On This Day

What Happened in May 1941

Historical Events

Film Premiere

May 1 "Citizen Kane", directed by Orson Welles and starring himself, Joseph Cotten and Dorothy Corningore, premieres at the Palace Theater in New York City

  • May 1 General Mills introduces CheeriOats (renamed Cheerios in 1945) an oat-based, ready-to-eat cold cereal
  • May 1 German assault on Tobruk
  • May 1 US savings bonds go on sale to help finance the war effort
  • May 2 FCC approves regular scheduled commercial TV broadcasts to begin July 1
  • May 2 Nazi occupied Netherlands lays off Jewish journalists

Sports History

May 2 MLB player Ted Williams' lowest average (.308) in year he hit over .400

  • May 3 -4] German air raid on Liverpool

Sports History

May 3 67th Kentucky Derby: Eddie Arcaro aboard Whirlaway, 1st leg of successful Triple Crown

  • May 5 2 Fokker employees flee Nazi occupied Netherlands to England

Historic Event

May 5 Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie returns to Addis Ababa

  • May 5 Pulitzer prize awarded to Robert E Sherwood (There shall be no night)

Historic Event

May 6 Joseph Stalin becomes Premier of the Soviet Union, replacing his foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov

Film & TV History

May 6 At California's March Field, Bob Hope performs his first USO show

Historic Event

May 7 British House of Commons votes for Winston Churchill (477-3)

Music Recording

May 7 Glenn Miller records "Chattanooga Choo Choo" for RCA, it becomes 1st record to be designated "gold"

  • May 8 German Q-ship Pinguin sinks in Indian Ocean

Historic Event

May 9 British intelligence at Bletchley Park breaks German spy codes after capturing Enigma machines aboard the weather ship Muenchen

Murder of Interest

May 9 Louis Buchalter is arraigned in New York state court on the 1936 Joseph Rosen murder along with three other murders

  • May 10 66th Preakness: Eddie Arcaro wins aboard Whirlaway, 2nd leg of successful Triple Crown

Historic Event

May 10 Adolf Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess escapes to Britain to open secret negotiations with the Allies, parachuting into Scotland

  • May 10 British House of Commons & Holborn Theatre damaged in an air raid

Radio History

May 10 Queen Wilhelmina on Radio Orange warns against treason

  • May 11 1st Messerschmidt 109F shot down above England
  • May 12 British forces march into Alexandria, Egypt
  • May 12 Konrad Zuse presents the Z3, the world's first working programmable, fully automatic computer, in Berlin
  • May 13 Martin Bormann is named head of Nazi Chancellery in Germany
  • May 13 Trial against resistance fighter comte d'Estienne d'Orves begins
  • May 13 Willy Lewis' US jazz band performs in Switzerland
  • May 14 3,600 Parisian Jews arrested
  • May 15 1st British turbojet flies
  • May 15 British attack Halfaya-pass & Fort Capuzzo in Egypt and Libya

Baseball Record

May 15 Joe DiMaggio starts 56-game hitting streak; Yanks lose 13-1

  • May 15 Nazi occupiers in Netherlands forbid Jewish music
  • May 16 1st US radio performance of Robert Russell Bennett''s "Symphony in D for the Dodgers"
  • May 16 Italian army under Aosta surrenders to Britain at Amba Alagi, Ethiopia
  • May 16 Last great German air attack on Great Britain (Birmingham)
  • May 16 Nazis forbid Dutch Organization of Actors (NOT)
  • May 17 Pennsylvania declares legal holiday to honor A's manager Connie Mack
  • May 18 Italian army in Ethiopia under general Aosta surrenders to Britain
  • May 19 Germany occupiers in Holland forbid bicycle taxis
  • May 19 New Nazi battleship Bismarck leaves Gdynia, Poland
  • May 20 Archer's "Christian Calendar & Gregorian Reform" published
  • May 20 Former Dutch PM Colijn says Neth Indies not ready for independence
  • May 20 Germany begins airborne invasion of Crete
  • May 20 White Sox Taft Wright sets AL record of RBIs in 13 consecutive games
  • May 21 SS Robin Moor becomes the first US ship sunk by a U-boat during World War II
  • May 21 German airforce occupies airport at Maleme, Crete
  • May 21 Singer Johan Heesters visits Dachau concentration camp
  • May 22 British troops attack Baghdad

Boxing Title Fight

May 23 In his 20th World Heavyweight Boxing title defence Joe Louis knocks out Buddy Baer in round 1 at New York's Madison Square Garden

