Eve of Saint Crispin’s Day

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother…

WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

KING. What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say “To-morrow is Saint Crispian.”
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say “These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.”
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

By golly my blood is pumping, and my loins are girded… Which reminds me; It’s also that time of year again when the clocks go back 1 hour at 0200 hrs on the last Sunday in October (26th.) Greenwich Mean Time begins.      Yours Aye. 

Ancient underground car-park

A ‘Remarkable and rare’ 2,200-year-old chariot unearthed in Melton Mowbray…      A ‘remarkable and rare’ Iron Age chariot has been uncovered during an excavation of an ancient hill-fort in Leicestershire.1413300662160_wps_6_Archaeologists_have_unearA single chariot lynch pin is shown from three angles, showing the intricate decoration at the ends. Archaeologists discovered the bronze chariot fittings, along with horse care tools from 2nd or 3rd Century BC, at an ancient fort in Burrough Hill. Experts believe the chariot was either dismantled or never built, and would have belonged to a high-status individual such as a noble or warrior. The archaeologists who found the treasures are said to be shell-shocked by the enormity of their discovery. The decorated fittings from the 2,200-year-old Iron Age chariot appear to have been buried as a religious offering.1413300755571_wps_11_Archaeologists_have_unearThe discovery was made by students from the University of Leicester during their ongoing excavation of the Burrough Hill Iron Age hill-fort (pictured), near Melton Mowbray. ‘Remarkable and rare’ 2,200-year-old chariot unearthed in Melton Mowbray, Leicester 

We’ve all done it before! Taken on a project and never got round to finishing it, and there it sits in the garage/shed/workshop just gathering dust (or in some cases buried underground for 2,200 years!) So if that’s the case, what’s in your garage/shed/workshop that you haven’t gotten round too just yet? Come on, shoulders back, chest out, chin up, and speak in a loud clear voice so we can all hear…   Yours Aye.

My mountain bike has been sat in pieces for several months, which I keep making feeble excuses over for not re-building!  Six ‘Hail Mary’s’ and Four ‘Our Father’s’ as penance!  (It’s a Catholic thing) ;-)

Robin Hood was a Yorkshireman…

article-1082332-024FC8A8000005DC-216_239x331Was Robin Hood from YORKSHIRE? Outlaw has more ties to the county than Nottinghamshire, claims expert… Everything you know about the legend of Robin Hood may be wrong, after experts have claimed the outlaw was in fact a Yorkshireman. Refuting centuries-old reports that the villain lived in Sherwood Forest in Nottingham, a curator from a Doncaster museum states evidence suggests otherwise. She claims literary references put Robin Hood firmly in Barnsdale, Doncaster and Pontefract throughout his life – and he was also buried in Kirklees, West Yorkshire.

‘It’s more than likely that Robin Hood was a Yorkshireman,’ said Carolyn Dalton, from Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery. ‘Robin Hood’s links to Yorkshire are far stronger historically, the oldest and most detailed stories give details of the north Doncaster and Pontefract area. ‘I think over the years Yorkshire hasn’t made much of the connection. ‘In terms of where Robin and his men lived, history points to Barnsdale near Doncaster.’1410262125088_wps_11_Kirklees_Priory_jpgAn epitaph recorded in 1702 claims Robin Hood was buried in Kirklees, in West Yorkshire, where the legend claims he was killed, supposedly by the Sheriff of Nottingham. This grave (pictured above) dates to 1247.   ‘Robin Hood & Little John’ from the 50’s British series.Robin Hood 769

Legend has always stated the leader of the Merry Men originated from Sherwood Forest – the stomping ground of his archenemy, the Sheriff of Nottingham. But Yorkshire historians claim the earliest stories put his origins firmly in Barnsdale – on the border between South and West Yorkshire near Doncaster. The experts argue Yorkshire boasts more points of historical reference than any other county, including the site where Robin Hood’s remains are believed to be buried at Kirklees Priory, near Brighouse, West Yorkshire.         Was Robin Hood from YORKSHIRE? 

