Home Guard volunteers learn essential phrases to use should they catch a German invader.
War in Britain!
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01/01/1940 Conscription extended to 20 - 27 in Britain.
05/01/1940 Hore-Belisha resigns as Secretary of State for War and is replaced by Oliver Stanley.
08/01/1940 Rationing of butter, sugar and bacon begins in Britain.
15/01/1940 Nearly twice as many Britons have been killed on the roads since blackout started than by enemy action.
31/01/1940 Sir John Simon announces food subsidies are running at 1,000,000 per week.
 
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22/02/1940
Two IRA bombs explode in London, injuring 12 people.
 
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03/04/1940 War Cabinet reshuffle, Churchill to chair committee directing general war policy.
05/04/1940 British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, tells the British people that Hitler has ‘missed the bus’, meaning that a German invasion of the west is now unlikely to succeed.
12/05/1940 The British government authorises the internment of Germans living in Britain.
15/04/1940 British unemployment falls to 973,000, lowest figure since 1920.
23/04/1940 Budget Day raises taxes on beer by 1d, whisky up 1/9d (9p) and postage up 1d. Estimates of the 1940 war expenditure as 2,000 million criticised by MPs for being too low.
24/04/1940 Commons approves trade agreement with Spain, first since Spanish Civil War.
25/04/1940 New evacuation scheme introduced in Britain as a Ministry of Health survey shows that only 8% of eligible children have been registered; 19% of parents refused to do so; 73% did not bother to reply.
 
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01/05/1940 Amalgamated Engineering Union agrees to allow women workers in munitions factories.
05/05/1940 Norwegian government-in-exile established in London.
08/05/1940 Opposition censure motion against Chamberlain’s conduct of the war; rejected by 281 to 200, but over 30 government MPs vote for it.
09/05/1940 Age for conscription in Britain is raised to 36.
10/05/1940 Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigns and is replaced by the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, who forms a coalition government from all three main parties.
11/05/1940 King signs proclamation canceling the Whitsun holiday.
13/05/1940 The Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth gives support to Churchill’s government by 2,413,000 votes to 170,000. Churchill makes ‘blood, sweat, tears and toil’ speech. Queen Wilhelmina and the Dutch royal family arrive in London.
14/05/1940 The British Secretary of State for War, Anthony Eden calls for volunteers to form the Local Defence Volunteers force (LDV).
15/05/1940 An official announcement by the British government says that the weekly butter ration will be reduced from 8oz to 4oz per head.
21/05/1940 Its announced that over 250,000 men enrolled into the LDV in just the first 24 hours.
23/05/1940 Sir Oswald Mosley and other British fascists arrested. 76 IRA men arrested in Northern Ireland.
25/05/1940 Trade Union executives accept Nye Bevan’s manpower mobilisation plan, setting up Labour Supply Board and Production Council.
26/05/1940 General Sir John Dill is appointed Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Sir Edmund Ironside becomes C-in-C, Home Defence. Empire Day in Britain is declared as a national day of prayer. Coastal towns from Great Yarmouth to Folkestone are declared evacuation areas.
27/05/1940 The British sugar ration is reduced from 12oz to 8oz per head.
 
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01/06/1940 All signposts which might be helpful to parachutists landing in Britain taken down. Unemployment in Britain falls 92,000 in May to 881,000, giving a total fall of 611,000 in a year.
03/06/1940 All aliens and stateless persons living in Britain are forbidden to leave home between 10:30pm and 6am. Churchill orders the setting up of commando forces to be used for raiding occupied Europe.
04/06/1940 Churchill tells Commons 'We shall fight on the beaches, in the fields, in the streets and in the hills. We shall never surrender.' Holiday camps are banned within 10 miles of east and south-east coasts of England and Isle of Wight.
05/06/1940 Home Defence commander Ironside announces the creation of the ‘lronsides’, small groups of highly mobile, armed men for defence against parachutists.
06/06/1940 Production of hundreds of household goods banned in Britain. All Germans and Austrians living in UK ordered to surrender their wireless sets.
11/06/1940 Householders in possession of Anderson shelters must by law have them up and earthed by today.
12/06/1940 General Sir Edmond Ironside, C-in-C of British Home Forces, completes plans for the defense of Britain against German invasion.
17/06/1940 Churchill broadcasts to the nation, saying the British will defend their island home and fight on until the curse of Hitler is removed. Unemployment in Britain falls 114,000 in May to new low of 767,000.
18/06/1940 Churchill speaks to Commons, declaring ‘let us so bear ourselves that . . . men will still say, "This was their finest hour". General de Gaulle forms the French National Committee in London and vows to continue the war on the side of Britain, saying that ‘France has lost a battle, but France has not lost the war.’
19/06/1940 The British Jockey Club announces no more racing until further notice. ‘If invaders come’ leaflet is issued by Ministry of Information to all British households.
20/06/1940 Both Houses of Parliament meet in secret session to discuss Home Defence.
22/06/1940 Second London County Council evacuation scheme completed, with 100,000 children moved to the West Country and Wales.
26/06/1940 De Gaulle forms French Volunteer Legion in Britain.
28/06/1940 British government recognises de Gaulle as leader of ‘Free French’. Channel Islands demilitarised and partially evacuated.
30/06/1940 Germans troops land on Guernsey in the Channel Islands.
 
