Winston Churchill

Photo of the Day

Dennis and Joan Wheatley 1930's.

Dennis and Joan Wheatley 1930’s.

Dennis Wheatley : Churchill’s Storyteller

Few people are aware that Dennis Wheatley spent the Second World War as a member of Winston Churchill’s Joint Planning Staff, dedicating his talents to the formation of ideas and plausible scenarios to assist the war effort.

Before Ian Fleming there was Dennis Wheatley. A best-selling spy novelist at the outset of World War II, Wheatley became a master of deception for Great Britain, turning pulp fiction fantasies into real-life espionage. This is the amazing true story of one man who applied the plots of his own novels to the battlefield—and changed the course of history.

Dennis Wheatley was born in London in January 1897, the son and grandson of Mayfair wine merchants. From 1908 – 1912 he was a cadet on HMS Worcester, then spent a year in Germany learning about wine making.  In September 1914, at the age of seventeen, he received his commission and later fought at Cambrai, St. Quentin and Passchendaele.

Gassed, he was subsequently invalided from the army and entered the family wine business, and following the death of his father in 1926, became its sole owner. During this period he began to write short stories, a number of which were later published or expanded into full-length novels.  Following the failure of his first marriage, in 1931 he married Joan Younger.

Wheatley’s business was badly affected by the slump of the early thirties and by 1932 he was forced to sell up and came close to bankruptcy.  As a diversion from his financial worries and with the encouragement of his wife, Wheatley set about writing a full-length murder mystery that he called ‘Three Inquisitive People’. His agent’s reader considered the book to be weak, commenting:

“This story shows considerable promise but does not conform to the accepted formula for murder stories. We do not see enough of the murderer, and the construction is poor in that the heroine is not brought in early enough and plays no essential part, and that after the point at which the book should normally be concluded there is a long epilogue tacked on which is unduly loaded with bathos.”

However, this book introduced the characters of the Duc de Richleau and his friends who were to become Wheatley’s most popular inventions.  Whilst ‘Three Inquisitive People’ was in the hands of his agent he set about writing a second book featuring the same characters, ‘The Forbidden Territory’, which was immediately snapped up by Hutchinson. This adventure story won immediate acclaim from both the press and public alike. It was reprinted seven times in as many weeks, was translated into many languages and the film rights were bought by Alfred Hitchcock.

This book was followed by a string of thrillers that, throughout the 1930s, propelled Wheatley into the category of best selling author.  As an avid reader himself, and fanatical collector of modern first editions, he was familiar with the work of authors such as H. Rider Haggard, Conan Doyle, William Hope Hodgson, John Buchan and his particular favourite Alexandre Dumas, and was influenced in varying degrees by each.  His work in the thirties seemed to be perfectly in tune with the spirit of the age, enforcing the virtues of imperialism in which he totally believed, and countering the rising threat of communism.

In 1939 he became the editor of the ‘Personality Pages’ of the Sunday Graphic and a volunteer speaker on behalf of the war effort. In the early days of the war, despite his best efforts, Wheatley was unable to find suitable war-work and so continued to write his novels, being one of the first writers to use the real life events of the day as the backdrop to his stories.

Then in May 1940, following a chance conversation between his wife and her passenger while she was a driver for MI5, Wheatley was commissioned to write a series of papers on various strategic aspects of the War. These ‘War Papers’ were read by the King and the highest levels of the General Staff, and as a result in December 1941 he was re-commissioned, becoming the only civilian to be directly recruited onto the Joint Planning Staff. With the final rank of Wing Commander, for the rest of the War, Wheatley worked in Churchill’s basement fortress as one of the country’s small handful of ‘Deception Planners’ who were charged with developing ways to deceive the enemy of the Allies real strategic intentions. Their top-secret operations, which included the plans to deceive the enemy about the true site of the Normandy landings, were highly successful and saved countless lives.

