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Thread: Time Difference Between France And England

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    Default Time Difference Between France And England

    When a P51 took off from England at 3PM during WWII, what time was it in France ?

    Today, there is a one hour time difference between France and England.

    During WWII, I heard that "France was at the german time";

    So, what was then the time difference between France and England ?

    Thanks to you all and have a great day.

    GC

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    Hello,

    This subject has been covered on the board tens of time. If you had used the search function of the board, you would have been able to retrieve one of these threads. Last time was in March 2010 it seems.

    One can't answer your question that simply, it depends on the date of the event, as the time lag varied : both in U.K. and in Europe, but not on the same dates ! Hence sometimes there can be no difference (period of D-Day for example), other times one hour.

    This article was published in Bulletin Airwar 1939-1945 Nr. 99 page 26/27.

    Time calculation 1940-1945. By Rob de Bruin/Great Bookham, England.

    I have checked two sources; first my own Whitaker Almanac and I have contacted the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. The situation is as follows:
    1) In Great Britain(from now on called England) there is since 1916 summertime. In the winter they have GMT and in the summer GMT+1.
    2) Middle European Time(MET), that was the time in the Netherlands during the German occupation, was equal to GMT+1 and during the summer Middle European Time is equal to GMT+2.
    3) The English introduced at February 25th, 1940 their summertime GMT+1. In the Netherlands we had Dutch Time. This means that from February 25th, 1940 it was 40 min. later in England than in Holland. From may 16th, 1940 the Germans introduced MET and the Dutch were one hour ahead of the English.
    4) In England it was summertime during the war from February 25th, 1940 till October 7th, 1945.
    5) To get more daylight went over to Double British Summertime(DBST). This was during:
    a. 1941 May 4th till August 10th.
    b. 1942 April 5th till August 9th
    c. 1943 April 4th till August 15th
    d. 1944 April 2nd till September 17th
    e. 1945 April 2nd till July 15th
    6) During these periods the time in England was GMT+2 and that’s the same as
    MET(Summertime)
    7) To make thing more clear some examples:
    Date Time in Holland/Germany Time in England.
    30-05-1940 12.28 11.28
    22-06-1941 06.05 06.05
    03-11-1942 14.18 14.18
    01-04-1943 23.25 22.25
    01-05-1943 20.08 20.08
    06-06-1944 05.30 05.30
    05-05-1945 08.00 09.00
    8) The change of time was done in the early Sunday morning hours at 2.00 O’clock.
    9) Here a list of dates were the German time was equal to British time.
    a. 1941 May 4th till August 10th.
    b. 1942 April 5th till August 9th and November 2nd till December 31.
    c. 1943 January 1st till March 29th and April 4th till August 15th and from
    October 4th till December 31st.
    d. 1944 January 1st till April 2nd and April 4th till September 17th and October 2nd
    till December 31st.
    e. 1945 January 1st till April 2nd.

    This is an translation of the essence of an article published in Bulletin Airwar 1939-1945 Nr.99. With many thanks to Mr. Robert de Bruin, Great Bookham, England.
    The translation has been made by Jaap Woortman.


    Joss
    Last edited by jossleclercq; 15th September 2010 at 09:57.

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    Default Comparable Times

    Thanks Joss

    I know this is a bit of a complicated subject, which is why it gets repeated from time to time. I myself asked about it not all that long ago on this forum (was that me in March 2010? I think it might have been). The often-reprinted item which you've copied-out again is very helpful even if it made my brain hurt trying to understand it. Eventually I put the details on a sort of spreadsheet-chart to give a visual picture of how UK and German times matched-up, AND when they didn't. Well it helped me, anyway! I think I did have one small period where there was a discrepancy with the time-change date (and hence, therefore, the comparable time here and in Germany during that period) but apart from that it all seemed ok.

    I note that Gilles was in fact asking about the comparable time in France, not Germany or The Netherlands (which is what the item below is talking about).

    Can we assume that France was on 'European' time and that the time there was the same as in Germany/Holland?

    Ian

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    Hello Ian,

    Yes it's a subject which is coming over and over, for reasons easy to understand. We, on the continent, need often to establish if an event mentioned in continental archives, is matching a specific mission, comparing time of take-off and landing, bombing, etc... It surely helps when several events occured at roughly the same time, in a limited space.

    There's also a piece about time in U.K. and in the continent in one of TNA (may be even still PRO when published) readers's guide. I have it on the book shelf, but a bit long to type it all.

    As for "German" time, at least in France, official time was imposed by the occupying forces. But sometimes people, especially in the country side, would still talk about the "old hour" (Eul' vieil' heur in northern France's slang, where I live).

    To my humble opinion, the time quoted in the French Police or Gendarmerie report is "the official" German time. I recently wrote up a small piece about the crash of a Spitfire (I've met the pilot's daughter on Sunday) and it's a perfect match (10 minutes or so) with the German pilot's claim, and is one hour in advance with English time (the crash occured at 8:20 / 8:30 hours and the Squadron ORB shows take-off time at 6:45 and landing time at 8:00 !)

    Joss

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    good evening,

    & thanks to both of you:

    - Joss, for the data and for the incentive to use the "search" function. A forum is really instructive ("I learn, you learn, we learn" right ?).

    - Ian for pointing accurately the detail of my question,

    I appreciate your quick and precise answers which help me : I unearthed a P51 clock still with the needle on it, showing the hour.
    So the crash hour is confirmed.

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