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  • Image: St Paul’s Rides the Blitz December 9, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Image: St Paul's Rides the Blitz

    Beachcombing should start today with an apology. In his mission statement about his Image series he promised to put up only little known photographs and paintings. And yet here he is, six months on, offering the most famous of all British pictures from 1940, as if it were a scoop. Sorry. Beachcombing only hopes the […]

    Bats Fight Japan November 28, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Bats Fight Japan

    Beachcombing recently described  the possible Byzantine use of weaponised crows soaked in pitch and wondered aloud whether other birds or flying creatures had been employed by ancient or medieval armies. And, almost immediately, like an answer from heaven, he got three emails pointing him to a wonderful story that he’d never heard before:  kudos to Ostrich (a bizarrist of […]

    De Gaulle Flies into History November 17, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    De Gaulle Flies into History

    Beachcombing has a soft spot for Charles De Gaulle. Indeed, he often thinks of old lemon face on the balcony in Mostaganem in 1958, denying that the twentieth century had happened. Or the good General pissing off the Canadians in Quebec in 1967. Then there is de Gaulle’s comment on the death of his daughter, Anne, with Down […]

    The Last Scalping in History? October 26, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    The Last Scalping in History?

    Beachcombing cannot deny it. He has a bit of a thing about the removal of heads this week. First, there was the question of the last western beheadings, second an exploration by photograph of Japanese decapitations in the Second World War and today he is going to move on to a close cousin of beheading, […]

    Image: Decapitation at Aitape, 1943 October 24, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Image: Decapitation at Aitape, 1943

    Beachcombing continues with his series of striking images. He is offering today though not the neat studio photograph of an Australian, Leonard Siffleet (1916-1943), opposite. But another more worrisome photograph of the same man that he has included in the middle of this post. There any reader, who feels up to it, will see the brave Australian […]

    The Table Leg that Changed History (Kind Of) September 29, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Table Leg that Changed History (Kind Of)

    Beachcombing knows that estimates of the number of serious assassination attempts against Hitler vary from ten to twenty. However, the only one of these attacks that actually drew Adolf’s blood was the last, Claus von Stauffenberg’s gutsy solo effort towards the end of the war. In fact, on three different occasions – 11, 15 and 18 July […]

    Image: They Can Because They Think They Can September 27, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Image: They Can Because They Think They Can

    As his final tribute to the RAF on the seventieth anniversary of the Battle of Britain, Beachcombing offers this remarkable photograph from 19 Squadron. 19 Squadron had fought over Dunkirk and spent the Battle of Britain in the front line at Duxford: the legless and incorrigible Douglas Bader was one of her pilots as was […]

    Review: First Light August 30, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: First Light

      Beachcombing confesses that he has gone a bit Battle-of-Britain mad in the past few weeks with several posts on ‘their finest hour’ and the RAF generally. His excuse? Well, this is, after all, the seventieth anniversary of the BoB and so he offers here another, a review of his favourite BoB book: First Light. First Light not only […]

    24 August 1940: The Night That Hitler Lost The War August 24, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    24 August 1940: The Night That Hitler Lost The War

                            The answer to the question of when the Third Reich doomed itself to extinction depends naturally on whom you ask. Some will tell you Germany’s failure to secure the Mediterranean in 1942 was crucial. Others will point to the invasion of the Soviet Union […]

    Image: First light August 13, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Image: First light

    Beachcombing has recently being putting together a series of photographs for his WIBT (‘Wish I’d been there’) series. He decided that he would open this series with an extraordinary shot from the Battle of Britain that teases him out of thought. Four Spitfires are taking off in the morning from an airfield: the early light and the […]

    A Hitlerian Invisible Library August 9, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    A Hitlerian Invisible Library

                Many documents went missing as the Third Reich came crashing down in flames in 1945, documents that would be of the greatest interest to historians today. What, for example, would a modern museum pay for Hitler’s letters to Eva Braun or his letters, for that matter, to Himmler. Millions […]

    Dowsing for Machine Guns August 6, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Dowsing for Machine Guns

              The desperate straits to which Britain was reduced in the first year of the Second World War and Churchill’s maverick character thereafter, meant that many ideas were considered in the British military establishment, c. 1940-43, that would not normally have been whispered at an old women’s séance. Beachcombing recalls the […]

    Review: The Sledge Patrol July 6, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: The Sledge Patrol

                                                  Beachcombing has been delighted at the volume of correspondence for his story about Kurt the last combatant of the third Reich. Kurt though was only one of several score warriors in ‘the […]

    Nazi Kurt captured in Arctic Circle in 1981 June 27, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Nazi Kurt captured in Arctic Circle in 1981

                        Beachcombing has long been fascinated by the last Japanese soldiers to surrender in the Second World War, several of whom crawled around the jungle islands of the Pacific for decades. Indeed, the very last, Nakamura, only came in from the cold in December 1974 after […]

    Totalitarian Trees June 22, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Totalitarian Trees

              Beachcombing learnt today, from his daily graze across the newspapers, that Colonel Ghadaffi of Libya has adopted the Italian village of Antrodoco near l’Aquila [Italian article]. For a moment Beachcombing felt lyrical about the eccentric Colonel and about how much MG has brought to the study of the bizarre – it almost makes the […]

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