Read more »

Photo Of The Day

In a photograph taken after the war, deadly special agent Christine Granville smiles for a picture. The former beauty queen - who smiles for the camera with a sideways glance - has good reason to be cheerful. As shown by the military badge pinned above her heart, the war was over and she had no reason to hide, instead posing with perfect poise as she savoured the rewards of her heroism. However, the other images in the collection show the darker side of her work where devastation and death were part of her daily existence. In what could be mistaken for an innocent snapshot of the French countryside, Christine poses next to two wooden struts - all that remained of a bridge blasted to smithereens as part of the Allied liberation of France. Her sweet smile, first as she poses alone, then with a comrade from the French resistance, tells little of the destruction she is celebrating.

In a photograph taken after the war, deadly special agent Christine Granville smiles for a picture. The former beauty queen – who smiles with a sideways glance – has good reason to be cheerful. As shown by the military badge pinned above her heart, the war was over and she had no reason to hide, instead posing with perfect poise as she savoured the rewards of her heroism.  

‘The Spy Who had Men for Breakfast…

But Few of Them Lasted ’til Dinner’

She was the deadly special agent who charged headlong into occupied territory to fight for her country and the Jewish mother who was killed in a concentration camp.

Christine Granville (real name Krystyna Skarbek) – the favourite spy of Winston Churchill – worked for years for British secret service organisation SOE (aka the Baker Street Irregulars) undermining the Nazi regime despite having a short life expectancy in the field.  She became celebrated especially for her daring exploits in intelligence and irregular-warfare missions in Nazi-occupied Poland and France.

Granville, was one of the most successful women agents of the Second World War and said to have been Churchill’s ‘favourite spy’, was murdered, aged 37, in a London Hotel in 1952. Her actions as a British secret agent in Poland, Hungary, and France were legendary even in her lifetime and she repeatedly risked her life to undertake dangerous missions. Her exploits began after the fall of Poland when she became a British agent; organising the escape of British prisoners-of-war, Polish pilots and refugees and returning to Poland, her homeland, to set up escape routes and report on German troop movements. Her capture by the Gestapo led to a dramatic escape from Budapest in the boot of a car followed by travels through Turkey and Syria to Cairo. Christine is an inspiring and unforgettable true hero.

The daughter of a feckless Polish aristocratic and his wealthy Jewish wife, she became one of Britain’s most daring and highly decorated secret agents. Having fled Poland on the outbreak of war, she was recruited by the intelligence services long before the establishment of the SOE, and took on mission after mission. She skied over the hazardous High Tatras into Poland, served in Egypt and North Africa and was later parachuted into Occupied France, where an agent’s life expectancy was only six weeks.

Read more »

Islam is a “criminal” ideology says Czech lawyer, activist and politician Klára Samková

TSH353b7a__FVA6645x_2_18094

Czech lawyer, activist and politician Klára Samková PHOTO-www.lidovky.cz

So many of the voices speaking up against the ideology of Islam are women. I suspect it is naked self interest behind their stance as it is certainly what motivates me. The thought of my grand daughters living under Sharia law turns my stomach.

Not only are women speaking up about the dangers of the ideology of Islam they are also prepared to be brutally honest in their assessments. They are not concerned about being politically correct and are not afraid to offend anyone.

Islam is not a single religion but is divided into different sects. This means that we cannot generalise and say that all Muslims are this or all Muslims think that. I am happy to acknowledge this as my visit to the Ahmadiyya mosque showed me how different sects can be.However it is also a totalitarian system of governance and while the way Sharia law is enforced may differ between Islamic countries,I oppose it vehemently in all its many forms.

Even in its mildest forms, all Muslims acknowledge as a prophet a man who is the total opposite in words and deeds from the Christian Jesus. Whether or not you are religious, few would deny that Jesus was a good man who helped people and did not hurt them. In contrast Muhammad spread his teachings by the sword,he tortured and he stole, he took sex slaves and he married a six year old.

