June 16 – On this day

The major events of this date



Spain enters the War of Independence on America’s side and lays siege to Gibraltar. The Spanish blockade lasts for three and a half years, but fails to recapture the British outpost.



Napoleon wins the last victory of his career at Ligney. Two days later, he loses everything at Waterloo.


Salvation Army forms in London



Minelaying submarine HMS Grampus disappeared on or around this date east of Sicily. It is likely she was sunk by four Italian torpedo boats off Syracuse, Sicily. All 59 crew were lost. IWM photo
French front cracking as the Germans break through in Champagne to Dijon, with units of 19th Panzer Korps reaching Besancon on the Swiss border. German forces, supported by heavy artillery and Stuka dive bombers, continue their assault against the Maginot Line on a broad front.
The French government of Paul Reynaud resigns and is replaced by one led by Marshal Petain who immediately appoints Weygand as Minister of National Defence. 57,000 British troops are evacuated from Nantes and St. Nazaire.
The Red Army occupies Latvia and Estonia. Tens of thousands of “hostile’ natives and their families are rounded up and deported to NKVD prison camps around the Soviet Union.
U-101 sinks the British merchant ship Wellington Star in the Bay of Biscay.
The British submarine Grampus is sunk by four Italian torpedo boats off Syracuse, Sicily.


The US State Department orders the closing by the 10th July of all German consular offices and tourist agencies in the United States. Italians closed down on 19th June.
British unemployment figures for May lowest yet at 243,656 out of work, 400,000 less than a year ago.
The British attempt to continue their offensive, but suffer heavy tank losses to German 88mm Flak guns.


After intense air attacks and Italian fleet sorties, the Gibraltar convoy reaches Malta, but the Alexandria convoy is forced back. During these attempts to reach Malta the losses between both convoys stand at the cruiser Hermione (sunk by U-205, South of Crete), five destroyers and 40 aircraft.

Lieutenant General Ritchie gives General Norrie permission to withdraw XXX Corps past Tobruk and as far as Mersa Matruh to re-equip. General
Gott’s XIII is ordered to take up defensive positions on the Egyptian frontier. This left the city exposed to another siege, for which its defenses were inadequate, having been allowed to deteriorate during the winter.
Future president Lt. Cdr. Lyndon Johnson is released from duty in the Navy after Roosevelt orders all members of Congress serving in the armed forces to return to legislative duties.
93 out of 94 Japanese planes are destroyed during a massive attack on allied shipping round Guadalcanal.


The real flying bomb offensive on Britain begins as 95 V1’s cross the coast before 6am and a total of 244 reaching England that day. The German press calls it the ‘beginning of the day of vengeance’.
The Eighth Army captures Foligno and Spoleto, east of Orvieto and approach Perugia.
U.S. Marines repulse the Japanese counter-attacks on Saipan.



HM Submarine Sidon was sunk by an explosion caused by a faulty torpedo while alongside depot ship HMS Maidstone in Portland Harbour. 13 of 56 men aboard were killed. Sidon was raised and sunk as a target in 1957. IWM photo


The first ‘Bloomsday’ took place, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the events in James Joyce’s Ulysses. Patrick Kavanagh and Flann O’Brien were among those who tried to retrace the steps of Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom across Dublin


The Royal Fleet Auxiliary receive it’s own Ensign when the upright gold anchor is added.  The fleet of 13 RFA Headquarters ships sustain the Royal Navy and allied  warships all over the world and are among the hardest working ships of the British Fleet

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