Ireland’s Holocaust heroine | historywithatwist

Mary Elmes during the war years and in later life

Mary Elmes during the war years and in later life

The great events of our past – the wars and the genocides – are just a series of small steps strung together… steps that when looked back upon appear to be a seamless, momentous journey.

And because of that, we tend to overlook many of those very people who created the events that make history so extraordinary.

The name Mary Elmes is not one that conjures up any special memory to most people, and that’s probably just the way the Corkwoman would…

via Ireland’s Holocaust heroine | historywithatwist

Elisabeth Eidenbenz

EidenbenzElisabeth Eidenbenz  ( 1913 – 2011 ) –  Was a Swiss nurse who set up a maternity home for pregnant Spanish refugee mothers in SW France. She also flouted Swiss neutrality and risked her life to offer a haven to Jewish mothers escaping the Nazi Gestapo…

via Elisabeth Eidenbenz |

Gerda Taro, A forgotten photojournalist – artinmanyforms

In July 1937 a Jewish émigré from Nazi Germany became the first female war photographer to die on assignment. At the age of 26, Gerda Taro was just starting to make a name for herself and had alrea…

Source: Gerda Taro,A forgotten photojournalist – artinmanyforms

The Spanish Armada of 1588 – just history posts

The Spanish Armada is one of the most famous events in English history, and a story that many can recount. The terrible Spanish tried to invade to depose the beloved Elizabeth I, but due to English…

Source: The Spanish Armada of 1588 – just history posts

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

The Two Elizas – The Irish Courtesans who set the World Alight | historywithatwist

Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl… so far, so true (and with thanks to Barry Manilow), but this particular Lola  also happened to be one of Europe’s most beautiful and talked-about women, who m…

Source: The Two Elizas – The Irish Courtesans who set the World Alight | historywithatwist

How a dozen silk stockings helped bring down Adolf Hitler | The Independent

'Mrs Garbo', Araceli Gonzalez de Pujol, complained of 'too much macaroni, too many potatoes [and] not enough fish'. The National Archives

‘Mrs Garbo’, Araceli Gonzalez de Pujol, complained of ‘too much macaroni, too many potatoes [and] not enough fish’. The National Archives

Possibly the greatest double cross operation in British espionage history was nearly ruined by a Spanish double agent’s homesick wife and her horror at wartime British food, newly declassified documents have revealed.

Source: How a dozen silk stockings helped bring down Adolf Hitler | The Independent

The Spanish Civil War: The 80th anniversary | REDFLAGFLYING

With all the various worthy and necessary commemorations about the centenary of the First World War, another anniversary has been sadly overlooked. The Spanish Civil War started in 1936, eighty yea…

Source: The Spanish Civil War: The 80th anniversary | REDFLAGFLYING

Hoard of 17th Century Spanish Coins Found on Crimean Peninsula – Life in Russia

Hoard of Spanish Coins Found SOCHI, May 19./TASS/. Archeologists have found a hoard of 17th century Spanish coins at the site where the momentous bridge is being built between the Crimean Peninsula…

Source: Hoard of 17th Century Spanish Coins Found on Crimean Peninsula – Life in Russia

May 13, 1619: Walk a Mile in His Wooden Shoes

Johan van Olden Barneveldt was a statesman who played an important role in the Dutch struggle for independence from Spain. His name is also associated – at least, according to British accounts – wi…

Source: May 13, 1619: Walk a Mile in His Wooden Shoes

For May Day – In Memory of Guido Picelli | toritto

Guido Picelli – Leader of the Resistance to Fascism Guido Picelli was the leader of the last armed resistance to Italian Fascism, rousing the working men and women of Parma to defeat some 20,…

Source: For May Day – In Memory of Guido Picelli | toritto

Uncovered: The Spy Who Lost Her Clothes « LAST POST

Betrayed Queen No 1: Anne of Denmark, wife of James VI of Scotland and I of England, by Paul van Somer, 1617. Image: Wikipedia.

