Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Battle of Britain pilot

WW2 Battle of Britain pilot
Whitehaven Festival, Cumbria (25 – 27 June 2010)
(Courtesy of RAF Millom Museum, Cumbria)
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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A memorial to gallant Polish air crew of WW2

Replica memorial plaque to two Polish pilots:
Pilot Officer Zygmund Hohe (age 24)
Flight Sergeant Stanislaw Karubin, D.F.M. (age 25)
(Courtesy of RAF Millom Museum, Cumbria)

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A ‘workhorse’ of WW2: the Dakota

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight ‘Dakota’
Flying over Whitehaven Harbour (Sunday 27 June 2010)

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

The fate of the Roman Jews

Unfortunatly discussions of what happened to the Jews of Rome in 1943 has become clouded by claims of sainthood for Pope Pious XII and counterclaims that he did nothing or even that he was anti-Semitic. It is further muddied by the reaction to the conversion of Israel Zolli, the Chief Rabbi of Rome, to Catholicism in 1945 and his Jewish excommunication. I have recently posted some thoughts on this at WW2 Talk here.

There are many Italian sources, but the best English one that I know of is chapter 4 of The Last Days of Mussolini by Ray Moseley which I have posted here.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The fortunes of war

Top: Peter McCurrie’s name on Frizington War Memorial, Cumbria.
Bottom: Pte Peter McCurrie during his WW2 service
(Courtesy of ‘The Whitehaven News’ & Cumbria Archives Service)

Private Peter McCurrie, with family connections in Cleator Moor, Frizington and Stoke-on-Trent served throughout the Second World War and was released to the reserve in 1946. He was recalled to the colours in 1950 for the Korean War. This time he was not so lucky and he made the ultimate sacrifice, losing his life on 21 February 1951. He was 32 years old. Such are the fortunes of war.

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Understanding different dialects

Cumbrian twin brothers Pat and Joe Toner from Whitehaven in 1941
Pat is on the left and Joe on the right

During WW2 Whitehaven twins Pat and Joe Toner served in the RAF. The above photograph was taken outside the home of their uncle and aunt, Jack and Lizzie Finnegan in 1941, shortly before signing up. Although Pat and Joe did most of their wartime service in the UK they found, like many others in a similar situation, with the mix of nationalities and dialects in Britain during the war one difficulty was understanding - and being understood - by people who spoke a different language or dialect.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Handshake of Peace

Normandy Veteran Dick Fisher (right) meets an old comrade
Memorial Museum Peace Garden, Caen, Calvados, France
(Photograph taken on 5 June 1944)

The above photograph shows Mr Dick Fisher from Keswick, Cumbria (right) meeting one of his former Normandy Veterans at the inauguration of the British Peace Garden at Caen, Calvados, France on 5 June 2004. Friendship forged through adversity is a strong bond which tends to last forever. Even in a large crowd, friends will still recognise and greet each other.

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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The sound of silence

Top: WW2 Normandy Veterans line up as a silent tribute to former comrades
Bottom: Normandy Veterans Memorial Plaque, Whitehaven, Cumbria.
Dedicated at St Nicholas' Chapel, 6 June 2010
Photographs: J. Ritson

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Monday, June 07, 2010

From the Imperial War Museum London

A dedicated microsite, 1940 - Britain's Finest Hour, outlines the key events of 1940, featuring archive photographs and film to tell the story of this momentous year, and includes up-to-date information on the events and exhibitions that are happening to mark the anniversary as well as newly commissioned films and interactive features.

Key events at the Museums this year include:

- The breathtaking Battle of Britain Air Show at IWM Duxford (4 & 5 September 2010)
- A re-enactment of Winston Churchill's famous ‘The Few’ speech, followed by a fly-past (20 August 2010)

There’s also a chance to explore the personal histories of the men and women who were involved in the events of 1940. The new Explore History Centre at IWM London gives unprecedented access to the Museum’s Collections, allowing visitors of all ages to delve into the digitised archives and find films, photos, audio clips, documents and art at the touch of a button. Explore History 1940, a special display alongside the new space, exhibits objects from 1940 and tells the untold stories associated with them.

The IWM twitter, Facebook and Flickr accounts are used to communicate the latest information on the IWM’s 1940 activity, and these channels offer the opportunity to interact and to get in touch with the IWM directly.

Amongst the content being produced, you might be especially interested in reviewing the recently added stories by WWII veterans Vic Veiner, Tom Cooke and Eric Roderick videos which can be viewed on the Youtube channel.