April 27. It was market day in the Basque town of Guernica
in northern Spain, a stronghold of Republican rebels engaged in
the Spanish civil War against Franco's Nationalists. Without warning,
German bombers sent by Hitler to help Franco bombed the town with
high explosives and incendiaries. Thousands of civilians who had
nothing to do with the fighting were killed. When the bombs had
all gone, the bombers returned, strafing the survivors with machine
"There were flames and smoke and grit and the smell of burning
human flesh was nauseating," reported a British reporter in Guernica.
The horror was also captured in a painting by Picasso. Europe
had seen nothing like this since the end of the First World War.
Guernica was a foretaste of what was to come. Hitler's pilots
and bomb aimers in their Heinkels and Junkers were getting valuable
practice for a style of lightning-war (blitzkrieg) which would
soon bring terror throughout Europe.
The aim was no longer to win wars by wearing down the other
side's army but by demolishing the morale of civilians. But it
was a game that both sides could play. Already, British factories
were producing a new generation of heavy bombers. At Guernica,
Germany sowed the wind. Within a few years it would reap the whirlwind.
3. Dudley tennis ace Dorothy Round scored a second Wimbledon
triumph when she beat Jadwiga Jedrzejowska , the Polish champion
6-2, 2-6, 7-5 in the women's singles. Three years earlier she
used her tennis talents to beat Helen Jacobs for the women's singles
The triumphant player received an ovation from the crowd as
she walked off court after a match which lasted about an hour.
The new champion said later: "It is glorious to have won the
Wimbledon title once more. The pace was very hot at times, and
when it became too hot I simply had to let the ball go.
"I went into court with a tactical plan - but in the heat of
the moment I am afraid I forgot all about it." The fine weather
brought huge crowds and an overnight queue had formed as soon
as the previous day's play had ended.
May 12. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth - now the
Queen Mother - were crowned at Westminster Abbey with all the
pomp and splendour of time-honoured tradition. People flocked
to the occasion from all parts of the Empire. A coach, drawn by
eight greys, left Buckingham Palace for the Abbey with four postilions
and six footman aboard. The King wore robes of deep red and snow-white
ermine.Nearly a month later the former king and now the Duke of
Windsor, married Wallis Simpson.
January 19. Margot Fonteyn, the 18-year-old English ballet
dancer scored a triumph in her debut in "Giselle" at Sadler's Wells.
Fonteyn, partnered by Robert Helpmann as the Prince, drew an expectant
house. One critic commented: "Never has there been a more joyous,
engaging Giselle." Margot, who was born Peggy Hookham, studied at
the Sadler's Wells school.
April 16. The "Flying Fortress",
a new Boeing bomber, was shown for the first time in America.
April 30. In London 30,000 bus workers
went on strike.
May 7. In Washington an inquiry
was launched into the Hindenburg disaster in which the giant
airship exploded in a ball of flame.
June 2. The Derby at Epsom was won
for the first time by a woman, Mrs G B Miller, with her
horse, Midday Sun.
June 7. Glamorous blonde bombshell,
Jean Harlow, the first "sex goddess", died in Los Angeles
from a kidney disease at the age of 26.
July 5. Wolverhampton couple, Captain
Norman Franklin and his wife Dorothia, prepared to visit the
forbidden city of Lhasa in Tibet as guests of the Dalai Lama.
July 7. Wolverhampton's Royal Orphanage
was visited by the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.
August 3. Walsall man, James Craddock,
was killed while working in Canada when he was struck by
the limb of a tree while sitting eating his lunch under
August 9. Birmingham woman, Mrs
Clara Williams, aged 62, died from natural causes while
on a train bringing her home from a visit to Lourdes.
August 18. While appearing at Wolverhampton
Hippodrome Hollywood star Bebe Daniels gave her recipe for
keeping happy as "Work and an interest in one's family."
August 9. In Berlin the Nazis expelled
The Times correspondent in retaliation for the expulsion
of three Germans from Britain.
Earls Court was the venue for for the first London Motor