A dress recovered from a 400 year old shipwreck reveals secrets from Charles I’s court on the eve of the Civil War. (Source: The Guardian) Betrayed Queen No 1: Anne of Denmark, wife of James …

Source: Uncovered: The Spy Who Lost Her Clothes « LAST POST

The Scandalous Decision To Pickle Admiral Horatio Nelson In Brandy | Atlas Obscura

A painting of the Battle of Trafalgar, showing the fatal wounding of Lord Nelson on the deck of the HMS Victory. (Photo: Public Domain/WikiCommons)

In the middle of the Napoleonic War, Britain’s most famous naval hero is struck by a fatal musket ball at the very moment of his greatest strategic triumph. Rather than bury his body at sea, a quick-thinking Irish surgeon preserves it in a cask of brandy lashed to the deck of the ship. A hurricane is on the horizon and the mast has been shot off; there is no way to hang the sails that would get ship (and body) to England quickly.

The two words that stand out in this story? Brandy and surgeon.

The scenario described is the death of Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, a moment so central to Britain’s story of itself that in a 2002 BBC poll, Nelson placed number eight on a list of 100 Greatest Britons—slightly behind Elizabeth I and ahead of Sir Isaac Newton and William Shakespeare. His monument in Trafalgar Square, a 169-foot-tall column surrounded by larger-than-life brass lions, is such a…

Source: The Scandalous Decision To Pickle Admiral Horatio Nelson In Brandy | Atlas Obscura

The History Girls: Sir Francis Walsingham and the Marranos – by Ann Swinfen

The first well organised secret service in England was the lifelong achievement of Sir Francis Walsingham. During the early part of his career, he worked for William Cecil – Lord Burghley – Queen Elizabeth’s chief advisor, undertaking a number of roles in the service of the state, including the post of ambassador to Paris at the time of the notorious St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. Walsingham, his pregnant wife and small daughter, together with young Philip Sidney, who was staying with them, were caught up in a series of terrifying and horrific events in that August of 1572 which would mark them for life.

Burghley had developed an embryonic secret service, but when Walsingham took it in hand it became a sophisticated and highly skilled organisation which spread out from his London home in Seething Lane to cover the whole of Europe and even reached into the Ottoman Empire. Its purpose was to safeguard the queen and the English nation from treason and foreign invasion. After the death of Catholic Queen Mary and the accession of her Protestant sister Elizabeth to the throne, the Pope had judged that England was likely to fall back into the heretical beliefs which had been promoted under Henry VIII and (even more vehemently) under his young son Edward VI. He declared Elizabeth a bastard and an excommunicate heretic. (Henry VIII’s run-in with the papacy still rankled.) Moreover, he gave a pardon in advance to any man who succeeded in assassinating Elizabeth.

The papacy thus fostered, encouraged, and sometimes financed repeated assaults on England for the whole of Elizabeth’s reign, including those undertaken by the…

Source: The History Girls: Sir Francis Walsingham and the Marranos – by Ann Swinfen.

Why England Was A Year Behind Belgium, Spain and Italy for 170 Years | Atlas Obscura

William Hogarth’s satirical painting, “An Election Entertainment” (1755), includes the words “Give us back our eleven days!” (Photo: Public Domain/WikiCommons)

In 1584 a violent, angry crowd ransacked the city of Augsburg, Germany. Citizens broke through thick windows and shot their guns into the street. They were marching to City Hall to make it clear that they would not take the authorities’ new plans sitting down. They were in the midst of the Kalenderstriet, or “calendar conflict.” It was a response to the proposed change from the Julian calendar, which had been used for over a thousand years, to the Gregorian calendar, which would fully skip 10 days.

The people of Augsburg weren’t just upset that their calendar was being changed, which would skip birthdays and ruin weekends. Germany was a largely Protestant territory with a history of war between…

Source: Why England Was A Year Behind Belgium, Spain and Italy for 170 Years | Atlas Obscura