Girish Mahajan (Editor)

1941 in the United Kingdom

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1941 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 1941 in the United Kingdom. This year is dominated by World War II.



  • Monarch - George VI
  • Prime Minister - Winston Churchill (coalition)
  • Events

  • 9 January - The Avro Manchester Mark III BT308, prototype of the Avro Lancaster heavy bomber, first flies, from RAF Ringway.
  • 19 January - World War II: British troops attack Italian-held Eritrea.
  • 20 January - Firewatching mandatory for business premises, to limit incendiary damage.
  • 21 January - The Daily Worker, newspaper of the Communist Party of Great Britain, is suppressed by the (Labour) Home Secretary in the Churchill war ministry, Herbert Morrison (until September 1942) in view of its continuing pro-Soviet stance.
  • 21–22 January - Battle of Tobruk: Australian and British forces attack and capture Tobruk (Libya) from the Italians.
  • 31 January - Josef Jakobs a German spy, parachutes into the village of Ramsey, Cambridgeshire; he breaks his ankle on landing and is immediately arrested.
  • 5 February - Air Training Corps formed.
  • 11 February - RMS Queen Elizabeth begins her first voyage as a troopship, from Singapore.
  • 12 February - Reserve Constable Albert Alexander, a patient at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford, becomes the first person treated with penicillin intravenously, by Howard Florey’s team. He reacts positively but there is insufficient supply of the drug to reverse his terminal infection. A successful treatment is achieved during May.
  • 19 February - The start of the "three nights' Blitz" over Swansea, South Wales. 230 are killed and 409 injured.
  • 2 March - John Gilbert Winant takes up post as United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom in succession to Joseph P. Kennedy; he will serve for 5 years.
  • 11 March
  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Lend-Lease Act into United States law, allowing the country to supply military equipment to Britain.
  • Luftwaffe air raids on Manchester cause extensive damage to the city, a notable casualty being Old Trafford football stadium, home of Manchester United, which is severely damaged.
  • 13 March - Clydebank Blitz: bombing of Clydebank. 528 people die, 617 more were seriously injured, and hundreds more were injured by blast debris. Another 35,000 people were made homeless.
  • 15 March - Plymouth Blitz: bombing of Plymouth. 336 people lose their lives.
  • 27–29 March - Battle of Cape Matapan: Off the Peloponnesus coast in the Mediterranean, British naval forces defeat those of Italy sinking five warships.
  • 15 April - Belfast Blitz: Belfast is heavily bombed, killing 900 and injuring 1,500.
  • 18 April - Heaviest air-raid of the year on London.
  • 21 April - Greece capitulates. British troops withdraw to Crete.
  • 2–8 May - The 'May Week Raids'; sustained heavy bombing on Merseyside result in over 1,700 deaths and well over 1,000 injuries.
  • 6–7 May - Greenock Blitz: Greenock in Scotland is intensively bombed. 280 people are killed, and 1,200 more injured.
  • 9 May - The German submarine U-110 is captured by the Royal Navy in the North Atlantic with its Enigma cryptography machine and codebooks intact.
  • 10 May
  • The House of Commons is damaged by the Luftwaffe in an air raid.
  • Rudolf Hess parachutes into Scotland claiming to be on a peace mission.
  • 15 May - First British jet aircraft, the Gloster E.28/39, is flown at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire.
  • 17 May - Tipton, near Dudley in the midlands, is bombed by the Luftwaffe for the second time in sixth months, with a further six civilian deaths.
  • 24 May - In the North Atlantic, the German battleship Bismarck sinks HMS Hood killing all but three crewmen on what was the pride of the Royal Navy.
  • 26 May - In the North Atlantic, Fairey Swordfish biplanes from the carrier HMS Ark Royal fatally cripple the German battleship Bismarck in torpedo attack.
  • May - Meatless Woolton pie introduced.
  • 1 June - Clothes rationing introduced.
  • 4 June - Britain invades Iraq, the pro-Axis government there is overthrown.
  • June - Noël Coward's comedy Blithe Spirit is premiered at Manchester Opera House. Opening in London on 2 July, its run of 1,997 consecutive performances sets a record for non-musical plays in the West End theatre which will not be surpassed for more than twenty years.
  • 9 August
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill meet onboard ship at Naval Station Argentia, Newfoundland. The Atlantic Charter (released 14 August), setting goals for postwar international cooperation, is agreed as a result.
  • RAF pilot Douglas Bader taken prisoner by the Germans after a mid-air collision over France.
  • 12 August - Dudley, which suffered 10 fatalities in a landmine attack in November last year, suffers five more fatalities when a second landmine is dropped in the town.
  • 15 August - Josef Jakobs becomes the last person executed at the Tower of London when he faces execution by firing squad following conviction for an offence under the Treachery Act 1940.
  • 16 August - HMS Mercury Royal Navy Signals School and Combined Signals School opens at Leydene, near Petersfield, Hampshire.
  • 18 August - National Fire Service established.
  • 30 August - First official 'Shetland bus' clandestine mission using Norwegian fishing boats between Shetland and German-occupied Norway.
  • October - The first Ronald Searle cartoon to feature St Trinian's School is published, in the magazine Lilliput.
  • End October - President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt approves US$1bn in Lend-Lease aid to Britain.
  • 13 November - The aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal is hit by the German submarine U-81 off Gibraltar; she capsizes and sinks under tow the next day.
  • 5 December - Britain declares war on Finland, Hungary and Romania.
  • 8 December - The Battle of Hong Kong begins less than eight hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor when Imperial Japanese forces invade British Hong Kong. British Malaya is also attacked and there follows the declaration of war on Japan.
  • 10 December - Sinking of Prince of Wales and Repulse: Two Royal Navy capital ships, HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, are sunk by Japanese aircraft.
  • 18 December - National Service (No. 2) Act comes into effect: All men and women aged 18–60 are now liable to some form of national service, including military service for men under 51 and unmarried women between 20 and 30. The first military registration of 18½-year-olds takes place. The schedule of reserved occupations is abandoned.
  • 25 December
  • The Battle of Hong Kong ends after 17 days with surrender of the Crown colony of Hong Kong to the Japanese.
  • Sir Alan Brooke succeeds John Dill as Chief of the Imperial General Staff, an office he will hold until 1946.
  • 27 December
  • Winston Churchill becomes the first British Prime Minister to address a Joint session of the U.S. Congress.
  • British Commandos raid the Norwegian port of Vaagso, causing the Germans to reinforce the garrison and defenses.
  • Undated