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01/07/1940 German troops occupy Jersey and complete the capture of the Channel Islands, the only British territory ever captured by Germany during World War 2. British milk price maximum is raised to 4d a pint.
02/07/1940 August Bank holiday cancelled in Britain.
04/07/1940 In the House of Commons, prime minister Churchill declares,' I leave the judgment of our actions with confidence to Parliament. I leave it to the nation and I leave it to the United States. I leave it to the world and to history.'
08/07/1940 British Metropolitan Police to be armed when guarding vulnerable positions.
09/07/1940 Commons passed War Credits of 1,000,000,000. Tea rationing of 2oz per head per week introduced in Britain.
10/07/1940 Birthday Honours list includes only service recipients. British Union Party (Fascists) banned.
14/07/1940 To celebrate Bastille Day, de Gaulle and Free French lay wreaths at Cenotaph in London. Churchill broadcasts that Hitler must recast his invasion plans. British commandos launch a raid against Guernsey in the Channel Islands, with negligible results.
15/07/1940 Unemployment in Britain up 60,431 in June to 827,266, but still down half a million on June 1939. Home Office bans fireworks, kite and balloon flying.
19/07/1940 General Sir Alan Brooke takes over from Ironside as C-in-C, Home Forces. Ironside becomes a Field Marshal.
21/07/1940 Czech government-in-exile established in London under Dr. Benes.
22/07/1940 Lord Halifax rejects Hitler’s ‘peace proposals’. The Special Operations Executive (SOE) is created in order to encourage resistance across occupied Europe.
23/07/1940 Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Kingsley Wood announces the third War Budget, with income lax up 1d to 8s 6d in the , beer up 1d a pint, purchase tax introduced for first time at 33% on luxuries, war expenditure for the next year estimated at 3,470,000,000. Secretary of War announces that Local Defence Volunteers to be called the Home Guard, more than 1,300,000 now enrolled.
 
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01/08/1940 British Order in Council declares the start of the grouse shooting season to be August 5th instead of the 12th.
02/08/1940 Lord Beaverbrook appointed to War Cabinet.
03/08/1940 Churchill warns nation against believing rumours that invasion threat is over.
08/08/1940 British forces pay increased by 6d per day; privates’ pay up to 17s 6d a week.
12/08/1940 Wasting food becomes illegal in Britain.
14/08/1940 Ministry of Home Security announces that parachutes had been hound in Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Scotland, but no evidence of Germans discovered.
19/08/1940 Whole of Britain declared a defence area.
21/08/1940 Commons allows nationalist forces of Poland, Norway, Belgium, Holland, France and Czechoslovakia to train in Britain under their own flags.
 
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07/09/1940 The codeword "Cromwell" is passed nation-wide, and church bells ring out in warning that a German invasion may be underway.
08/09/1940 National ‘day of prayer’ proclaimed in Britain.
09/09/1940 German guns shell Dover.
19/09/1940 Minister of Labour Ernest Bevin announces that until the end of August 51,261 men had registered as conscientious objectors.
24/09/1940 Plans to evacuate mothers as well as children from Blitz areas announced; 444,000 children already evacuated from London area. Petrol goes up to 2s & 2d per gallon.
 
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03/10/1940 Chamberlain resigns as Lord President of the Council through ill health, and cabinet is reshuffled with Sir Kingsley Wood, the Chancellor, and Ernie Bevin, Minister of Labour joining War Cabinet.
08/10/1940 Churchill makes statement to Commons and claims that the Germans have the capability to ‘throw 500,000 men onto salt water or into it’.
09/10/1940 Churchill is unanimously elected leader of the Conservative Party.
24/10/1940 British Summer Time to be continued throughout winter.
26/10/1940 Ministry of Food subsidises fish and chip shops to encourage potato consumption.
28/10/1940 Ministry of Health announces evacuation of 489,000 more children from London area.
 
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06/11/1940 Under-Secretary for War announces measures to give Home guard more permanent shape and better equipment without changing its ‘local and friendly character’.
24/11/1940 Treasury cancels Boxing Day Bank Holiday.
 
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05/12/1940 McGovern’s ILP peace amendment is rejected by House of Commons, 341 votes to 4.
17/12/1940 Home Office announces third German spy hanged at Pentonville Prison. Winchester housewife sentenced to death for spying. Rations increased temporarily in Britain for Christmas week.
23/12/1940 Anthony Eden becomes Foreign Secretary.
 

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