January 1st, 1940
UNITED KINGDOM: AA cruiser HMS Coventry is damaged in an air raid on the Shetland Islands.
RAF Coastal Command: Three Coastal Command aircraft encountered two German aircraft 130 miles off east coast of Scotland and shot one down.
A royal proclamation extends the liability of men for military service to the age of 27. Call-up groups are based on year of birth. Men aged 19 will register, but will not be liable for service until they are 20. First to be summoned for service (on 1 March) are those aged 23, and other groups will soon follow. All those eligible will be in uniform by the end of the year.
Fifty women resign from the Auxiliary Fire Service in protest at being told to scrub floors.
Destroyer HMS Puckeridge laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
NORTH SEA: At 1058, SS Lars Magnus Trozelli was torpedoed and sunk by U-58 in the North Sea. The Norwegian SS Ask picked the survivors up the same day. (Dave Shirlaw)
FRANCE: Rail links with Spain are reopened, having been closed down three and a half years ago during the Spanish Civil War.
ITALY: Rome: Russia recalls its ambassador to Italy following anti-Soviet demonstrations in Rome.
COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: Strength of Philippine Army is only 468 officers and 3,697 enlisted men, including 300 men assigned to the single regiment of the 1st Division.
Quezon cuts defence Program. Franking privileges for Military Advisors office and Philippine Army headquarters ended. Number of trainees cut in half. 61 training camps closed, ROTC ended at all but one school, all further military construction and ordnance procurement terminated.
Lt Colonel Charles Willoughby appointed G-4 of the Philippine Department. (Marc Small)
Commissioned for Fisherman’s Reserve and returned to owners 1946 - HMCS Aristocrat, Leola Vivian and Meander. (Dave Shirlaw)
Day 489 January 1, 1941
Operation Compass. General OConnors Western Desert Force becomes 13th Corps. RAF continues bombing Bardia and Italian airfields at Tobruk, Derna and Benina.
In the Gibraltar Straits, British destroyers HMS Duncan, Firedrake, Foxhound, Jaguar & Hero stop a French convoy returning from Casablanca (steamer Chantilly, tankers Octane and Suroit plus Danish steamer Sally Maersk). HMS Jaguar shells Chantilly (2 killed, 4 wounded). The convoy is captured and taken to Gibraltar.