British Army

Photo of the Day

Eddie Chapman (1914-1997) aka Agent ZigZag – double agent.

Agent Zigzag

Eddie Chapman was a charming criminal, a con man, and a philanderer. He was also one of the most remarkable double agents Britain has ever produced. Inside the traitor was a man of loyalty; inside the villain was a hero. The problem for Chapman, his spymasters, and his lovers was to know where one persona ended and the other began.

Chapman was also an army deserter, career criminal, safecracker, con artist, thief, triple agent and, in all fairness, one of Britain’s most unlikely heroes. He was a Northern lad with a champagne appetite and beer budget. Sure, Eddie loved fast cars, faster women, and fast living. What he didn’t have was cash to satisfy those tastes.

However, Chapman did know where to get it in amounts large enough to keep him in Bentleys, champagne, expensive tobacco and tailor-made suits. The answer, for a spirited young man with a taste for adventure and distaste for anything remotely resembling convention, was simple. He joined the British Army, deserted and headed for the bright lights and dark deeds of Soho, epicentre of London’s  underworld, made a few contacts, stole anything worth stealing and began a grand scheme to get as much cash as possible without the tiresome necessity of honest work. Why stand in line on payday when he could blow the safe instead?

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Photo of the Day

An image of Jack operating a gun. Desperate to fight for his country, 15-year-old Jack Cornwell claimed to be two years older in order to join the Royal Navy in 1915.

Boy Soldiers

“Faithful unto Death”

They came from all walks of life but whatever their background each and every one showed incredible courage in fighting for liberty. War heroes are just as inspirational now as they were a century ago.

Amongst the people across the world who greeted the declaration of War in 1914 with enthusiasm were many underage boys, some as young as 12 years old from just about all the allied countries involved. Everyone knew that the ‘War would be over by Christmas” and here was an opportunity for great adventure.

During World War One and World War Two, many underage boys somehow managed to be enlisted and end up alongside adult men in the horrors of war. During World War One a young man could enlist into the army aged 21 years. 18-year-olds could enlist with the permission of their parents or a guardian. Boys aged from 14 to 17 years could enlist as buglers, trumpeters and musicians without a letter of permission from a parent or guardian, but so many young men lied about their ages and the became soldiers. Boys underage joined the navy and several died in active service in World War One.

When the great war broke out, all the able-bodied men of France who had received a military training were called upon to join the army to fight against the German invaders. Many French boys then wished they were old enough to assist in defending their native land. In every town and village, you could hear them saying one to another: “Our soldiers are sure to beat the ‘Boches’.” That is the nickname they have given to the Germans. “My father left home this morning,” a boy would declare proudly; “he has promised to bring me back a German helmet for a souvenir. I am going to keep watch over the house and protect mother.”

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Photo Of The Day

Photo: Philip Jones Griffiths GB. NORTHERN IRELAND. 1973. The incongruities of daily life in the urban war zone. For years, the people of Northern Ireland lived in a strange and strained symbiosis with the occupying British army.

Photo: Philip Jones Griffiths
GB. NORTHERN IRELAND. 1973. The incongruities of daily life in the urban war zone. For years, the people of Northern Ireland lived in a strange and strained symbiosis with the occupying British army.

Just mowing the Lawn…

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Photo Of The Day

Photograph: Öesterreichische Nationalbibliothek. This photograph is from the collection of the Imperial and Royal War Press Bureau.  'Unloading of a horse in Tschanak Kale (Turkey)'

Photograph: Öesterreichische Nationalbibliothek. This photograph is from the collection of the Imperial and Royal War Press Bureau.
‘Unloading of a horse in Tschanak Kale (Turkey)’

Millions of animals were relied upon by all sides in World War One

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Photo Of The Day

Photo: Michael St. Maur Sheil Nearly 70 feet deep, the Lochnagar Crater was formed after an explosive-packed mine was detonated during the Battle of the Somme.

Photo: Michael St. Maur Sheil
Nearly 70 feet deep, the Lochnagar Crater was formed after an explosive-packed mine was detonated during the Battle of the Somme.

Landscape Is Still Scarred by World War I

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‘Tis but a scratch, pommy soldier shot through neck but ‘cracks on’ with job in firefight

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They breed pommy soldier tough, real tough.

How typical of the pommy soldier…crack on lads.

Lance Corporal Simon Moloney’s life was saved by friend L/Cpl Wes Masters – who has now been awarded the Military Cross for his bravery.

In the heat of battle with the Taliban, Lance Corporal Simon Moloney was suddenly sent flying to the ground.

He’d been shot in the neck by a sharpshooter as his troop were in the midst of conquering an enemy base.

