On June 6th 1944 Jim Radford, aged just 15, was serving on the HM Rescue tug Empire Larch
at Gold Beach tasked, amongst other things, with building the breakwater and later the mulberry harbour there. 70 years later an 85 year old Jim stood up in front of a packed Albert Hall in London and, accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra, sung his autobiographical composition - The Shores of Normandy
. [more inside]
posted by garius
on Jun 11, 2014 -
WW2 & The Origins Of Radar
:World War II led to an explosion of new technologies that would have profound effects in the postwar period. Although advanced Nazi aircraft, guided weapons, and long-range rockets are well known, in reality the Allies led the Germans in many fields, and not only had more resources to draw from but were much better organized to exploit their new inventions. The atomic bomb is the most spectacular example of Allied technical superiority, but just as significantly, the Allies developed radar and other new "electronic warfare" technologies at a rate that left the Axis in the dust. Winston Churchill called the race for electronic superiority the "Wizard War". This document provides a history of the Wizard War.
posted by Confess, Fletch
on Jun 6, 2014 -
, the oldest known Holocaust survivor and subject of the film "The Lady in Number Six"
has died at the age of 110. Before World War II, Alice was a concert pianist who travelled across Europe. During the war, Alice's mother and husband were sent to Auschwitz where they were murdered, and Alice and her six year old son were sent to Theresienstadt. Alice performed more than 100 concerts at Theresienstadt, and immigrated to Israel with her son after surviving the camp. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen
on Feb 23, 2014 -
Unedited footage of the bombing of Nagasaki
: This silent film shows the final preparation and loading of the "Fat Man" bomb into "Bockscar," the plane which dropped the bomb on Nagasaki. It then shows the Nagasaki explosion from the window of an observation plane. This footage comes from Los Alamos National Laboratory. (SLYT)
posted by growabrain
on Feb 6, 2014 -
Marc Wilson’s series The Last Stand documents the remains of coastal fortifications that lined Northern Europe during the Second World War — bunkers swallowed by the sea, pillboxes barely clinging to land, buildings ripped from their foundations and wrecked on the rocks — from Allied positions on England’s east coast and the far tip of the Northern Isles, to the once German-occupied archipelago of the Channel Islands and the remains of the Atlantikwall, the colossal Nazi defense network which stretched from Norway to Spain. Slideshow
posted by infini
on Feb 4, 2014 -
What we knew of Angus was this: Angus—the only name we had for him—was a flight surgeon our mother had fallen in love with during World War II, planned to marry after the war, but lost when the Japanese shot him down over the Pacific. Once, long ago, she had mentioned to me that he was part of the reason she decided to be a doctor. That was all we knew. She had confided those things in the 1970s, in the years just after she and my father divorced. I can remember sitting in a big easy chair my dad had left behind in her bedroom, listening to her reminisce about Angus as she sat with her knitting. I remember being embarrassed, and not terribly interested.
I was interested now. Even 30 years before, her affair with Angus had been three decades old. Now, 60 years after he had fallen into the sea, she wanted to follow him. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Jan 10, 2014 -
Advice to UK animal owners
just before World War Two broke out: "If at all possible, send or take your household animals into the country in advance of an emergency." It concluded: "If you cannot place them in the care of neighbours, it really is kindest to have them destroyed." [more inside]
posted by Wordshore
on Oct 12, 2013 -
The most well known of New Zealand's World War II home-built tanks was the Bob Semple tank
, designed by New Zealand Minister of Works Bob Semple. There was only one made, but it served its purpose of "showing the people that something was being done to meet the enemy. It rumbled around, took part in parades, and inspired confidence.
" One problem: the tank, built on a Caterpiller tractor and armored with corrugated steel, would momentarily pause while changing gears, unless it was already headed down hill
. During parades and public shows, its driver was instructed to change gear as little as possible, to prevent people from thinking their tank was stalling. The other New Zealand-built tank was the Schofield tank
, built on the chassis of a Chevrolet heavy-duty truck, with the ability to drive quickly on wheels, then operate on treads, the transition only taking 7 to 10 minutes
. Two prototypes were made, but neither the Bob Semple nor the Schofield tank were mass produced, as New Zealand started receiving tanks from abroad by 1943.
posted by filthy light thief
on Jun 17, 2013 -
Alfred Hitchcock ‘Directs’ a LIFE Picture Story, 1942.
