US Navy TG 38.3 off Okinawa, May 1945. US Navy Curtiss SB2C-4 Helldiver dive bombers from carrier USS Essex. Background: battleship USS Washington, an Essex-class carrier, and an Independence-class light carrier (US Navy photo 1996.253.360)
80 Years Ago—June 2, 1940: US steamship President Roosevelt departs Galway, Ireland with 720 US citizens.
US passenger liner Manhattan departs Genoa, Italy with 1905 US citizens.
75 Years Ago—June 2, 1945: US Naval Task Force 38 attacks kamikaze bases in southern Japan, forcing operations further north in Japan.
Launching of battleship USS Washington, Philadelphia Navy Yard, PA, 1 Jun 1940 (US Navy photo)
80 Years Ago—June 1, 1940: British troops withdraw from Dunkirk perimeter, leaving defense to the French.
USS Washington launched at Philadelphia Navy Yard, America’s first new battleship since 1921.
75 Years Ago—June 1, 1945: British 12th and 14th Armies link in Burma.
British force Cossacks (White Russians who opposed communism and fought for Germany) to Soviet zone in Austria, 700 Cossacks are killed or commit suicide; many of the 32,000 sent back to USSR will disappear.
American officer standing by the bell from Shuri Castle on Okinawa, 1945 (US Army Center of Military History)
80 Years Ago—May 31, 1940: Gen. Bernard Montgomery, British commander Lord Gort, and Gen. Oliver Leese are evacuated from Dunkirk, along with 68,014 troops.
In Italy, civilians are banned from driving private cars, and a gasoline conservation plan is announced.
Britain has road signs removed and railway signs obscured to confuse potential invaders.
75 Years Ago—May 31, 1945: British negotiate cease fire in Syria between Syrian nationalists and the French.
US Marines & Army troops occupy Shuri town on Okinawa.
Allied troops aboard the ship Guinean after being evacuated from Dunkirk, late May 1940 (public domain via WW2 Database)
80 Years Ago—May 30, 1940: Britain orders modern destroyers to leave Dunkirk due to heavy losses.
First French troops are evacuated from Dunkirk.
Germany increases food rations due to increased supplies from newly conquered countries.
Canada bans Communist Party and National Unity Party (Nazi).
75 Years Ago—May 30, 1945: Iran demands removal of all American, British, and Soviet troops.
Destroyer HMS Wakeful, sunk by a German torpedo boat off Dunkirk, 29 May 1940; 737/763 killed (British government photo)
80 Years Ago—May 29, 1940: Off Dunkirk, German torpedo boats and the Luftwaffe sink British destroyers Wakeful, Grafton, and Grenade, and many other ships, killing over 1000 Allied troops.
US Marine Lt. Col. R. P. Ross Jr. raising the US flag over Shuri castle on Okinawa, 29 May 1945 (US National Archives: FMC 42043)
75 Years Ago—May 29, 1945: In Syria, fighting erupts between French troops and Syrian nationalists; French bomb Damascus, destroying Syrian parliament building.
Filipino guerrillas take Cervantes, Luzon.
US Marines take Shuri ridge and Shuri Castle on Okinawa.
Tamzine, one of the “little boats” used in the evacuation of Dunkirk, at the Imperial War Museum (Photo: Sarah Sundin, September 2017)
80 Years Ago—May 28, 1940: Belgium officially surrenders to Germany.
British pleasure craft and fishing boats start aiding Dunkirk evacuation.
Norwegian and French forces land at and take port of Narvik, Norway, the first Allied infantry victory of the war.
75 Years Ago—May 28, 1945: British capture traitor William Joyce (“Lord Haw Haw”) in Flensburg, Germany, to be hanged in 1946, the last person to be executed by Britain for treason.
British prisoners of war in Calais, France, May 1940; Panzer I light tank in foreground (German Federal Archive, Bild 183-B14898)
80 Years Ago—May 27, 1940: Germans take Calais, France.
The FBI receives 2900 reports of espionage and sabotage after President Roosevelt’s Fireside Chat warning about “fifth columnists” the night before.
British weekly sugar ration cut from 12 oz to 8 oz per person.
US poster, 1940s
75 Years Ago—May 27, 1945: Due to mines, Tokyo harbor is closed for the duration of the war.
US Sixth Army takes Santa Fe, Luzon, securing the Villa Verde Trail.
US Marines take Naha, the capital of Okinawa.
Sherman tanks of US 6th Marine Division at Naha, Okinawa, Japan, 27 May 1945 (US Marine Corps photo)
British troops in a ship evacuating from Dunkirk, France, late May 1940 (US Government photo)
80 Years Ago—May 26, 1940: Operation Dynamo, the evacuation at Dunkirk begins, 300,000 British and French troops will be evacuated from French beaches by everything from destroyers to civilian fishing boats, through June 4.
In Britain, Empire Day is declared a national day of prayer.
British Gen. Sir John Dill is named Chief of Imperial General Staff.
75 Years Ago—May 26, 1945: Chinese nationalists capture Nanning, cutting off Japanese forces in Indochina.
US poster, WWII
On Memorial Day, we remember those who gave their lives in defense of our country.
We live in freedom because they fought tyranny.
We live without fear because they faced danger.
We live in comfort because they gave up all comforts.
We live because of their sacrifices.
Let’s never take these gifts for granted. They were purchased at high cost.
Over 1 million Americans have given their lives in war (Source: English, June A., Jones, Thomas D., Scholastic Encyclopedia of the United States at War, New York NY: Scholastic Reference, 1998).
- American Revolution: 4,435
- War of 1812: 2,260
- Mexican-American War: 13,283
- Civil War: 498,332
- Spanish-American War: 2,446
- World War I: 116,708
- World War II: 407,316
- Korean War: 33.651
- Vietnam War: 58,168
- Gulf War: 293
- War on Terrorism (Source: icasualties.org): 4582 in Iraq, 2448 in Afghanistan
On this Memorial Day, take a moment to remember. And take a moment to thank God for freedom and life.
British Cruiser Mk IV tank crew repairing tank track, Blangy-sur-Ternoise, France, 26-29 May 1940 (Imperial War Museum: 2012-11-26)
80 Years Ago—May 25, 1940: Germans take Boulogne, France.
British troops are ordered to retreat to Dunkirk.
First clinical use of penicillin: Howard Florey successfully treats mice.
The Golden Gate International Exposition opens on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay, will run through September 29.
Aerial view of Tokyo following bombing by B-29 Superfortress bombers, night of 26 May 1945 (Library of Congress: LC-USZ62-111427)
75 Years Ago—May 25, 1945: Last major US B-29 fire raid on Tokyo; in the campaign, 50% of city has been burned. Imperial Palace is hit in the B-29 raid, just missing Emperor Hirohito and his family.
Heavy kamikaze attack off of Okinawa sinks two US ships and damages eight ships.
Movie premiere of The Clock, starring Judy Garland & Robert Walker.