Nazi spy or sad fantasist? Newly-released files finally shed light on the seaside B&B landlady sentenced to death for treason | Daily Mail Online

Unassuming: Dorothy O'Grady's neighbours knew her as a guest house landlady whose greatest pleasure was walking her Labrador, Rob

Unassuming: Dorothy O’Grady’s neighbours knew her as a guest house landlady whose greatest pleasure was walking her Labrador, Rob

To her neighbours, Dorothy O’Grady was a pleasant middle-aged woman who liked walking her Labrador around their sleepy seaside town.

So when the unassuming landlady of Osborne Villa in the Isle of Wight was suddenly arrested in 1940 on suspicion of being a Nazi spy, few believed it possible…

via Nazi spy or sad fantasist? Newly-released files finally shed light on the seaside B&B landlady sentenced to death for treason | Daily Mail Online

The Intrepid ’20s Women Who Formed an All-Female Global Exploration Society – Atlas Obscura

Journalist and explorer Marguerite Harrison shares a meal with a group of Bakhtiari men. (From the documentary A Nation’s Battle for Life by Merian Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack) BETTMANN/GETTY IMAGES

In August 1923, Marguerite Harrison sailed from New York bound for Constantinople. The 44-year-old had returned just five months earlier from Russia where she had been imprisoned, for a second time, on suspicions of espionage. A widowed mother of a teenage boy, Harrison had thought she would…

Source: The Intrepid ’20s Women Who Formed an All-Female Global Exploration Society – Atlas Obscura

The Man Who Saved the World From Nuclear Destruction

The 26th of September of 1983 could have been the last day for humanity. Stanislav Petrov was an officer on duty during that day; his job was to oversee the new system Oko, a nuclear early-warning system, which wasn’t the most exciting thing to do. This day changed his life completely, and at the same time…

Source: The Man Who Saved the World From Nuclear Destruction

May 10, 1941, Prisoner #7 – Today in History

At the end of WWI, Rudolf Walter Richard Hess enrolled in the University of Munich.  He’d been wounded several times in the Great War, serving in the 7th Bavarian Field Artillery Regiment. As a student, Hess studied geopolitics under Karl Haushofer, an early proponent of “Lebensraum” (“living space”), the philosophy which later became…

Source: May 10, 1941, Prisoner #7 – Today in History

A Fond Farewell to England’s Prefab WWII Bungalows – Atlas Obscura

For decades, residents of the Excalibur Estate, London’s last community of post-World War II, prefabricated houses, have been fighting against property developers and hostile local authorities to save their lovely bungalows from demolition.

This fight has proven to be in vain, as, driven by rising land values, Lewisham Council started to pull them down in…

Source: A Fond Farewell to England’s Prefab WWII Bungalows – Atlas Obscura

N.B. I’m not currently responding to comments or visiting blogs because of ill-health but I much appreciate your support.

On this day: a nuclear disaster in the USSR | In Times Gone By…

This is the first picture taken of the destroyed nuclear reactor in Chernobyl (Chornobyl in Ukrainian), Ukraine. 27th April, 1986. Taken from a helicopter flying over to assess the damage, the imag…

Source: On this day: a nuclear disaster in the USSR | In Times Gone By…

N.B. I’m not currently responding to comments or visiting blogs because of ill-health but I much appreciate your support.

The Publican & The Historian | Spitalfields Life

Portrait of Sandra Esqulant & Dan Cruickshank by Sarah Ainslie

In this extract from his newly-published book SPITALFIELDS, The History of a Nation in a Handful of Streets, Dan Cruickshank reflects on his friendship with Sandra Esqulant, landlady of the Golden Heart, and the changes they have seen in the neighbourhood over the last forty years…

Source: The Publican & The Historian | Spitalfields Life

The Role of Greenland in WW2 and The Cold War | W.U Hstry

Although Greenland has always been one of the more remote places of the world, its position leaves it with a potentially very significant role to play in any world-wide conflict. The Geographical location of Greenland is important for three reasons, the first being that it is part of the land that forms the ‘GIUK Gap’ which is an important naval choke point in the north Atlantic that is…

Source: The Role of Greenland in WW2 and The Cold War | W.U Hstry

The Last Days Of London | Spitalfields Life

At twelve years old, he photographed the end of the trams in 1952 and, since then, Spitalfields Life Contributing Photographer Colin O’Brien has become fascinated by recording the ‘last days’ of vanishing aspects of London Life …

Thames Embankment, 1952 “When I was twelve, the trams stopped running forever so I took this picture with my box camera while the driver posed for me. I loved going out with my dad on Sunday mornings for a ride through the Kingsway Tunnel and out on to the Embankment. It was even more exciting if we managed to get the front seat on the top deck where I could imagine I was…

Source:  The Last Days Of London | Spitalfields Life.

finding peace. | I didn’t have my glasses on….