  • May 24 German athlete Rudolf Harbig runs world record 1,000m in 2:21.5 at Dresden, Germany
  • May 24 German battleship Bismarck sinks the British battle cruiser HMS Hood; 1,416 die, 3 survive
  • May 25 5,000 drown in a storm at Ganges Delta region in India
  • May 25 Ted Williams raises his batting average over .400 for 1st time in 1941

Historic Event

May 26 American Flag House (Betsy Ross' Home) given to city of Philadelphia

  • May 26 Aircraft from HMS Ark Royal sights German battleship Bismarck
  • May 26 German occupiers begin youth labor

Historic Event

May 27 FDR declares state of emergency after a German U-boat sinks the American flagged SS Robin Moor

  • May 27 German battleship Bismarck sunk by British naval force
  • May 28 1st night game at Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C. (NY Yankees pip the Senators 6-5)
  • May 28 Allied troops begin evacuation of Crete
  • May 30 1st anti semitic measures in Serbia
  • May 30 British Army enters Baghdad, chasing pro-German coup government
  • May 30 Indianapolis 500: Floyd Davis/Mauri Rose win final 500 prior to United States involvement in WWII; final time one car would carry 2 drivers to victory at Indy
  • May 31 -June 1) 32.0 cm rain falls on Burlington Kansas (state record)
  • May 31 1st issue of "Parade" goes on sale
  • May 31 German occupiers forbids Jews access to beach & swimming pools
  • May 31 A Luftwaffe air raid in Dublin, in neutral Ireland, claims 38 lives

Famous Birthdays

  • May 1 Barbara Barendrecht [BHM Wurfbain], actress (Dirty Picture)
  • May 1 Juraj Hatrík, Slovak composer (Monumento malinconico; Dispute Over a Plastered Dwarf), and educator, born in Orkucany, Slovak Republic (d. 2021)
  • May 2 Jules Wijdenbosch, Surinamese politician, President of Suriname (1996-2000), born in Paramaribo, Surinam
  • May 2 Clay Carroll, American baseball player, born in Clanton, Alabama
  • May 3 Nona Gaprindashvili, Georgian world women's chess champ (1962-78), born in Zugdidi, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union
  • May 3 Edward Malloy, 16th president of the University of Notre Dame, born in Washington, D.C.
  • May 3 Frank Collett [Taglieri], American jazz pianist and bandleader, born in Brooklyn, NYC (d. 2016)
  • May 4 David LaFlamme [Gary Posie], American electric rock violinist (It's A Beautiful Day - "White Bird"), born in New Britain, Connecticut
  • May 4 George Will, American political analyst (Night Line), born in Champaign, Illinois
  • May 4 Nickolas "Nick" Ashford, American songwriter, record producer("Ain't No Mountain High Enough"; "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)"), and singer (Ashford & Simpson - "Solid"), born in Fairfield, South Carolina (d. 2011)
  • May 5 Alexander Ragulin, Russian ice hockey player (Olympic gold 1964, 68, 72), born in Moscow (d. 2004)
  • May 5 Terry Baker, American College Football Hall of Fame quarterback (Heisman Trophy 1962, Oregon State), born in Pine River, Minnesota
  • May 5 Stanley Cowell American jazz pianist (Heath Brothers), record label co-founder (Strata-East), and educator, born in Toledo, Ohio (d. 2020)
  • May 6 Fred J. Eckert, American politician (U.S. Ambassador to Fiji, Tuvalu, Kiribati & Tonga), born in Rochester, New York
  • May 6 Ghena Dimitrova, Bulgarian operatic soprano, born in Pleven, Kingdom of Bulgaria (d. 2005)
  • May 6 Ivan Osim, Bosnian soccer midfielder (19 caps Yugoslavia; FK Željezničar, RC Strasbourg, CS Sedan) and manager (Yugoslavia, Sturm Graz, Japan), born in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina (d. 2022)
  • May 7 Grahame Bilby, New Zealand cricketer (two Tests NZ v England 1966), born in Wellington, New Zealand
  • May 8 James A. Traficant Jr, American politician (Rep-D-OH, 1985-2002), born in Youngstown, Ohio, (d. 2014)
  • May 8 Jim Mitchum, American actor (Blackout; Invincible 6), born in Bridgeport, Connecticut
  • May 8 John Fred [Gourrier], American pop singer (John Fred and His Playboy Band - "Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)"), born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (d. 2005)
  • May 8 Mahmoud Ahmed, Ethiopian singer, born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia [some sources cite May 18]
  • May 8 Maurice Lindsay, British sports administrator (chairman Preston North End FC, Wigan Warriors RLFC; CEO RFL 1992-99), born in Horwich, England (d. 2022)
  • May 9 Howard Komives, American NBA star (NY Knicks, Buffalo Braves), born in Toledo, Ohio (d. 2009)
  • May 9 Dorothy Hyman, England, sprinter (Olympic silver 1960)
  • May 9 Jan Dibbets, sculptor/artist (Dutch Mountains)
  • May 9 Pete Birrell, British rock bassist (Freddie and The Dreamers - "I'm Telling You Now"), born in Wythenshawe, Cheshire, England
  • May 9 Danny Rapp, American pop singer (Danny & Juniors - "At The Hop"), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 1983)
  • May 10 Ken Berry [Allen Kent Berry], American baseball player (White Sox, Angels, Brewers, Indians), born in Kansas City, Missouri
  • May 10 Win Bischoff, CEO (Schroders)
  • May 10 Ken Kennedy, Irish rugby union hooker (45 Tests Ireland, 4 British & Irish Lions; London Irish RFC), born in Rochester, England (d. 2022)
  • May 11 Eric Burdon, British rock vocalist (Animals - "House of the Rising Sun"; "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"; War - "Spill The Wine"), born in Walker-on-Tyne, England
  • May 11 Ian Redpath, cricketer (dependable Australian opening batsman 1964-76)
  • May 11 Graham Miles, English snooker player, born in Birmingham, England (d. 2014)
  • May 12 Anthony Newman, American harpsichordist and organist (Bhajeb), born in Los Angeles, California
  • May 12 Ruud de Wolff, Dutch Indonesian singer and guitarist (Blue Diamonds), born in Batavia
  • May 13 Joe Brown, British singer, guitarist and ukulele player ("A Picture of You"; "I'll See You In My Dreams"), born in Swarby, England
  • May 13 Ritchie Valens [Valenzuela], American singer ("Donna"; "La Bamba"), born in Pacoima, California (d. 1959)
  • May 13 Senta Berger, Austrian stage and screen actress (Cast a Giant Shadow), born in Vienna, Austria
  • May 14 Nasim-ul-Ghani, cricketer (Pakistani left-handed all-rounder 1958-73)
  • May 15 Cyril Cooray, cricketer (Sri Lankan Test umpire on intl panel)
  • May 15 K. T. Oslin, American country singer (80's Ladies), born in Crossett, Arkansas (d. 2020)
  • May 15 Lainie Kazan [Levine], American stage and screen singer and actress (Lust in the Dust; Beaches: My Big Fat Greek Wedding), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • May 15 Richard Edward Wilson, composer
  • May 16 Maurice Henry Weddington, composer

