Forgotten History

ramonmercado

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I thought this case was mentioned recently on the forums but I can't find it.

A jolly time was had by all: "There were croquet matches, tennis lessons, salmon poaching," said Mrs Wheeler.

Letters sent by a British Army officer held captive by the IRA 100 years ago during the Irish fight for independence are being posted online.

Brig Gen Cuthbert Lucas, 41, was fishing on the River Blackwater near Fermoy in Ireland on 26 June 1920 when he was captured by the IRA.

His granddaughter Ruth Wheeler is publishing the letters he wrote to his pregnant wife during that time.

She said she thought it was an "important story" that should be told.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-53070339
 

Bad Bungle

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Probably not exactly forgotten history as there is a plaque, but still interesting: the Embassy of the Republic of Texas (London)

At the time of its founding (1836), Texas was an independent sovereign country with its borders under threat from both the United States and Mexico. The then President of Texas Sam Houston sent Dr. Ashbel Smith, the Secretary of State, to be the Texan diplomatic representative in England in an effort to build international sentiment for their country. The Embassy of the Republic of Texas was based above one of the best wine shops in London in 1842, owned by Berry Brothers & Rudd (still thriving) in St James's Street. A second Embassy was also established in France, located in what is now the Hôtel de Vendôme.
Texas finally joined the Union in 1845, despite the Crown’s support of its independence, and the Embassy in London was closed. Having taken full advantage of their desirable location, the Texan delegation departed the capital leaving a £160 rent (and wine) bill outstanding.
In a tiny alley way leading off St James's street called Pickering Place, a small plaque marks the entrance to the Embassy’s rooms. Still proudly bearing the name of “The Republic Of Texas” it reads, “Texas Legation in this building was the legation for the ministers from the Republic of Texas to the Court of St. James 1842 - 1845.”
In 1986 to mark the Texas sesquicentennial, 26 members of the Anglo-Texan society visited the wine shop, dressed in full buckskins, to settle the outstanding rent debt.

Texas-Legation-London-United-Kingdom.jpg
Texas_legation_london.jpg

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-embassy-of-the-republic-of-texas-london-england
 

ramonmercado

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A forgotten chapter of U.S. history.

American Fascism: It Has Happened Here

... But others took the threat more seriously. As James Waterman Wise repeatedly explained, “the various colored shirt orders—the whole haberdashery brigade who play upon sectional prejudice,” were “sowing the seeds of Fascism” in the United States. The Black Legion was an offshoot of the Klan that flourished in the Midwest, whose leader spoke of seizing Washington in a revolutionary coup, called the New Deal a Jewish plot “to starve the Gentiles out,” and espoused the extermination of American Jews by means of poison gas dispensers in synagogues on Yom Kippur. Anyone wondering “what fascism would be like in this country” should look to the Black Legion, with its “odor of Hitlerism,” its “anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish, anti-Negro, anti-labor platform, its whips, clubs and guns, its brazen defiance of law and order and the due processes of democracy,” warned a widely syndicated 1936 editorial. “These are the attitudes and equipment of fascism.” ...

Then, too, there was Father Coughlin. “I take the road of Fascism,” he said in 1936, before forming the Christian Front,” whose members referred to themselves as “brown shirts.” His virulently anti-Semitic radio program, regularly transmitting claims from the fabricated Protocols of the Elders of Zion, reached almost 30 million Americans at its height—the largest radio audience in the world at the time. Those listeners tuned in at the end of 1938 as Coughlin was justifying the violence of Kristallnacht, arguing that it was “reprisal” against Jews who had supposedly murdered more than twenty million Christians and stolen billions of dollars in “Christian property”; Nazism, he said, was a natural “defense mechanism” against the communism financed by Jewish bankers. Coughlin’s weekly newspaper, Social Justice, which had an estimated circulation of 200,000 at its height, was described by Life magazine at the time as probably the most widely read voice of “Nazi propaganda in America.”...

https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2020/06/22/american-fascism-it-has-happened-here/
 

ramonmercado

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The Indian who brought the independence Struggle to the House of Commons.

How was an Indian elected to the British Parliament in 1892? What relevance could this historical event have for us today?

Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917) is an unfamiliar name these days. Yet, aside from being the first Asian to sit in the House of Commons, he was also the most important leader in India before Mahatma Gandhi, as well as being an anti-racist and anti-imperialist of global significance. Now, more than ever, amidst various global crises, he deserves to be remembered.

His life is a stirring testament to the power of progressive politics - and how the determined pursuit of such politics can bring light into even the darkest chapters of history. Naoroji was born into relative poverty in Bombay. He was an early beneficiary of a novel experiment - free public schooling - and believed that public service was the best way to repay his moral debts for his education.

From an early age, he championed progressive causes that were deeply unpopular. In the late 1840s, he opened schools for Indian girls, earning the wrath of orthodox Indian men. But he had a knack of persevering and turning the tide of opinion.

Within five years, girls' schools in Bombay were brimming with pupils. Naoroji responded by setting the bar higher, making an early demand for gender equality. Indians, he argued, would one day "understand that woman had as much right to exercise and enjoy all the rights, privileges, and duties of this world as man." ...

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-52829458
 

AnonyJoolz

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Having a nice cup of tea and a sit-down.
This was an interesting one, I remember the event happening when I was a small child yet when mentioning it years later to family and local friends they all said they couldn't remember it at all (This could also go into my thread https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/memories-that-were-real-not-imagined.65015/ 'Memories That WERE Real, Not Imagined').

You'd think they'd remember a bomb going off in a town not very far away! It was during the years when explosions normally equalled the IRA but on this occasion the story was far, far weirder.

http://www.yeovilhistory.info/1979-bombings.htm
https://www.somersetlive.co.uk/news/somerset-news/look-back-yeovil-bombings-1979-3141326

"For those walking through Yeovil town centre on February 23, 1979, it was just a normal Friday afternoon.

Nobody who was shopping, socialising or eating out on the town's traditional market day could have had any inkling of the horror that was about to unfold.

Then, at 2.58pm, came the moment that shook the town to its very core.

It was at that instant that Shayne Ring, a 19-year-old from the Gloucestershire village of King's Stanley, walked into Woolworths on Middle Street and detonated a bomb in the paint department.

Minutes later, there was a second blast, as two more devices exploded in a van in the car park at Petters Way.

The blasts sent shockwaves reverberating around the town.

Nobody had been seriously injured by the explosions, with three people treated in hospital for minor injuries following the Woolworths blast.

That was except for Ring himself. In the act of setting off the first bomb, he sustained serious leg injuries which left him with a limp when he faced trial months later.

What nobody knew at the time was what had inspired the teenager to carry out such a harrowing attack in a quiet Somerset community"


When some local news sources reprinted the reports from 1979 I was very smug. It was good to get some more background on the whole thing after spending decades thinking that maybe I was mistaken.

I now wonder what happened to the misguided and possibly delusional young man after he'd served his sentence.
 

Swifty

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The good old days when we could just walk around a supermarket .. in Poland (is it Poland?) .. that woman in white at 1:11 is annoying.

 

ramonmercado

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A lingering legacy of colonialism. Vid at link.

Legacy of Kenyan clan 'branded evil' by colonialists

During the first half of the 20th Century, the British Empire ruled a big part of Africa. But little has been said how the empire conquered such a vast land. The BBC’s Anne Soy travelled to her birthplace in the Great Rift Valley to meet members of a clan in her Kalenjin ethnic community. The Talai were punished for opposing British settlement in the Rift Valley more than a century ago. They remain ostracised and impoverished even now because of colonial propaganda - a lesser known legacy of colonialism.
  • 24 Jul 2020
https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-africa-53514916/legacy-of-kenyan-clan-branded-evil-by-colonialists
 

Naughty_Felid

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A lingering legacy of colonialism. Vid at link.

Legacy of Kenyan clan 'branded evil' by colonialists

During the first half of the 20th Century, the British Empire ruled a big part of Africa. But little has been said how the empire conquered such a vast land. The BBC’s Anne Soy travelled to her birthplace in the Great Rift Valley to meet members of a clan in her Kalenjin ethnic community. The Talai were punished for opposing British settlement in the Rift Valley more than a century ago. They remain ostracised and impoverished even now because of colonial propaganda - a lesser known legacy of colonialism.
  • 24 Jul 2020
https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-africa-53514916/legacy-of-kenyan-clan-branded-evil-by-colonialists
Wrong - we turned up and gave everybody, trains, hospitals and education - obviously we needed to be paid for all that. If you didn't pay then we'd kill you.

