Commander Loftus William Jones: Fighting to the Very End!

Loftus William Jones was born in 1879 in Petersfield, Hampshire, a small town 17 miles to the north of the Naval Base at Portsmouth. His Father was Admiral Loftus Francis Jones, who retired from the Navy twenty years after his son was born in 1899. Given his Father’s position in the Royal Navy and theContinue reading “Commander Loftus William Jones: Fighting to the Very End!”

The Charfield Train Crash: Another Tragedy on the Bristol Line

The Leeds to Bristol Express Mail train struck a glancing blow to the freight train before smashing into the engine tender that was shunting the freight wagons off the main line. The express train continued out of control smashing into the carriages of a second freight train before overturning and landing on its right-hand side.Continue reading “The Charfield Train Crash: Another Tragedy on the Bristol Line”

Feeling the Heat: The Fire and Rescue Service

It’s 3am a faulty games console has set alight quickly spreading to the curtains. The house is filling with thick black toxic smoke. Just a couple of breaths in this will render you unconscious. The temperatures downstairs is several hundred degrees, hotter than your oven on full. Racing through the quiet streets a fire crewContinue reading “Feeling the Heat: The Fire and Rescue Service”

The Tragic Story of Dr. William Barnsley Allen

William Barnsley Allen was born in Sheffield on the 8th of June 1892 to Parents Percy and Edith. He was educated at Worksop College before going to Sheffield university to study medicine, eventually earning himself a bachelor’s degree in Medicine. He proved to be a talented and knowledgeable physician, gaining a gold medal for pathologyContinue reading “The Tragic Story of Dr. William Barnsley Allen”

Nursing at the Front: The Forgotten Heroes of the Great War

Trawling through the newspaper archives from 1914 to 1918 I came across the occasional story of awards for nurses, for their courage under fire at the front. Given the current global situation we find ourselves in, and all the praise rightfully directed at the amazing doctors and nurses of the NHS, I decided that thisContinue reading “Nursing at the Front: The Forgotten Heroes of the Great War”

The Ashchurch Rail Disaster: an Avoidable Tragedy

At just after 9pm on a freezing January evening a freight train of some 24 wagons was being shunted between sidings in the sleepy Gloucestershire village of Ashchurch. A relatively routine operation that had been carried out here hundreds of times before. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary as the railway foreman strolled along besideContinue reading “The Ashchurch Rail Disaster: an Avoidable Tragedy”

The Castlecary Rail Disaster: Tragedy in the Snow

On the 10th of December 1937, in blizzard conditions, an express train bound for Glasgow collided with the rear of a stationary train bound for Dundee, causing the rear carriages of the Dundee train to disintegrate, killing 35 people and injuring 109 others. This was Britain’s worst snow related crash and sent ripples through theContinue reading “The Castlecary Rail Disaster: Tragedy in the Snow”

Three Killed in 1913 Sewer Incident: Brave Rescue Attempt by Two Firemen ends in Tragedy

On Tuesday the 18th of March 1913, William Parry a 35-year-old sewer man working for Kensington Borough Council was carrying out some work in a sewer beneath Pembridge Place, Notting Hill. While he was working, he was completely unaware that coal gas from a nearby main had saturated the surrounding ground and was now beginningContinue reading “Three Killed in 1913 Sewer Incident: Brave Rescue Attempt by Two Firemen ends in Tragedy”

Billionaire Group to Take Over NHS Services!

See what I did there? An attention grabbing headline designed to entice you to click the link and read my article! I even used a picture I found on google! It is in fact completely made up, with absolutely no evidence to substantiate the claim! Thousands of people do this every day on the internet,Continue reading “Billionaire Group to Take Over NHS Services!”

The Christmas Truce: Humanity in times of war.

With the war a little less than 6 months old and following months of bitter fighting in rain filled muddy trenches, a most remarkable event occurred. In the midst of war we were given a stark reminder that humanity still existed. It started with an exchange of Christmas carols, and after a while a fewContinue reading “The Christmas Truce: Humanity in times of war.”

The Boy Hero: John Travers Cornwell V.C.

