Photo of the Day




The Briefcase

When a Wayland history teacher stumbled onto the papers of a deceased West Roxbury war veteran, he assigned his students to write the mystery man’s biography. What they found was Boston’s version of Forrest Gump.

Kevin Delaney had seen the old, gray briefcase in the Wayland High School history department’s storage room before. The case, one of those sturdy plastic Samsonite types from the ’70s, had been around so long, neither Delaney nor any of his colleagues knew how it had arrived there.

It was the spring of 2011, and Wayland High was preparing to relocate to a newly constructed facility. It fell to Delaney, Wayland’s history chair, to decide which of his department’s materials would make the move. And so he unfastened the lid and began to page through the yellowing papers contained inside.

“I had actually seen it before and given it a peek, and I knew there was something intriguing. But I’d never dumped the contents out and given it a scrub down,” Delaney remembers. “So I put them on the table, started to pore through them, and didn’t take long to figure out that they were all linked.”

Inside were the assorted papers—letters, military records, photos—left behind by a man named Martin W. Joyce, a long-since deceased West Roxbury resident who began his military career as an infantryman in World War I and ended it as commanding officer of the liberated Dachau concentration camp. Delaney could have contacted a university or a librarian and handed the trove of primary sources over to a researcher skilled in sorting through this kind of thing. Instead, he applied for a grant, and asked an archivist to come teach his students how to handle fragile historical materials. Then, for the next two years, he and his 11th grade American history students read through the documents, organized and uploaded them to the web, and wrote the biography of a man whom history nearly forgot, but who nonetheless witnessed a great deal of it.

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Germany’s government is in denial but its actions speak louder than words

The German government will not admit that they are at war with Islamic terrorism and face civil war between their native German population and the millions of Muslim migrants that continue to pour unchecked into their country. Unlike traditional war they do not know how to declare war on the enemy when the enemy is already part of their population. Traditional war is nice and tidy. That country over there is the threat and our guys will fight them. Germany is in the terrible position of not knowing which German citizens are loyal to Germany and which are not. Not all Muslims are terrorists but for every single Muslim terrorist, there is a family and a community that chose to help them or to look the other way and not alert the authorities.

Despite the denial that Germany is at war, the below article contains several references to war which I have highlighted in bold. They avoid using the word war just as the MSM call terrorists lone wolves or mentally unstable. In the article, war is instead referred to as an attack or a catastrophe and they avoid saying army or soldiers preferring the terms, security forces, and special unit.

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Witold Pilecki got into Auschwitz before almost anyone in the outside world knew what was really going on there.

Witold Pilecki got into Auschwitz before almost anyone in the outside world knew what was really going on there.

Witold Pilecki

Unsung Hero of World War II

Meet the Man Who Sneaked Into Auschwitz

One of the great heroes of the 20th century was Auschwitz prisoner No. 4859, who volunteered to be there.

In 1940, the Polish Underground wanted to know what was happening inside the recently opened Auschwitz concentration camp. Polish army officer Witold Pilecki volunteered to be arrested by the Germans and reported from inside the camp. His intelligence reports, smuggled out in 1941, were among the first eyewitness accounts of Auschwitz atrocities: the extermination of Soviet POWs, its function as a camp for Polish political prisoners, and the “final solution” for Jews. Pilecki received brutal treatment until he escaped; soon after, he wrote a brief report. Poland’s chief rabbi states, “If heeded, Pilecki’s early warnings might have changed the course of history.” Pilecki’s story was suppressed for half a century after his 1948 arrest by the Polish Communist regime as a “Western spy.”

There are very few places that can accurately be described as hell on Earth. One of these is the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II, where as many as 1.5 million people died during the five years the camp was in operation.

The Polish resistance had been hearing horrific first- or second-hand accounts about the conditions inside Auschwitz. These early accounts came primarily from released prisoners, but also from casual observers like railway employees and residents of the nearby village of Oswiecim. The resistance decided they needed someone on the inside.

It is into this environment that Witold Pilecki, a 39-year old veteran of the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-1921 who fought against the initial Nazi invasion and a member of the Polish resistance, volunteered himself in 1940. Pilecki’s mission was to allow himself to be arrested and, once inside Auschwitz, to collect intelligence for the Polish resistance in the country and the government-in-exile in London, and to organize a resistance from inside the camp.