‘Oh Gawd’ please let this be so, as I have a good oppo who I served alongside who accredited Robin Hood with every thing he did “As Nottinghamshire lads – we were brought up with the legend of a true honest folk hero – one of Nottingham’s finest!” Oh to be the first to burst his childhood bubble (I’ve already mailed him the link as he now resides abroad.)    Yours Aye.

RMS Titanic ‘lunch is served!’

Man converts his garden shed into a replica of the Titanic’s dining room. (And it’s so posh he ate his Christmas dinner there.) For most people, the prospect of eating Christmas dinner while holed up in the garden shed would not be an enticing one. But for John Siggins, 62, the experience last year was one of luxury after he transformed his shed into a precise imitation of the dining room found on the Titanic.1407932276250_wps_5_PIC_FROM_CATERS_NEWS_PICT

1407932507911_Image_galleryImage_PIC_FROM_CATERS_NEWS_PICTThe railway engineer, from Ripley, Derbyshire, has spent up to £10,000 turning the tiny structure into a replica of the lavish room – made famous in the 1997 film about the doomed ship. He has claimed that his creation could be worth ten times that to the right collector.

The corrugated-iron shed features wooden panels, chairs and dining sets from the ship’s sister liner, the Olympic – all of which Mr Siggins has collected over 25 years. Assembled completely by hand, the idea for the project first came about after he was gifted an original blanket handed to a rescued passenger when the ship sunk in 1912.

Mr Siggins was at a library researching a family who had been on the Titanic when an elderly man sitting next to him recognised the name of a survivor he was reading about – Julia Cavendish. The same name was printed on an old blanket that the man unwittingly had at home – which he had acquired through inheritance. As soon as the man mentioned the link, Mr Siggins offered to buy the blanket. Great British Eccentric builds replica RMS Titanic dining room in his garden shed. 1407932290602_wps_6_PIC_FROM_CATERS_NEWS_PICTMr Siggins – a word to the wise mate, ‘you’re improperly dressed, and you need a hobby that gets you out more often.’            Yours Aye.

“Pass the Mustard, please.”

Colman’s Mustard celebrates 200 years on Britain’s tables with fascinating archive of photos and adverts showing how it went from strength to strength.article-2717690-204CA2AA00000578-547_964x427An 1884 Victorian label: A staple of the British kitchen is celebrating its anniversary this year. Archivist’s research reveals the 200 year history of Colman’s Mustard. A fascinating archive documenting how Colman’s Mustard impacted on the people living and working in Norwich has been uncovered to mark the 200th anniversary of the product. The gallery of vintage pictures which shows the rise of the condiment to a favourite kitchen staple includes photographs, posters, leaflets and articles dating back to 1814. The popular product was founded by former flour miller Jeremiah Colman and sold as a powder for people to mix into a paste.      Colman’s recipes…article-2717690-204C9DD300000578-580_964x805Hand tinted glass plate showing thousands of workers leaving Norfolk’s Carrow works in 1900: The gallery of vintage pictures dates back to 1814.  The first newspaper advert for the family firm from the time makes up part of the archive. It reads: ‘Jeremiah Colman, having taken the Stock and Trade lately carried on by Mr Edward James, respectfully informs his customers and the public in general that he will continue the manufacturing of mustard.’ His nephew, James, joined the company in 1823, and the firm was rebranded as J. and J. Colman. Employees worked long hours but had access to a clothing club, school and an abundance of leisure activities. Colman’s Mustard celebrates 200 yearsarticle-2717690-204CC43800000578-777_964x1647I remember my Dad letting me taste a bit off the tip of his finger when I was around 5-years-old; I approved wholeheartedly, and from that day forth any meat placed before me has a dollop upon it. It travelled with me throughout my service life to enhance 24 hour ration packs, as well as provide back up in various dining halls. In 20 minutes time it will be spread across my Aberdeen Angus beef and herb sausages. Française namby-pamby moutarde is banned from my humble abode.             “Pass the Mustard, please.” Yours Aye.