We also had a strange dwarf creature on the throne which nobody else had.

On the plus side, we got the idea that slavery was vile and put a lot of resources into blocking the trade - that's a plus. However, we did an awful lot of shit that outways the good sadly.

Thanks Rammon - I'd have missed that.
 

ramonmercado

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Interesting review of three books about slavery in the West Indies.

Speech and Slavery in the West Indies

Fara Dabhoiwala
AUGUST 20, 2020 ISSUE

The Freedom of Speech: Talk and Slavery in the Anglo-Caribbean World

by Miles Ogborn
University of Chicago Press, 309 pp., $105.00; $35.00 (paper)

Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War

by Vincent Brown
Belknap Press/Harvard University Press, 320 pp., $35.00

Island on Fire: The Revolt That Ended Slavery in the British Empire

by Tom Zoellner
Harvard University Press, 363 pp., $29.95
World History Archive/Alamy

In June thousands of people, provoked by the Black Lives Matter protests sweeping America, took to the streets in the United Kingdom to demonstrate against racism in their own country. One target of their anger was statues honoring British men of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries who prospered by enslaving and oppressing others, among them one in Bristol of Edward Colston that was pulled down and thrown into the harbor. It’s hardly surprising that many such monuments exist, for the apathy of the English, Scots, Welsh, and Irish toward their historical complicity in slavery has always been as striking as their indifference to its enduring legacy. Compared to the United States, and despite the work of many outstanding British (and non-British) historians,1 slavery remains a marginal subject in the public imagination, its reality and consequences mentally separated from the identity and experiences of the nation.

Across the British Isles there are also numerous public monuments to the abolition of the slave trade in 1807—permanent celebrations of national enlightenment and redemption (though in reality, British slave-owning continued for decades and was phased out only gradually after 1834). As far as I know, only a single recent sculpture, on the quayside of the former slaving port of Lancaster, simply honors the millions of victims. It’s as if every memorial in postwar Germany primarily commemorated the liberation of the death camps and the ousting of the Nazis, rather than the Holocaust itself.

Slavery was foundational to Britain’s prosperity and rise to global power. Throughout the eighteenth century the empire’s epicenter lay not in North America, Africa, or India but in a handful of small sugar-producing Caribbean islands. The two most important—tiny Barbados and its larger, distant neighbor Jamaica—were among the most profitable places on earth. On the eve of the American Revolution, the nominal wealth of an average white person was £42 in England and £60 in North America. In Jamaica, it was £2,200. Immense fortunes were made there and poured unceasingly back to Britain. This gigantic influx of capital funded the building of countless Palladian country houses, the transformation of major cities like London, Bristol, and Liverpool, and a prodigious increase in national wealth. Much of the growing affluence of North American ports like Boston, New York, and Philadelphia was likewise based on trade with the West Indies. Sugar became Britain’s single largest import, and the craze for it revolutionized national diets, spending habits, and social life—not least because of its association with that other newly fashionable drug, tea. Between 1700 and 1800, English consumption of sugar skyrocketed from about four pounds per person per year to almost twenty, roughly ten times as much as that of the French. ...

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2020/08/20/speech-slavery-west-indies/
 

Kondoru

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Life in the Carribean for White people often meant death from tropical diseases.

Thats the impression I get from my very limited reading. It might have been profitable but it was very risky.

What about the convicts, bonded servants and people who didnt exactly want to see the new world but ended up there anyway?
 

ramonmercado

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V1s may not be forgotten but it's time to remember these unsung heroes.


The American Scientists Who Saved London From Nazi Drones
For months, German V-1s terrorized the city. To take them down, US physicists had to develop a “smart fuse”—a task they were told was practically impossible.
JAMIE HOLMES 08.04.2020 07:00 AM

...In the first two weeks of the siege, the German air force launched an estimated 1,585 drones, over 1,100 of which successfully crossed the Channel. British Royal Air Force pilots managed to shoot down only 315 of them. Five hundred and fifty-eight struck greater London.