"...perhaps no filmmaker provided richer fodder for the Allies during the war itself than Alfred (later Sir Alfred) Hitchcock. Between 1940 and 1945, Hitch made films for England’s Ministry of Information as well as several excellent movies featuring plots that centered on the war (Saboteur, Foreign Correspondent, the remarkable Lifeboat and others). Hitchcock’s most unusual director’s credit from the 1940s, however, wasn’t attached to a movie at all, but instead appeared in the July 13, 1942, issue of LIFE magazine. Titled Have You Heard? (The Story of Wartime Rumors), the feature carrying Hitchcock’s name is a war thriller in photos, shot by LIFE’s Eliot Elisofon from a plot 'suggested by' FDR’s press secretary, Stephen Early, and 'directed by' Hitchcock himself."
posted by HumanComplex
on Jun 13, 2013 -
On July 17, 1945, the OSS Deer Team, led by Major A. K. Thomas, was parachuted in the jungle 200 km north of Hanoi, to make contact with a mysterious group of resistance fighters willing to help the US against the Japanese. They were greeted cordially by the group leader, "Mr C. M. Hoo", a sick-looking older man, and his acolyte "Mr Van", a dapper man wearing a white linen suit and a black fedora
(and he did like his fedora
). From mid-July to the Japanese capitulation, the Deer Team trained Hoo's ragtag band
, provided them with explosives and small arms and followed them during skirmishes. They also allegedly saved Ho(o)'s life
. Major Thomas' full report on the Deer Mission
(including the FPP title
and the line Forget the Communist Bogy
) is buried in the 1972 Hearings on the causes of the Vietnam war
(see also the same events according to Henri Prunier
, last surviving member of the Deer Team). [more inside]
posted by elgilito
on Mar 14, 2013 -
These cards, produced in 1938 by Philadelphia-based Gum, Inc. (later Bowman), produced a political furor unlike any other. The idea for these cards was introduced by George Moll, a Sunday-school teacher and Gum, Inc.'s advertising counsel. Warren Bowman, owner of Gum, Inc., claimed that he wanted to "teach peace by exposing the horrors of war."
[link is to an archive of trading cards featuring cartoonish racism/violence/godknowswhat] [more inside]
posted by Think_Long
on Jul 3, 2012 -
The creators of Italian Spiderman
by Australia's multicultural TV network, SBS, to produce Danger 5
: "Set in a bizarre, 1960s inspired version of World War II, action comedy series DANGER 5 follows a team of five spies on a mission to kill Adolf Hitler." The six-part TV series will air in February 2012, but the trailer
and the first instalment
of a promotional web-series are now playing.
posted by robcorr
on Nov 24, 2011 -
Two Aussie psychologists studied the 66-year-old testimony
of 70 German sailors rescued after their boat sank. The ship which sank it, the HMAS Sydney, also sank ... taking 645 sailors with it.
After analyzing the stories the shrinks - knowledgeable in the vagaries of storytelling - found that the Germans weren't lying. They crowdsourced the stories, sat down together with a map of the Indian Ocean and ...
posted by Twang
on Oct 1, 2011 -
70 years ago today, the Arandora Star
was torpedoed and sunk off the coast of Ireland by Commander Günther Prien
, famous for sinking the HMS Royal Oak at Scapa Flow. Prien had taken its grey livery to mean the Arandora Star was an armed merchant ship. Instead, it was carrying Italian and German internees to be held in Canada for the duration of the war. [more inside]
posted by Dim Siawns
on Jul 2, 2010 -
“People talk a little more of the war, but very little. As always hitherto, it is impossible to overhear any comments on it in the pubs, etc. Last night, E[ileen] and I went to the pub to hear the 9 o’c news. The barmaid was not going to have it on if we had not asked her, and to all appearances nobody listened.”
On May 28, 1940
, George Orwell
began keeping a war time diary
. Printed in “full and in chronological order
” by the Orwell Trust
, 70 years after he wrote them
, with selected historian’s notes. Pre-war entries are a little duller, focusing on topics like recipes
!), the weather, gardening and farming.
posted by stratastar
on Jun 18, 2010 -
. My Granddad once told me that I didn't understand Nazi's, because the black and white film always made it look unreal. He said if the films were color, I'd see.
posted by Mblue
on Mar 5, 2010 -
The United States and Australia have long shared a peaceful alliance, but it was not always so. In 1942, U.S servicemen and Australian soldiers fought openly and violently in what is known today as The Battle of Brisbane
. [more inside]
posted by Effigy2000
on Feb 8, 2010 -