Poignant 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.These 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. As 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 trainEven 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.
Anglo-Saxon hoard revealed: 4,000 pieces of stunning handcrafted treasure hint that Beowulf’s description of ‘golden warriors’ is true! Click pics to enlarge An 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 true
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. Reconstructed Anglo-Saxon burial mask 1,400 years old; click pic to really enlarge…
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 Spectacular, Hidden Treasure Room at Fort Belvoir, Virginia
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.Hat Tip to Theo Spark
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
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
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 CromwellThe 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. It 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.One 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.
Lost 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.(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.
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 The 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.
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.
Corned beef, hard tack biscuits, and sweetened tea (fortified with strong rum prior to going over the top), the staple diet of those who fought in the trenches of the First World War. And not just any old ‘corned dog’, but the finest money could buy ‘Fray Bentos’. The irony of which was not lost on the Tank Corps crew, who named their tin can accordingly.The Incredible bravery of WWI tank crew who survived 72 hours of being bombarded by Germans and their OWN side while stuck in no mans land ’Trapped in their overturned tank, just metres from the German trenches, Captain Donald Richardson and his crew already faced an impossible situation. But, after three days of attack from their enemies, the brave men in charge of the Mark IV tank were plunged into even greater danger when their British allies started bombarding them as well, to destroy the tank before the Germans could get it. Astonishingly, though, all but one of the soldiers survived the impossible odds, armed with just pistols and a single rifle, managing to escape the death trap to become the First World War’s most decorated tank crew’. WWI Tanks were first called ‘Land-Ships’The Tank Museum in Bovington, Dorset, holds some of the original ‘tanks’ from all sides, as well as an eclectic collection shown in their exhibitions that have been brought back from around the globe from every battle fought since WWI. Quite an awesome place to visit, even for an Ex Bootneck… I have never fancied the life of a ‘Tankie’ in any of the Royal Tank Regiments, or the Royal Armoured Corps, more so after seeing the damage done to one by a HESH round (aka the strawberry jam round)! Brave lads one and all. Yours Aye.
The purists will be up in arms over life being breathed into the monochrome plates of the American Civil War; but why, the originals still exist, alongside thousands of monochrome prints? Personally I find the colour version fascinating as it gives a certain depth and meaning to each persons character, as well as the everyday objects that surround them. The Civil War in COLOUR for the first time: Painstakingly recreated images of a divided America that recreate era in amazing detail Recently the same colour procedure was added into monochrome pictures taken from plates & film of WW1. The result was history brought from the past to modern day. In one film, mono to colour portrayed an event in a more spectacular form, as it showed a British Regiment marching in three ranks, laden down with weapons and equipment as they marched along a dusty summer trail heading forward into the line, all smiling, waving and cheering at the hand cranked camera. Three days later the same Regiment limped back, depleted, battered, bloody, and torn. The transformed colour film captured the true horror of their experience. Yours Aye.
I have to wonder what the conversation was when these Afghani men and women left the White House:
Of course, I also have to wonder what the follow-on conversation is in Japan when some American does something that is not easily understood by the locals. Like the guy who yelled eff over and over again outside my window last week. As in: eff you. . . I especially appreciated the sirens that followed his performance.
A spectacular new book entitled ‘Vietnam The Real War’ containing images taken by Associated Press war photographers has been released to remember 50 years since the conflict began, it also serves as a photographic record of the Vietnam War. The book’s publication will coincide with an exhibition at the Steven Kasher Gallery in Manhattan, that will run from October 24 to November 26 2013. The above main picture, by Henri Huet, shows U.S. Marines nest to their foxholes after a third night of fighting against North Vietnamese troops in September 1966. The image on the right, also by Huet, shows U.S. paratroopers hold their automatic weapons above water as they cross a river in the rain during a search for Viet Cong positions in the jungle area of Ben Cat on September 25, 1965.