The 16 year old Boy Sailor stood by his shattered gun, his crew mates around him dead and dying. Despite continuing enemy fire and the exposed position he was in he stood quietly, awaiting further orders. His devotion to his duty compelled him to remain at his position “just in case he was called uponContinue reading “The Boy Hero: John Travers Cornwell V.C.”

The Headlines on this Day in…

Saturday 30th November 1940 Cologne Rocked for Third Time in a Week R.A.F. Batter Roads, Railways and Docks Smashing at Cologne for the third time this week, the R.A.F. made a successful attack on communications and inland port installations, the air ministry revealed this afternoon. On Wednesday night the city got what was described asContinue reading “The Headlines on this Day in…”

Role Models: Now and Then

Every day, often from the moment we wake we are bombarded by media. Facebook; Twitter; Instagram; YouTube; the list goes on. There is so much out there it can be hard to distinguish between real and fake news. In this social media world we have a new generation of “celebrities” to whom the youth ofContinue reading “Role Models: Now and Then”

The Fighting Bradfords: A Most Remarkable Family

In 1885 George Bradford, a mining engineer from Chirnside, a small village just North of the border, married Amy Marian Nicholson from Brabourne in Kent. Nobody could have predicted at the time that this marriage would produce one of the most remarkable fighting families Britain had ever seen. Their four sons, Thomas; George; Roland andContinue reading “The Fighting Bradfords: A Most Remarkable Family”

Norman Augustus Finch: Last Man Standing

As the prevailing wind changed dispersing the smoke screen, HMS Vindictive, the aging Arrogant Class Cruiser was hit by a torrent of fire from the German Guns on the shore. The upperworks bore the brunt of the barrage and many were injured by splinters from the battered vessel. Many of the Royal Marine Gunners inContinue reading “Norman Augustus Finch: Last Man Standing”

Captain the Reverend Edward Mellish: The Miracle of St Eloi

Of all the Victoria Cross recipients I have researched, the story of Edward Noel Mellish was the one that probably inspired me the most. A story worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster and involving bravery of the very highest order; a story of unswerving devotion to duty, not only to king and country, but a dutyContinue reading “Captain the Reverend Edward Mellish: The Miracle of St Eloi”

It’s Rubbish, but let’s all do our Bit!

Covid-19 is a wretched pandemic that has caused thousands of deaths in the UK. 2020 has been a bit of a write off, and there is no guarantee that 2021 will start off any better than this year ends. Another thing it has shown us is that there are good people in society, and thereContinue reading “It’s Rubbish, but let’s all do our Bit!”

MV Norland: The Ferry that went to War

Weighing in at 27,000 tonnes, the Norland was built by AG Weser, and launched in 1974. Registered in Hull, she was a roll on-roll off P&O ferry that spent her time crossing the North Sea between Hull and Continental Europe, carrying lorries and tourists to the Netherlands. In 1982 she was plucked from the relativeContinue reading “MV Norland: The Ferry that went to War”

Surgery under Fire: The Falkland’s Combat Medics

Imagine a hospital and you probably picture a clean and clinical building with wards and surgical theatres, staffed by doctors and nurses in clean scrubs. What you probably wouldn’t picture is a freezing cold, abandoned refrigerated mutton plant in a wet, windswept and desolate bay. That is exactly what the British Field Hospital in AjaxContinue reading “Surgery under Fire: The Falkland’s Combat Medics”

The Headlines on November 1st in…

World War 1 1st November 1914 Turkey Breaks with Britain The Turkish Government has summarily ended all communication with the British embassy in Constantinople. The British Government must now take whatever action necessary to protect British interests and territory, and Egypt from attacks made or threatened. 1st November 1918 Turkey Unreservedly Surrenders to the AlliesContinue reading “The Headlines on November 1st in…”

George William Chafer V.C. – Small in Stature; Big in Heart

George William Chafer, an orphan of a little over five feet in height was not your typical Victoria Cross recipient; indeed, he is the smallest man to ever receive the award. What he lacked in stature though, he more than made up for in courage and determination. Born in Bradford in 1894, George lost hisContinue reading “George William Chafer V.C. – Small in Stature; Big in Heart”

Courage and Self Sacrifice: George Peachment V.C.

