Forgotten History

uair01

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Random browsing led me to a rightist website, but here is little gem:

The book was titled Dangerous Precincts: The Mystery of the Wakeford Case. Published in 1987, it was by John Treherne and was thoroughly absorbing. It concerned a clergyman of the Church of England, John Wakeford, who was accused of adultery in 1920 by his brother-in-law and fellow cleric, and was deprived of his position after two trials. The author provides strong evidence that Wakeford was the victim of a conspiracy of his brother-in-law, who hated him for reasons of snobbery, and of yet another cleric, a friend of his brother-in-law, whom he had previously accused of adultery and who therefore desired revenge. They suborned witnesses and encouraged the forging of documents. The denouement of the story was truly tragic: His career destroyed, Wakeford went with his wife (who stood by him throughout) to live anonymously in a dismal new suburb, having previously occupied a beautiful house, where he eventually went mad, dying nine years later of a heart attack in a lunatic asylum.

It's part of a nice melancholy essay by Theodore Dalrymple (sorry!) that very much fits this rainy start of autumn.
https://www.takimag.com/article/historys-mysteries/

Especially the first sentence:
There comes a time in life when one is more interested in the past than in the future.
 

Kondoru

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Maximus Otter; that must be one of the first `Giles`
 

ramonmercado

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Remember Her With Pride.

Noor Inayat Khan: Indian spy princess gets blue plaque

A blue plaque is being added to the house in Bloomsbury in London, where World War II spy Noor Inayat Khan once lived with her family.

Blue plaques are used to show connection between a place and a famous person or event, and this is the first one to honour a woman of Indian origin.

She served in the Special Operations Executive (SOE), a secret organisation set up by the British government which sent spies into countries invaded by Germany, to try and help people living under Nazi occupation there.

Noor worked as a secret agent in Paris and is thought to be Britain's first Muslim war heroine in Europe.

She was captured by the German secret police called the Gestapo, and died in September 1944 at Dachau concentration camp. ...

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/53943709
 

GNC

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She was played in a Doctor Who episode, which was the first I'd heard of her. Googling enlightened me further, what a (tragically truncated) life story.
 

uair01

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uair01

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This is more theoretical, but if you're a history buff you will find it interesting.

These essays and Twitter threads make the case that our history is too Eurocentric:

https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/07/28/oh-god-not-the-peloponnesian-war-again/

The victory of Asian powers over European ones is presented as a historical anomaly, whether the defeat of the Russians by the Japanese or the French and Americans by the Vietnamese. But Asian empires have been beating Western ones for millenniums: The crucible of war against the Seleucids was an integral part of the triumph of Chandragupta, the Mauryan founder, and of the ideology of total war outlined in the Arthashastra, the great classic of Indian warfare and statecraft. That bears directly on the crisis of strategy facing the United States today.”

https://duckofminerva.com/2020/08/we-all-suffer-if-the-field-is-parochial.html



 
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ramonmercado

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Jason Colavito uncovers some interesting nuggets about the FBI's gay hysteria.

New Book Update: Finding Weird Things in Old FBI Files
9/8/2020
26 Comments

I’ve been making great progress on my new book, and I’ve nearly hit 40,000 words. The bigger challenge is trying to interest anyone in it. It’s rather rude, really, that literary agents can’t be bothered with even a pro-forma rejection but instead expect me to wait out response windows for silence to speak for them. But on the plus side, I’ve had an opportunity to explore some areas of historical research I hadn’t had the opportunity to look into before. Honestly, it was a little weird.

I knew that the FBI had collected files on homosexuals on the theory that they were “subversives” who were going to undermine America or get blackmailed into communism, but it’s quite a different thing to actually read them. Rock Hudson’s FBI file makes for such sad reading. Many books have made reference to it, quoting the best-know sentence from a 1965 memo, that while the FBI did not conduct an investigation into Hudson for subversion, “Los Angeles has advised that Hudson is suspected of having homosexual tendencies.” Not many go into detail about the broader context.

