England

Photo Of The Day

Photo: Unknown Source. Susan Travers in North Africa. Travers was an Englishwoman and the only woman to serve officially with the French Foreign Legion.

Photo: Unknown Source.
Susan Travers in North Africa. Travers was an Englishwoman and the only woman to serve officially with the French Foreign Legion.

‘I Think Actually They Thought I was a Man’

She was the Mistress of a French General; she led 4,000 troops to safety; and she was the only Woman to join the Foreign Legion.

As a well-bred Englishwoman educated in the nuances of understatement, Susan Travers seemed unimpressed that she was the only woman ever to join the French Foreign Legion. She had spent World War II as a volunteer driver with Free French legionnaires who were fighting in North Africa and Europe. But in the summer of 1945, she faced demobilization and did not relish the prospect.

”I shall leave all my friends — I shall go back and live with my family, and it will be dull,” she recalled telling the legion’s recruiting officer, who happened to be a friend. He promptly invited her to sign up and passed her an application form. ”I didn’t say I was a woman,” she said, although her nickname was ”La Miss.” ”I didn’t have to pass a medical. I put down that I was a warrant officer in logistics. That was all.”

Indeed, it was pretty straightforward in comparison with her life leading up to that moment. It seemed far more unusual that a free-spirited young woman who spent the 1930’s playing tennis and partying around Europe should end up in the early 1940’s on the front line of the North African campaign carrying on a clandestine love affair with a married man who happened to be the top French military commander in the region.

For this, too, though, Ms. Travers had a simple explanation. ”My family was very dull,” she said of her reason for socializing in Europe. ”England was very dull.” As for becoming a military driver in combat zones, she said, ”I wanted adventure. I wanted more action.” And her romance with Gen. Marie-Pierre Koenig, a man who became such a war hero that a Paris square carries his name? ”It was a relationship between a man and a woman,” she said.

Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Kate Webster at the Old Bailey before she was sentenced to be hanged for murder - July 1879.

Kate Webster at the Old Bailey before she was sentenced to be hanged for murder – July 1879.

The Dripping Killer

Victorian Britain was horrified by a 30-year-old Irish woman who murdered her employer, dismembered the body, threw bits of it into the river Thames, boiled the head (and other body parts) and tried to sell the fat as “dripping” in local pubs. She blamed two innocent men for the crime and when that didn’t work, she pretended to be pregnant so that the judge wouldn’t give her the death penalty.

Such was her notoriety that Madame Tussaud’s rushed to create a wax statue of her which remained on display in London for 80 years.

Dubbed the “Barnes Mystery” or the “Richmond Murder”, the case became one of the most notorious crimes in the late 19th-century Britain. Julia Martha Thomas, a widow in her 50s who lived in Richmond in southwest London, was murdered on March 2, 1879 by her maid, Kate Webster, a 30-year-old Irishwoman with a long history of criminal activities.

Read more »

Photo Of The Day

King George V presents the King's Cup to James Ryan, captain of the New Zealand Services Rugby Team, after the team's win in the Inter-Services Tournament at Twickenham rugby ground, London in 1919. Major General Charles William Melvill and another officer look on. The team some of whom have fern leaf emblems on their jerseys are standing in a line. A film cameraman appears in the background. Photograph taken April 1919 by Thomas Frederick Scales.

King George V presents the King’s Cup to James Ryan, captain of the New Zealand Services Rugby Team, after the team’s win in the Inter-Services Tournament at Twickenham rugby ground, London in 1919. Major General Charles William Melvill and another officer look on. The team some of whom have fern leaf emblems on their jerseys are standing in a line. A film cameraman appears in the background. Photograph taken April 1919 by Thomas Frederick Scales.

The Forgotten Story of

The First Ever ‘World Cup’

 In 1919, in the aftermath of WWI, a group of international rugby teams gathered in Britain for The King’s Cup, a tournament unprecedented in its time but little remembered today. Some rugby historians have dubbed The King’s Cup as the ‘First Rugby World Cup Tournament.’

On October 31, the two finalists of the 2015 Rugby World Cup will take to the hallowed turf of Twickenham for what will be the finale of, officially at least, the 8th edition of a tournament that began in 1987. But on the same pitch on April 19, 1919 – some 96 years ago – military teams representing New Zealand and Great Britain faced off in the final of what, for all intents and purposes, was a World Cup in all but name: The King’s Cup.

Along with the two finalists, military teams from Canada, Australia and South Africa took part, as well as an RAF side made up of players from various nations. It was a gathering of international rugby talent that had never been seen before.

Read more »

Pita should drink a cup of concrete

England is going full court on panty-waist sledged like their Hakarena video. It was gay, and lame…like their Rugby team but it hasn’t stopped some getting their own panties in a bunch.

I mean Matt Dawson was supposed to be intimidating but he just came across as a pansy.

Sir Pita Sharples has described as “insulting” an attempt by a British menswear chain to create its own haka ahead of the Rugby World Cup

In a video fronted by former England captain Matt Dawson, a group of rugby players clad in English colours perform a dance called ‘The Hakarena’, fusing the actions of Ka Mate with those from popular 1994 dance song Macarena.   Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Jemmy Hirst

Jemmy Hirst

 Animal-lover and Inventor Jemmy Hirst

James “Jemmy” Hirst was born to a farmer family of Rawcliffe, Yorkshire. Even at school he kept a pet jackdaw and trained a hedgehog to follow him around. His parents’ hope that he would become a priest never materialised when he was thrown out of school for his pranks. Hirst was apprenticed to a tanner, fell in love with his daughter and became engaged to her.

Reputedly Hirst’s eccentricity began when his betrothed died of smallpox after he rescued her from a flooding river. At first Hirst retired to his bed and reputedly contracted “brain fever”. When he recovered he continued his habits of animal training.