Aldrich Ames

May 16 Aldrich Ames, American CIA officer and spy for the Soviet Union, born in River Falls, Wisconsin

  • May 17 David Cope, American composer, born in San Francisco, California
  • May 17 Malcolm Hale, American pop musician (Spanky and Our Gang), born in Butte, Montana (d. 1968)
  • May 17 Ben Nelson. American politician
  • May 17 Grace Zabriskie, American actress
  • May 18 Miriam Margolyes, British-Australian character actress (Babe; Romeo and Juliet), born in Oxford, England
  • May 18 Diane McBain, American actress (Surfside Six, Spinout, Donner Pass), born in Cleveland, Ohio
  • May 18 Malcolm Longair, British physicist (Jacksonian chair at Cavendish Laboratory), born in Dundee, Scotland
  • May 18 Lobby Loyde [John Lyde], Australian rock guitarist and songwriter (The Purple Heart; Wild Cherries; Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs), born in Longreach, Queensland (d. 2007)
  • May 19 Jane Brody, writer/nutritionist
  • May 19 Jimmy Hoffa Jr, son of Jimmy Hoffa/Teamster union leader
  • May 19 Marc-Antonio Consoli, composer

Nora Ephron

May 19 Nora Ephron, American novelist (Heartburn), screenwriter (Silkwood; When Harry Met Sally), and director (Sleepless In Seattle), born in NYC (d. 2012)

