Philippe Pétain – The Lion of Verdun – W.U Hstry

Philippe Pétain was 58 years old and a colonel when World War One broke out, and he had never seen active service. Yet within months he was a national hero and a commanding General and would soon c…

Source: Philippe Pétain – The Lion of Verdun – W.U Hstry

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

Promiscuous Bathing at Margate: Victorian Outrage Over Indecency at the Public Beach – Mimi Matthews

The Harbor, Margate, England, 1890-1900. (Library of Congress)

“Indecency among the Margate Bathers comes round as regularly as the season itself.” The Era, 23 July 1865. In Victorian England, it was generally believed that the sexes should be kept apart when …

Source: Promiscuous Bathing at Margate: Victorian Outrage Over Indecency at the Public Beach – Mimi Matthews

Wellington: The Great Military Leader Who Led His Armies To Victory Against Napoleon

The armies that fought against Napoleon are some of the most celebrated in British history. Under the leadership of the Duke of Wellington, they drove the…

Source: Wellington: The Great Military Leader Who Led His Armies To Victory Against Napoleon

The History Girls: Odette by Julie Summers

There are very few characters from the Second World War who are known by their first names but Odette is one of them. Probably the most famous female Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent to survive was born this day in 1912. She was christened Odette Marie Celine Brailly in Amiens and remarkably was blind for nearly…

Source: The History Girls: Odette by Julie Summers

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WWII Bunker Under Gare de l’Est – Paris, France – Atlas Obscura

Bright sunlight streams in through the glass sunroof as thousands of travelers make their way across the central halls at the Gare de l’Est. The Parisian landmark is a key terminal in the French railway system. But underneath the daily humdrum activity there exists a carefully maintained bunker, whose history is shrouded in secrecy.

Source: WWII Bunker Under Gare de l’Est – Paris, France – Atlas Obscura

Historians are tracing the story of an incredibly brave army nurse who was also a spy

Army nurses after the war

Madge Addy was as secretive after World War II as she was during the conflict as one of Britain’s top spies in occupied France. Historians are putting the…

Source: Historians are tracing the story of an incredibly brave army nurse who was also a spy

A Sailor’s Life For Me – A day in the life of a Royal Navy Sailor from 1806

The life of a sailor has never been easy, and during wartime, it is doubly true. It was particularly so in the Royal Navy at the beginning of the 19th century.

Britain was embroiled in a struggle against France, which had recently succumbed to revolution. Napoleon Bonaparte had become ruler and he…

Source: A Sailor’s Life For Me – A day in the life of a Royal Navy Sailor from 1806

Sir Mark Sykes and a Lead Coffin | The Immortal Jukebox

mark-sykes-001‘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.”

Source: Curtis Mayfield & Major Lance express the inexpressible : Um, um, um, um, um, um! | The Immortal Jukebox

Hidden Women Update: WWI Camouflage in Action | The Unwritten Record

You may remember our July 2016 post about the Women’s Reserve Camouflage Corps, made up of women artists who developed camouflage for use by American troops in Europe during World War I. The websit…

Source: Hidden Women Update: WWI Camouflage in Action | The Unwritten Record

Charades with the Duke of Wellington – Shannon Selin

A game of charades in Vanity Fair

Charades, which began in 18thC France as a type of riddle, became a popular 19thC parlour game. Let’s sit in on a game of charades played by the Duke of Wellington in 1821.

Source: Charades with the Duke of Wellington – Shannon Selin

The time in 1919 a WWI German U boat washed ashore on a British Beach and ruined “seaside day” for everyone

SM U-118 was a type UE II minelaying submarine of the Imperial German Navy and one of 329 submarines serving with that navy during World War I. U-118 was…

Source: The time in 1919 a WWI German U-boat washed ashore on a British Beach and ruined “seaside day” for everyone

Napoleon, Divorce and Women’s Rights | A R T L▼R K

On the 10th of January 1810, the divorce ceremony of Napoleon Bonaparte and his wife Joséphine was performed as a grand social gathering, with each of the parties reading out a statement of devotio…

Source: Napoleon, Divorce and Women’s Rights | A R T L▼R K