As a young teen I went to an exhibition by self-taught British photographer Tim Page, who operated in theatre, as well as worked around various units within Vietnam. Page was wounded several times at various intervals of the war, each time returning for more. Throughout his exhibition he gave commentary on each photograph displayed. All fascinating stuff, non political, just told it as it was. As I was hopeless at art, It inspired me to take up ‘click and pray’ photography as a (very expensive) hobby. A great big Hallelujah for the coming of the digital camera. Yours Aye.
Five murders most foul by an unknown serial killer in Whitechapel, London, 1888. All for the wrong reasons the name given to the killer created a myth, which in turn gave birth to a monster and the legend of ‘Jack the Ripper’. The same name, as well as the dastardly deeds he carried out, have gone on to make hundreds of £ millions worldwide in the form of books, plays, films, and talks on the subject. The next round of controversy is now on its way. The locket that could unmask Jack the Ripper: Antonia Alexander, the great-great-great-granddaughter of the Ripper’s fifth and final victim Mary Kelly, claims a tiny photo proves serial killer was Queen Victoria’s Royal surgeon, Sir John Williams
(Left). Culprit? Royal surgeon Sir John Williams has been named as Jack the Ripper by a descendant of one of the serial killer’s victims. (Right). An illustration published in the Police Gazette in 1888 depicting Jack the Ripper attacking a woman. ‘Holmes took his revolver from his drawer and slipped it in his pocket. It was clear that he thought that our night’s work might be a serious one’. Observation of Dr. Watson Yours Aye.
New research by the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology reveal one of histories most notorious conquerors was also the most environmentally friendly warlord to ever cut a bloody swath across the face of the earth. The eco-friendly body count helped clean 700 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere.
Conquest, genocide, and an imperialist agenda are actually environmentally friendly! Who knew?
Here’s hoping you have a very green day.
A misnomer in one sense, but a tribute none the less, as this year, 2013, the International Day of Peace fell on Saturday, 21st September. To commemorate the day a pair of British artists created a stunning installation of 9,000 silhouettes on a D-Day Landings beach The project, named, ‘The Fallen’ was a tribute to the Allies, civilians, and German forces who lost their lives during the ‘Operation Neptune’ landing on June 6, 1944. The design was the brainchild of British Artists Jamie Wardley, 33, & Andy Moss, 50. Together with a team of hundreds of volunteers the pair travelled to Arromanches beach, Normandy, to create the silhouettes, which were individually drawn into the sand. The shapes were then left to the mercy of the tide which washed away the ‘fallen’ after around four and a half hours. To understand the true scale of the task ahead of the Allies on the morning of 6th June 1944, you have to visit and put yourself in their place, and walk the various beaches taken by them. Raw courage, and pure determination won the day, at a terrible cost. Yours Aye.
There are whispers abound over the ‘alleged‘ interference from the Marine Commandant or his staff, who ‘allegedly‘ intentionally manipulated legal proceedings then tried to cover up their involvement. It is further ‘alleged‘ that the Commandant said he wanted to ‘crush‘ the Marines linked to the Musa Qala Afghanistan urination video filmed on 27th July 2011. USMC Captain linked to video of US Marines URINATING on Taliban insurgents will NOT be charged
Read into it as you see fit, but two ‘reluctant‘ witnesses were set to testify on behalf of Captain James V. Clement, about a possible cover up in a private meeting. Captain Clement’s defense attorneys had earlier won a judge’s order to get two staff attorneys to testify that senior Commanders had ‘allegedly‘ interfered to get a guilty verdict. Charges against Capt. James V. Clement have since been dropped with NO EXPLANATION.
Without ‘alleging’ any thing any further, I have no doubt that there will be a form of politically correct retribution enforced against Capt. James V. Clement. Political Correctness & Health & Safety! Bah Humbug to the bloody lot of it. Common sense within the military has worked since the first arrow was let loose against a common foe. Yours Aye.