31 July 1940

31 July 1940



War at Sea

HMS Alcantara damages a German raider off Brazil

HMS Delight is reported sunk

War in the Air

The RAF attacks German airfields

File:Men of 7th Battalion, The Green Howards on an exercise among the sand dunes at Sandbanks, near Poole in Dorset, 31 July 1940. H2669.jpg

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You were born on a Wednesday

July 31, 1940 was the 31st Wednesday of that year. It was also the 213th day and 7th month of 1940 in the Georgian calendar. The next time you can reuse 1940 calendar will be in 2024. Both calendars will be exactly the same.

There are left before your next birthday. Your 81st birthday will be on a Thursday and a birthday after that will be on a Sunday. The timer below is a countdown clock to your next birthday. It’s always accurate and is automatically updated.

Your next birthday is on a Thursday

Winston Churchill handling a 'tommy gun' during an inspection of invasion coastal defences near Hartlepool, County Durham, England. 31 July 1940.

Kinda looks like a good Bond villain, or the Penguin.

I can practically hear the Myeaaah Seeee looking at that stoagie sticking out

It was this very image that the Germans monopolised on. The German propaganda machine used this picture of Churchill with Tommy gun to show he was a villain, no better than a mob thug and a gangster.

Problem was that the British public loved this image of Churchill and the British propaganda machine had a field day with it. The Germans trick backfired and ended up helping his image as a strong politician who doesn't shy away from the dirty work.

You should check out the pictures of Churchill in a jumpsuit, makes him a mans man. Yes he's a toff, but damn he dresses like us hmmm this guy must be legit.

Churchill is a dual edged sword. Undoubtably a man of greatness but unfortunately responsible for quite a few fuck ups too.

In the 2nd Boer War( also known as the Great South African war or just the Boer War, although this neglects the 1st Anglo-Boer war which is extremely interesting in itself) he went to South Africa as a war correspondent, who are strictly non-combatant. This doesn't stop young winston from pretty much being a freelance soldier and cowboy while he was there.

The Dardanelles and ensuing cock up cost him lord of the admiralty. But then after losing this. Tail between his legs he does join up to go to the western front as an officer and fought in the trenches.

Then we have ww2 and Churchill while saving Britain spiritually, goes and sells out Poland to Stalin and fucks over the very country that Britain went to war for in the fekking first place.

Post war political woes coupled with the handling of the decolonisation of Africa were not great times for him. He is so lucky the world remembers him for his Battle of Britain spirit. It can be argued that he should take the blame for much post colonial period civil war and ethnic murders and troubles. One could say it's comparable with how Iraq and Afghanistan are now compared to how they were before. Now they're ɿree' more people are dying every day and those regions are even more unstable than they were with the baddies in charge. The decolonisation process had to happen, but Churchill has a lot to account for how it was handled.

He is without a doubt one of the most larger than life, incredible, over the top, hyper intelligent individuals that have ever walked the planet. But nevertheless, he is just like so many historical figures that there is not all good and he has a dark side too. I'm not saying Churchill was a bad man, but one needs to be aware of his lesser desirable accolades.

Learn More

  • Search the collection Detroit Publishing Company on the term Chickamauga for images associated with that battle.
  • Use the Timeline of the Civil War, a special presentation of Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints , to follow a year-by-year overview of the conflict. Search the collection to find more photographs of people and battles.
  • Locate recollections of participants in the war by a searching on Civil War in American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 to 1940. Narrow the selection by adding a major battle or topic to the search, for example, Civil War AND Gettysburg.
  • Search the collection Civil War Maps on the names of locations or battlefields to find maps of sites of the conflict.
  • Visit Primary Documents in American History: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1860-1877 to view documents such as the Emancipation Proclamation.

31 July 1940, German Troops Abuse and Humiliate Rabbi Hagerman in Olkusz, Poland

The Germans invaded the city of Olkusz in southwest Poland in September 1939. In July 1940, a German police unit arrived in Olkusz and gathered all the Jewish men in the main square. There the Jews were forced to lie on the ground while the policemen and members of the SD &ldquoregistered them&rdquo. During this process, the Germans brutally beat the Jews, murdering two of them. Rabbi Moshe Yitzhak Hagerman was forced to don his tallith (prayer shawl) and defiled tefillin (phylacteries), and to stand barefoot and pray next to the prostrate men of the Jewish community. At the end of the day, the Jews were permitted to return home, and the Germans left.

The Jews of Olkusz were deported to Auschwitz in 1942, where most of them were murdered.