Islam is a “criminal” ideology which deserves to be ranked with “Nazism, fascism and communism”, is “incompatible with the principles of European law” and, like its totalitarian predecessors, must inevitably be defeated.

So argues Czech lawyer, activist and politician Klára Samková in a hard hitting lecture she delivered earlier this week in the Czech Parliament to an audience including (some rather bemused) ambassadors from Muslim countries – including the Turkish ambassador who, with several others, walked out half way through.
Read more »

Photo Of The Day

IMAGE: JAMES JARCHE/FOX PHOTOS/GETTY IMAGES. The Home Secretary, Winston Churchill (left, in top hat), during the siege of Sidney street in Stepney, East London, 1911.

IMAGE: JAMES JARCHE/FOX PHOTOS/GETTY IMAGES.
The Home Secretary, Winston Churchill (left, in top hat), during the siege of Sidney street in Stepney, East London, 1911.

The Siege of Sidney Street

A Ferocious Urban Gun Battle, with Churchill Himself

On 16 December 1910, a resident of Sidney Street in London’s East End heard mysterious hammering noises at a house nearby and notified the Police. This was the beginning of a bizarre incident in which the Home Secretary, Winston S. Churchill, would take a direct hand – incurring no little criticism and ridicule at the time, and for years afterward. It was, like several other Churchillian escapades, only partly understood and greatly misinterpreted. Nevertheless, it makes for an exciting story.

A gang of refugees from Russian Latvia were responsible for this and other sensational crimes in London during 1909-1911. There was the “Tottenham Outrage” of 1909, the Houndsditch murders of 1910, and the famous gun battle on New Year’s Day 1911, around the Sidney Street house in which two of the gang’s members were barricaded.

The story began with the “Tottenham Outrage.” On 23 January 1909, two Latvian refugees of London’s East End assaulted a messenger carrying the wages for a local rubber factory. In the course of the struggle shots were fired and overheard at a nearby police station. A police chase ensued, the armed robbers enjoying a substantial advantage initially, as the use of firearms by police or criminals was then virtually unknown. The police hastened to arm themselves, however, and ran the criminals to earth after a six-mile pursuit in which two people were killed and 27 injured.

Read more »

This will bend the left out of shape

David Cameron is making moves already, and one of his first is guaranteed to bend the left completely out of shape.

He is going to abolish the Human Rights Act.

Michael Gove is making a dramatic return to front-line political combat as David Cameron puts him in charge of Conservative plans to abolish the Human Rights Act.

In the latest moves in the Cabinet reshuffle, the Prime Minister appointed Mr Gove to the post of Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, which is set to be one of the highest profile positions in the new government.

Mr Gove was demoted to Conservative Chief Whip – a back-room role – last year after antagonising teachers with his radical reforms to schools during his time as Education Secretary.

He fell out of favour with Mr Cameron after causing a major row with Theresa May, the Home Secretary, over slow progress in dealing with Muslim extremism, and was also said to have irritated the Prime Minister by suggesting there were too many old Etonians in the Cabinet.

However, Mr Cameron appears to have rewarded Mr Gove, a long-term friend, for his staunch loyalty as well as his ability to drive through controversial reforms, by putting him in charge of the Ministry of Justice.

[…]   Read more »

Losing sight of the big issues by focussing on winning

Steve Joyce and John Key have gotten themselves into a rut…they have become poll-driven fruitcakes, focused only on winning the next election.

They have become excessively myopic and their visions is down to at best 3 years.

I am want to say that politics is the best game in town and to treat it like a sport, and in many respects it is…but on the other hand it isn’t a sport.

As Simon Barnes says at the Independent “the big issues get lost when politicians see winning elections as an end in itself, not a means to an end”.

