

23 July


Battle of Britain

July - Sept


Chief of the Luftwaffe, Hermann Göring issued the Eagle Day directive, a plan of massive attacks from the air to destroy British air power and open the way fro an invasion of Britain

2 August


German bombing raids began involving up to 1500 aircraft a day against British fighter airfields and radar stations

8 August


Nearly 40 enemy dive-bombers with fighter escorts attack the airbase at Martlesham Heath near Woodbridge

15 August


Night and day attacks by Luftwaffe over East Anglia, 398 bombs dropped during daylight and 98 bombs and 300 incendiaries at night

18 August


3 major raids on Kent, London and East Anglia by 250 aircraft in 5 waves

31 August


British bombing raid on Berlin, Hitler redirects air attacks from Fighter Command onto London and other cities



By mid-Sept British had won the Battle of Britain and Hitler postponed Operation Sealion until further notice.

17 Sept



30 Sept

8.45 am air raid warning sounds.

London and surrounding areas bombed nightly from early September until mid November.




3 - 4 November

200 Field Company (Co) Royal Engineers (RE) arrive to relieve 558 Field Co. RE. which leaves Suffolk after 6 months of building coastal defence works.




4 January

Armed reconnaissance flights over Orford and Southwold, with Southwold machine-gunned by German plane


6 January

British sea mine washed up against Southwold Pier, blowing away one bay of the pier. School re-opened with 18 on the roll. Air raid warning at 9.25.


7 January

Air raid warning 12.25.


21-22 January

Two days of aircraft flying over and bombs dropping in neighbourhood.

Yarmouth, Leiston, Orford among places attacked fro the air




21 February

Air raid alert at 8.15

War Weapons Week

24 March

Walberswick war saving group raised £1058/6/6


29 March

Air raid on a Saturday


2 April

Children spend much of the morning under their shelters while enemy aircraft are overhead



Sandbagging part of the school as an air raid shelter being carried out by the military stationed in the village


11-12 May

Air raid during the night and into the early hours of the morning

Clothes rationing begins