German police unit publicly abuses and humiliates Rabbi Moshe Yitzchak Hagerman in Olkusz, Poland, on “Bloody Wednesday”, July 31, 1940

Some 2,500 Jews lived in Olkusz between the two world wars, constituting approximately 25% of the total population. The Germans occupied Olkusz in September 1939. A small number of Jews, mainly youngsters, fled eastwards to USSR-controlled territory. With the occupation, the Germans started to persecute the Jews, loot their property, and confiscate businesses and private apartments. Jews were not permitted to walk on the main streets, and were forced to wear identifying marks.

In March 1940, some 3000 Jews lived in Olkusz. More than a third of them required assistance from the welfare department of the Judenrat, which distributed food parcels, meals in the soup kitchen and milk for the children, and also funded the kindergarten.

In late July 1940, a German policeman was murdered, presumably by members of the Polish Underground. In response, on 31 July 1940, a German police unit arrived and gathered all the Jewish men in the main square. There the Jews were forced to lie on the ground while the policemen and members of the SD “registered them”. During this process, the Germans brutally beat the Jews, murdering two of them. Rabbi Moshe Yitzhak Hagerman was forced to don his tallith (prayer shawl) and defiled tefillin (phylacteries, and to stand barefoot and pray next to the prostrate men of the Jewish community. At the end of the day, the Jews were permitted to return home, and the Germans left.

The Jews of Olkusz were sent to forced labor, initially in Olkusz and the surrounding areas, and from the fall of 1940, also to more distant labor camps. As well as being recruited according to lists drawn up by the Judenrat, Jews were also snatched off the streets or from their homes.

In September 1941, the Jews of Olkusz were moved into a ghetto in a suburb of the city. The Judenrat organized residential apartments in the designated ghetto area. The ghetto was not fenced in, but residents were not permitted to exit without being escorted. The overcrowding was severe, the food rations were meagre, and buying food from Poles was strictly forbidden. The Judenrat opened vegetable shops in the ghetto, and tried to provide for the needy, but many families were starving. On 2 March 1942, three Jews accused of smuggling food were publicly executed, and food smuggling ceased as a result.

An Aktion took place in Olkusz on 10 June 1942. Members of the Jüdischer Ordnungsdienst (Jewish Police) forced sick and elderly Jews out of their homes, and gathered them in the ghetto soup kitchen. At first, the Germans announced that they intended to deport about one tenth of the city's Jews, and that the lists drawn up by the Judenrat included only the weakest residents. The next day, the Germans surrounded the ghetto and rounded up all its inhabitants. The following day, a selection was carried out, and hundreds of Jews were sent to labor camps. According to a Page of Testimony submitted by Rabbi Hagerman's sister-in-law, Rabbi Hagerman was murdered in Majdanek in 1942. He may have been deported on that occasion.

On 13 June 1942, a transport of Jews from Olkusz and the surrounding villages left for Auschwitz. Two days later, the rest of the Jews of Olkusz were deported to Auschwitz, except for 200-300 Jews who were transferred to the Sosnowiec camp, including the Judenrat and Ordnungsdienst members and their families, Jewish hospital staff and the staff at the " Rossner Shop", a branch of the factory established in Bedzin by industrialist Alfred Rossner.

Battle of Britain : a day-by-day chronicle, 10 July 1940 to 31 October 1940

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The Fascinating, Regal History Behind Britain’s Swans

Queen of the United Kingdom Head of the Commonwealth Defender of the Faith Commander in Chief of the British Armed Forces Sovereign of the Most Noble Order of the Garter Sovereign of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle all titles held by Elizabeth II. Not included in this illustrious list is one of her lesser-used ones, the Seigneur of the Swans, a holdover from an era centuries ago when the (literally) regal avians denoted class, wealth and status. The strange and ancient relationship between the swan and the British crown manifests itself to this day in a tradition known as “Swan Upping.”

Some 40 miles west of London, the Queen’s Swan Uppers arrive at Mapledurham Lock on the River Thames. They’re traveling in traditional wooden rowing skiffs, each with three or four crewmen in smart blue or red blazers with royal insignia. Some have white swan feathers pushed into the peak of their caps. Royal pennants showing swans against blue and red backgrounds flutter from the boats. 

(Emily Cleaver)

The blue flags represent two of London’s ancient trade guilds, the Worshipful Companies of Dyers and Vintners. The guilds are some of the richest and most powerful organizations in London, and since at least the 15th century have been granted the right to own mute swans on the Thames.  (Mute swans have the elegantly curved necks, orange beaks and white feathers that most people think of when they picture swans.) The red flags are for the Queen’s Swan Warden, the man charged with counting all the mute swans on the Thames between Sunbury Lock in West London and Abingdon in Oxfordshire, a㻏-mile stretch of river that takes five days to navigate.

