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Tag Archives: war

NEWS AT A GLANCE

. The King has a collection of 170 curious walking sticks. One is made from one of the piles of old London Bridge. — The Nelson Evening Mail, Wednesday, April 10 1907 . All the best people are born in October. In Moldova (and Czechoslovakia), ‘carp’ is spelled ‘crap’. In 1492 Native Americans discovered Columbus lost [...]

NEWS AT A GLANCE

. Football was a crime in England during the reign of Henry VIII. — The Nelson Evening Mail, Tuesday, October 2 1906 . The moon is up for longer than the sun. Your antivirus expires in 29 days. The Dogmata Theologica of Petavius are a work of incredible labour and compass. The steep limestone walls of a [...]

Hit and miss

Chastise: The Dambusters Story 1943 By Max Hastings William Collins £25 . By 1943, after nearly four years of war ‘ameliorated [only] by a thin gruel of successes,’ Britain and her western allies had little to boast in terms of their offensive victories; the lion’s share of the burden was very clearly being shouldered by [...]

Black samurai

Yasuke: The True Story of an African Samurai by Thomas Lockley and Geoffrey Girard Sphere £20 (hardback) . In late July 1579, an enormous, well-dressed and well-armed African bodyguard stepped off a boat into the southern Japanese port of Kochinotsu. Yasuke – perhaps from ‘Isaac’ in Amharic – had (probably) been abducted as a child [...]

NEWS AT A GLANCE

. Thomas King was fined 12s, or eight days’ hard labour, at the Thames Police Court for intoxication. While in this state he asked a pawnbroker to advance 2s on a baby. — The Nelson Evening Mail, Wednesday, April 10 1907 . There are 2000 non-functioning satellites in space. Lord Reith did not want people to enjoy [...]

Extracts from the letters of Gerald Spence Smyth, Capt., 1st South African Irish Regt., Abyssinian campaign, 1941

6.2.41 I am given to understand that this is the 6th day of Feb. but for the life of me I don’t know what day of the week it is. Anyhow it doesn’t make any difference here. Excuse the dirt. A.A.¹ has just spilt some tea on my pad. The journey from the forest² to these [...]

Great Man history

On Andrew Roberts’ Churchill: Walking with Destiny. – For The Oldie

Did The English Patient send me to Afghanistan?

Two nights from now, by way of (ahem) a birthday present, I will be attending a live-orchestra screening of The English Patient at the Albert Hall. I had invited an old friend, a raven-haired young lady (named in Debrett’s) of impossibly romantic tendency, who first exposed me to the film in, I’d say, about 1998 [...]

Brue meets gel

About the Bruegels on my bedroom wall. – For The Oldie

Intelligence review

‘For centuries before the Second World War, educated British people knew far more about intelligence operations recorded in the Bible than they did about the role of intelligence at any moment in their own history.’ Nowadays, one might think, few would even know that. But that’s where Christopher Andrew – Emeritus Professor of Modern and [...]