Wednesday, June 03, 2020
Events of 1940 that affect New Zealand
On 5 January 1940, the first New Zealanders arrive in the Middle East. They are the "First Echelon", as they are called. Shortly after that, in Britain, they start "rationing". On 28 January, the 28th (Maori) Battalion is formed. The main body of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force arrives in Egypt on 12 February. On 19 March, the British bomb the Frisian island of Sylt. On 27 March, New Zealand airmen are involved with a leaflet raid on Hamburg. The New Zealand Prime Minister, Michael Savage died on 27 March 1940. 9 April is the start of the Norway campaign, when Germany invaded Norway and Denmark. New Zealand is involved in the campaign with the Royal Navy and RAF. 30 April saw the British evacuate from Norway. The "Second Echelon" sailed from Wellington on 2 May 1940. On 10 May, Germany invaded the European countries. That day also saw Winston Churchill take over as the British Prime Minister. That day also saw the RAF launching bombing raids on Germany. 12 to 14 May saw the Germans break through the French front. On 15 May, the Netherlands surrendered. 17 May was the start of training for a "Third Echelon" of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. 25 May saw the Germans surround the Belgian, French, and most of the British Expeditionary Force. The next day saw the beginning of the withdrawal from Dunkirk. By 28 May, Belgium surrendered to Germany. On 3 June, the Germans bombed Paris. On 5 June, New Zealand started "raising an infantry brigade for Fiji". A New Zealand ace was killed in an accident on 7 June. On 10 June, Italy declared war on the British. Canada declared war on Italy. The war in the Mediterranean and Africa takes off and the air war over Britain intensifies. This is based on the account in the New Zealand Official History.