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For the first time since WWII troops patrol the streets of Germany


Ursula von der Leyen, the German defence minister

Germany will deploy troops to patrol the streets for the first time since World War Two. These extreme measures are in response to ongoing terrorist attacks inside Europe. Joint exercises of regional police forces and  the Bundeswehr have been announced. The German constitution sets tight limits on the use of troops on German soil since the end of Nazi militarization so this announcement is controversial.

Germany is not alone in taking action. France has cancelled it’s summer festivals because of safety concerns that they will become terrorism targets as well as attract sexual assaults and rape of women as has happened previously.

Despite all these measures the media has not criticised or held accountable even one open-border advocate. Their actions have brought Europe to it’s knees. Open borders have let rape, sexual assault and terrorism into their communities and once again caused the militarisation of Germany.

The announcements coincided with the funeral in Normandy of Father Jacques Hamel, 85, whose throat was slit at the altar of his church by two 19-year-old Islamists last week.

Ursula von der Leyen, the German defence minister, said that the series of terrorist attacks in neighbouring France had forced the government in Berlin to allow soldiers on to the streets, breaking a taboo that followed Nazi militarism. “Paris has opened all our eyes. I’d rather have the scepticism now than the accusation later that we weren’t prepared,” she said.

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France is doomed

by Pete


[French] Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Friday morning that France would observe three days of national mourning, starting Saturday. Flags on government buildings will fly at half-staff.

“We would like to tell the French people that we will never give in,” Mr. Valls said outside the Élysée Palace, in Paris. “We will not give in to the terrorist threat. The times have changed, and France is going to have to live with terrorism.”


He added: “France, once again, has been hit in its soul, on the 14th of July, our national day. They wanted to attack the unity of the French nation.”

France, he added, will remain “united and joined around its values.”

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Photo of the Day

Sidney Stanfield in 1918.

Sidney Stanfield in 1918. Photo: courtesy Susan Paris

Wounded,Conflict, Casualties and Care

How battlefield surgeons treated shellshock, shrapnel and gas

And poor Jim was laying there cuddled up in a heap as men die. Don’t forget we was all young, we didn’t die easy. You don’t die at once, you’re not shot and killed stone dead. You don’t die at once. We were all fit and highly trained and of course we didn’t die easy, you see. You were slow to die and you’d find them huddled up in a heap like kids gone to sleep, you know, cuddled up dead.

Sidney George Stanfield (Stan) was born in Tinui, near Masterton, in 1900. He worked as a farmhand before sailing for war in 1916 with the Wellington Infantry Battalion. He saw action in France and Belgium and at the end of the war was still nearly two years under the age limit for service overseas.

On being a stretcher-bearer at Passchendaele 12–14 October 1917

It rained and rained and bloody rained, and rained and rained, see. Just like here in the autumn time, when it comes to rain and it was cold. And we were picking them up from a gathering point as a regimental aid post. Well there were hundreds of men laying out, around. You couldn’t get them inside, it was an old German concrete emplacement and you couldn’t get them all inside, but the doctors were working inside. And they were just laying around where they’d been dumped by the stretcher-bearers from off the field and at one period I believe there were 600 stretcher cases laying round the place in the wet and cold, just dying there where they were dumped off. They weren’t even laying on stretchers, just laying on the ground with an oil sheet tied over them if anyone thought to do that, or if one of their mates could do it. Just laying there, because the stretchers were used for picking up other men, you see, there couldn’t be a stretcher for every stretcher case. We just carried till you couldn’t carry more. You just went until you couldn’t walk really, you just went until you couldn’t walk.

On how infantrymen saw themselves at Passchendaele

An ordinary infantryman at Passchendaele was a pretty dumb beast. That’s how he’s treated, you see. He was only gun fodder and when all is said, and that’s what I feel. We were pretty dumb beasts you see, or we wouldn’t have been slapped, thrown into that sort of warfare, because it was hopeless before you started. We all knew that.

There was one place at Passchendaele … where we heard a man crying at night out in front and went out and we couldn’t find him and we heard him crying part of the next day. Calling, you know, calling, sort of crying, not screaming or anything, crying out. We just knew there was a wounded man lying down under something you see. We never found that man. That’s the only thing that’s stuck in my memory. The others, I’ve seen them lay gasping and panting and scratching up the dirt with their fingernails on their face and all crawling around semi-delirious and all sorts of things.

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Photo of the Day

Advancing across no man's land in the mist. An assault force advancing across no man's land in what apprears to be either a morning mist or a gas cloud ...

Advancing across no man’s land in the mist. An assault force advancing across no man’s land in what appears to be either a morning mist or a gas cloud …

The Battle of the Somme

But all that my mind sees

Is a quaking bog in a mist — stark, snapped trees,
And the dark Somme flowing.