Viking broadsword guaranteed bad luck

Broadword2.JPGIs this England’s unluckiest sword? Viking broadsword was on the losing side of four of history’s greatest battles… and now it could be yours for just £120,000.      Click pic to enlarge

An unlucky sword used by the losers of the Battles of Stamford Bridge, Hastings, Bannockburn and Boroughbridge over a period of 250 years is expected to reach £120,000 at auction. It is believed that the 11th century broadsword was originally carried to Britain by Viking raiders when it was captured, only to be lost a few weeks later at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. In 1314, the sword was carried to Scotland at the Battle of Bannockburn, where the owner was forced to retreat having witnessed his nephew axed to death.

However, the cursed sword’s bad luck continued at the Battle of Boroughbridge in 1322, when the unfortunate owner was speared in the anus and killed. Now, the weapon is going to be auctioned by Christie’s auction house in London. Is this England’s unluckiest sword? 

Jeeze, I don’t need to part with ‘£120.000 – $205.000′ to bring forth bad luck, I can make my own for free… ;-) Aye.

Hot lead to cool graphite

From George V’s Coronation to horrors of WWI: Drawings of major British historical events from first illustrated newspaper go on sale. Remarkable drawings, recorded in The Illustrated London News, showed pivotal events to hundreds of thousands of readers in elegant and intricate style.They vary from the state pomp seen at events such as coronations and Royal Weddings to the unvarnished horror of trench warfare.article-2685771-1F80328C00000578-327_964x629The collection of front page images from The Illustrated London News, including this drawing depicting British officers relaxing in the Ypres Salient drawn by Italian artist Fortunino Matania                          Click all to enlarge.article-2685771-1F802FAA00000578-22_964x624Intricate image shows hundreds of women working in a munitions factory circa 1915, which was part of a step-change in the nation’s attitude towards working women.article-2685771-1F8043A300000578-494_964x635Soldiers tending to the wounded on the Western Front in 1915, with barbed wire and No-Man’s Land visible in the distance. Drawings of major British historical events from first illustrated newspaper go on sale

Amazing drawings that capture the moment perfectly.            Yours Aye.

The pungent aroma of Viking…

The great smell of ‘Brute': York tourist board creates Viking ‘fragrance’ for men who want to stink like a ninth century Norse warrior!Visit YorkIn this modern image-conscious world, when we all want to portray ourselves in the best possible light, a man might want to smell of many things. He certainly wants to smell of diligently washed skin and newly cleaned clothes. He probably wants to smell of expensive hair products. He might even want to smell of whatever fragrance David Beckham is flogging this week, or some other fine aftershave.Visit York

But one thing he probably doesn’t want to smell like is a stinking bearded warrior from 13 centuries ago. A stinking bearded warrior, who, to be precise, has a penchant for smashing up villages, wearing blood-stained battle gear and sporting awful helmet hair. Nonetheless, this hasn’t stopped tourist officials in York from launching ‘Norse Power’, a – shall we say – niche-appeal perfume which will help a man to reek like a Viking.

‘Visit York’ has created this bottled attack on our nostrils in tribute to the city’s Norse past. It has been concocted using assorted pungent ingredients: deep-soaked sweat (worked up during a raid on a British settlement); seawater (from a long voyage across the North Sea from the Viking heartland of Norway); mud and damp (from travels on foot over sodden terrain); dried blood (not necessarily model’s own – from a day’s fighting and pillaging).Visit York