Ack-ack guns, which usually defended the capital against Luftwaffe bombers, went silent. Shooting at the V-1s over the city, after all, could only succeed in bringing the pilotless aircraft down on their intended target. Gun sites went silent as flocks of noxious drones moaned and blustered, dove, exploded, and wrecked the city anew. After three weeks, Prime Minister Winston Churchill disclosed, the V-1s had claimed 2,752 lives and injured some 8,000, devastating figures not seen in London since the end of the Blitz three years prior.

The Allies’ anti-aircraft defenses hadn't been useful then, either. In the early weeks of the Blitz, it had taken an average of 20,000 rounds from ack-ack cannons to drop a single German bomber. As one American physicist recalled: “It would be just a sheer stroke of luck to hit anything.” Now, once again, it was clear that the anti-aircraft battalions would stand little chance. Flying at over 400 miles per hour, the V-1s made for exceptionally fast targets. Even in locations where gun crews were cleared to fire, their speed made them difficult to track. According to one commander, the resultant shooting “was both wild and inaccurate.” British gunners were hitting only 9 percent of the drones. ...

For some years, the solution had been obvious—in theory. If scientists could install some sort of sensor inside a round, it could be programmed to blow up in proximity to a plane. In effect, such a device would make an airplane look 50 times bigger to a gun. The problem was that the electronics of the era were extraordinarily delicate, and the pressure inside an anti-aircraft gun could reach up to 20,000 times the force of gravity. The task, in short, was to shrink components as delicate as old radio parts to the size of a tennis ball, cram them inside a bullet, and engineer this new “proximity fuse” to be rugged enough to work as it flew in the air more than 2,000 feet every second while spinning over 250 times.

For this to work, the new “smart” fuse would have to be both small and very sturdy—qualities that seemed to challenge the laws of physics. The task, American scientists were told, was practically impossible. ...

https://www.wired.com/story/the-american-scientists-who-saved-london-from-nazi-drones/
 

GNC

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I remember my Grandad telling me about his experiences with V1 rockets. He'd hear this loud droning for a long time before it would suddenly cut out. Apparently, that would be the point when everybody ducked for cover. They couldn't see it, but they could hear it.
As seen (or heard) in the Alastair Sim film Green for Danger.
 

Jim

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I remember my Grandad telling me about his experiences with V1 rockets. He'd hear this loud droning for a long time before it would suddenly cut out. Apparently, that would be the point when everybody ducked for cover. They couldn't see it, but they could hear it.
My Great grand didn't a V2 got him, in 44.
 

pandacracker

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With reference to stories about flying bombs and German POW's further up-thread I have a family tale.

As a bit of background info. my grandmother on my mothers side had a German mother (who spoke with a broken accent till the day she died, apparently) and Swedish father, both of whom had come to the U.K. in their late teens

In 1945/46 my mother (about 9) was shopping in North London with her sister (about 12) when they found themselves standing next to a young (18) German man (Horst) wearing a donkey jacket with P.O.W. displayed prominently on the back.

My aunt was learning German at the time so struck up a conversation and, on returning home, excitedly told her mother all about it. My Grandmother told her that if she saw the young P.O.W. again she was to invite him home. Well, she did see him again and the invitation was eagerly accepted and he became a regular visitor. So regular in fact my grandmother bought Horst a pair of trousers and jacket from Woolworths to change into whenever he came over, thereby avoiding the stares of unfriendly people when going on family outings to Hackney Marshes and the like.

After he was repatriated my grandparents and Horst wrote to each other regularly and he kept the jacket that was bought for him for years, even when it became threadbare and tatty, so grateful was he for the kindness shown to him.

As a side note, before Horst joined the family, my mother remembers being out with my grandmother when they heard the sputtering of a plane engine in the sky. Looking up they saw what my grandmother thought was a German plane on fire. "That's some poor mother's son, that's some poor mother's son" she intoned until a man across the street shouted "Get dahn yer stoopid cah! It's a doodlebug!!"
 
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