The war in the Far East (December 1941-September 1945) was ferocious and being captured by the Japanese was no guarantee of outliving the war. Amazingly, as many Allied servicemen and women were killed by their own forces as lost their lives during Japanese captivity.
The Great War (1914-1918) was, in retrospect, a new era conflict that progressed on emerging technology leaving everyone fighting by the seat of their khaki or fought with every kind of contemporary weapon including dashing grey pants.
As an eleven-year old schoolboy I often travelled on the Overhead Railway (the Dockers Umbrella). From the windows of the rickety train’s carriages windows one (or in our case several schoolboys) enjoyed an unfolding panorama of docks and ships loading and loading in the many docks.
Just Nuisance, a Great Dane, is the only dog ever to have been officially enlisted in the Royal Navy. During World War II between 1939 and 1944 the donkey-sized hound served with HMS Afrikander at the Royal Navy naval base in Simon’s Town (Simonstown), a once lovely, ordered and prosperous shoreline town in South Africa. The seaside community is located just 38 miles by road from Cape Town.
Ships aren’t meant to sink, but sometimes you have to wonder what miraculous forces kept a vessel afloat. The SS Baychimo was such a ship. For nearly four decades after it was abandoned, this 1,300-ton cargo ship sailed the Arctic without fuel or crew, until it disappeared just over fifty years ago, but some believe she is still out there drifting among the frozen icebergs.
During the Irish famine (1845 – 1849), an estimated 500,000 people were dispossessed of their cottages. Unscrupulous landlords used two methods to remove destitute tenants. The first involved applying for a legal judgment against the male head of a family owing back-rent. After the local barrister pronounced judgment, the man would be thrown in jail and his wife and children evicted. A ‘notice to appear’ was usually enough to cause most pauper families to flee and they were handed out by the hundreds.
The story about the sinking of the Gairsoppa is ordinary, but the weight of the treasure it was carrying when sent to the bottom was one of the largest in the world.
Weigh anchor, and raise the Saint Andrew’s cross of the Russian Fleet, it’s time to sail back into history. Amongst his feats, this hero can boast over 40 battles without tasting defeat; this is Fyodor Ushakov, Admiral of the Russian Fleet.
If any creature ever got that sinking feeling, it was surely a feline sailor who got it three times but waded through them all. The black and white cat was originally named Oscar but then became known as Unsinkable Sam.
News that Lieutenant John Chard’s original report to Queen Victoria concerning the engagement between 139 South Wales Borderers and a force estimated to be around 3,000 Zulus at Rorke’s Drift on the 22nd and 23rd of January 1879 is coming up for auction at Bonham’s in London.