George Peachment was born in Bury, Lancashire on the 5th of May 1897. His father, George senior was a hairdresser, Barber, and Newsagent originally from Norfolk, and his mother, Mary, was a school mistress from Cambridgeshire. The family moved to Bury following the Birth of their eldest son Charles. They had a second son, David,Continue reading “Courage and Self Sacrifice: George Peachment V.C.”

Remebering Private Thomas Whitham: VC Hero who died in Poverty

Private Thomas Whitham was born in Burnley on the 11th of May 1888. He was one of seven Children brought up by Catherine Witham, who lost her husband when Thomas was only young. The family lived in Worsthorne, a small village in the borough of Burnley. Thomas trained as a mason and bricklayer in BurnleyContinue reading “Remebering Private Thomas Whitham: VC Hero who died in Poverty”

October 20th – On this Day in…

October 20th, 1940 RAF’s 100-a-Minute Bombing Land and air bombardments of German positions came to a terrific climax as the RAF launched a bomb avalanche at the estimated rate of 100 a minute. Earlier the Kent coast had rocked while British and German batteries fought a two hour battle, in which the British guns subjectedContinue reading “October 20th – On this Day in…”

October 16th, On this Day in…

Navy Wipes out a Convoy, Hits Port October 16th, 1940 The Navy has shown it’s power again. It has wiped out an entire German convoy, including the escorting Kriegsmarine vessels. After blasting Cherbourg last week they have now turned their big guns on Dunkirk, blasting the port and starting fires. The admiralty spokesman stated: “AContinue reading “October 16th, On this Day in…”

From Private to Major: The Rise of Hugh Colvin VC

Hugh Colvin was born to Scottish parents on the 18th of March 1887 in Burnley Lancashire. His Father, also Hugh, was a Gardener, and Hugh himself was sent off to work as Gardeners apprentice in Lancaster as a teenager. Hugh was one of four Children; his older sister Margaret was born in Scotland in 1885;Continue reading “From Private to Major: The Rise of Hugh Colvin VC”

WW1 – The Battle for Hill 60, Two More VC’s

Private Edward Dwyer Edward Dwyer joined the East Surrey Regiment in 1912 aged just 17 and was posted to the 1st Battalion. Three years later he found himself in the middle of one of the fiercest battles of the 1st World War; the battle for Hill 60. Hill 60, despite being nothing more than aContinue reading “WW1 – The Battle for Hill 60, Two More VC’s”

WW1 – The Battle for Hill 60: Second Lieutenant Benjamin Handley Geary VC

Hill 60 near Ypres in Belgium was actually a large spoil heap from the digging of a cutting on the Ypres-Comines Railway. The hill was a strategic landmark because of the view it gave to the surrounding area, and as a result it was fought over and changed hands numerous times. On April 17th, 1915,Continue reading “WW1 – The Battle for Hill 60: Second Lieutenant Benjamin Handley Geary VC”

The Heroes of HMS Jervis Bay

HMS Jervis Bay, built by Vickers Limited in Barrow-in-Furness, and launched in 1922 started life as a Commonwealth Line steamer. In 1939 she was requisitioned by the Royal Navy and converted into an armed merchant cruiser. She was fitted with seven outdated, late 19th century 6 inch guns and two, even older 3 inch gunsContinue reading “The Heroes of HMS Jervis Bay”

Operation Market Garden: The Battle of Arnhem

Operation Market Garden was an ambitious plan to punch a hole right through German lines and secure the key bridges that would allow a thrust into Germany itself. British and American airborne forces would be dropped at strategic locations close to the bridges in order to secure them and 30 Corps under the command ofContinue reading “Operation Market Garden: The Battle of Arnhem”

Sergeant Louis Massey: The Great Escape

There are many stories of daring escapes from Nazi prisoner of war camps during World War Two, but the story of Sergeant Louis Massey, 35, of the Royal Army Service Corps and is particularly impressive. Captured during the retreat of the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk, Sergeant Massey was sent to a German prisoner ofContinue reading “Sergeant Louis Massey: The Great Escape”