The traditional cry of: “All up!” goes up from one of the skiffs a female swan and her cygnets (baby swans) have been spotted gliding over the water. The boats maneuver to corral the birds towards the bank where Uppers, as the crew is known, jump out and grab them, restraining the adult’s powerful legs behind her so she can be examined.  The birds are counted, weighed and checked for injury and ownership marks. The Dyers and Vintners companies use rings to mark their birds, while the Crown’s swans are unmarked. Today, the practice serves as a conservation tool to track swan populations and the health of the Thames, but once upon a time it was the way in which the crown exerted its control over the swan population on the river.

Swans—who owns them, who breeds them and who eats them—is an issue for the British that has generated legal statutes, sparked courtroom battles and engaged town councils in bitter arguments since the Middle Ages. 

There is a legend that the mute swan was introduced to Britain by Richard I in the 12th century, who brought them back from his campaigns during the Crusades. Today, ornithologists believe the bird is probably native to the country, with archaeological evidence for the presence of swans dating back as far back as the late glacial period, 10,000 years ago.

Since ancient times, swans have been associated with tranquility and nobility, featuring in myths and stories around the world. Their high status is likely to have come about because of their perceived beauty and natural behavior they are solitary birds, strong and aggressively protective of their young but at the same time graceful and elegant on the water.

(Peter M CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Ask a local in a British pub about swans and you might well be told that the Queen owns all the swans in the country and that only she is allowed to eat them. This popular misconception, often repeated as common knowledge in the U.K., has a kernel of historical truth that tells the story of the swan as status symbol in Medieval England. 

Swans were luxury goods in Europe from at least the 12th century onward the Medieval equivalent of flashing a Rolex or driving a Lamborghini. Owning swans signaled nobility, along with flying a hawk, running hounds or riding a battle-trained destrier. Swans were eaten as a special dish at feasts, served as a centerpiece in their skin and feathers with a lump of blazing incense in the beak. They were particularly associated with Christmas, when they would be served in large numbers at royal feasts forty swans were ordered for Henry III’s Christmas celebrations in 1247 at Winchester, for example.

In 1496 the Secretary to the Venetian Ambassador wrote that it was “a truly beautiful thing to behold one or two thousand tame swans upon the River Thames”. A century later, during reign of Elizabeth I, German lawyer and travel writer Paul Hentzner described colonies of swans living “in great security, nobody daring to molest, much less kill, any of them, under penalty of a large fine.”

To protect swans as an exclusive commodity, in 1482 the crown ordained that only landowners of a certain income could keep the birds.  Ownership of swans was recorded by a code of marks nicked into the beak of the bird an intricate system of these ‘swan marks’ developed.  Only those who owned the right to use an official swan mark could own swans, and marks were restricted and expensive to purchase. Any swans that didn’t bear a mark were automatically the property of the crown. This effectively meant that only the monarch, wealthy landowners and some large institutions like trade guilds, cathedrals and universities could afford swan ownership.

Roll showing private swan marks, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire (The National Archives)

Local councils appointed swan collectors to round up wild swans to add to official flocks (the local equivalent of the royal ‘upping’) and held ‘Swanmoots’, specially convened swan courts that heard cases related to swan ownership. The penalties for ignoring or defacing swan marks were harsh. In�, the Order of Swannes, a legal document setting out the rules relating to the birds, recorded that “if any person do raze out, counterfeit or alter the mark of any swan [they …] shall suffer one year’s imprisonment.” There were similar tough sentences for stealing eggs or killing adult birds. 

The prestige of swan ownership went far beyond their appeal as a delicacy. They were impressive enough as the centerpiece of a feast, but a swan in itself was not particularly expensive. The real desirability came from the right to own swans at all, because purchasing a swan mark was so expensive. To have a “game” of swans elegantly sculling around the lake of your stately pile required funds and status.

The rules relating to swans prevented ordinary people from interacting with them at all, beyond being able to see them on the river. If you weren’t an officially recognized swan keeper it was forbidden to sell swans, to drive them away from your land, to mark them or even to hunt with dogs or lay nets and traps on the river at certain times of year in case swans were injured.

The right to own swans was granted to the Vintners and Dyers city livery companies in the 15th century. The exact reason for the dispensation has not been recorded, but it is likely to have been a sweetener to strengthen relationships between the crown and the powerful trade guilds.

Swan remained a delicacy eaten as part of Christmas celebrations right up until the 18th century, but even after that, it was still only legal to kill and eat a swan if it had a legitimate swan mark. As such, it remained a luxury for the rich. During the Victorian period, swan fell out of fashion as a dish, and by the 20th century was rarely eaten.

"Swan Upping on the Thames", from Henry Robert Robertson's Life on the Upper Thames, 1875. (Public Domain)

It took until 1998 for the law to change so it was no longer treasonous to eat a swan in the U.K. But as a native species, mute swans are now protected as wild birds under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act and under this law it is still illegal to keep or kill them.