While it’s true that there had been no formal FBI investigation into Hudson before 1965, Hoover had collected a decade’s worth of rumors about Hudson’s sexuality, including allegations that he had participated in gay orgies. The copy of a memo provided by Hollywood’s vice squad in Hudson’s file is heavily redacted, but newspaper reports in 2000, following a summary of the unredacted document in a biography of Burt Lancaster, make clear that LAPD and the Office of Naval Intelligence raided the heavily secured home of the wealthy host of gay sex orgies who had hired more than 250 Marines (!) over the previous few years to provide sexual pleasure to guests and secretly photographed the celebrities in attendance, including Hudson and Lancaster. The Navy was involved because another guest was a fleet admiral. Whether the story was completely true mattered less than that officials believed it, as evidenced by a 1963 memo fretting about whether Burt Lancaster was too liberal on racial equality. The memo repeated claims about Lancaster’s participation in the 1960 orgy and several others besides.

From 1961 on, the Bureau also documented accounts from “confidential informants”—Rock Hudson’s former male lovers, who rushed to Hoover’s offices to share their accounts of having sex with Hudson. Despite officially concluding that such information wasn’t actionable, they nevertheless kept a file on Hudson’s homosexuality. ...

http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/new-book-update-finding-weird-things-in-old-fbi-files
 

hunck

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Joseph Stalin Sent Two Men To Kill John Wayne, But The Duke Sniffed Out The Plot

Stalin was a film buff & loved westerns. Although he identified with gunslinger heroes he didn't like the American Way ethos depicted.

He particularly took against John Wayne, who was fiercely anti-commie, so sent a couple of KGB to kill him.

Apparently.

FBI got wind, nabbed them, they were so terrified of going back to face Stalin having failed they willing turned to provide intel to the US.
 

JamesWhitehead

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he was called Marion
it's one of the three classic tales that tend to stick in your mind - well my mind, anyway.

Hitler with one ball, John Wayne in a dress and a certain still-living actor who might sue having a gerbil up his arse.

I'm finding it problematic to construct a scenario where they all meet up. Damn you Gere!

Which would we most like to be true? For me, it has to be John Wayne, despite the political aspect of the first and the extremism of the third. :pipe:
 
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Naughty_Felid

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it's one of the three classic tales that tend to stick in your mind - well my mind, anyway.

Hitler with one ball, John Wayne in a dress and a certain still-living actor who might sue having a gerbil up his arse.

I'm finding it problematic to construct a scenario where they all meet up. Damn you Gere!

Which would we most like to be true? For me, it has to be John Wayne, despite the political aspect of the first and the extremism of the third. :pipe:
Marion seems to have died off as a boys name here's a list of famous Marion's of both sexes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marion_(given_name)
 

JamesWhitehead

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I think he had Irish Catholic roots, can't remember; male Marian names still hang on in Latin America, for instance. :)

It is interesting that the macho male stereotype is pretty much a construct of the 1930s! Valentino etc. now strike us as very ambiguous.

Some of the earliest examples of male villainy were still ambiguous in the early days of the sound-film. It seemed to take the code to rein-back the mother-loving deviant males who were most worth watching. Wayne ambles into view as Singing Sandy in a series of vanilla shorts. The code holds sway for years as he becomes a big box-office draw.

Then he goes and opens the door in his dress! Malicious piffle no doubt, but it always creases me up! :evil:
 
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Naughty_Felid

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I think he had Irish Catholic roots, can't remember; male Marian names still hang on in Latin America, for instance. :)
Yep there's a Brazilian football player called "Marion" thank god he's never played in the UK. "He's got a girl's name, He's got a girl's name!"
 

Mythopoeika

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Yep there's a Brazilian football player called "Marion" thank god he's never played in the UK. "He's got a girl's name, He's got a girl's name!"
Guess what they're saying in Brazil? "Ele tem nome de menina, ele tem nome de menina!"
 
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GNC

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On TV when I was little there was a doctor called Alan Maryon Davies. He was in the light comedy group Instant Sunshine too.
 

JamesWhitehead

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the role of Genghis Khan
I have actually sat through that one and stayed awake.

It just seemed an amazing novelty for an RKO film to be in 'scope and colour! Now there is geeky devotion!

Can't remember much about it. I think it's the one where they all got cancer and died, which seems a trifle harsh of the Almighty as film-critic. :oops:
 

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Colavito unearths another interesting tale.