The eye-watering package is completed by the ‘aromas’ of cooked meat from Viking feasts, hard liquor (Vikings had a noted appetite for mead) and – as a token pleasant inclusion – notes of fresh pine from all those lengthy hikes though deep-rooted forests. ‘With Norse Power, we wanted to try and capture the sort of smells that would have been part of the lives of Viking warriors around the time that York was the Norse capital of England,’ says Michelle Brown, the marketing manager at Visit York ‘But more than that, with all the bath products, deodorants, perfumes and aftershaves available today, we wanted to give male visitors to York the chance to cast aside their allegiance to modern aromas and instead embrace the smells from an era of warriors.’ The launch of Norse Power is, of course, just a bit of fun – although those who really want to smell like the inside of an animal-skin cloak can try the fragrance this weekend. Visit YorkYork was effectively the heart of Viking culture in Britain after it was attacked and quelled by Viking invaders in 866AD. The Viking era ran roughly between the end of the eighth century and the middle of the 11th. In Britain, it came to a bloody conclusion in 1066, when an invading force from Norway was defeated at the Battle of Stamford Bridge (in modern Yorkshire) – just days before the Battle of Hastings saw William the Conqueror and his cohorts complete the Norman Conquest. Notorious for their ferocity, Vikings hailed from the Scandinavian landmass (especially Norway, Denmark and Sweden), although they also settled in Greenland. tinerant and aggressive, their attacks on Europe made them the scourge of the continent for almost 300 years – and even took them as far south as Spain and Portugal. However, for all their reputation as vicious killers, Vikings were also great sailors and explorers – and there is a good deal of evidence to suggest that they crossed the Atlantic and ‘discovered’ the Americas (not least Newfoundland) long before Christopher Columbus.          Kinda cute in a Viking sort of way?bearded_lady_clare-680x1022I’m popping into York this weekend, though I will give the opportunity of ‘Norse Power’ a wide birth. Having seen those viking women close up I figure its best not to encourage them in any way. Even after a gallon of ale and a large brace of rum, its still not a pretty sight…      Yours Aye.

WWI ambulance train

article-2605886-1D23FC4500000578-322_964x450Poignant archive pictures show the ambulance trains that transported soldiers wounded on the Western Front back to hospitals across Britain during the First World War. With their pristine white sheets, carefully-arranged tea cups and attentive teams of young nurses, the ambulance trains which brought injured Tommies back from the front could not have been further from the horrors of war the men had lived through. The insides of the specially-adapted train coaches were often the first taste of home the wounded soldiers experienced as they made their way back to Britain after months spent fighting in the trenches.  ‘A cup of tea from a nurse was often the first treatment a soldier got as he headed back to Britain.’       Click on pics to enlarge.article-2605886-1D23AE5400000578-997_964x664These remarkable images of the First World War ambulance trains are now to form part of a new exhibition at York’s National Railway Museum in November. The photos show the trains which brought soldiers back from the battlefield to the French ports of Calais and Bologne, where they were transferred onto boats before being taken, again by train, to hospitals throughout Britain. But, as the exhibition will reveal, the images contrast with some reports from the time. War poet Robert Grave described his journey in one of the carriages as a ‘nightmare’ in his war memoir, Goodbye to All That and a nurse documented their ‘frightful smells and dirt’.      From Hell to Heaven. article-2605886-1D23D5B300000578-536_964x657As the numbers of those injured in battle rose, so the trains became more important and were upgraded and expanded during the conflict, leading the same nurse to later comment they had become ‘a joy after the tragedy’ for those unfortunate enough to need them. The exhibition, marking the centenary of the War this year, will feature a series of images, sketches and personal accounts of the vital role of the railways during it and other conflicts.       More Here: Poignant archive pictures show the ambulance trainarticle-2605886-1D23B10D00000578-970_964x680Even though I am not a ‘train-spotter,’ the National Railway Museum in York is always worth a visit any time of the year. I will probably pop in around November for a look-see at the exhibition, which is just one of many commemorating the 100 year anniversary of WWI.            Yours Aye.

