World War II got off to a bad start for the British.

About two weeks after Poland surrendered to Germany at the end of September — succumbing to a month of the Nazi blitzkrieg — the British battleship HMS Royal Oak was sunk by a U-boat, claiming more than 800 British sailors.

That was followed in short order by the first German air raid on the UK, targeting ships at the Firth of Forth in Scotland.

At the end of November, German mining of British waters intensified after claiming several merchant ships.