Most people who have studied the weirder parts of the twentieth century are aware that L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology fame had a longstanding antagonistic relationship with the Feds.

In my research for my new book, I discovered how Hubbard’s Dianetics intersected with a Red Scare flap that sparked federal interest in Hubbard at exactly the wrong time and set off a decades-long hostile relationship. As best I can tell, no one has previously written about the impact of the now-forgotten Reuben L. Revens scandal on the FBI’s eventual interest in Dianetics, so here is the outline of a disturbing story. I compiled it from FBI documents, Ben Bradlee’s memoir, and a year’s worth of reporting in the Washington Evening Star. I’ll caution you here that some of the details about sexual exploitation are upsetting.

In the summer of 1950, one of the first students who paid $500 for an auditing course from L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics Research Foundation, an attorney from Kansas City, Missouri named Lamar W. Dye, grew disgruntled and contacted the FBI to report Hubbard as a potential “subversive” who was teaching communistic propaganda. The FBI filed the report and did nothing, as was common for singular denunciations from members of the public.

In the fall of 1950, a former Army expert in psychological warfare who was then working for the Library of Congress and publishing academic book reviews of psychology books took advantage of the craze for pseudo-therapy Dianetics had created in the months after Dianetics’ introduction that spring. Reuben L. Revens, a beady-eyed, stocky fellow offered his services as an unlicensed sex therapist to other men working for the government in Washington. He also organized a group of mostly government employees who met under the cover of Hubbard’s local Dianetics office. Known as “Revens’ Revellers” or “Perverts, Inc.,” the men would watch pornographic movies together and hold raucous, raunchy parties. Some of these parties involved Revens sharing obscene and nude photographs of the women he “treated” as a sex therapist. According to Irving Cahn, a government employee and a patient of Revens, one of the women in the photographs was a Hubbard employee at the D.C. Dianetics Foundation office. ...

The resulting investigation led Washington, D.C. police to the local Dianetics club, and a particularly ambitious Sgt. Applebeck of the D.C. police suspected that Dianetics club was a front for communist sex perverts, following accusations made in the United States Senate a few weeks earlier that communists were identical with sexual deviants, particularly homosexuals. Sen. Joseph McCarthy had alleged that being a “flagrant homosexual” was one of the “mental twists” of communism, and sexual perverts of all kinds were both communists and susceptible to communist blackmail. Operating under such a theory, Applebeck reported to the FBI that Dianetics club members were a “cell” of communists and that “members of this cell make contact with perverts in Government employment who are threatened with exposure unless they furnish information.” It wasn’t true, but the FBI didn’t know that.

Revens was indicted in January 1951 on charges of assault and sexual psychopathy, under a harsh new D.C. law against sexual perversion, the toughest in the nation, passed by Congress over the objections of D.C. representatives in Congress’s role as governing authority over the District. He went on trial in March 1951, to much sensation, and after three days of testimony and several days of deliberation, he was found guilty of assault. The D.A. planned a second trial to have him declared a sexual psychopath, but a psychological evaluation found him mentally unsound, which vacated the charge of psychopathy. He was sentenced to 2 to 4 years in prison in September. He told the court that society was to blame. “Society does not want me to be unconventional,” Revens told the court before swearing to give up being a sex therapist and to stop having pervert parties. ...

http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/forgotten-history-the-strange-impact-of-the-reuben-l-revens-trial#
 

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A Trip through Old London by horse-drawn barge in 1924.

It is colorised but the dream-like mood seems to justify that. The music is from a luscious John Barry film score but cloys somewhat, as it loops.

The aching nostalgia was rudely interrupted twice for me by more than usually atrocious ads at the five minute mark and just before the end.

It runs under nine minutes, dammit! I suggest downloading it. Enjoy! :pipe:
 

Bad Bungle

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The clip says the Islington Tunnel took 30 minutes to traverse by tug. Imagine when it was first built 200 years ago, a mile long, not lit and no room for a tow path - barges were propelled along the tunnel by lying on your back and pushing on the wall with your feet.
 

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More recent and more horrible history, this time from 1977.

A horrific account of America's third-worst fire disaster: The Beverley Hills Supper Club inferno, which claimed 165 lives.

