June 21 – On this day

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First Victoria Cross won 1854, German navy scuttles fleet at Scapa Flow 1919, resistance on Okinawa ends 1945… and more

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1798
British and Hessian troops attack and overrun a rebel Irish encampment at Vinegar Hill, County Wexford. Slaughter ensues.

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Wellington crushes the French at Vitoria, Spain. The Duke is furious when his soldiers go wild and plunder the modern-day equivalent of £100 million in booty from enemy supply wagons. “We have in the service the scum of the earth as common soldiers,” he reports.

1854
First Victoria Cross won during bombardment of Bomarsund in the Aland Islands (Crimean War)

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1919

Admiral Ludwig Von Reuter scuttled German High Seas Fleet in Scapa Flow where they were impounded under terms of the WW 1 armistice. The 11 battleships, 5 Battlecruisers & 27 ships were sunk to avoid them being used by allies. 21 were also beached.

1940
Franco-German armistice negotiations begin at Compiegne, during which Hitler informs the French representatives of his terms in the same railway carriage as the German surrender was signed in 1918.
Hitler issues a proclamation announcing the end of the war in the West and orders flags to be flown throughout Germany for ten days.
The Polish government-in-exile arrives in London.

1941
Hitler orders German subs not to attack US warships.
Prime Minister Churchill comments on the possibility of an alliance with the Soviet Union: “If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favorable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons.”
British forces occupy Damascus, while another British column invades Syria from Iraq.
Vichy France excludes Jews from schools.
British General Sir Claude Auchinleck replaces General Archibald Wavell as C in C forces Middle East Command; while Wavell takes Auchinleck’s place over Indian Army.
Free French occupy Damascus, Syria.
US State Department orders closure of all Italian consulates in US by July 15.

1942

HM Submarine P514 (ex USS R19) was rammed and sunk off Newfoundland by Canadian minesweeper HMCS Georgian, which was unaware of P514’s presence and attacked after challenging and receiving no response. P514 sank with all hands: 41 men, three were from NI – see 21 June Roll of Honour on this site

The Luftwaffe carries out a night raid against Southampton.
German infantry and combat engineers of 11th Army are gaining ground slowly in their assault on Sevastopol, but the ferocious Russian defense at Sevastopol forces Adolf Hitler do something he doesn’t like to do, namely delay the German Summer offensive.

General Erwin Rommel captures the port city of Tobruk in North Africa. The Germans capture 32,000 prisoners, 2,000 tons of fuel, 5,000 tons of food and 2,000 vehicles.

1943
The RAF launches a heavy raid on Krefeld in the Ruhr, but lose 44 aircraft.
Allies advance to New Georgia, Solomon Islands.

1944

38 Irish Brigade

Brigadier Pat Scott, at Lake Trasimene: “I went to see John Horsfall about 7am, at a brick factory, where he was making his final preparations. He was as confident as ever and his plan was the best for a difficult and exposed advance…”

Lt-Col Horsfall 2 LIR, near Sanfatucchio: “At 1pm, resistance in Sanfatucchio collapsed quite suddenly. The relief was indescribable and, seeing our gasping soldiers, one sensed it immediately. Both the assaulting companies were very near the limit & both had suffered severely. Sprawled riflemen and their German opponents lay scattered down the main street and the town was full of badly injured and dead soldiers of both sides.H Coy began their assault on San Felice cemetery at about 2.30pm. One of our troops had already penetrated very close to the church there and were blasting away at the defenders.H Coy broke in after 1/2 hour hand to hand fighting inside the church itself & within the cemetery.The Germans counter attacked at about 3.30pm. A fight with grenades & pistols ranged along the cemetery wall. Lt Webb Bowen even shot one Hun at the range of less than a foot.”

CQMS Edmund O’Sullivan 2 LIR, “It was still broad daylight when I brought up a cooked meal for E Company across country following the route of the forward troops. As the light faded, a burst of machine gun fire shattered the lintel above my head. I persuaded a party consisting of my driver and the stretcher bearers to make a dash with the empty containers for the jeep parked some 20 yards away behind an outbuilding. We had started to move when a shell burst outside the door, killing one and wounding one other.”

The US 8th Air Force carries out raids on Berlin and the synthetic fuel plants at Leuna-Merseburg, which then continue on to Russia.
A further Russians assault against the Finns opens in eastern Karelia. The Red Army begins an offensive between lakes Ladoga and Onega on the northern front.

1945
Organized resistance on Okinawa ends after 82 days of the bloodiest fighting in the Pacific, during which 98,654 Japanese have been killed and 6,922 captured. U.S. loses were 6,990 killed and 29,598 wounded.

1948
Lord Mountbatten resigns as Governor General of India (formerly the last Viceroy)

2003

The first-ever Special Olympics World Games held outside the U.S. took place in Croke Park, Dublin. 7,000 athletes from 168 countries participated. The games were officially opened by Nelson Mandela, with performances by U2 and The Corrs.

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