He made a remarkable comeback and he earned a small fortune speculating on farm produce. This allowed him to spend the rest of his long life back in Rawcliffe as a gentleman farmer, and to be generous in the most eccentric way possible. He supposedly would blow a hunting horn to invite the poor and elderly to his house for refreshments…which were served in his favorite coffin, because where else would you serve them?

In any event, the real boon of his newfound wealth was the ability to take his love of animals to the next level. His two most frequent companions were apparently a fox and an otter, and he even kept a bear named Nicholas. This creature, unfortunately, resisted Hirst’s efforts to tame it, resulting at least once in injury to the eccentric farmer. Equally unsuccessful but significantly less painful was Hirst’s attempt to train a litter of pigs to be foxhounds, but he could never get the piglets to stop grunting, which made them spectacularly ineffective when it came time to sneak up on foxes.

Read more »

Photo Of The Day

 

10th February 1840: Queen Victoria (1819 - 1901) and Prince Albert (1819 - 1861) on their return from the marriage service at St James's Palace, London. Original Artwork: Engraved by S Reynolds after F Lock. (Photo by Rischgitz/Getty Images)

10th February 1840: Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901) and Prince Albert (1819 – 1861) on their return from the marriage service at St James’s Palace, London. Original Artwork: Engraved by S Reynolds after F Lock. (Photo by Rischgitz/Getty Images)

The Stalker who Stole Queen Victoria’s Underwear

He caused a right royal fuss by breaking into Buckingham Palace, sitting on the throne, sleeping in a servant’s bed and even stealing Queen Victoria’s knickers.

But brazen Edward Jones has earned a place in the history books – as the world’s first celebrity stalker. Even by the standards of modern celebrity culture, the 14-year-old went to astonishing lengths to get close to the object of his admiration by breaking into the palace.

Edward Jones, or the boy Jones, as he was called by the British newspapers of the early Victorian era, was a notorious intruder into Buckingham Palace between 1838 and 1841.  In 1838, aged 14, he entered Buckingham Palace, disguised as a sweep. He was caught by a porter in the Marble Hall and, after a chase, captured by the police in St James’s Street, with Queen Victoria’s underwear stuffed down his trousers and even twice sat on her throne!

Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Photo: Unknown Source. June and Jennifer Gibbons along with Marjorie Wallace.

Photo: Unknown Source.
June and Jennifer Gibbons along with Marjorie Wallace.

The Silent Twins

Eerie, Tormented And Gifted

Dubbed the Silent Twins because they only communicated with their immediate family, June and Jennifer Gibbons were born in Wales in 1963 and grew up as social pariahs who were frequently bullied. They had speech impediments, and as the years went by, their secret twin language became more unique and less intelligible to outsiders. The sisters, who committed several crimes, including arson and petty theft, were committed to England’s Broadmoor Hospital, where they lived for 11 years and were later diagnosed with schizophrenia.

The sisters had an intense love-hate relationship and eventually made a pact while at Broadmoor: one had to die so the other could lead a normal life. Jennifer even admitted to Marjorie Wallace [journalist Marjorie Wallace came along and unearthed their inner world] during a visit: “I’m going to die. We’ve decided.” In 1993, hours after their release, Jennifer, at the age of 29, died on her sister’s shoulder from a sudden inflammation of the heart muscle. The cause remains a mystery.

Read more »

Face of the day

2B367BC200000578-3190706-image-m-21_1439067218733

Sources claim that a specific threat was made against the Queen, triggering an urgent review of security for next weekend’s events

 

Today’s face of the day Queen Elizabeth, is in danger next weekend of being blown up by British jihadis at an event to mark the anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

…police and MI5 are involved in a frantic race against time to thwart the assassination plot being orchestrated from Syria by Islamic State commanders.

The extremists aim to strike on Saturday by exploding a deadly pressure cooker bomb during events in Central London to mark the 70th anniversary of VJ Day – Victory in Japan.

Read more »

Live in England but only speak English? You can no longer become a cop.

All new constables in the Metropolitan police must be able to speak a second language apart from English from today.

The astonishing requirement emerged in an advert for fresh recruits posted online by the country’s biggest force.

From today, anyone wanting to join the Met must be able to speak English and one of the following 14 languages:

 

Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Photo Source Unknown. The streets of Gillingham were lined with thousands of mourners.

Photo Source Unknown.
The streets of Gillingham were lined with thousands of mourners.

The Fireman’s Wedding Disaster

Gillingham Park, Kent, England. For many years the highlight of the summer for local residents was the annual summer fete. Lasting for a couple of days, it also acted as an important fundraiser for the local hospital, St. Bartholomew’s. On the last day of the fete the local fire brigade would enact a wedding ceremony with two firemen dressed as a bride and groom. They would have fun mingling with the crowds for the day, collecting donations for the hospital and in the evening they, along with other “guests” would retire back to their home for their “wedding reception”. The guests were comprised mostly of young Naval Cadets, Sea Scouts and some firemen. The “house” was a simple mock up with three stories lashed together using timbers and a canvas tarpaulin for walls.

The grand finale of the fete was a demonstration of the prowess and skills of the fire brigade as they rescued all of the guests from the house after it mysteriously catches fire. Safety equipment such as hooks and slings were placed in strategic locations and a fireman was charged with the task of lighting smoke fires to simulate the fire.  He would then make his way to the top of the building and sound the alarm to signal the rescue. The boys would wave their hands and cry for help. The escape equipment would be released and the fire brigade, waiting near by would rush in from both the front and rear of the building to rescue the occupants. Once the house was safely emptied of its guests, flammable substances already in place on the first floor would be lit. In an exciting and well-anticipated finale the house would go up in flames for real.

Read more »