  • May 20 Goh Chok Sole, premier of Singapore (1990- )
  • May 20 John Strasberg, American actor
  • May 21 Anatoly Levchenko, Soviet cosmonaut (TM-4), born in Krasnokutsk, Ukrainian SSR, USSR (d. 1988)
  • May 21 Ronald Isley, American singer (Isley Brothers - "Twist and Shout"; "This Old Heart Of Mine"), born in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • May 21 Martin Carthy, English folk musician, born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire
  • May 22 Paul Winfield, American actor (Star Trek II, Huckleberry Finn, Mars Attack), born in Los Angeles, California (d. 2004)
  • May 22 Sebastian Forbes, British conductor, composer and music professor (The Aeolian Singers), born in Buckinghamshire, England
  • May 22 Menzies Campbell, British politician (Member of Parliament for North East Fife), born in Glasgow
  • May 22 Martha Langbein, German athlete (Olympic silver 1960), born in Heidelberg, Germany
  • May 23 Jackson Hill, American composer and educator (Voices of Autumn), born in Birmingham, Alabama
  • May 23 General Norman Johnson, American soul singer (Chairmen of the Board - "Give Me Just a Little More Time"), and songwriter ("Patches"; "Want Ads"), born in Norfolk, Virginia (d. 2010)
  • May 24 Andrés García, Mexican-Dominican actor (Tiger Shark), born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
  • May 24 Patricia Hollis, Baroness Hollis of Heigham, English Labour politician, born in Plympton, Plymouth (d. 2018)

Bob Dylan

May 24 Bob Dylan [Robert Zimmerman], American singer-songwriter ("Blowin' In The Wind"; "The Times They Are A-Changin'"; "Positively Fourth Street") and cultural icon, born in Duluth, Minnesota

  • May 24 Konrad Boehmer, German-Dutch composer, born in Berlin (2014)
  • May 24 Martin Mogg, governor (British Durham Prison)
  • May 24 Tony Valentino, Italian-American rock guitarist (Standells - "Dirty Water"), born in Sicily, Italy
  • May 24 Charles Earland, American jazz Hammond organist, and bandleader, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 1999)
  • May 25 Bill Young, American rocker, born in Daingerfield, Texas (d. 1999)
  • May 26 Imants Kalniņš, Latvian classical, choral and rock composer ("Hey, You There!"), born in Riga, Latvian SSR
  • May 26 Reg Bundy, British performer (d. 2003)
  • May 26 John Kaufman, sculptor
  • May 26 Art Sharp, British rock singer (Nashville Teens - "Tobacco Road"), born in Woking, Surrey, England
  • May 27 Adriaan Venema, Dutch journalist/author (Mussert)
  • May 27 Davina Phillips, actress
  • May 28 Beth Howland, actress (Vera - Alice, Company), born in Boston, Massachusetts (d. 2015)
  • May 28 Guntram Vesper, writer
  • May 29 Doug Scott, English mountaineer (first ascent of south-west face of Mount Everest), born in Nottingham, England (d. 2020) [1]
  • May 29 Roy Crewdson, British rock guitarist (Freddie and The Dreamers - "I'm Telling You Now"), born in Manchester, England
  • May 29 Bob Simon, American TV correspondent (CBS, 60 Minutes), born in the Bronx, New York (d. 2015)
  • May 29 Pepi Bader, German bobsledder (World C'ship gold 2-man 1970; Olympic silver 1968, 72), born in Grainau, Germany (d. 2021)
  • May 31 Gil Morgan, American golfer (Senior Players C'ship 1998, The Tradition 1997, 98), born in Wewoka, Oklahoma
  • May 31 June Clark, British Professor of Nursing (Middlesex U)
  • May 31 Kenneth Cooper, American harpsichordist, pianist, musicologist, and professor (Barnard College, Brooklyn, NYC), born in New York City (d.2021)
  • May 31 Louis J. Ignarro, American pharmacologist, (1968 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for work on nitric oxide), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • May 31 William Nordhaus, American economist (Nobel Prize 2018, climate change modelling), born in Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • May 31 Wolfgang Fahrian, German soccer goalkeeper (10 caps DRG; SC Fortuna Köln), born in Blaustein, Germany (d. 2022)

Famous Weddings

Tom Bradley

May 4 Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley (23) weds Ethel Arnold

Famous Deaths

  • May 1 John R Locksmith de Brown, vicar/CHU-politician, dies at 71
  • May 5 Natalija Obrenović, Queen of Serbia (b. 1859)
  • May 7 David Wijnkoop, Dutch revolutionary socialist, dies
  • May 7 Sir James George Frazer, Scottish anthropologist (b. 1854)
  • May 8 Heinrich Zöllner, German composer, dies at 86
  • May 12 Ruth Stonehouse, American silent film actress and director, dies at 48
  • May 23 Herbert Austin, English automobile designer and builder (founder of Austin Motor Company), dies at 74
  • May 23 Slavko Osterc, Slovenian composer, dies at 45
  • May 24 Lancelot Holland, British vice-admiral (WW II-Hood), dies in battle
  • May 27 AH Borgesius, tutor/experimentator/amateur astronomer, dies at 76
  • May 30 Prajadhipok, Rama VII, last absolute king of Siam (1925–35), dies at 47