Beowulf’s golden warriors

article-2579038-1C38292D00000578-863_964x611Anglo-Saxon hoard revealed: 4,000 pieces of stunning handcrafted treasure hint that Beowulf’s description of ‘golden warriors’ is true!   Click pics to enlarge  article-2579038-1C38295E00000578-632_964x533An incredible hoard of precious Anglo-Saxon gold items, the likes of which professional archaeologists dream of finding, was discovered buried in a field by a jobless treasure hunter five years ago. And now all 4,000 pieces of the Staffordshire Hoard have been brought back together for the first time, allowing experts to shed some light on life in the Dark Ages. They believe the precious artefacts, which range from fragments of helmet to gold sword decorations engraved with animals and encrusted with jewels, are a ‘true archaeological mirror’ to the great Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf.  More Here: Anglo-Saxon hoard revealed: 4,000 pieces of stunning handcrafted treasure hint that Beowulf’s description of ‘golden warriors’ is trueimages

As part of an Anglo-Saxon history lesson ‘Beowulf’s poem formed part of an English Literature project at my senior school, which at the time bored me senseless; until we were shown the following film on a reel to reel (‘clatter-clatter’ projector) one dark afternoon. Julian Glover reads Beowulf After which I devoured every history book in the local library. Beowulf is not every ones cup-of-tea, but it was certainly mine at the time. British Museum – Helmet from the ship-burial at Sutton Hoo                           Yours Aye. Sutton_Hoo_helmet_reconstructedReconstructed Anglo-Saxon burial mask 1,400 years old; click pic to really enlarge…  

A treasure trove of history

For your perusal I have without shame stolen borrowed nicked misappropriated taken  ‘acquired’ the following link from the website of Theo Spark ‘LAST OF THE FEW’  Inside The Army’s Spectacula​r, Hidden Treasure Room at Fort Belvoir, Virginiagrid-cell-25988-1392913515-15

When ever I am able I take advantage of visiting Military museums around the globe. My favourites here in the UK being a variety of collections. The five branches of the Imperial War Museum…

The three branches of the Royal Armouries. Royal Armouries And of course the Royal Marines Museum But what I would give to spend several days walking ‘un-escorted’ around the Museum Support Center at Fort Belvoir…  Yours Aye.original-2328-1392839696-11Hat Tip to Theo Spark 

Churchill’s TOP SECRET Army

Sheep farmer reveals how TOP SECRET army unit had orders to ‘blow Port Talbot to smithereens’ and start a guerrilla war if the Nazis invaded

Dillwyn Thomas 88  A sheep farmer had TOP SECRET orders to blow his hometown ‘to smithereens’ during World War II if the Nazis had invaded, he revealed for the first time today. Dillwyn Thomas, 88, was given instructions on how to start a suicide guerrilla war in the hills around Port Talbot, South Wales. The pensioner was part of a covert army unit created by Winston Churchill known as the Auxiliary Units. They were spread across the country in a network of local groups tasked with mounting a resistance against the invaders who never came. Magram Auxiliary Unit & Patrol bunker 

Dillwyn Thomas 18

Dillwyn was working as an 18-year-old farm hand when he was shown how to blow the town’s steelworks ‘sky high’. The pensioner, from Margam, near Port Talbot, has finally revealed the secret mission he was asked to carry out more than 70 years ago. He said: “We were told to blow-up the steelworks – we were told to blow Port Talbot to smithereens. ‘We had access to every weapon you could imagine – daggers for prodding the enemy, guns for shooting the enemy, explosives for blowing up the enemy. ‘They were kept in a secret underground bunker that only we knew about – ready for us in case of invasion. ‘If the Germans had landed and it looked as though they were making inroads we were to blow the steel works, oil refinery, train line, and anything else which could have been of any use to them – then lay low in the countryside. ‘We weren’t meant to fight the Germans head-on – there were nowhere near enough of us to make a difference and we weren’t sufficiently armed. ‘But if we could slow up their progress, then the hope was that we could tie them up with ambushes and booby traps”. Read More Here: Sheep farmer reveals how TOP SECRET army unit had orders to ‘blow Port Talbot to smithereens’ and start a guerrilla war if the Nazis invaded Aux-insignia-churchill-grave-webOn 2 July 1940 Winston Churchill and the War Cabinet stated that:- “The regular defences require supplementing with guerrilla type troops, who will allow themselves to be overrun and who thereafter will be responsible for hitting the enemy in the comparatively soft spots behind zones of concentrated attack”
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Fortunately (and only in recent years) Churchill’s SECRET Army have been releasing their secrets. One Web-Site in particular is an absolute treasure trove, which some may find interesting. Churchill’s Auxiliary Units | A comprehensive online resource.
I have a little dit to tell about such a patrol bunker, which I will keep my powder dry-for the time being. Watch this space… :-)    Yours Aye.