Despite the name, the Club was situated outside Cincinnati. I don't know how much coverage it received in the UK but I don't recall hearing of it before. The Club had no alarms and no sprinklers; it was a warren of overcrowded entertainment suites and it is thought that up to 3,000 people were in the building. When an electrical fire tore through the place, the audience in one of the rooms was reluctant to leave - they had paid a lot for their tickets and were about to pay a lot more. :(

The site of the disaster had been left empty for many years but plans were revealed this year for a new entertainment centre to be built there.

It will include a memorial to the dead - so that's OK, then! I get the feeling those plans may not come to fruition anytime soon. Current events and the tragedy of 1977 preclude very much nostalgia for the days when 3,000 could throng an entertainment palace.

Edit, 7.40 pm. The same ghoulish but compelling channel features a British disaster, which is little remembered. In 1883, 183 young children died of crush injuries and suffocation, when their stampede after free sweets, at a magic show, came up against a locked gate. The Victoria Hall Disaster in Sunderland. :(
 
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ramonmercado

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An Interesting character.

Among the hundreds of thousands of patriots that Poland celebrates for serving in the resistance movement in World War Two there is one black, Nigeria-born man.

Jazz musician August Agboola Browne was in his forties, and had been in Poland for 17 years, when he joined the struggle against Nazi occupation in 1939 - thought to be the only black person in the country to do so. Under the code name "Ali", he fought for his adopted country during the Siege of Warsaw when Germany invaded, and later in the Warsaw Uprising, which ended 76 years ago this month.

Astoundingly, he survived the war in which 94% of the residents of Poland's capital were either killed or displaced, and continued living in the ravaged city until 1956 when he emigrated with his second wife to Britain. ...

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-54337607
 

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Book report by a former member of this parish. (I can't link it to FB so I'm posting the full text.)

https://www.facebook.com/RichardAlexander5215

Geoffrey Pidgeon "Edgar Harrison : Soldier, - Patriot and Ultra Wireless Operator to Winston Churchill".

This is a story that would make a good film, though I doubt anyone would believe it to be true. Born in South Wales in 1915, Edgar was bright enough to pass the exams to go to grammar school but his parents couldn't afford the expenses. His work started helping out at a railway signal box before and after school. At 13 he started working down the mines.

Aged 14 he sat exams to become an apprentice in the Royal Corps of Signals and passed. The next few years saw him learning the trade, as well learning about the army, riding horses and so forth. After a brief spell as a gunner/ / wireless operator in an armoured car unit he was posted to China at the of 1933 where served until 1938 working the comms at Peking in the British Legation there, communicating with places such as Hong Kong, Singapore, several Chinese cities where the British had an outpost of some sort as well as the Royal Navy commanders and stations in East Asia. And of course with London.
With the renewal of Sino-Japanese war in 1937 things got a little heated and by the end of the year he was homeward bound. More training ensued on his arrival and so in 1940 he was ready for the next step up - he was recruited into SIS (MI6) - section VIII - the comms department, where he was involved in fitting Packard cars for use as part of a secure comms unit which could communicate direct with Bletchley park and send / receive ULTRA traffic. They also built wireless sets for use by agents on the ground.
The next few years were busy with Edgar flying or sailing off to various places : Norway, Belgium, Greece, Crete, setting up wireless stations and then having flee in the face of German advances and be evacuated along with everyone else. He was stranded in Greece with the last detachment of British Army which finally surrendered when they were out of ammunition and had no ships to rescue them. Edgar had other plans - he acquired the use of a rowing boat and set off from mainland Greece for Crete. Fortunately he was picked up by a destroyer and landed in Crete in time to help set up comms there only to be evacuated again after the Germans invaded and overwhelmed the ill-organised defences. (Ironically General Freyberg (O/C Crete) was given the full details of where the Germans were going to attack as the Allies had cracked the German codes and knew their battle plans. For some reason though he wasn't allowed to know the source of the information and so disregarded it. ULTRA was extremely need-to-know, and showing too much advance knowledge of German plans might have alerted them the fact that the Allies could read their ENIGMA traffic.

