John F. Hanley

  • Timeline for the Fall of France in 1940

    THE LAST BOAT begins with the sinking of HMT Lancastria on 17th June and ends with the German Occupation of Jersey on 1st July

    I will be posting updates to mark the 80th anniversary of these events on a daily basis.


    12th March – Lt Allier succeeds in transferring the world's entire supply of heavy water (185 kg) in twenty-six purpose-built 7 litre cans from Vemork in Norway via Scotland to Paris under the noses of German agents.

    8th April – British and French forces land in Norway to protect its neutrality

    9th April – German forces invade Norway and Denmark to protect their neutrality!

    10th May – 05:35 German forces invade Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. The BEF's response is to leave their well-prepared defensive positions in a futile attempt to save Belgium.

    15th May – French Prime Minister, Paul Reynaud, telephones Churchill and tells him the war is lost!

    16th May – Churchill flies to Paris to stiffen French resolve and ask about their strategic reserve. General Gamelin replies that there isn't one.

    27th May – The evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk (Operation Dynamo) begins

    4th June – German troops reach the beaches at Dunkirk. In total 338,226 men have been rescued including about 120,000 French and Belgium troops most of whom are then repatriated to German POW camps!

    9th June – Jersey Defence Volunteer Force formed with 1,500 volunteers.

    11th June – The Italians enter the war on Germany's side.

    13th June – Germans enter Paris that evening.

    15th June – British troops and stores arrive in Jersey for the island's defence.

    General De Gaulle's plane stops off at Jersey airport to refuel on his way to London from Bordeaux . De Gaulle has dinner at St Peter's Country Inn and leaves with a case of Johnny Walker whisky!

    16th June – De Gaulle and Churchill propose an Anglo-French Union (to form one nation.) Reynaud fails to persuade the French Council of Ministers and resigns. The retired hero of the Great War, 84 year old Marshall Philippe Pétain, takes over the government and asks the Germans for an armistice.

    17th June –

    First boats from St Helier Yacht club arrive in St Malo to evacuate troops to waiting ships.

    The Lancastria sunk off St Nazaire.

    'Mad Jack' Howard commandeers the collier Broompark in Bordeaux and escapes with the world's entire supply of "heavy water" L’Eau Lourde or deuterium oxide D20 to England.

    18th June – Germans take Rennes and Cherbourg.

    De Gaulle broadcasts to France from the BBC in London and tells his compatriots to fight on and RESIST

    20th JuneFrench ask Italians for an armistice

    Last British troops leave Jersey on the SS Malines

    Royal Jersey Militia leaves the island on the SS Hodder

    23,000 people register for evacuation from Jersey

    Admiral Karl-Georg Schuster (Commanding Admiral, France) informed by Berlin that 'the occupation of the Channel Islands [is] urgent and important'.

    21st June – The Lieutenant Governor leaves Jersey

    22nd June – The French finally sign the Armistice agreement with the Germans.

    23rd June - Last official civilian evacuation boats leave Jersey. A total of 6,600 out of a population of 50,000 are transported to the UK.

    26th June – British Chiefs of Staff consider whether Foreign Office should inform German government about the islands' demilitarisation.

    28th June – Luftwaffe bombs and strafes Jersey and Guernsey

    30th June – British Foreign Office asks Joseph Kennedy, US Ambassador in London, to transmit notification of demilitarisation to German government.

    1st July

    Guernsey occupied.

    Ultimatum dropped on Jersey.

    First units of occupation forces arrive.



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