Showing posts with label World War II. Show all posts
Showing posts with label World War II. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

You Couldn't Make This Up! Prince Roy of Sealand

Prince Roy of Sealand. Never heard of him?

Or Sealand?
English: Royal Standard of the Prince of Sealand.
English: Royal Standard of the Prince of Sealand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well neither had I until I read his obituary in the Daily Telegraph this week.

Prince Roy of Sealand, who has died aged 91, was plain Roy Bates until, on Christmas Eve 1966, he established his own micro-nation on an abandoned wartime sea fort off the Suffolk coast and declared himself head of state.   
The Telegraph continues;
 He claimed Sealand as the world’s smallest sovereign state, even though it was not recognised by the British government — which largely ignored it — or any foreign power. During the 1970s Bates created Sealand’s own constitution, flag (red and black with white diagonal stripe), passports, stamps, currency (the Sealand dollar, bearing his wife’s image), national anthem and motto: “E Mare Libertas” (“From the Sea, Freedom”)....
After being overthrown as Sealand's leader, Prince Roy, from 100ft above the sea,  rappelled down a rope to the tiny helipad below. His son, Michael, did likewise. The rebelling Germans later confessed to being taken aback on encountering, in combat gear, an Englishman they had only known to wear a natty Savile Row suit and bowler hat.  

I suggest you read Prince Roy's whole story over at The Telegraph, he sounds like an extraordinary character, even by British standards!

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

6th June sixty six years ago

Real tributes to the troops who landed and fought from 6th June 1944 until the bitter end. Whenever that individually happened.

Exile In Portales
Great Satan's Girlfriend

And go here and read this 1st hand account of D-Day

What I remember should not be erased from human memory.... I must write.... I must write now

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Pacific is Suckypoo

Just in case you were wondering, I am up to episode 6 of Tom Hanks' "The Pacific" and I still think it sucks big time.

Yes, Band of Brothers would be danged hard to follow but this is, and I don't use the term lightly, "Suckypoo".

I just hope that the book is better.

I continue to watch Pacific because I feel that ought to but really, it feels like I'm watching an exceptionally crappy soap opera. Is it better than nothing? I just don't know. What do you think?

As I said in my earlier review, "Pacific Disappointment" the best book for understanding an iota of what the Marines went through in the Pacific is to read the book "With The Old Breed" by Eugene Sledge.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pacific Disappointment

I've just finished watching the first in a series of shows by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg and I'm quite disappointed.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of these giants of the movie industry. I loved 'Band of Brothers' and no doubt I'll enjoy the rest of the series of 'Pacific' but right now its not doing it for me.

Oxford University Edition cover of With the Ol... I understand that 'Pacific' is based very loosely on Eugene Sledge's book With the Old Breed At Peleliu and Okinawa. This is a masterpiece of a book which I have read, and reread often. It really brings war on the Japanese front alive in a way that few other books have been able to do.

If you want  a few good books about the 2nd World War and are fed up with Stephen Ambrose's regurgitation of the same few stories under different titles then may I suggest the following;

A Writer at War - Vasily Grossman, with the Red Army 1941 - 1945
Sniper on the Eastern Front, Albrecht Wacker (The German side of battle)
The Day the War Ended - Martin Gilbert (A myriad of 2WW first hand accounts)

Cover of "A Writer at War: Vasily Grossma...But I digress. "Pacific" doesn't follow the same format as Band of Brothers which is a bit of a shame as we don't go through training with the 'team'. We don't know their names, we don't know their ranks or place in the hierarchy of the unit. So all we get to see are a few Marines going to war.

So far I can take it or leave it. There is no doubt in my mind that I'll watch the whole series, I just don't really care right now what happens to the characters. Which, I guess, is a shame.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Marek Edelman

A hero died last week. About 65 years after Hitler wanted him exterminated.

Marek Edelman, who died on October 2, probably aged 90, was the last surviving leader of the armed Jewish revolt against the Nazis in the Warsaw ghetto; having commanded the heroic but doomed struggle in April 1943 he was one of a tiny number of fighters to escape with his life, eventually taking part in the equally ill-fated citywide Uprising the following year.

Edelman was just 20 when the Nazis invaded Warsaw. By November 1940 the invading army had cut off his district from the rest of the city with walls and wire. As the anti-Semitic directives of the occupation were put into force, hundreds of thousands of Polish Jews were forced into the ghetto, inflating its population to almost half a million.