Blair ‘Paddy’ Mayne SAS: Divisive, Deadly, Brilliant

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Blair ‘Paddy’ Mayne, DSO & 3 Bars, is a man who has divided opinions over the years since his exploits during World War 2 in the newly formed Special Air Service. Fiercely brave, loyal, intelligent, and sometimes ruthless, Paddy Mayne was pretty much the perfect candidate for behind the lines raiding actionContinue reading “Blair ‘Paddy’ Mayne SAS: Divisive, Deadly, Brilliant”

Operation Biting: Stealing the German’s top secret radar apparatus

One of the major races of World War Two was the race to develop a reliable radar system to detect enemy aircraft early enough to send up the fighter intercept groups to shoot them down. Of course, both sides were determined to conceal their progress from the other, and the development of these systems wasContinue reading “Operation Biting: Stealing the German’s top secret radar apparatus”

Jock Lewes: The Forgotten Founder of the SAS

David Stirling and Paddy Mayne are well known for their exploits as founder members of the SAS, the UK’s elite special forces, but less well known is the contribution of Lieutenant Jock Lewes, the original co-founder, who along with David Stirling helped to recruit and train the original members of the unit. Without Jock LewesContinue reading “Jock Lewes: The Forgotten Founder of the SAS”

Endurance by Alfred Lansing

This book would be difficult to put down as a work of fiction; the fact that it is real makes it almost impossible. The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition would be an attempt to cross the Antarctic continent for the first time. Led by experienced polar explorer Ernest Shackleton, a hand picked crew would attempt to sailContinue reading “Endurance by Alfred Lansing”

Lose Yourself in a Book: A Review of Amazon’s Fire Tablet

Whatever your hobbies or whatever it is that interests you there will normally be a book written about it. Reading is a great way to learn new things, or explore new places that are currently beyond our reach. There are millions of titles out there to choose from; there are the works of fiction thatContinue reading “Lose Yourself in a Book: A Review of Amazon’s Fire Tablet”

They Made the Ultimate Sacrifice: The Penlee Lifeboat Disaster

Built in Ringkøbing on the West coast of Denmark and Launched in 1981 the Union Star was an Irish registered 935 tonne 70 metre mini-bulk carrier designed for use in coastal waters. On the 19th of December 1981 she was on her maiden voyage carrying fertiliser from the Netherlands to Arklow in Ireland when disasterContinue reading “They Made the Ultimate Sacrifice: The Penlee Lifeboat Disaster”

WW2 Flying Accidents: The Enemy Within

During the war many pilots were lost to enemy action, but in the days before ground proximity radar, gps and electronic instruments, flying accidents were a real risk. The Forest of Bowland, an upland area consisting mainly of moorland in Lancashire gained a reputation as an area that caused pilots particular difficulties, mainly due toContinue reading “WW2 Flying Accidents: The Enemy Within”

Overcoming Adversity: Group Captain Douglas Bader

By the time of the Battle of Britain Douglas Bader had already fought a major battle, not with a foreign enemy, with adversity. At the age of just 21 Bader lost both his legs in a flying accident when his wing tip hit the ground during a display of aerobatics at the Reading Aerodrome; indeedContinue reading “Overcoming Adversity: Group Captain Douglas Bader”

Captain Mike ‘Wild Man’ Lees: Forgotten Hero

Lying in his hospital bed, having been denied the treatment he required to make a full recovery, Captain Mike ‘Wild Man’ Lees of the Special Operations Executive, a secretive branch of the British Army, could have been forgiven for feeling as though his officers had betrayed him; and in all honesty that was probably theContinue reading “Captain Mike ‘Wild Man’ Lees: Forgotten Hero”

The Great Sand Sea Raiders

They came from the great sand sea, wreaked havoc amongst the enemy, and melted away into the shadows as quickly as they arrived. David Stirling’s band of piratical raiders struck fear into the hearts of the enemy. With their dusty mismatched uniforms and straggly beards they looked like a ragged collection of misfits and vagabonds;Continue reading “The Great Sand Sea Raiders”