He explains further:

Elections always made me laugh when I was chief sports writer ofThe Times. Suddenly all the people at the serious end of the paper turned into sports reporters. Who’s winning, who’s losing, blimey that was brilliant, and come on my lot, we’re by far the greatest political party the world has ever seen. Such larks!

These people always believed my job was trivial. So it was, even though I tried to deal with the trivialities in a fairly serious way. But come election time, reporters and politicians and pundits go mad with excitement, and address a mountain of deeply serious matters in an utterly trivial way. That’s because politics is a sport, and winning is an end in itself.

When David Cameron first set out in politics, his great vision of the future was … David Cameron as prime minister. And after that? To be prime minister again. This time without help from another team. To win, and then to win again. Isn’t that enough? Cameron is like Jose Mourinho with less money and fewer media skills.

Read more »

Toby Manhire wants us to follow in Denmark and Sweden’s footsteps.

Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Toby Manhire is such a person. Rather than do what Churchill did when he joined England in the fight against Nazism he thinks that a more gutsy decision would be to increase our immigration, thereby bringing into our democratic country the very ideology that John Key wants us to oppose.

Sweden and Denmark increased their immigration and look what happened.

Woe to anyone in Sweden who dissents from the orthodox view that welcoming large numbers of indigent peoples from such countries as Iraq, Syria, and Somalia is anything but a fine and noble idea. Even to argue that permitting about 1 percent of the existing population to emigrate annually from an alien civilization renders one politically, socially, and even legally beyond the pale. (I know a journalist threatened with arrest for mild dissent on this issue.) Stating that there exists a Swedish culture worth preserving meets with puzzlement. And yet, the realities of immigration are apparent for all to see: welfare dependency, violent bigotry against Christians and Jews, and a wide range of social pathologies from unemployment to politically motivated rape. Accordingly, ever-increasing numbers of Swedes find themselves — despite known hazards — opting out of the consensus and worrying about their country’s cultural suicide.
-nationalreview.com

All this is part, say critics, of a decade-long transformation in Denmark’s approach to immigration and integration, under pressure from the populist Danish People’s party, the DPP… Denmark’s Muslim population are the party’s particular focus. There are many Muslims, it says, who are unwilling to integrate and hostile to “Danish values” such as free speech.

-BBC.com

Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965) gives his famous V-sign as he opens the new headquarters of 615 (County of Surrey) Squadron of the RAAF (Royal Auxiliary Air Force) at Croydon in 1948 in England. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965) gives his famous V-sign as he opens the new headquarters of 615 (County of Surrey) Squadron of the RAAF (Royal Auxiliary Air Force) at Croydon in 1948 in England. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

V Sign

Read more »

Evans’ cartoon

Screen-Shot-2015-02-03-at-6.06.20-amThis cartoon by Evans really annoys me.

People die in war.

People die at the hands of terrorists at home as well.

When soldiers fight of course there will be deaths. But equally there is a price to pay for not being in John Key’s club.

  • Doing nothing means letting the enemy grow in strength unopposed.
  • Doing nothing means leaving other people and countries under attack without our support.
  • Doing nothing means we will not be able to count on others ( our allies ) coming to our aid when we are in trouble.

Imagine if Churchill had agreed with Evan’s world view. He could have left Hitler to continue his world domination unopposed because it was not England who was under attack by Germany.

Read more »

Face of the day

Churchill patting Rommel, a cocker spaniel owned by General Sir Bernard Montgomery (Monty) in Normandy in August 1944.

Churchill patting Rommel, a cocker spaniel owned by General Sir Bernard Montgomery (Monty) in Normandy in August 1944.

Yesterday was the anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death. He is a historical figure that I admire because he symbolises to me the determination and tenacity of the underdog. Britain was not winning the war when he became Prime Minister and he had to deal with defeat and failure but he never gave up. His speeches are still quoted today because of the way he used the spoken word to inspire and to energise the British people. One line from one of his speeches is as relevant today for the UK as it was back in 1940.

You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.

Read more »