Eighty years on. 9th December 1939


Two hundred Polish Jews, the survivors of 1800 who had set out a week previously from Chelm and Hrubieszow in the German-occupied west of Poland, reached the comparative safety of the Soviet zone.

Bad weather temporarily halted the Russian bombing of the Finnish capital Helsinki.  Moscow discovered that the Italians were sending military supplies to Finland.

King George VI visited British soldiers in the front line trenches in France.  Coincidentally the first British soldier was killed on the western front.  He was Thomas Priday of the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry.

Game day 100

Finland moved fresh infantry to confront the Russian invaders, blocking the route to Helsinki.  They remained in defence.

Eighty years on. 8th December 1939


In Washington the U.S. Government protested the British blockade of Germany, claiming that it interfered with the rights of neutral nations to trade freely.

In Rome the Fascist Grand Council reasserted its Axis alliance with Germany, but voted not to join in the current conflict against Britain and France.

Game day 99. China

Three infantry battalions were rushed back towards the north to help stop the Japanese advance through Peking to Kwangtung.  The other infantry corps of six battalions continued towards Kwangtung to retake Shanghai.  Two new infantry corps were deployed; one in China and one in Singkiang.

Eighty years on. 7th December 1939


Italy again declared its neutrality. Norway, Sweden, and Denmark also proclaimed neutrality in the Russo-Finnish conflict

In Finland a Russian division broke through the Mannerheim line to the town of Suomissalmi.

Suomissalmi, Finland, from a contemporary atlas

In Paris King George VI lunched with French President Lebrun and his Prime Minister, Eduoard Deladier.  In Chichester his wife, Queen Elizabeth, lunched with two hundred evacuee children from London.  She enjoyed a meal of stewed steak and potatoes, followed by jam tart.

Game day 98. Japan

Japanese armour and fighters attacked Peking once more.  The Chinese lost five infantry battalions but the Japanese lost two armoured battalions and two fighter squadrons.  The Chinese fell back to the south.

Japan transported an infantry corps to Manchuria (Manchukwo) and raised a new infantry corps near Tokyo.

Eighty years on. 6th December 1939


In Poland, it was reported that the SS had murdered the inmates of two mental asylums at Chelm and Stralsund.

Game day 97.  Britain

A convoy of 5 merchantmen left Boston bound for Britain carrying raw materials for industrial production.  The flotilla of 4 warships sailed south to meet them and escort them home.

Sparky says…

Sparky says: “Today we went on a BUS, more than one times. A BUS is a bit like THE CAR, but you don’t have a comfy den with a bowl of water and because Sparkys are not allowed on the chairs you can’t see out of the windows. And the BUS keeps going stop – hisssss – start, so Sparky hid under HIS chair and went shiver-shiver-shiver until we got off.

Sparky doesn’t like the BUS but if HE is with Sparky it will be OK and Sparky will try again another day.

The Pedant Revolts

A word that I keep hearing nowadays is “preorder” (or “pre-order”, as you prefer). I know that both version are is in the dictionary, defined as an order for something not yet available, but to me it is a redundant word and its use annoys me.

An order is a request for an action or delivery at a future time. And even “immediately” is in the future from the time when the order is placed. Therefore, logically, pre-order must refer to the time before the order is issued.

If I go to a restaurant and ask for a meal to be cooked, I “order” the meal. I do not “pre-order” it, even if it is not yet available – and I hope that it will be prepared to order.

The same principle applies if I wish to buy a book that is not yet complete, a new toy that will be released in the future, or whatever. My order is what commits me to buy when the supplier is able to deliver.

That’s it. Rant over.

Eighty years on. 5th December 1939


Russia rejected proposals by the League of Nations to end the war in Finland.  Russian forces attacked the Mannerheim line, Finland’s defensive woks along the border.

Game day 96. Germany

In the North-West Atlantic the lone U-Boat spotted and attacked the British battleships.  No ships were hit but the U-Boat was spotted and sunk.  The German Battleships in the North-East Atlantic moved into the Irish Sea, while those in the South Atlantic sailed north-west along the coast of Brazil.

Six new submarines were launched at Kiel