On This Day…December 10th.
The Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the battlecruiser HMS Repulse were sunk by repeated attacks from Mitsubishi GM3’s (‘Nell’) and GM4’s (‘Betty’) torpedo bombers. 840 men died in total.
A report from the London Gazette newspaper by Flt Lt Vigors read…
“It was obvious that the three destroyers were going to take hours to pick up those hundreds of men clinging to bits of wreckage and swimming around in the filthy, oily water. Above all this, the threat of another bombing and machine-gun attack was imminent. Every one of those men must have realised that. Yet as I flew around, every man waved and put up his thumb as I flew over him. After an hour, lack of petrol forced me to leave, but during that hour I had seen many men in dire danger waving, cheering and joking, as if they were holiday-makers at Brighton waving at a low-flying aircraft. It shook me, for here was something above human nature.
Polish pilots of 303 squadron watch their comrades taking off in Hurricanes, December 10th, 1940.
An iconic photo of F4U-1A Corsair(s) of Marine Squadron VMF-216 at Bougainville, Solomon Islands, 10 Dec 1943. Note the metal Marston Mat, properly named ‘pierced (or perforated) steel planking (PSP)’
Russian farmers handing over KV-1S tanks built with their donations to Soviet Army, Moscow, Russia, 10 Dec 1942.