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  • 403 Cossack Adolescents: Soviet Genocide? April 23, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    403 Cossack Adolescents: Soviet Genocide?

    Beach lives in a part of Europe (Italy) where the memory of the Soviet Union is revered not only by daft revolutionaries creeping out at night to graffiti their way to world revolution; a good part of the general population also makes this mistake. Of course, they will not defend Stalin and they shed some […]

    Guest Post: Walking the Pennine Way in 1965 April 22, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Guest Post: Walking the Pennine Way in 1965

    This guest post sets out the experiences of one of the first walkers on England’s best long-distance trail just after it had opened in 1965. I still keep one bit of kit in my rucksack that goes back to my 1965 trip up the Pennine Way. It’s a small blue, plastic container with a cracked, click-on […]

    Espionage Commandments April 11, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Espionage Commandments

    Beach ran several years ago a series of spying commandments from the end of the Great War. He thought he would follow this up today with some espionage commandments from the Second World War. These come courtesy of Bernard James Barton or (aka ‘Killer’ Barton or John Barton), a twenty-four year-old British major who, in […]

    Piper at the Gates of Dawn: Pan, Kenneth Grahame and Wind in the Willows April 6, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Piper at the Gates of Dawn: Pan, Kenneth Grahame and Wind in the Willows

    The golden age of British children’s literature stretched from the last decade of the nineteenth century to the 1950s: in that period men and women of immense talent wrote for their sons, their daughters and in most cases for their atrophied child-like selves. Among these was the sad and sometimes wretched Kenneth Grahame. Like T.S. […]

    The Failure of Appeasement April 2, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Failure of Appeasement

    Appeasement is the policy of giving smiles, kisses and gifts to neighbours to prevent war. In some moments of history it has worked (Dane-geld and Roman bribery beyond the frontiers); in some periods it has failed. A conspicuous example of a failure is the attempt by Britain to stroke its European friends and enemies into […]

    The Index Biography #17: Prize = A Good Book March 31, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Index Biography #17: Prize = A Good Book

    SJ has won this, spool down for the answer…. The Index Biography is a new form of biography pioneered by this blog and introduced in a previous post. The creator must find a biography of a famous individual from history, they must turn to the index and write down eight peripheral facts about the individual’s life. […]

    Natator #3: the Fight with Fish Man March 30, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Natator #3: the Fight with Fish Man

      In a previous post Beach outlined the early success of Natator, the frog man and Frank Buckland’s examination of this unusual specimen. The next chapter in Natator’s life is though a more traumatic one. Acts inevitably get old and Natator recognised this. By September of 1867, just three months after he had begun, Natator […]

    Teetotallers Unlucky at Sea March 27, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Teetotallers Unlucky at Sea

    In 1914, a month into the First World War, a British ship the Fisgard II was lost in a gale (not through enemy action) in the English Channel. Sixteen of the sixty four abroad were drowned. There followed an inquest and inquiries and, as sometimes happens, the crew began to make sense of things in […]

    The 5 Greatest Historical Graphic Novels March 26, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval
    The 5 Greatest Historical Graphic Novels

    Graphic novels must be, surely, the most underestimated genre in the modern arts: perhaps about 40% of the adult population have such strong feelings that, with the exception of Charlie Brown, they could not bring themselves to pick up a comic. This is a tragedy. There are great works out there that have been largely ignored and […]

    Dreadful Homecoming, Italy 1944 March 23, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Dreadful Homecoming, Italy 1944

    Sometimes when you read descriptions from history, something snags on your imagination and you can’t get loose: in fact the wool on your mental pullover starts to unravel… Sometimes it is hard to explain why. But for what it is worth here is a scene from history that could have featured as a vignette in […]

    Smelling Germans March 20, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Smelling Germans

    This is a weird little story that has proved frustratingly difficult to pin down: not even the original reference. 12 June 1944 Churchill, Brook, and Smuts (far right) visited Montgomery’s forward position at Creully to see how the Normandy campaign was unwinding. This much can be attained from several sources not least the photograph above: […]

    The Lie of the Lie of Christian’s Yellow Star March 19, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Lie of the Lie of Christian's Yellow Star

    One of the most attractive stories to come out of the Second World is that of Christian X of Denmark and the yellow star. When told that Jewish Danes would have to wear said star the elderly king threatened to wear one himself. The King, adored by his people and a symbol of Danish nationhood, […]

    Preserving Foolish Enemies March 15, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Preserving Foolish Enemies

    A very speculative post. In war there may be something to be said, in strategic terms, let’s forget the tiresome debates around international law, for killing enemy leaders. Sometimes this is a simple decapitation strategy (American attempts to annihilate Sadam Hussein at the beginning of the Second Gulf War or earlier US targeted bombing on […]

    He Was My Emperor! March 12, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    He Was My Emperor!

    Field Marshal Gustav Mannerheim was the man who created (once) and then saved Finland (twice). First, he commanded the White insurrection against the Reds in Helsinki in 1918 leading the country to independence from Russia (which was becoming the USSR). Second, he commanded the Finnish army in the Winter War, and third, he commanded the same army in […]

    Churchill’s Daemon March 5, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Churchill’s Daemon

    Strange History has noted before the belief in daemons, individual spirit guides, a Mediterranean tradition that matures into the guardian angel with the assistance of Christianity. The most striking example is certainly that of Socrates who had regular conversations with his daemon. Then there is Joan of Arc and St Michael (or whoever)… Beach today […]

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