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Fiume under D’Annunzio: An Incubator of Evil April 17, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Fiume under D'Annunzio: An Incubator of Evil

***Dedicated to Ray G*** Everyone has dreamed of walking through Kublai Khan’s ice palaces or straying into the outer reaches of Dante’s paradise (after St Bernard has spoken) or, for those with a rural bent, strolling through the wood of Keats’ nightingale. But one early twentieth-century community spent the best part of eighteen months in […]

McConnel’s Passing: An At Death Encounter? March 2, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
McConnel's Passing: An At Death Encounter?

11 December 1918 was a sad day in the McConnel family. Eighteen-year-old David McConnel (aka M’Connel in some publications) had perished four days before in a plane crash: just three months after the end of the worst war in history, at a time when his family might reasonably have hoped that he would be safe. Flying from […]

The Most Exciting School Trip in History: 21 June 1919 February 19, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Most Exciting School Trip in History: 21 June 1919

School trips are often fairly maudlin affairs: go to a local zoo, don’t pet the lions; walk through a city park, buddy up as you pass the homeless people; polish the sun-washed floors of the local museum with fifty infant feet… But one school trip that any of us would have wanted to be on […]

Interview: Invasion Scares (Harry Wood) February 15, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Interview: Invasion Scares (Harry Wood)

I am very happy today to be able to invite Harry Wood of the University of Liverpool, historian and blogger, to talk about his speciality, British invasion scares, something we looked at last month. Harry, thanks so much for joining us for this brief discussion. You run a very enjoyable blog, Island Mentalities, and you […]

Starting the First World War Early: The Three Virgins February 8, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Starting the First World War Early: The Three Virgins

Two years ago Strange History ran a post on the German who accidentally started WW2 five days too early by invading Poland with something resembling a Third Reich version of the A-Team. However, I’ve recently come across a story about the German who accidentally started WW1 a day early. The German in question was one […]

German Invasion Force in London, 1909! January 2, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
German Invasion Force in London, 1909!

All the European nations suffered bouts of craziness leading up to the First World War: one of the reasons that so many men in jackets started throwing straw hats at each other in August 1914… However, in many ways the most endearing and incredible was the conviction in Britain that Germany was planning an invasion […]

The Inevitability of the First World War December 26, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Inevitability of the First World War

And so it begins… 2 August 1914 German troops begin to pour into Belgium and Luxembourg. French troops prepare their border defences. Serbian irregulars are marching towards battle. Austria-Hungary is preparing itself for the inevitable Russian attack. Britain is wringing its hands and calling up its naval reserves. The most horrific war in human experience […]

Jokes from WW1 November 22, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Jokes from WW1

A recent post included jokes of the Second World War and jokes about the Second World War. Here is a sister post on jokes from the First World War. These are trickier to track down but some are still fun and deserve respect and a reading. Others gratefully received: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com Beach […]

Crashing into yourself in the air?! November 14, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Crashing into yourself in the air?!

In the recent dropping things from WW1 planes Beach ran across this bizarre little story. It appeared in a letter to the father of a British flying Corps officer and was later published in a newspaper. What the hell happened here? I had often wondered what it would be like to see a machine coming […]

Deadly Sweets and Biological Warfare in WW1 November 10, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Deadly Sweets and Biological Warfare in WW1

 ***dedicated to Marge and Filip*** This is a very small post following up with comments from two readers on ‘dropped from the air’. Regulars of this blog will remember that Beach included the reference printed here below from the Great War about germ-infected sweets thrown into Italy by Austro-Hungarian pilots. Austrian aviators dropped packets of […]

Dropping Things from Planes in WW1 November 7, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Dropping Things from Planes in WW1

With insouciance and innocence man took to the air and then in the First World War began to fight in the air. The pilots were suicidally brave and also almost childlike in their duels. Along with the machine guns there were jokes and jests with friends and enemies alike. In this short post Beach wanted […]

Twelve Best History Montages October 13, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Twelve Best History Montages

By history montage we refer to short length runs of images and film available on youtube often with attractive music in the background. They are typically put together by amateurs and their productions standards and their production values can be a little shaky. However, often late in the evening or when he wants his daughters […]

Jokes About the World Wars October 4, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Jokes About the World Wars

Laughing about the Great War and the Second World War? Probably not in good taste. But some jokes get closer than narrative history to the sheer pointlessness of it all. Three of the best jokes we’ve found follow. First, let’s start with WW1 reduced to a bar fight. Germany, Austria and Italy are standing together […]

The Lamps Are Going Out, But Where? December 3, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Lamps Are Going Out, But Where?

Lord Grey’s famous quotation that ‘the lamps are going out all over Europe’ came eventually to encapsulate the horror of 1914. Grey, then Britain foreign secretary and an exquisitely cultured and civilised individual, spoke the words on 3 August 1914 just before the great powers collectively committed suicide. He recorded the statement in his autobiography […]

Families and the Durability of Memory November 22, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
Families and the Durability of Memory

How long can memories remain in a family? We have played these games before, of course. Just a couple of weeks ago Beach was imagining his daughter telling his great great grandchildren about the time their great, great, great, great grandfather survived an Italian attack in the Mediterranean, a hundred and fifty years after the […]

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