  • Spring - Noël Coward composes the song London Pride.
  • British Red Cross begins (in London) to open wartime charity shops.
  • J. Arthur Rank purchases the Gaumont-British Picture Corporation, with its 251 cinemas and its subsidiary operations, Gainsborough Pictures and Lime Grove Studios.
  • Publications

  • Joyce Carey's memoir A House of Children, novel Herself Surprised and pamphlet The Case for African Freedom.
  • Agatha Christie's novels Evil Under the Sun (featuring Hercule Poirot) and N or M?.
  • T. S. Eliot's poem The Dry Salvages, third of the Four Quartets (in February New English Weekly).
  • Patrick Hamilton’s novel Hangover Square.
  • James Hilton's novel Random Harvest.
  • John Gillespie Magee, Jr.'s sonnet "High Flight".
  • The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.
  • John Pudney's poem "For Johnny".
  • Rebecca West's book Black Lamb and Grey Falcon.
  • Births

  • 5 January - Kevin Keelan, English footballer
  • 7 January
  • Iona Brown, British violinist and conductor (died 2004)
  • John E. Walker, English chemist, Nobel Prize laureate
  • 8 January - Graham Chapman, British comedian (died 1989)
  • 12 January - Long John Baldry singer (died 2005)
  • 26 January - Henry Jaglom, English director
  • 27 January - Beatrice Tinsley, English astronomer
  • 5 February - Gareth Williams, Baron Williams of Mostyn, politician
  • 10 February - Michael Apted, English film director
  • 26 February - Tony Ray-Jones, British photographer (died 1972)
  • 27 February - Paddy Ashdown, British Liberal Democrat politician
  • 4 March - Adrian Lyne, English film director
  • 26 March - Richard Dawkins, British scientist
  • 5 April - Dave Swarbrick, folk rock fiddle player (died 2016)
  • 7 April - Gorden Kaye, comic actor (died 2017)
  • 12 April - Bobby Moore, English football player and World Cup winning captain (died 1993)
  • 14 April - Julie Christie, actress
  • 23 April - Ed Stewart, English disc jockey (died 2016)
  • 11 May - Graham Miles, snooker player (died 2014)
  • 26 May - Ron Wallwork, English race walker
  • 8 June - Robert Bradford, Northern Irish footballer and politician (assassinated 1981)
  • 14 June - Mike Yarwood, impressionist and comedian
  • 11 July - Tommy Vance, English disc jockey (died 2005)
  • 4 August - Martin Jarvis, actor
  • 22 August - Barry Jackson, English track and field athlete
  • 23 August - Onora O'Neill, philosopher
  • 10 September - Christopher Hogwood, English conductor (died 2014)
  • 4 October - Jackie Collins, English-born novelist (died 2015)
  • 20 October - Anneke Wills, British actress
  • 31 October - Joy Grieveson, British sprinter
  • 18 November - David Hemmings, English actor (died 2003)
  • 5 December - Sheridan Morley, theatre critic (died 2007)
  • 18 December - Prince William of Gloucester
  • 24 December - John Levene, British actor
  • 31 December - Alex Ferguson, Scottish footballer and football manager
  • Deaths

  • 5 January - Amy Johnson, aviator (born 1903; aviation accident)
  • 8 January - Lord Robert Baden-Powell, soldier and founder of the Boy Scouts (born 1847)
  • 10 January - Frank Bridge, composer (born 1879)
  • 12 February - Charles Voysey, Arts and Crafts designer and domestic architect (born 1857)
  • 28 March - Virginia Woolf, writer (born 1882; suicide)
  • 5 April - Sir Nigel Gresley, railway engineer and steam locomotive designer (Flying Scotsman and Mallard) (born 1876)
  • 16 April - Josiah Stamp, 1st Baron Stamp, economist (born 1880; enemy action)
  • 23 May - Herbert Austin, 1st Baron Austin, car designer and manufacturer (born 1866)
  • 1 June - Sir Hugh Walpole, New Zealand-born novelist (born 1884)
  • 11 July - Sir Arthur Evans, archaeologist (born 1851)
  • 13 October - David Devant, stage magician (born 1868)
  • 7 November - Frank Pick, transport administrator and designer (born 1878)
  • References

    1941 in the United Kingdom Wikipedia

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