This time he was evacuated in an orderly manner and ended up in Egypt where he joined the Inter Services Liaison Department (cover name for SIS) in Cairo. Next stop was Yugoslavia. In 1941 after the AXIS powers had invaded Yugoslavia there was a complicated set of wars going on between German and Italian invaders, Serbian resistance fighters (Chetniks) and the Communists under Tito. There were also Croation fascist Ustase fighters involved and numerous unaligned partisan units scattered around the country. The British initially decided to back Mihailovic's Chetniks and Edgar was dispatched to set up secure comms between them and the British. This involved a lot of close calls, dodgy dealing but luck was on his side and eventually having completed his mission he was evacuated.

No rest for the wicked they say, and with Soviet Russia now involved in the war, the Allies agreed to supply all manner of supplies and some comms gear. So off he set again, this time via Iran, up though the Caucasus into the Ukraine, where he set about installing gear into Soviet tanks. His O/C was also high up in SIS - one wonders such people were sent to install wireless gear in tanks ? Anyways the Russians were driven back, taking Edgar with them and he was eventually recalled back to Cairo.

1942 sees Edgar working with the Long Range Desert Patrol Group in North Africa, working out of Kafra Oasis. Thence to Algiers after Operation Torch landings. 1943 sees the Invasion of Sicily and the war in Italy. Soon after the landings Edgar was in operation in Sicily contacting various agents in there and on the mainland and setting up secure comms. Once that was up and running he was ordered back to Algiers and then finally back to Blighty, where he arrived at the end of 1943.

After so much overseas service Edgar had a break for a while, getting involved in the teaching side of Section VIII, training RAF personnel in morse and wireless telegraphy. 1944 saw the D-Day landings and subsequent battle across France, the Low Countries and into Germany. Edgar was involved in setting up the secure mobile comms units for Allied Commanders.

So where does Winston Churchill fit into the story ? Sadly Edgar wasn't able to tell his full story before he died but it's known he provided the secure ULTRA comms for Winston Churchill when he was abroad at various Conferences. Obviously as PM Churchill needed to be kept up to date with what was happening and to be able to have secure comms with London and his Commanders.

The end of the war in Europe was but a brief respite for Edgar as he was soon on his way east, continuing his work with Allied forces fighting Japan until the conflict ended.

After the war Edgar served in the Diplomatic Wireless Service setting up secure comms around the world, eventually retiring in 1975 as the Principal Signals Officer. Sadly about this part of his life we know nothing apart from lists of places he was stationed.
The big shame is that Edgar didn't live long enough to tell more of his life story. But what we have is the story of an ordinary man living an extra-ordinary life.

The book has several appendices which give more background information on topics encountered in the main story, there's a useful reading list, the book is well-illustrated throughout, has an index, glossary etc and is generally well-produced. Well worth reading if you're interested in one of the sides of the war that is rarely mentioned but was crucial in helping win the war.

Image may contain: 2 people, text that says 'EDGAR HARRISON SOLDIER- PATRIOT AND ULTRA WIRELESS OPERATOR TO WINSTON CHURCHILL GEOFFREY PIDGEON'

 
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An intriguing tale.

Winston Churchill is often portrayed as the lone voice in the wilderness as World War Two approached - his warnings about the danger posed by Adolf Hitler falling on deaf ears.

But according to Labour MP Chris Bryant, there is another story - the story of a group of gay or bisexual MPs whose opposition to appeasement exposed them to persecution.

He tells their stories in his book, The Glamour Boys: The Secret Story of the Rebels who Fought for Britain to Defeat Hitler.

Mr Bryant became fascinated by their stories when researching for a book on the history of Parliament.

"Every sentence I read about Jack Macnamara was intriguing," he says of the Conservative MP for Chelmsford 1935-1944. "His researcher was Guy Burgess [later uncovered as a Soviet spy], he went on sex trips to Nazi Germany and he ended up being a colonel in the London Irish Rifles. Who's not going to be intrigued by that sentence?"

As well as Mr Macnamara, Mr Bryant's book documents the lives of MPs including Robert Bernays, Ronnie Cartland (younger brother of the novelist Barbara Cartland), Harold Nicolson and Ronald Tree. ...

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-54478753
 

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