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  • WW1 Rumours June 7, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    WW1 Rumours

    Here are some more in the rumours series. Tales of international and sometimes local politics that relate or that are easily connected to the events of WW1. Beach did these at the same time as rumours for WW2 (another post another day). No question, WW1 rumours or those that the press deign to publish are […]

    Kitchener’s Sword June 2, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Kitchener's Sword

    Beach has previously celebrated the (entirely unrealistic) myths about Kitchener’s survival from a shipwreck in June 1916. There were a number of theories: namely that the Germans had got him; that Kitchener had been kidnapped in Russia or was secretly helping the Russian army reorganise (perhaps he was killed in the revolution?); or some version […]

    Kitchener Survives: Friend of a Friend May 15, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Kitchener Survives: Friend of a Friend

    One of the great British catastrophes of the Great War was the death of Lord Kitchener on the HMS Hampshire in the North Sea 5 June 1916, not a month before the Battle of the Somme began. Kitchener, famous  as British Secretary of War was a ruthless and effective warleader and understandably British public opinion […]

    Image: The Tsarina and the Prostitutes November 24, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Image: The Tsarina and the Prostitutes

    This photograph is one of the most iconic from the Great War in Russia. Tsarina Alexandra and her two elder daughters, Olga and Tatiana, were photographed in 1914 in nurses uniform as hostilities began. Nor was this an empty boast, a bit of easy propaganda for Russia’s rulers. Alexandra and especially Olga and Tatiana worked for […]

    Gaelic-Speaking Russians in 1914 September 9, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Gaelic-Speaking Russians in 1914

    One of the most interesting myths to come out of First World War Britain was the tall tale of the Russian soldiers with ‘snow on their boots’. The story, which emerged as the war began in Aug and Sep 1914, was that thousands of Russian soldiers had been rushed to the UK. They were there […]

    Foch and the Twenty Year Armistice: A Myth? July 11, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Foch and the Twenty Year Armistice: A Myth?

    It is one of the most famous sentences of the twentieth century. Marshal Foch on being told of the final conditions of the Paris Peace Conference stated: ‘This is not a peace treaty, it is an armistice for twenty years’ (Ce n’est pas une paix, c’est un armistice de vingt ans). The Oxford Dictionary of […]

    Weird Wars: Lost Maps, Lost Plans June 29, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Weird Wars: Lost Maps, Lost Plans

    You’ve all had that awful sinking feeling. You’ve prepared your masterful attack with a vast army across the entire front and then some fool goes and misplaces the map: and next thing you know the scrap of paper ends up in the hands of your opposite number, in the enemy  high command. There must be […]

    Did the Russians Off Archduke Ferdinand?! January 13, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Did the Russians Off Archduke Ferdinand?!

    There follows that rarest of things. A credible conspiracy theory. Our two heroes are Dragutin Dimitrijević (aka Apis, obit 1917) Chief of Serb Military Intelligence and Viktor Artamonov (obit 1942), a Russian military liaison officer in Serbia. Apis is remembered by history as the organizer of Archduke Ferdinand’s assassination and the organizer of the Black […]

    Improving the Twentieth Century November 16, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Improving the Twentieth Century

    The IEA, one of Britain’s most serious think tanks, has recently published a list, a very stimulating list, of the thirteen great economic mistakes in British economic policy in the last century. All this got Beach thinking about the great mistakes in public policy generally since 1900. Here is a very limited list of points […]

    Gentlemanly Soldiers October 2, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Gentlemanly Soldiers

    There are lots of different types of soldiers but today Beach wants to put aside the cowards, the sadists, the pragmatists, the survivors and concentrate on perhaps one of the few attractive categories: the gentleman soldier. The cult of the gentleman soldier began amongst the European aristocracy in the middle ages, its values were embodied […]

    Return to Trenches at Death August 6, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Return to Trenches at Death

    There follows a very fine ghost story from the British press. It would be fascinating to track down the sources here: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com At the beginning of the war a famous regiment left England for France. The colonel that regiment was a man beloved of all his men, idolised by his young […]

    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 […]

    Tears and Bows: WW1 Ambassadors and Declarations of War March 4, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Tears and Bows: WW1 Ambassadors and Declarations of War

    A recent post looked at the tensions created by ambassadors declaring war in WW2. Today, instead, some descriptions of declarations of war from World War 1. The initial impression is that there was more formality and more old world charm. Some of the ambassadors may have believed they would be back in their host capitals by […]

    Immortal Meals #20: The Breakfast That Killed Seven Hundred February 12, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Immortal Meals #20: The Breakfast That Killed Seven Hundred

    Let us, first, introduce Fort Douaumont. The mightiest of the Verdun forts, Douaumont was captured by the Germans early in the battle for Verdun, 25 February 1915, just four days after fighting had begun. The fort was taken (with hardly a shot being fired) because of unbelievable French carelessness in garrisoning the jewel in their Verdun […]

    The Eugenics of History? February 5, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    The Eugenics of History?

    Eugenics refers of course to the depressing strand of thinking that says that societies (for which read boffins with bow ties employed by the state) should be allowed to decide which of us can and cannot reproduce our genes. Eugenics was briefly fashionable in the 1920s and 1930s then the Nazis came along and, perhaps […]

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