Remotely Controlled Killing Machines Made In The UK .. From 10-13 September, London’s ExCeL Centre hosted…
Bombs Buried In German Soil ..
Each year, the bomb-disposal squad are called out around 400 times to deal with some 100,000 items of ‘UXO’ – unexploded ordnance.
These range from hand grenades and cartridges to land and naval mines, but by far the most dangerous are the remnants of Allied aerial bombardment during the war.
The RAF and the US Eighth Air Force dropped more than 1.3 million tons of high-explosive and incendiary bombs on Germany and occupied countries in a campaign described by Bomber Command as ‘area bombing’, and by others as ‘a diabolical son et lumiere of smoke and fire’.
It’s estimated that ten to 15% of those bombs never went off, and instead ended up buried in German soil, where as many as 250,000 still lurk.
Five thousand are disarmed each year, and barely a day goes by without a live bomb being discovered somewhere in Germany.
It costs each of the country’s 16 states around $10million a year to dispose of them.
As a major port where U-boats and warships were built and based, Kiel was a key target for bombing, which by 1945 had destroyed more than 80% of the old town, 72% of its residential areas and 83% of its industrial sites.
Around 1.5 million bombs fell on Kiel.
In one raid alone, on the night of July 23, 1944, 629 RAF bombers targeted the city, cutting off water for three days and gas for three weeks.
In 2006 a highway-construction worker was killed on an autobahn near Aschaffenburg in north-west Bavaria when he set off a bomb while cutting into the road surface.
Eyewitnesses said the explosion tossed his vehicle into the air like a toy.
It also wrecked several passing cars, injuring their occupants.
( Tim Bouquet )
War Horses Stranded In Europe ..
Winston Churchill intervened to secure the safe return of tens of thousands of war horses stranded in Europe after the First World War.
British military chiefs were heavily dependent on horsepower to carry men, supplies and artillery, and spent more than £36million during the war to buy up 1.1 million horses from Britain, Canada and the United States.
War Office documents found in the National Archives at Kew show that tens of thousands of the animals were at risk of disease, hunger and even death at the hands of French and Belgian butchers because bungling officials couldn’t get them home when hostilities drew to a close.
Churchill, then aged 44 and Secretary of State for War, reacted with fury when he was informed of their treatment and took a personal interest in their plight after the 1914-1918 war.
He secured their speedy return after firing off angry memos to officials within his own department and at the Ministry of Shipping, who had promised to return 12,000 horses a week but were struggling to get a quarter of that number back.
In a strongly worded missive dated February 13, 1919, Churchill told Lieutenant-General Sir Travers Clarke, then Quartermaster-General: “If it is so serious, what have you been doing about it? The letter of the Commander-In-Chief discloses a complete failure on the part of the Ministry of Shipping to meet its obligations and scores of thousands of horses will be left in France under extremely disadvantageous conditions.”
Churchill’s intervention led to extra vessels being used for repatriation, and the number of horses being returned rose to 9,000 a week.
( Chris Hastings )
Pigeons Helped To Win The War ..
In the Second World War, the Nazis were quicker than the Allies to realise the capabilities of the pigeon.
Germany’s 57,000 pigeon fanciers were forced to apply for a certificate of political reliability from the Gestapo, Jews were banned from keeping pigeons, and the German Pigeon Federation was placed under direct control of the SS.
In the UK, The Pigeon Service Special Section, B3C, was one of the most secret units in MI5.
The first news that the D-Day landings were under way was brought back to Britain by an RAF homing pigeon.
He was released at 8:30am, flew at 30mph through headwinds, enemy fire and dense cloud, and arrived near Portsmouth five hours and 16 minutes later.
The main use of pigeons was to carry important messages across enemy lines.
Who Saved The Falklands?..
It was the Royal Navy.
In 1981, the buffoons in power effectively closed down the Navy and gave a green light to the military junta in Argentina.
The Secretary of State for Defence didn’t know a forecastle from a quarterdeck.
No Cabinet papers released will ever show the remarkable achievements of the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Henry Leach, and the Royal Navy task force of 1982 in winning back the Navy it lost in 1981, recapturing the Falklands, achieving regime-change in Argentina and winning the 1983 General Election for the Conservatives.
Don’t be fooled or misled by any politician claiming credit for such achievements.
I was on HMS Coventry in 1982 and am proud to have fought alongside the men of the task force.
I honour the sacrifice of the 255 men who never made it home alive.
( Michael Daniels )
If Argentina Had Waited A Few Months Longer To Invade ..
Coming from a Naval family, I’ve grown to mistrust the claim that Mrs Thatcher saved the Falklands.
It was the Royal Navy that did it.
And I’d rather hoped this year’s Cabinet Papers would remind us that in 1981 the Iron Lady had approved the scrapping of the carrier Hermes, plus the assault ships Fearless and Intrepid, and the sale of Invincible.
If the Argentinians had waited a few months longer to invade, we would not have had a task force with which to win the islands back.
As for the ‘special relationship’ with the USA, bitter laughter is the only response to this stupid phrase.
( Peter Hitchens )
Was The Belgrano Sunk To Sabotage Peace Plans?..
While everyone is raving about Margaret Thatcher because of the film The Iron Lady, may I just pay tribute to another woman: The one who confronted her on TV over the sinking of the Belgrano in the Falklands War.
In 1983 this ‘ordinary’ woman challenged the Prime Minister live on Nationwide.
The woman was a PE teacher but she knew her geography.
She said the ship was sunk to sabotage the Peruvian peace plans that were on the table.
‘One day’, said a rattled Mrs Thatcher, ‘the facts will be published’.
‘That is not good enough, Mrs Thatcher’, replied this formidable woman.
That bit of history is not in the film.
Diana Gould has now passed away at the age of 85.
I just wanted to say she is not forgotten.
( Suzanne Moore )
Was JFK Shot By Just One Man?..
The nephew of John F. Kennedy has cast doubt on the theory that the former US President was assassinated by a lone gunman.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said he was ‘unconvinced’ by the suggestion that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when the President was murdered in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
He also revealed that his father Robert, who was subsequently assassinated in a Los Angeles hotel in 1968, had dismissed the Warren Commission report into JFK’s murder as a ‘shoddy piece of craftsmanship’.
Mr Kennedy said: ‘The evidence at this point, I think, is very, very convincing that it was not a lone gunman’.
( Chris Hastings )