Britain is no country for old men: Britain is no country for a very old Second World War spitfire pilot called Flight Lieutenant Edmund James

Edmund, who is 98 years old, is one of the last remaining fighter pilots from the Second World War. While, at the age of 17, he was too young to fight in the Battle of Britain, Edmund enlisted in the RAF and joined 93 Squadron and based at Biggin Hill he saw action over British waters and above the fields of France during and after D-Day in 1944.

He was involved in …

Source: Britain is no country for old men: Britain is no country for a very old Second World War spitfire pilot called Flight Lieutenant Edmund James

When Christmas was cancelled: what 1647’s riots and rebellion can teach us today

Back in 1647, Christmas was banned in the kingdoms of England (which at the time included Wales), Scotland and Ireland and it didn’t work out very well. Following a total ban on everything festive, from decorations to gatherings, rebellions broke out across the country. While some activity took the form of hanging holly in defiance, other action was …

Source: When Christmas was cancelled: what 1647’s riots and rebellion can teach us today

Three faces – The Silent Eye

For November, it was a surprisingly pleasant morning. In need of somewhere to go to stretch our lockdown-cramped legs, we wandered to a neighbouring village to explore its history. Whilst personal preference may direct our attention to the ancient face of the land, it was because of more recent memory that we had landed in Whitchurch… this sleepy little backwater …

Source: Three faces – The Silent Eye

John Snow and the Soho Cholera Outbreak of 1854

Contagious disease has long been a very significant problem. Outbreaks would rise and fall, killing many thousands of people, often in limited areas. Prior to the mid 19th century, the thinking was often that disease was caused and transmitted by a miasma – a form of “bad air”.

It took the work of a number of Doctors and Scientists to prove this was not correct and to trace the real cause of disease transmission, and one of these was Dr. John Snow, often called the founding father of …

Source: John Snow and the Soho Cholera Outbreak of 1854

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

The hidden courtyard of one of England’s best preserved castles – Flickering Lamps

It may not be the first place that springs to mind when one thinks of England’s great castles, but in the North Yorkshire town of Skipton, a fine medieval castle dominates the skyline.  Skipton Castle, the earliest parts of which date from the Norman period, is one of the best-preserved…

Source: The hidden courtyard of one of England’s best-preserved castles – Flickering Lamps

Thousands of ancient artefacts from Roman treasure to shipwreck bounty to be revealed by X-rays

Thousands of artefacts encased in centuries of concrete-like deposits – ranging from Roman antiquities to the contents of a 280-year-old shipwreck – are to have their secrets revealed by a state-of-the-art X-ray system…

Source: Thousands of ancient artefacts from Roman treasure to shipwreck bounty to be revealed by X-rays

Beaufighter Discovered by Couple Walking on the Beach

Graham Holden and his partner were walking their dog on a Cleethorpes beach when they discovered wreckage that left him “amazed.”

Experts believe that what they found is the remains of an RAF Bristol Beaufighter which crashed shortly after it took off from North Coates in Lincolnshire one day in April 1944. RAF North Coates was located six miles southeast of Cleethorpes when it operated from 1914 until its closure in 1990. The airfield is now operated privately…

Source: Beaufighter Discovered by Couple Walking on the Beach

The Night A Naval Torpedo Boat Went Aground Off Bembridge

At around 9pm on the evening of the 16th December 1908, the pulling and sailing Lifeboat ‘Queen Victoria’ under coxswain John Holbrook answered signals of distress made from a vessel which had grounded on the ledge at…

Source: The Night A Naval Torpedo Boat Went Aground

Meet Maria Branwell, mother of the extraordinary Brontës – London Life With Liz

The Mother of the Brontës by Sharon Wright

The Mother of the Brontës by Sharon Wright

“The book that can never be written”. So Sharon Wright was told every time she proposed the idea of a biography of the Brontë sisters’ mother, Maria. The accepted view in Brontë scholarly circles has always been that Maria’s life was eclipsed by the genius of her children.

Source: Meet Maria Branwell, mother of the extraordinary Brontës – London Life With Liz

Florence Nightingale’s Dark Decade | A R T L▼R K

On the 12th of May 1820, Florence Nightingale was born in Florence, Tuscany, the city she owes her name to. She was a national heroine in her lifetime already, elevated to near sainthood by some and bitterly criticised by others.

Source: Florence Nightingale’s Dark Decade | A R T L▼R K

VE Day: Last Nazi message intercepted by Bletchley Park revealed – BBC News

The last German military communications decoded at Bletchley Park in World War Two have been revealed to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day. They were broadcast on 7 May 1945 by a military radio network making its final stand in Cuxhaven on Germany’s North Sea coast.

Source: VE Day: Last Nazi message intercepted by Bletchley Park revealed – BBC News

Maxwell Knight – MI5’s Greatest Spymaster – on Female Spies

“It is frequently alleged that women are less discreet than men, that they are ruled by their emotions, and not by their brains: that they rely on intuition rather than on reason; and that Sex will play an unsettling and dangerous role in their work. …  it is curious that in the history of espionage and counter-espionage a very high percentage of the greatest coups have been brought off by women … this – if it proves anything – proves that the spymasters of the world are inclined to lay down hard and fast rules, which they subsequently find it impossible to keep to, and it is in their interests to break.”

I’m halfway through the book and it’s a riveting read. Sarah

Source: Maxwell Knight, MI5’s Greatest Spymaster BY Henry Hemmings