Category 20th century conflict

In Flanders Fields

John McCrae is remembered for what is probably the best known and most popular of all First World War poetry.  It is believed that he was so moved by the death of his friend Lieutenant Alexis Helmet, who had been killed by a shell burst, and inspired by the profusion of wild poppies he could […]

Coping in a POW camp

Available through many sources, and one of the many books on my book shelves, is ‘The Diaries of Captain John Mansel, Prisoner of War and Camp Forger, in Germany, 1940-45’.  I’ve just picked up a short piece that he recorded on Wednesday 29th October 1941 during his stay at a typical POW camp: Lunch is […]

The birth of the United Nations

It was on Wednesday 24th October 1945 that the United Nations officially came into existence.  The charter had been signed by delegates from 50 member nations in San Francisco on Tuesday 26th June 1945 at the end of the United Nation Conference on International Organization. The preamble to that Charter said: ‘We the people of […]

The Jarrow Crusade and 300 miles to London

It was on Monday 5th October 1936 when some 200 unemployed men set off from Jarrow – a north of England town on the River Tyne in County Durham – to walk to London.  Before they set off there was a special service of blessing at Christ Church in the centre of town – a […]

Britain becomes Nuclear

It was in January 1947 that a British Government’s cabinet sub-committee decided, in response to an apprehension of American isolationism and fears of Britain losing its great power status, to resume British efforts to build nuclear weapons. A key part of this project, of course, was the need to have a location to test them! […]

It’s 1940 and King George VI speaks to Britain from his underground shelter.

In a radio broadcast on the evening of Monday 23rd September 1940 King George VI spoke to Britain, the British Empire and America from his underground shelter at Buckingham Palace during an air-raid warning.  In the broadcast he told his people that, with the aid of “our friends in the Americas”, Great Britain will emerge […]

The Victoria Cross and two brave and special Wednesdays

The Victoria Cross was introduced in Great Britain on Saturday 29th January 1856 by Queen Victoria. Its ‘role’ was to reward acts of valour during the Crimean War. The VC takes precedence over all other Orders, Decorations and Medals and may be awarded to a person of any rank in any service and to civilians […]