North Korea’s new leader, Kim Jong Un, is cleaning house in the upper echelons of his army. The 29-year-old totalitarian dictator reportedly executed one of his most senior generals this past week for drinking alcohol, according to an article on the Daily Telegraph. The story reports that the Hermit Kingdom is still in a period of mourning following the death of the previous leader, Kim Jong Il. As such, the consumption of booze is prohibited. Astonishingly, the execution was carried out not by a firing squad but by a mortar crew. The disgraced army vice minister was ordered to be “obliterated” by a precision-fired mortar round. North Korea has a history of executing generals (and executing them in bizarre ways). In the late 1990s, a group of DPRK generals who were suspected of treason were doused with gasoline and burned alive before a capacity crowd at Pyongyang’s May Day…
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So far, the black history month posts have been fairly positive stories – two young officers of mixed race, and a successful propaganda speaker. Sadly (if unsurprisingly) it was not all plain sailing where race relations in Great War London were concerned. There were several incidents of race riots.
It was not quite all quiet on the home front. At least two race riots took place in London during the Great War.
In July 1917, the Times reported a ‘disturbance’ on Victoria Dock Road in West Ham. A police sergeant told magistrates that “in consequence of the infatuation of the white girls for the black men in the district, some of the inhabitants are greatly incensed against the coloured men.”
The previous Saturday night, a gang of white youths attacked houses inhabited by black men in Victoria Road causing considerable damage. In response, several black men came out into the…
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In the years that followed 1940 most of mainland Europe was occupying by German forces. Many of the German soldiers forming part of this occupying force stayed for years. On the battlefields of the old Western Front, German serviceman whose fathers had no doubt been veterans of the Great War often toured sites and with a pocket camera recorded their journeys in the same pilgrims past and present did.
This photograph was taken by a German soldier in 1943 and shows Caterpillar Valley Cemetery near Longueval on the Somme. Many wonder what the cemeteries looked like during the occupation and it is clear from this image that this was a site being well maintained; many Imperial War Graves Commission gardeners had stayed behind in 1940 and were still doing their pre-war work. In some cases local French people were carrying on with the task. The Germans appear to have let the work…
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Flight Lieutenant William Walker – the oldest surviving Battle of Britain pilot – has died at the age of 99.
The airman was shot down in his spitfire on August 26, 1940, ambushed by a Messerschmidt, and bailed out over the English Channel. He was part of No 616 (South Yorkshire) Auxiliary Squadron.
In later life he wrote poetry in honour of his colleagues who lost their lives in one of Britain’s darkest hours.
He was a supporter of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust and wrote his most famous poem, Our Wall,which was inscribed alongside the 2,937 names of those who died in the Battle, at the memorial on the White Cliffs of Dover at Capel-Le-Ferne.
You can read more about Flight Lieutenant Walker’s life here
, at The Telegraph.
Warfare has always driven invention. Various technological breakthroughs have come as a result of humanity’s need to dominate the battlefield. The crossbow, siege engines, automatic weapons, submarines, radar, guided missiles and cannons capable of firing longer and longer ranges are all good examples. Interestingly enough, war has given the world more than just weaponry. Consider the following array of peacetime products, ideas and amenities that civilians now use on a daily basis, all of which were pioneered during the major wars of the past 200 years.
The now ubiquitous disposable facial tissues we call Kleenex were first introduced not for nose blowing, but as cheap paper-based liners for gas mask filters during the First World War. Originally called Cheesecloth UGG, the tissues replaced the fabric used inside wartime respirators when cotton was needed more for bandages and field dressings. Following the war, The Kimberly Clark Corporation got its hands…
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How to cast a Thor’s hammer! English and Swedish text.
Many of my hits on this blog come from people searching for OE keyboard layouts. If you need to type in Old English, you have a few options. Once you’ve selected your keyboard layout, I would recommend making a keyboard map part of your desktop background until you have memorized the layout. That way, you can run your word processor in a slightly smaller window and still view the map on your screen.
I used this keyboard before I upgraded to Windows 7. It doesn’t work on newer systems, but it’s great for older systems. Since it’s meant for multilingual use, it has everything necessary for OE, ON, and Latin except ƿ. For Windows only; download here.
University of New Mexico
The University of New Mexico has produced keyboard layouts in Old English and Old Norse for Windows, Macs, and Linux. You can download them
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“Athenian daring will outrun it’s own resources; they will take risks against their better judgement…
Suppose they fail in some undertaking; they make good the loss immediately by setting their hopes immediately in some other direction…
In a word,they are by nature incapable of either living a quiet life themselves or of allowing anyone else to do so.”
– Alcibiades, 5th Century B.C.E.
JRR Tolkien was always unhappy that the native Englisc king, Harold Godwinsson lost against the foreigner and usurper, William of Normandy at Hastings. So what he did, is he took the Anglo-Saxons of yore and equipped them with the weapon that the Normans used to great effect at Hastings; The Horse – Thus creating the Rohirrim of Rohan!
The Eastern Front in the Great War is something few are aware of; the Eastern Front of a generation later in Hitler’s war has eclipsed it and the fact that at any given time more than a million German soldiers faced potentially millions of Russian troops, both deadlocked in the East in the same way there was deadlock in the West. The Eastern Front became a mirror of France and Flanders in some ways; trenches, No Man’s Land, barbed wire, shelling and attrition. Joined by troops of the Austro-Hungarian Empire more than 800,000 Germans died in the East along with 1.15 million Austro-Hungarians; opposite them more than 2.2 million Russians died before the Russian Revolution changed everything.
This photograph comes from a collection of a young German gunner who served on the Eastern Front between 1914 and 1917, before he moved to France where he died in 1918. Here two…
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The city of Tyre is in southern Lebanon on the Mediterranean coast. It is one of the oldest cities in the World. It used to be an island over 2,000 years ago. Now, it is a peninsula… a man-made peninsula. This was done with a bit of help from Alexander the Great and mother nature.
In ancient times, the island city of Tyre was heavily fortified (with defensive walls 150 feet (46 m) high) and the mainland settlement, originally called Ushu (later called Palaetyrus, meaning “Old Tyre,” by the Greeks) was actually more like a line of suburbs than any one city and was used primarily as a source of water and timber for the main island city.
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Many say that the Second Boer War was the first of the modern era. They will site the use of magazine rifles, the machine gun and trenches. Unfortunately that is not quite true. The Spanish American War of 1898 precedes the events of the Boer War by more than a year. Trench warfare in some form has been around since man started beating each other with stones. The machine gun can be debated as far back as the American Civil War depending on your definition. Dr. Gatling was making a machine to make war so terrible we would stop (like that’s going to work!). One turn of the crank handle would send multiple rounds downrange from a number of the Gatling Gun’s multiple barrels. One can say it was a machine gun. However, the common definition requires a single pull of the trigger to send multiple rounds down range from…
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Boudica is the Queen of the British Iceni tribe who led a revolt against the Romans in 60 AD.
Her husband, the original ruler, was an ally with Rome.
When he died, Boudica took over.
Yet the Romans did not respect a female ruler and decided that this would be the ideal time to annex her kingdom.
Boudica was publicly humiliated (flogged) and her daughters were raped.
Yet the Iceni people had a strong amount of respect for their queen.
With her people behind her, Boudica led a revolt against the Romans that would go down in history.