Home with an English-American connection

There is a house for sale in Peterborough, England, which I suppose you could class as old as it was built-in 1333. Although it only boasts 1.5 acres of gardens it does come with history attached, dating back to the English Civil War and the puritan Oliver Cromwellarticle-2484032-1924C22000000578-875_636x441The political leader, bottom left, frequently visited Northborough Manor, pictured front and back, to see his favourite daughter Elizabeth and her husband John Claypole who first moved into the property after the English Civil War which ended in 1651. article-2484032-1920C90700000578-850_964x1006It is thought that William de Eyton, the Master Mason and Architect of Litchfield Cathedral, built the Manor. Over the next 200 years, it was passed between owners before it was bought by James Claypole in 1572. Claypole extended the Gatehouse for his staff and built the Dovecots. He also built a tomb in the local church before his death in 1599. It was his great-grandson, also called John, that married Elizabeth Cromwell during the Civil War in 1646. After the war, which ended in 1651, Elizabeth and John moved to Northborough to live with the Claypoles. Cromwell visited the couple regularly there – spending one Christmas at the Manor as he and John’s father were old friends.article-2484032-1920D64C00000578-546_964x651One of the rooms is now called ‘Cromwell’s Closet’ – a room over the south porch – as he slept in the room while visiting. After Oliver died in 1658, his widow – also called Elizabeth – moved to live at the Manor. She is thought to have died in 1665 in ‘Cromwell’s Closet.’ John Claypole’s brothers Edward, James and Norton emigrated and played a role in the early settlement of the state of Pennsylvania. The link to Northborough was recognised officially by the Governor of the State in 1975 when the State flag was presented to be flown at the Manor. One of the Claypole brother’s descendents was a friend of George Washington. He is thought to have printed the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the Unites States and Washington’s Farewell Address to the American People. John Claypole sold the Manor before his death in 1688. Home fit for a man who felled a King: Manor house Oliver Cromwell stayed at regularly in the aftermath of the Civil War goes up for sale for £1.8million

Although I am a history buff, I’m not much of a gardener; I would much prefer to have 1.5 acres of open grassland, as opposed to an English country garden to maintain. For that reason alone, I will pass on this one. I suspect there will be a certain ‘Sgt Maj’ with an interest in those swords displayed on the wall, which are originals dating back to the Civil War. I’ll give you a clue, he is not from this side of the pond…            Yours Aye.

Cornwall’s ghostly shipwrecks…

article-2470146-18E1FC9400000578-754_636x423Lost at sea: Ghostly photographs capture shipwrecks off the Cornish coast – taken over a century by members of same family The rugged Cornish coastline has claimed more than its fair share of ships over the years. It is known for its high seas and storms that tear in from the North Atlantic, which, when combined with Cornwall’s jagged granite finger outcrops, and fine shallow sandy beaches, is a given recipe for disaster, even to this day.A-raging-sea-dwarfs-Seaham-Lighthouse-in-County-Durham-in-England-with-100-ft-waves-after-a-cold-front-moved-down-from-the-north-bringing-freezing-temperatures-to-the-North-of-England.-copy-Owen-HumphreysNational-Geographic-960x616(Click to enlarge) A raging sea dwarfs Seaham Lighthouse on the North-East coast of County Durham, England. With 100 ft-waves registered after a cold front moved down from the North, bringing freezing temperatures with it.  I have often witnessed the same raging sea as shown in the photograph, but this one in particular is quite spectacular. The sea commands respect, from scholar and fool alike…            Yours Aye.