The 23-year-old cried out for a medic, knowing he had only minutes to live.

Without fear for his own life or waiting for orders, his friend Lance Corporal Wes Masters ran through 300metres of open ground under heavy fire carrying 60kg of equipment to get to him.

His quick reactions saved L/Cpl Moloney and the pair were even able to rejoin the raging gun battle.

L/Cpl Masters, 25, is among more than 100 members of the armed forces recognised in the latest round of military honours.

[…]    Read more »

The best Wikipedia opening paragraph ever?

Foreign Policy blog looks at the Twitter storm over what is described as “the best opening paragraph of any Wikipedia biography ever”.

And no it isn’t the opening paragraph of Judith Collins Wikipedia page.

464px-sir_adrian_carton_de_wiart_by_sir_william_orpen

On Sunday, Twitter user Matthew Barrett created something of a sensation by linking to the obscure Wikipedia biography of the British army officer Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart. His tweet — “This guy surely has the best opening paragraph of any Wikipedia biography ever” — has been retweeted more than 3,200 times over the past several days.   Read more »

A day in the life of India in 4 minutes

Beautiful video about India… definitely a place on my bucket list. Especially the battle sites that made Arthur Wellesley’s name as a combat commander. Might even make one of those Intrepid journey type things out of it..around the battle sites…Srirangapatna, Battle of Mallavelly, AssayeArgaum and Gawilghur.

Meanwhile enjoy this video.

A Day in India from The Perennial Plate on Vimeo.

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Guest Post – Are there any Tories left?

the tipline

As I feel it is important to be open about one’s political leanings, I vote Labour. But I am a Tory. The problem is this: there are no Tories in National any more. The conservative, nationalist element is gone, lost in a haze of neo-liberal thought and a willingness to sell out the country for forty pieces of silver. Nowhere is this more apparent than in defence.

Defence is the cornerstone of a great nation. Britain was founded in the blood and mire of Agincourt and Crecy; Germany would never have been Germany without Sedan. Traditionally, right-wing, true Tory governments believed in a strong defence force. The current National government has castrated ours.

All the talk that recent defence cuts were merely “back office” cuts was bullshit. Here are some facts:

We are getting 8.8% fewer frigate sea days in Budget 2012 than in Budget 2011. We are getting 14.3% fewer Seasprite hours. We are getting 17.8% fewer Offshore Patrol sea days. We are getting 9.3% fewer Inshore Patrol sea days. We are getting less availability from the Canterbury.

What about the others? Well, we are getting 20.9% fewer Orion hours. We have dropped from being “Substantially Prepared” for airborne surveillance to “Partially Prepared.” And our Army’s readiness across almost the entire military spectrum has dropped, proving that National were bullshitting when they said they were only cutting back office functions.

We had a gigantic underspend in the Defence budget last year, and a parallel underachievement in just about every output class. The defence force can’t even do what it said it would! It doesn’t have the staff.

Morale is at the lowest it’s ever been. For all Helen’s shortcomings, her slashing of the Skyhawks was coupled with substantial funding for the other arms. Soldiers, sailors, and airmen are fleeing the NZDF as fast as they can.

While John Key isn’t as big a traitor as Nick Clegg and David Cameron, who are currently doing what Hitler never could – destroying the British Army – they aren’t far off.

So, where are the real Tories? Where are the people in National who believe in nationalism, who want a strong army, a strong police, and don’t want us selling our land to the Chinese or us strengthening other nations through free trade agreements?

They’re all gone. They died in the 1980s, when neoliberalism stripped all that was good and wonderful about right-wing thought and replaced it with a soul-less love of money and nothing else.

My call to National is this. Fund defence. Fund the police. Bring back the old Tory values: loyalty, patriotism, honour, and glory. Find your heroes in El Alamein, not the trading floor. There may not be votes in it, but there is something better: a wondrous, strong, powerful New Zealand. The glory of the South Pacific.

Wednesday Weapons – I want it!

There is an Abbot FV433 for sale on Trademe at the moment. Just what the Whale needs. From Wikipedia:

FV433 Field Artillery, Self-Propelled “Abbot” is the self-propelled artillery variant of the British Army FV430 series of armoured fighting vehicles. Using much of the chassis of the FV430 but with a fully rotating turret at the rear housing the 105 mm gun and given the vehicle designation of FV433.

Its correct designation was “Gun Equipment 105mm L109 (Abbot)”. L109 was little used, probably to avoid confusion with 155 mm M109 that entered UK service at about the same time. FV433 used a different configuration of power pack to other vehicles in the FV430 series.

This would be awesome for a campaign vehicle or just sitting in the backyard, even better is I have my WTR licence.

Abbot FV433