Posts Categorized: Caithness at War Blog

Caithness at War Blog

Caithness at War: Week 39

On 27 May “Operation Dynamo” got underway, the evacuation of Allied forces from the Dunkirk beachhead. The operation would last into next week, by which time almost 340,000 men would have escaped to England, of whom 139,000 were French. On 28 May Belgium surrendered to Germany and King Leopold was interned. Meanwhile fighting continued in… Read more »Read more

Caithness at War: Week 38

It took the German forces less than a month to overrun Western Europe. Luxembourg and Holland had already surrendered, and now the Allied armies in Belgium were trapped, cut off by the German “blitzkrieg” in a gradually shrinking pocket; Amiens, Abbeville and Calais were all captured by German troops this week. On Saturday 25 May… Read more »Read more

Caithness at War: Week 37

The German invasion of Western Europe gathered momentum this week. Holland tried to defend its borders, blowing up bridges and flooding lowland areas, but after the bombing of Rotterdam on May 14 had left 800 dead and 78,000 homeless the Dutch Government fled to Britain and the country surrendered. On 17 May German troops occupied… Read more »Read more

Caithness at War: Week 36

On Friday 10th May the long-awaited German invasion of Belgium, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands finally began. By that evening Neville Chamberlain had resigned as Prime Minister and Winston Churchill had been sworn in as his successor. By the end of the week German forces had overrun Luxembourg and were attacking through the supposedly impassable… Read more »Read more

Caithness at War: Week 35

In Norway the German advance continued, and so did the fighting. It was a confused situation, with British and French troops still being landed in some places while others were being evacuated elsewhere. But by the end of this week Norwegian resistance in the south and centre of the country had effectively ended, leaving the… Read more »Read more

Caithness at War: Week 34

Over in Norway British and French forces moved on Trondheim but were pushed back by German opposition. On 27 April the Allies abandoned attempts to take Trondheim and began to evacuate their troops from the area, though fighting continued elsewhere. In Caithness, schools kept up their regular air raid drills. Pulteneytown Academy School log book… Read more »Read more

Caithness at War: Week 33

Having secured the surrender of Denmark the previous week German forces now continued their advance into Norway. They took Oslo and Trondheim and turned inland; Norwegian forces, initially overwhelmed, began to put up a fierce resistance and managed to slow the German advance but not stop it. Meanwhile British and French troops had landed in… Read more »Read more

Caithness at War: Week 32

This week the German invasion of Norway and Denmark finally began, and Britain’s so-called “Phoney War” came to an end. On 9 April the Germans captured a number of Norwegian ports and took Oslo. Denmark was overrun and surrendered. On the 11 and 13 British forces won two battles against German ships at Narvik, and… Read more »Read more

Caithness at War: Week 31

April was the month when the Phoney War finally turned into real war. Germany had long been planning an invasion of Denmark and Norway, and on Wednesday 3 April the first German ships set sail for the invasion; the actual attack would come next week. On Friday British ships left Scapa Flow to mine Norwegian… Read more »Read more

Caithness at War: Week 30

As March 1940 came to an end, and the Allies waited to see where Germany would strike next, Britain and France agreed on 28 March that neither country would make a separate peace with Germany. Meanwhile both sides were planning to violate Norwegian neutrality: Britain and France intended to mine Norwegian waters to interrupt the… Read more »Read more