“England expects that every man will do his duty”

The_Battle_of_Trafalgar_by_William_Clarkson_StanfieldEngland expects that every ‘foreign’ man will to do his duty: For the nautically minded, click the picture to enlarge, it will allow zoom to show enhanced detail… Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar is thought of as one of Britain’s greatest military achievements. But new research by the National Maritime Museum and the National Archives has shown that the fighting was done by hundreds of foreigners, including some Frenchmen. Of the 13,000 who served on the 33 ships to take part in the battle, 1,260 of them were born outside of Britain or Ireland. They came from as far afield as Africa, India, America and another 20 European countries. While most were from neutral or allied nations, 24 Spaniards and 54 Frenchmen also served in the 1805 fleet.

One was Pierre Lomac, 25, from Bordeaux, on HMS Conqueror, whose Marines took the surrender of Vice Admiral Villeneuve, the leader of the French and Spanish fleet. Benitte Grinzolo, 22, from Spain, sailed aboard HMS Mars which was heavily damaged in the battle.  Another name which stood out was Jane Townshend who served on the Defiance, and is the only woman proven to have been present, though witness accounts describe others being there. She is listed as carrying out ‘useful services’, which were likely to have involved tending the wounded, cooking and washing. Among the furthest from home were Zada Del Sulva, 31, from Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil, and Hampoo Hang, 34, born in Guangzhou, China, on HMS Royal Sovereign, the flagship of Rear Admiral Collingwood, and the first vessel into action.

From being a young lad I have heard tell of the daring goings on at the Battle of Trafalgar, (with a keen interest as my family served through the actions as Marines; my great, great, Grandfather [KIA 21 Oct 1805] and his brother, who survived; both served as Marines aboard Nelsons Flagship HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar 21 Oct 1805). Mentioned in a previous post Spanish flag sinks off Gibraltar In the past I have also mentioned a cracking read of the same battle for those that way inclined Trafalgar: The Biography of a Battle: Author, Roy Adkins I can smell the cordite and smouldering canvas as I type.    Yours Aye.

Historians, the stewards of history

A World War One trench system covering an area the size of two football fields could be built in the English countryside. Proposals for a ‘living museum’ in Cambridgeshire would see over half a mile of both British and German trenches, complete with their own no-man’s land, built just off the A14 motorway. The National Centre for the Great War would also have nine training huts and would allow schoolchildren to visit and experience the day-to-day life of soldiers during the 1914-1918 conflict. If proposals go ahead visitors would be dressed in replica World War I uniforms and allowed to hold replica weapons, then guided through the site by historical experts and re-enactors. A new Western Front: WWI trenches to be painstakingly recreated in English countryside article-2448492-1893837300000578-361_634x396The past British socialist government ensured the history teaching syllabus for schools was watered down. It focused more on Great Britain’s past social history, the common man in the street down trodden by his masters, children working in the mines living on a tin cup of gruel a day, who had to walk a hundred miles each day to and from work, social injustices etc, etc, blah, blah, blah! Obviously the Socialist Labour government were indoctrinating them young, to exploit them later in life.

500px-The_Writings_of_Charles_Dickens_v4_p12_(engraving,_cleaned)It’s all changing for the better, though the opposition Labour Party is still trying to block it assisted by the Unions; Too late. Pupils will now study British history, Dickens, etc, ‘Please Sir, could I have some more’!

History and geography have always fascinated me, military history in particular, as it goes hand in hand with geography in one form or another. Military history speaks volumes for itself, the whole of our little island is inundated with items and artifacts scattered around from the year 600. Geography forms part of every planning phase for military movement, into or across country through the study of terrain analysis. The subject is a speciality of the Royal Engineers who regularly organise and ‘recce’ huge swathes of land, shore lines, and sea beds (local & foreign); using the acquired information to produce printed military overlays onto Ordnance Survey maps, available only to the military in the UK. As well as friendly governments for use in operational theaters around the globe. History is a nations backbone, the ramrod and measuring bar for society. If we don’t know where we have come from, how do we know where we are going?      Yours Aye.