On this day...... 8 May
1918: Following the death of every non-commissioned officer in a Rifle Brigade platoon on the Western Front, Private Beesley took charge of the surviving men. He made a lone attack on a German post, killing four and taking six prisoner. Then, he and another private manned a Lewis Gun, holding the position for several hours against German counter-attacks. His comrade fell wounded, but Beesley held on alone until night. He then carried his wounded colleague back to the British lines. Beesley received the Victoria Cross.
1941: Bomber Command visited Hamburg, with most of the 188 aircraft targeting the shipyards. The raid, which proved unusually accurate for this stage of the war, saw one of the first uses of the RAF's new 4,000lb bomb, which, along with the 4lb incendiary, proved among its most devastating and effective weapons. Four aircraft failed to return.
1945: Following the unconditional surrender of German forces the previous day, the war in Europe formally ended.