Leadgate Community History Club


Pearl Harbour & The German Offensive in the East (Operation Barbarossa)

The Major Events of 1941

Operation Barbarossa

Having quickly overrun the Low Countries and France the German advance westward halted on the Channel coast. The Luftwaffe failed to defeat the Royal Air Force  during the Battle of Britain so the German Army turned eastwards and on the 22nd June 1941, Operation Babarossa , the invasion of Soviet Russia commenced.

Initial advance inro Russia

Pearl Harbour

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour  on the 7th December 1941 (President Roosevelt declared it a date that would live on in infamy) was swift and very destructive. Luckily not all the US Pacific Fleet were in the harbour at the time otherwise it would have been a knock out blow for the US Navy. The effect was to bring the military and industrial might of the USA into the conflict. War was declared against Japan on the  8th December and Germany & Italy on the 11th. Later in June 1942 the declaration was amended to include all the Axis countries.

British Operations 1941

Throughout 1941 the British and Commonwealth forces continued the assault on Axis forces wherever the opportunity presented itself. Apart from the large scale action against the Italians in East & North Africa and many naval engagements, they also developed the skills of amphibious landings in Norway as well  ascarrying out subversive war in occupied Europe.

The Battle of Hong Kong

On the 8th of December the Japanese army, wasting no time after Pearl Harbour, attacked the British Garrison at Hong Kong. The Japanese attack began shortly after 08:00 on 8 December 1941 (Hong Kong Time), four hours after the attack on Pearl Harbour (difference in time and date is due to the day shift that occurs because of the International date line). Commanded by Major-General Christopher Maltby, British, Canadian, Indian, as well as the local Hong Kong Chinese Regiment, and the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps, resisted the Japanese attack by the Japanese 21st, 23rd and the 38th Regiments (Lieutenant General Takashi Sakai) but were outnumbered nearly four to one (Japanese, 50,000; Allied, 14,000) and lacked their opponents' recent combat experience. The colony had no significant air defence. Hong Kong also lacked adequate naval defences; the destroyers were to withdraw to Singapore Naval Base.

Japanese Army Hong Kong 1941

Interactive Database of Leadgate Fallen 1941

Private Thomas Craig aged 21, Son of Richard Sidney and True Craig of South Cross Street Leadgate. West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own)  Died at hilltop fort at Dologorodoc in Eritrea on the 21st March 1941. Buried Keren War Cemetery  Eritrea. Leadgate Remembers.

Mr Jonathan Gash aged 33. Son of Mr. and Mrs. John Gash, of 10 1st Street Watling Bungalows, Leadgate, Co. Durham; husband of Alice Gash, of 127 Downs Road, Belmont, Sutton. Died at California Hotel, Brighton Road, Belmont, Sutton. Civilian War Dead  16th April 1941. Buried Sutton & Cheam Municipal Borough . Leadgate Remembers.

Master Joseph Lancelot Reed aged 2 Months, son of Thomas W Lancelot and Emily Reed, of Railway Cottages, Leadgate. Civilian War Dead  Died at  9 Guildford Place, Heaton 30th April 1941. Buried  Newcastle on Tyne Municipal Borough Leadgate Remembers.

Gunner Samuel Marshall aged 33son of James and Mary Ellen Marshall, of 129 Green Street Leadgate 6/3 Maritime Regiment Royal Artillery  Died 16th September 1941 when the  SS Jedmoor  was sunk by U-85  in the Atlantic to the north of the HebridesCommemorated  Chatham Naval Memorial Leadgate Remembers.

Sergeant Gordon Shearer  aged 20, son of Arthur Gordon and Meggie Shearer of Hillside Iveston Leadgate44 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve . Died on 14th October 1941 while on a raid to bomb the railway station at Cologne, their plane was shot down by flak close to Waasamunster . Buried  Waasmunster Communal Cemetery  Belgium.  Leadgate Remembers.

Engine Room Artificer 4th Class  Thomas Nimmons   aged 22, son of Thomas James and Hannah Elisabeth Nimmons, of 21 Watling Street Leadgate.  H.M.S. Cossack Royal Navy  Died when his ship was torpedoed by U-563  on 23rd October 1941. Commemorated  Portsmouth Naval Memorial Leadgate Remembers.

Able Seaman William Anderson  aged 22, son of Matthew James and Elizabeth Mary Anderson; husband of Dorothy Anderson, of Leadgate.  H.M.S. Barham Royal Navy . Died when his ship was hit by 3 torpedoes fired by U-331  on 25th November 1941. Commemorated Chatham Naval Memorial Leadgate Remembers.

Leadgate Remembers World War 2

Leadgate Remembers World War 2  is a Facebook Project compiled by Andy Plant. We have worked closely with Andy on all the Leadgate Remembers projects and he has done a magnificent job of researching the fallen of Leadgate in both world wars. His World War 2 project was designed to use a one year calendar view of the fallen on the date they died, regardless of which year.

Acknowledgements & Sources

Copyright Notice

Leadgate Community History Club do not claim any copyright over the any of the photographs on this page. The photographs are all either Public Domain or licenced as Free to Use and Share on the internet. All are referenced here for educational purposes only.