21 Aug 1940
  • Joseph Stalin's political enemy Leon Trotsky died of severe brain damage as the result of the previous day's assassination attempt by undercover NKVD agent Ram√≥n Mercader. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • German armed merchant cruiser Widder sank British collier Anglo Saxon 1,000 miles west of Africa. Survivors in lifeboats were machine gunned. In total, 34 crew members were killed. 7 survivors got away in a lifeboat, but would not reach land, Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas, 2,500 miles away, for 71 days; by that time, only 2 were still alive. One of the survivors, Able Seaman Robert Tapscott, would later provide testimony to convict Captain Ruckteschell of Widder as a war criminal. ww2dbase [Widder | CPC]
  • Italian submarine Dandolo damaged Dutch tanker Hermes 200 miles west of Lisbon, Portugal. ww2dbase [First Happy Time | CPC]
  • Destroyers USS Walke and USS Wainwright arrived at Par√°, Brazil. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Douglas Bader shot down a German Do 17 aircraft off Great Yarmouth, England, United Kingdom. ww2dbase [Douglas Bader | CPC]
  • Iride, with four manned torpedoes on board intended for an attack on British ships in Alexandria in Egypt, was sunk by British torpedo bombers in the Gulf of Bomba off Libya. ww2dbase [Iride | CPC]
Netherlands
  • Tsingtau departed for Rotterdam, the Netherlands. ww2dbase [Tsingtau | Rotterdam | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • The United Kingdom House of Commons authorized foreign troops of occupied nations to conduct training in Britain under their own flags. ww2dbase [London, England | TH]
  • Bad weather prevented large formations of German bombers from forming, so the German Luftwaffe dispatched only small one- to two-aircraft raids against coastal Britain. On this day, 1 Hurricane fighter was shot down, 2 RAF personnel were killed on the ground, and 40 RAF personnel were wounded; 4 civilians were killed, and 178 were wounded; several merchant ships were damaged or sunk. On the German side, 13 bombers were shot down. ww2dbase [Battle of Britain | England | CPC]
  • Violette Bushell and √Čtienne Szabo were married at the Aldershot Register Office in Manor Park, Aldershot, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom. ww2dbase [Violette Szabo | Aldershot, England | CPC]

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, Hugh Martyr, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis




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Famous WW2 Quote
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

Winston Churchill, on the RAF