Jim, who is 96 years old, was born in 1921 and joined the Navy in the second year of the Second World War in 1940, when he was 18. He served on the North Sea convoys before he became part of the Combined Operations Pilotage and Reconnaissance Parties : ‘COPP,’ which had a wartime military base on Hayling Island in Hampshire in 1943 under the instruction of Lord Mountbatten. It was here that he became part of a small team of sailors and soldiers trained as frogmen and canoeists for covert beach explorations prior to landings on enemy
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…
In the early summer of 1914, Europe had no idea what was coming its way. Are we in a similar daze today?
The Oak Jozef, a 650-year-old English Oak in the Wisniowa region of south-east Poland, has long been a Polish symbol of pride. In 1934, its image proudly appeared on the 100-Zloty bill—and that was before it performed one of its most remarkable feats, hiding two Jewish brothers in its trunk during the Nazi occupation of Poland in World War II.
The Silver Star is the third-highest honor for gallantry in the U.S. Armed Forces. Previous recipients include Audie Murphy, Chuck Yeager, and Norman Schwartzkopf. But few people have heard of Magd…
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…
N.B. I’m not currently responding to comments or visiting blogs because of ill-health but I much appreciate your support.
For anyone who has not heard the expression, a London Particular, or a Pea Souper, it is a term that describes the appalling smogs that used to be commonplace. One of the worst was in 1952 when 4,000 people died from inhalation, and it led to the Clean Air Act of 1956.
‘In the phrase “pea-soup fog,” the implied comparison may have been to yellow pea soup: “…the yellow fog hung so thick and heavy in the streets of London that the lamps were lighted” (Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess, 1892).’ Wikimedia
A friend of mine, Kingsley Tudor Glover, posted the following on Facebook and I thought it deserved a wider audience.
Dear Donald Trump,
You probably can’t remember but this is what London looked like in 1952 when you were five years old and there were no regulations on the burning of fossil fuels. Hope you have a gas mask!
© Sarah Vernon © Kingsley Tudor Glover
Mary Ellis is one of the last surviving Air Transport Auxiliary pilots. She was surprised by a party in her honour at the Sandown Airport on the Isle of Wight…
70,000 people in the Greek city of Thessaloniki were evacuated to allow experts to defuse a WWII-era bomb. The bomb was discovered by…
‘At a solemn service before sunset in a rural Yorkshire churchyard, a battered lead-lined coffin was reburied hours after being opened for the first time in 89 years. As prayers were recited, samples of the remains of Sir Mark Sykes, the aristocratic diplomat and adventurer whose grave had been exhumed, were being frozen in liquid nitrogen and transported to a laboratory with the aim of saving millions of lives.
During his life, Sir Tatton Benvenuto Mark Sykes made his mark on the world map. As the British government’s lead negotiator in a secret 1916 deal with France to carve up the Ottoman Empire, he laid the groundwork for the boundaries of much of the present-day Middle East and, according to some critics, its current conflicts.
But it was the manner of the death of this Conservative MP, British Army general, and father of six children, that may yet prove the source of his most significant legacy by providing key answers in how medical science can cope with 21st-century lethal flu pandemics.
Early in 1919, Sir Mark became one of the estimated 50 million victims of the so-called Spanish flu and died in Paris.
His remains were sealed in a lead-lined coffin and transported to the Sykes family seat in Yorkshire. He was buried in the graveyard of St Mary’s Church, adjoining the house.
Were it not for the fact that Sir Mark’s body was hermetically sealed by a thick layer of lead, the story of his life would have passed quietly into history.
But the accident of chemistry – the decay of soft tissue encased in lead is dramatically slowed – has presented scientists investigating ways to deal with the inevitable mutation of the H5N1 “bird flu” into a lethal human virus with a unique opportunity to study the behaviour of its predecessor.
There are only five useful samples of the H1N1 virus around the world and none from a well-preserved body in a lead-lined coffin. Sir Mark’s descendants are delighted that his influence may reach a different sphere of human endeavour. His grandson, Christopher Sykes, said: “We were all agreed that it was a very good thing and should go ahead. It is rather fascinating that maybe even in his state as a corpse, he might be helping the world in some way.”
Today, January 27th, is Holocaust Memorial Day. this article takes the opportunity to reflect on remembering the Holocaust, and what still needs to be done. AUTHOR: SOPHIE TURBUTT
Three 400-year-old letters – including a shopping list – have been uncovered in a rare discovery under floorboards of an historic mansion.
The amazing hidden treasures, dating from 1603, 1622 and 1633, have unearthed secrets about Tudor mansion Knole House, and how it was run in the 17th century.
All three letters were found by…
I’m thrilled! The future is here! The speculation of yesterday is the modus operandi of today! Early on in my blogging life, I pondered the loss of Menander’s comedies. How could the wor…
Chilling details emerge about the daily life of Heinrich Himmler, the Nazi SS chief who sent millions of Jews to their deaths in the Holocaust.