For several decades swans were under threat from river pollution, dog attacks and increasing populations of predators like red kite and mink. From a population on the Thames of around 1,300 in the 1960s, numbers were down to just seven pairs of birds in 1985.  But conservation work such as bans on poisonous lead fishing weights and the clean up of the river Thames in recent years appears to be turning this decline around.

At Mapledurham Lock, waiting for the boats to continue their journey, the Queen’s Swan Marker David Barber says the count this year is positive.  “On the first day we counted 36 cygnets, and that’s double the amount on that day last year. Swan numbers are rising, and I put that down to the work we’re doing, talking to everyone from school children to fishing clubs to educate them about looking after swans.”

Although technically all unmarked swans on open water in the U.K. still belong to the crown, the Queen only exercises her swan ownership rights on this one stretch of the Thames. Likely, the reason is because historically only the swans near London were of practical use, and monitoring them is a labor-intensive activity.

The final count on the Thames this year came in at 134, a substantial increase on last year’s figure of 72. Swans still face threats from pollution, loss of riverside habitats and predators, but the signs are looking good that the population is returning to a healthy level, and that the birds will be a feature of the Thames for many more generations to come.

(Emily Cleaver)

This week in history, July 31, 1920: Boy Scouts head out for the week, man’s hat shot in dispute

The Breckenridge troop of Boy Scouts lined up in front of G.A.R. hall Tuesday morning and after having their pictures taken loaded themselves with fishing, tackle into several waiting automobiles and left with Scoutmaster M.J. Tillet, and an assistant for Slate Creek where they will camp, fish and have a glorious good out-door time for the remainder of the week.


A quarrel between two of the sheep herders in charge of the sheep near Dillon last Monday resulted in J. B. Trijllo shooting at John S. Trijllo. The shot fortunately passed through John’s hat. Although of the same name, the two men are not related. John’s face was quite badly burned from the powder smoke — the shot being so close to the face.

The injured man came to Breckenridge for treatment last Tuesday and Sheriff Detwiler went out to look for the other man. They caught him near Argentine Pass Wednesday and brought him to the Breckenridge jail the same evening. Upon a hearing the next morning he was released on a $500 bond until the meeting of the district court, which convenes August 13.


The government is selling gold for industrial and manufacturing purposes at pre-war prices and killing the gold mining industry.

Gold production in our country has declined from $101 million in 1915 to estimated $40 million this year.


The mining industry is battling for existence right now and everyone interested in its welfare should work tooth and nail for its prosperity. The West should be a unit for the gold bonus and every other law favorable to the miner. Congress should be made to realize that the miner is a real factor in the advancement of the nation.


The picnic given by the Methodist Sunday school on Wednesday was attended by about seventy-five people. The day was an ideal one, and enjoyed to the full. Games followed in quick succession.

Miss Nora Blake recited with great charm a quaint Scotch dialect poem, and Mrs. Wade recited “My First Music Lesson,” which was most amusing.


The bodies of 400 Colorado boys who were killed in action or who died in the military or naval service overseas will be brought to Denver and Colorado for burial within the next six months.


The eldest daughter of Ed Keller is reported to have the measles.

J. M. Thomas of Montezuma is in Denver this week, having gone there to attend the Democratic convention.

Mr. Shook, caretaker at Cataract Lake was taken very ill and Dr. Condon was called down to see him. He was taken to Colorado Springs on Wednesday, Mr. Hamilton taking him over in his car. He is reported as improving and expects to be back the first week in August.

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Karhoff, of Denver, and other old-time Breckenridge residents, were here for several days this week meeting some of their old friends. Mr. Karhoff was in business here in the early days, having come here in 1866. They left in 1872.

Baseball History on July 31

Baseball Births on July 31 / Baseball Deaths on July 31

Players Born on, Died on, Debut on, Finished on July 31

Baseball history on July 31 includes a total of 60 Major League baseball players born that day of the year, 16 Major League baseball players who died on that date, 77 baseball players who made their Major League debut on that date, and 67 Major League baseball players who appeared in their final game that date.

Bill James, on the same page of the same book we used at the top of this page, said, "But as I began to do research on the history of baseball (in order to discuss the players more intelligently) I began to feel that there was a history a baseball that had not been written at that time, a history of good and ordinary players, a history of being a fan, a history of games that meant something at the time but mean nothing now." To that end, I have created Baseball Almanac. A site to worship baseball. A site by a fan who is trying to tell the history of good and ordinary baseball players.

Watch the video: NAV SAMACHAR CHANNE.. L 31 JULY 1940 (January 2022).