Vance Palmer (1885–1959),

‘The Farmer Remembers The Somme’

The Battle of the Somme, fought in northern France, was one of the bloodiest of World War One. The aims of the battle, were to relieve the French Army fighting at Verdun and to weaken the German Army. However, the Allies were unable to break through German lines. In total, there were millions dead and wounded on all sides.

The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive, was one of the largest battles of the First World War. Fought between July 1 and November 1, 1916 near the Somme River in France, it was also one of the bloodiest military battles in history. On the first day alone, the British suffered more than 57,000 casualties, and by the end of the campaign the Allies and Central Powers would lose more than 1.5 million men.

A truly nightmarish world greeted the New Zealand Division when it joined the Battle of the Somme in mid-September 1916. The division was part of the third big push of the offensive, designed to crack the German lines once and for all. When it was withdrawn from the line a month later, the decisive breakthrough had still not occurred.

Fifteen thousand members of the division went into action. Nearly 6000 men were wounded and 2000 lost their lives. More than half the New Zealand Somme dead have no known grave. They are commemorated on the New Zealand Memorial to the Missing in Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, near Longueval. One of these men returned home to New Zealand in November 2004; his remains lie in the tomb of the Unknown Warrior outside New Zealand’s National War Memorial.

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Photo Of The Day

Betty Pack— born Amy Elizabeth Thorpe. Wedding portrait of Amy Thorpe, 1936. January 1936, Betty caught the attention of MI-6 and became an “asset” – someone the Secret Intelligence Service could – and did – reach out to. As a diplomat’s wife, and a natural seductress, Betty had the ways and means to access powerful men and their military and government secrets.

Betty Pack— born Amy Elizabeth Thorpe. Wedding portrait of Amy Thorpe, 1936. January 1936, Betty caught the attention of MI-6 and became an “asset” – someone the Secret Intelligence Service could –and did –reach out to. As a diplomat’s wife, and a natural seductress, Betty had the ways and means to access powerful men and their military and government secrets.


Code Name Cynthia

Also Known As:

Elizabeth Pack

Judy Brackett

Betty Pack

Betty Thorpe

 She hid Secrets in her Negligees, never wore Knickers and Seduced Countless Men to help Britain Win the War

Amy Elizabeth Thorpe Pack was one of the most successful female spies of her time, arguably any time – yet her story has rarely been told.

A fundamental rule of intelligence work is that one must not mix love and work when dealing with any intelligence target. The relationship can become dangerous to one or both of the parties if an agent develops genuine affection for a target. In wartime, this rule is even more critical, and if the agent is operating in hostile territory, the rule of avoiding romance is paramount. In spite of that, one agent broke this essential rule in wartime and lived to tell—a remarkable woman by the name of Amy Elizabeth Thorpe.

Amy Elizabeth Thorpe, Family and friends called her Betty, was a glamorous American socialite, born in Minneapolis, raised in Washington, DC, who helped the Allies win World War II. She had lots of derring-do exploits, helping the British obtain an Enigma code-breaking machine, ingeniously stealing ciphers from an embassy safe that were crucial to the successful invasion of North Africa. Time magazine, in her obituary, called her a ‘blonde Bond’ who used ‘the boudoir as Ian Fleming’s character used the Beretta.’ She lived a consequential, exciting, and intriguing life.

Cynthia and her husband travelled to European and South American posts, where she conducted a series of foreign intrigues with assorted admirers. She once wrote in her diary, “I love to love with all my heart, only I have to appear cool. Life is but a stage on which to play. One’s role is to pretend, and always to hide one’s true feelings.”

Betty found that marriage and motherhood left her unfulfilled and empty. She longed for adventure and romance, and as she strayed from her husband she felt she was always searching for her one true love. In her quest, she was introduced to a top British diplomat who quickly recognized Betty’s impressive powers of seduction. In the mid-1930’s Betty was groomed for a career in espionage against the backdrop of a world preparing for massive conflict. Over the course of World War II, Betty identified, pursued, and seduced many powerful men, including top-ranking Polish and Italian commanders. Through her series of intense love affairs, Betty uncovered privileged intelligence that would help the Allies break the top-secret codes and ciphers of the enemy troops.

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Photo Of The Day

Elisabeth Gloeden on trial for her involvement in the July Plot, Jul-Nov 1944. After being caught by the Gestapo she was executed by beheading on November 30th, 1944. Photo: ww2db United States Library of Congress.