Bob Ebeling with his daughter Kathy and his wife, Darlene.

Bob Ebeling spent a third of his life consumed with guilt about the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. But at the end of his life, his family says, he was finally able to find peace.

“It was as if he got permission from the world,” says his daughter Leslie Ebeling Serna. “He was able to let that part of his life go.”

Ebeling died Monday at age 89 at in Brigham City, Utah, after a long illness, according to his daughter Kathy Ebeling.

Hundreds of NPR readers and listeners helped Ebeling overcome persistent guilt in the weeks before his death. They sent supportive e-mails and letters after the January story marking the 30th anniversary of the Challenger tragedy.

Ebeling was one of five booster rocket engineers at NASA contractor Morton Thiokol who tried to stop the 1986 Challenger launch. They worried that cold temperatures overnight — the forecast said 18 degrees — would stiffen the rubber o-ring seals that prevent burning rocket fuel from leaking out of booster joints.

“We all knew if the seals failed, the shuttle would blow up,” said…

Source: finding peace. | I didn’t have my glasses on….

The World’s Oldest Man Is Now An Auschwitz Survivor Aged 112.

Guinness World Records have just named the world’s oldest man as Yisrael Kristal, who is aged 112 years old.

You would expect anyone reaching such a momentous age to have a spectacular history, but Yisrael Kristal’s defies the odds.

Courtesy of Family

Kristal was born in Poland on September 15th 1903 to Jewish parents. Tragedy struck from an early age with his mother dying in 1910, and his father dying soon after the outbreak of World War One. Aged 17 he moved to the Polish city of Łódź, where he went on to work in the family’s candy factory. In 1928 Kristal married and became father to two children.

With the outbreak of World War Two, the life Kristal had built was turned on it’s head. When Poland was invaded, his family was forced into the Łódź ghetto, where both of his children died. Further tragedy struck in August 1944, when Kristal and his wife were transported to…

Source: The World’s Oldest Man Is Now An Auschwitz Survivor Aged 112.

Memory and identity: a personal history – Mathew Lyons

My father is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. He will be 90 this year. He grew up close by the docks in Beckton, East London, which are now long gone. He remembers seeing the first wave of German bombers flying over London on September 7, 1940.

He was stationed in the Pacific when he joined the Navy in 1944; he has photos of Nagasaki taken a few weeks after it was destroyed by the atomic bomb.

At Cambridge after the war, he joined the Communist Party only to leave in the 1950s, disheartened by the party’s refusal to fully endorse the democratic process. At least, this is what I remember being told long ago, when facts seemed more stable than they do now.He spent almost his entire working life in…

Source: Memory and identity: a personal history – Mathew Lyons

Britain is no longer a country for and says “Farewell” to its oldest and greatest test pilot, Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown

Source: Britain is no longer a country for and says “Farewell” to its oldest and greatest test pilot, Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown

ericwinkle

Eric, who has died at the age of 97, between the 1930s and 1980’s flew 487 types of aircraft, ranging from gliders to fighters, bombers, airliners, amphibians, flying boats and helicopters. This is more than any other pilot has flown, or is ever likely to fly. His 2,407 deck landings at sea including the first in a jet plane and 2,721 catapult launches are world records which are unlikely ever to be broken. Blessed with exceptional skill and completely without fear, he received the affectionate nickname, ‘Winkle’ from his Royal Navy colleagues. It was short for the small mollusc, the ‘periwinkle’ because of his 5 ft 7 in stature which enabled him to put his “legs under the seat and curl up like a little ball in the cockpit,” which he believed had “saved me because there were occasions I would have…

Source: Britain is no longer a country for and says “Farewell” to its oldest and greatest test pilot, Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown

The World’s Longest War Only Ended in 1986 | Atlas Obscura

Some historians consider England’s Scilly conflict to be the longest war in known history, dragging on for a staggering 335 years. Yet one side was not a country in its own right, there were no casualties for the entire duration, and not a single shot was fired. Neither side even remembered they were still at war until someone checked the paperwork.

All of which begs the question: if war is declared but neither nation remembers, does it still count?

The Isles of Scilly are five inhabited islands and a multitude of other uninhabited rocks off the coast of Cornwall at the southwestern tip of England. With a population of roughly 2,000, the islands rely on fishing and tourism as…

Source: The World’s Longest War Only Ended in 1986 | Atlas Obscura