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising - Photo from Jürgen Str...Image via Wikipedia

Conditions became intolerable and in the course of 1941 the ghetto population was decimated by disease and malnutrition. Early the following year however, with Hitler's decision to implement the Endlösung, or final solution to "the Jewish question", plans were put in place to liquidate the ghetto and its remaining occupants entirely.

Go read more at the link: Marek Edelman


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Medics & Miniguns

I'm a huge fan of Micheal Yon and his reporting from today's war zones. He recently wrote an excellent article on armed medics. I wasn't sure whether or not to share it as its all a bit serious and has guns in it and I'm sure some people won't like that.

On the other hand, if I were in a war zone and had the need for a helicopter rescue squad I would really appreciate it if they were armed to the teeth.

Decide for yourself - here's the link


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pilot arrested over 1,000 deaths in Dirty War

So whats the big deal? A pilot was arrested over the murder of 1,000 more people in the Dirty War. Fine. Just desserts.

But the Dirty War was not in some Third World dust bowl and the pilot wasn't some Russian mercenary who had a drinks problem and a spare plane like in the movies.

The Dirty War was alluded to in many of the Falklands War books I have read. It is given as one of the reason for the creation of the war back in April 1982 - not that long ago by many people's standards.

In his second book 'Spearhead Assault' John Geddes specifically mentions not only battalion 601, the now notorious army unit who created the concept of The Disappeared, but also The Naval Mechanics School which the Times article in the headline mentions.

Cover of Cover via Amazon

Copyright John Geddes, Spearhead Assault

The young man is dropped out of the back of the plane whilst it flies over the River Plate. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that the pilot knew when taking off that he was going to be coming back with at least one less passenger.

I apologise. I was a bit naughty. I cropped some words from the headline to this blog from the original article in The Times. It originally read;

Budget airline pilot, Julio Alberto Poch, arrested over 1,000 deaths in Dirty War

A short stop pilot flying between Italy and Holland was arrested yesterday for assisting in the murder of over 1,000 people.

We have moved away from that war-torn Third World country in central Africa that the original headline alluded to, and are now discussing Argentina in the 1970s through to the 1990s killing people for their political beliefs. The victims who became known as 'The

Poster by the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo NGO w...Image via Wikipedia The Disappeared


I don't know much about this period in time in South America but I do intend to find out more about how so many people could go 'missing' without there being more of an outcry throughout the world.

Argentina is after all the country who not only hid high ranking Nazis after the Second World War, but the only democratic nation I can think of, that could not decide which side to be on during the war. (France {probably} doesn't count).

I guess we should all be happy that we weren't on the flight that was delayed because of the arrest of the Captain due to Mass Murder. I just hope that some families in Argentina, and those who escaped to restart their lives scattered around the world, sleep better tonight knowing that one more killer is getting brought to justice.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

World War 2 and all that jazz

Yesterday I wanted to blog about the 70th Anniversary of the invasion of Poland by Germany which was the wake-up call that started World War 2. I was worried that it might be a bit too serious, even morose, so deferred it for a day whilst I thought about it.

The Times newspaper of London gave me the push I needed to start the blog when I saw today that they were offering free ring tones of Winston Churchill's famous speech 'We shall fight them on the beaches'.

Bad taste? Modernity gone mad? I think its a sign of the times (no pun intended) when no news source that I read (Fox, Sky, Times, Telegraph, YNet, CNN*) even mention the anniversary of the beginning of World War 2.

NY - Hyde Park: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presiden...Image by wallyg via Flickr

Peter over at Bayou Renaissance Man, has a couple of interesting posts about World War II;

1. September 1st, 1939

German forces have invaded Poland and its planes have bombed Polish cities, including the capital, Warsaw.

The attack comes without any warning or declaration of war.

Britain and France have mobilised their forces and are preparing to wage war on Germany for the second time this century.

2. Dame Vera Lynn - an icon of the struggle and fortitude of the British public through the blitz, rationing, the blackout and the sending off of the menfolk.

So go forth and read about the beginning of the war and spare a thought for the fact that the War changed the world in so many ways, for good and for bad.


* EDIT: some news agencies mention the marking of the anniversary but do not contain articles about the start of the war itself