Elisabeth Gloeden on trial for her involvement in the July Plot, Jul-Nov 1944. After being caught by the Gestapo she was executed by beheading on November 30th, 1944. Photo: United States Library of Congress.

July Plot

The attempt on Hitler’s life on 20 July 1944, was the seventeenth known occasion that someone had tried to kill Hitler. Unlike other attempts however this, the 20 July Bomb Plot, was the most intricate, and involved plans for a new Germany following the successful accomplishment of the mission.

Elizabeth Charlotte Lilo Gloeden was a 31 year old Berlin housewife, and opponent of the Nazi regime, who with her mother and husband, helped shelter those who were persecuted by the Nazis, by hiding them for weeks at a time in their flat.

Alongside her husband Erich Gloeden, she helped German Jews escape from Nazi Germany and hid General Erich Gloeden after he took part in the attempted coup against Hitler in 1944.

Also, among those they took in was resistance leader, Dr. Carl Goerdeler and the Mayor of Leipzig. Elizabeth, her mother and husband, were all arrested by the Gestapo, and subjected to torture under interrogation. On November 30th, 1944, all three were guillotined at two-minute intervals.

Attempts on Adolf Hitler’s life were made even prior to this assassination attempt that would later be dubbed the July Plot. For instance, Operation Flash on 13 Mar 1943 had Hans von Dohnanyi set up a time bomb on Hitler’s plane as he flew over Minsk; the altitude of the plane froze the fuse and the bomb failed to detonate. Another such attempt actually took place only a week after Operation Flash. Colonel Rudolf von Gersdorff wanted to carry explosives in his own overcoat, sacrificing himself to kill Hitler as he toured an exhibition of captured Russian equipment in Berlin; that attempt failed because Hitler decided to shorten the visit to a mere two-minute one, leaving Gersdorff drenched in cold sweat afterwards trying to disarm the bomb and flush it down a toilet before he gathered too much suspicion.

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Photo Of The Day

Death of a Danish hero – Anders Lassen VC.

Death of a Danish Hero – Anders Lassen VC.

Kill Without Mercy

Party Like There’s No Tomorrow

As the British Expeditionary Force retreated from the French beaches in 1939, Winston Churchill issued an extraordinary order to his chiefs of staff: “Prepare hunter troops for a butcher-and-bolt reign of terror.”

Under Churchill’s orders the British military was tasked with recruiting forces to strike the enemy in hit-and-run attacks, using all possible measures and with no holds barred. Churchill knew that Britain had to strike back hard. So Britain’s wartime leader called for the lightning development of a completely new kind of warfare.

He tasked his Special Operations Executive (SOE) to recruit a band of eccentrics: free-thinkers, misfits, cutthroats, gaol-breakers and buccaneers – those who had the special character to operate on their own initiative deep behind enemy lines, with no holds barred, and offering these volunteers nothing but the potential for glory and all-but-certain death. Incredibly, there was no shortage of volunteers flocking to his call.

The most famous of Churchill’s commandos – who would go on to form part of the SAS – was arguably the Anders Lassen. Lassen epitomized the spirit of these warriors, whose actions were defined by extraordinary – some might argue, suicidal – bravery, and a blatant disregard for the traditional military hierarchy.

Men and officers alike had to earn respect – merit was prized above and regardless of rank – and the only way to do so was in battle. Lassen became the only member of the British SAS ever to win the Victoria Cross (among numerous other decorations).

His VC was granted posthumously, as a result of a raid on Italy in the closing stages of the war that also claimed the lives of many of his men. Prior to that, he and his small force had liberated the entirety of Greece pretty much single-handedly.

These men were the SOE’s first ‘deniable’ operatives. Falling under the SOE’s command as opposed to that of the military, they were empowered to use all necessary measures to achieve Churchill’s aims, and they were to be disowned by the British Government if captured.

Each SOE warrior-agent was issued with a ‘0’ codename, meaning that he was a ‘zero’-rated agent – one trained and licensed to use all means to liquidate the enemy, especially the arts of silent killing. Indeed, these SOE 0-rated operatives are believed to be the inspiration behind Ian Fleming’s ‘00’ agents in his James Bond novels.

The Special Operations Executive also came to be known as the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare. And perhaps the least gentlemanly of the SSRF butcher-and-bolt specialists was Dane, Anders — known as Andy — Lassen, who was not averse to bellowing orders in German to confuse the enemy. His father, visiting London before the war, liked to summon his chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce with a blast of his hunting horn from the steps of the Hyde Park Hotel.

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