21-Year Old WWII Soldier’s Sketchbooks Reveal a Visual Diary of His Experiences

En-route to Europe. Promenade Deck. “And you know, we were far from even thinking of combat. They didn't tell us. We didn't know what was going to happen, once we landed. …—you know, the day it happens they tell you.” (September 2, 1944)

En-route to Europe. Promenade Deck. “And you know, we were far from even thinking of combat. They didn’t tell us. We didn’t know what was going to happen, once we landed. …—you know, the day it happens they tell you.” (September 2, 1944)

True artists must find a creative outlet no matter what the circumstance—including times of war. Thanks to the creative passion and steady hand of then 21-year old soldier Victor Lundy, we have a breathtaking visual record of World War II, in the form of documentary sketches. For Lundy, “drawing is sort of synonymous with thinking,” which means we are left with an intimate archive of sketches that unfold one soldier’s experience fighting on the front lines. Lundy was studying architecture in New York when …

Source: 21-Year Old WWII Soldier’s Sketchbooks Reveal a Visual Diary of His Experiences

Blue plaque to be unveiled for woman who was Churchill’s ‘favourite spy’ | World news | The Guardian

I meant to post this in the middle of September when it was still current news and then promptly forgot about it!

She was a Polish countess and Churchill’s favourite spy whose many dazzling accomplishments included smuggling microfilm across Europe which proved Hitler’s plans to invade…

Source: Blue plaque to be unveiled for woman who was Churchill’s ‘favourite spy’ | World news | The Guardian

See also: The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville by Clare Mulley

5 Objects That Illuminate the Medieval Exchange Between Africa and Europe – Atlas Obscura

DURING THE MEDIEVAL PERIOD, BETWEEN the 8th to 16th centuries, West Africa was flush with vast resources and gold. Its kingdoms were some of the most prosperous the world has ever known. When the king Mansa Musa of 14th-century Mali made a stop in Cairo, Egypt, it’s said that he handed out so much gold to the poor that he single-handedly caused…

Source: 5 Objects That Illuminate the Medieval Exchange Between Africa and Europe – Atlas Obscura

Kick Kennedy, the Marquess & the Earl – Turtle Bunbury

kickkennedy

Seventy years ago today, a plane crash in southern France ended the life of Kick Kennedy, oldest sister of Jack and Bobby, and her lover, Peter, Earl Fitzwilliam. This story recounts the series of events that lead up to the tragedy and the remarkable Irish connections to each of the protagonists…

via Kick Kennedy, the Marquess & the Earl – Turtle Bunbury

The Crusader Conquest of Constantinople | toritto

crusades

It is the Year of Our Lord 1075 and a great disaster has befallen Christendom.

The Islāmic armies of the Seljuk Turks have taken Jerusalem.

In Western Europe, the Roman Empire is gone some 600 years.  In the East the empire still lives at Constantinople, its Emperor ruling portions of the eastern shore of the Adriatic through the Balkans and Greece into Asia Minor and Syria.  It is in constant conflict with the…

via The Crusader Conquest of Constantinople | toritto

Anti-Brexit historians must dare to be political | THE Opinion

As a child of 1980s West Germany my prevailing personal memories of growing up are of positive change: the rejection of fascism and the advancement of democracy and equality.

Yet I see today that those advances are nowhere near as deeply rooted in Western societies as I had come to assume.

From Brexit to Trump to current developments in Poland, hard-won progress is…

via Anti-Brexit historians must dare to be political | THE Opinion

Last Hope Island by Lynne Olson review – a challenge to second world war myths | Books | The Guardian

I apologise for the link in this morning’s post about the Japanese in Britain not working. It appears the original at the History Girls has been deleted. So here instead is what sounds like a fascinating book about the myths of the Second World War.

Winston Churchill, left, and Charles de Gaulle at the Armistice Day celebrations in Paris, 1944. Photograph: Popperfoto

As Britain starts to extricate itself from Europe’s embrace, it is timely to examine the intricacies of this love-hate relationship at another point of crisis. Last Hope Island describes the many continental Europeans who, escaping Nazi occupation, found refuge in Britain during the second world war. Their stories are exciting, moving and horrifying, with…

Source: Last Hope Island by Lynne Olson review – a challenge to second world war myths | Books | The Guardian

The Brilliant MI6 Spy Who Perfected the Art of the ‘Honey Trap’ | Atlas Obscura

Betty Pack on her wedding day. (Photo: Churchill Archives Center, Papers of Harford Montgomery Hyde, HYDE 02 011/Courtesy Harper Collins)

These days the “honeypot” is a popular trope in espionage thrillers, with seemingly every high-level informant recruited via seduction by a ravishing female spy. But long before James Bond ever jumped across the roof of a moving train in books or film, the globe-trotting spy Betty Pack was wooing suitors for classified information on both sides of the Atlantic. Few people have elevated…

Source: The Brilliant MI6 Spy Who Perfected the Art of the ‘Honey Trap’ | Atlas Obscura

Food Riots and Recession in Napoleonic-era England | Pen and Pension

Declaration by Norfolk Labourers Photo Nigel Jones CC

In 1793, the tensions caused by the revolution in France finally exploded into a pan-european conflict. In some ways, it was nothing new. Wars were endemic to most parts of the European continent. …

Source: Food Riots and Recession in Napoleonic-era England | Pen and Pension

For Sale: Intriguing 19th Century Photos of Britain’s Colonial World – Atlas Obscura

The Taj Mahal. COURTESY OF ANDREW SMITH & SON AUCTIONS

In the 1860s, Jane Stewart was married to a Bengal Engineer, who served in the British Army in India. Stewart and her husband came from Scotland, towards the beginning of the British Raj, which began in 1858. The East India Company had governed large swaths of land for about a century before a…

Source: For Sale: Intriguing 19th Century Photos of Britain’s Colonial World – Atlas Obscura

V.E. Day — Benedicta Leigh | First Night History

Re-blog from 8 May 2015

Benedicta Leigh 1922—2000 [photo: David Sim]

My mother, Benedicta Leigh, was in her late teens when the Second World War broke out. She signed up to be a VAD [Voluntary Aid Detachment] nurse and was working at a hospital in London when German…

Source: V.E. Day — Benedicta Leigh | First Night History

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