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Today in World War II History—Aug. 31, 1940 & 1945

RAF No.303 squadron pilots (Polish), 1940 (Imperial War Museum: CH 1535)

RAF No.303 squadron pilots (Polish), 1940 (Imperial War Museum: CH 1535)

80 Years Ago—Aug. 31, 1940: RAF’s worst day in Battle of Britain: most bases are out of action and Fighter Command suffers its highest losses (41 aircraft).

RAF No. 303 Squadron (Polish) flies first patrol and makes first kill.

Lovettsville Air Disaster: a DC-3 crashes in Lovettsville, VA; 25 are killed, including isolationist Sen. Ernest Lundeen, the worst commercial air crash to date and the first crash investigated by the Civil Aeronautics Board.

Actors Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh are married on a ranch in California.

Patch of the US Twelfth Air Force

Patch of the US Twelfth Air Force

75 Years Ago—Aug. 31, 1945: German Field Marshals Walter von Brauchitsch and Erich von Manstein are arrested in Germany.

US Twelfth Air Force is inactivated in Italy.

US Office of War Information is disbanded.