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McAvennie_Offline
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PostPosted: 07-04-2009 14:02    Post subject: Forgotten history Reply with quote

Inspired by something I mentioned on another thread...

http://www2.forteantimes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=866888#866888

...regarding the Paris Massacre of 1961.

It struck me that I knew nothing of this incident, something that happened less than 20 years before my birth, but feel it is something that we should know about - regardless of whose version of events you believe.

I then remembered something else I only learned of recently which is similarly 'unremembered'. Maybe these things have just slipped through my personal radar, but I'm fairly confident that, unless you are from Wearside, you will never have heard of the Victoria Hall Disaster of 1883.

http://wearsideonline.com/the_victoria_hall_disaster.html

I only heard about this a few years ago. I know it is over 100 years ago, but considering the scale of death (183) and that they were near all children I am surprised that this isn't an event wider known in the UK. We all know about Aberfan, obviously more recent, and in 100 years I'm sure people will know of Hillsborough but this - to my knowledge - is a forgotten chapter of Britain's, relatively, recent past.

See also the Tay Rail Bridge...
http://www.dundeecity.gov.uk/centlib/taybridge/taybridge.htm

This one I did know about, mainly due to annual holidays to Aberdeen involving a trip over the Forth and Tay bridges which I always was afraid would collapse while the Intercity train was crossing!

Maybe these incidents have been forgotten for a reason, but there are other historical events - recent and long past - that seem to be well remembered.

I'd be interested to hear of other historic incidents - maybe well known locally but not wider - or things that have for one reason or another slipped from our national conciousness.
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Ringo_Offline
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PostPosted: 07-04-2009 14:26    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm from Wearside and I've never heard of The Victoria Hall disaster. Now it may just be because I'm a relatively new father but that story actually brought tears to my eyes.
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Arthur_ASCIIOffline
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PostPosted: 07-04-2009 16:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah... A good excuse to whip out my McGanagall


The Tay Bridge Disaster
McGonagall



Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

'Twas about seven o'clock at night,
And the wind it blew with all its might,
And the rain came pouring down,
And the dark clouds seem'd to frown,
And the Demon of the air seem'd to say-
"I'll blow down the Bridge of Tay."

When the train left Edinburgh
The passengers' hearts were light and felt no sorrow,
But Boreas blew a terrific gale,
Which made their hearts for to quail,
And many of the passengers with fear did say-
"I hope God will send us safe across the Bridge of Tay."

But when the train came near to Wormit Bay,
Boreas he did loud and angry bray,
And shook the central girders of the Bridge of Tay
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

So the train sped on with all its might,
And Bonnie Dundee soon hove in sight,
And the passengers' hearts felt light,
Thinking they would enjoy themselves on the New Year,
With their friends at home they lov'd most dear,
And wish them all a happy New Year.

So the train mov'd slowly along the Bridge of Tay,
Until it was about midway,
Then the central girders with a crash gave way,
And down went the train and passengers into the Tay!
The Storm Fiend did loudly bray,
Because ninety lives had been taken away,
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

As soon as the catastrophe came to be known
The alarm from mouth to mouth was blown,
And the cry rang out all o'er the town,
Good Heavens! the Tay Bridge is blown down,
And a passenger train from Edinburgh,
Which fill'd all the peoples hearts with sorrow,
And made them for to turn pale,
Because none of the passengers were sav'd to tell the tale
How the disaster happen'd on the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

It must have been an awful sight,
To witness in the dusky moonlight,
While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,
Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay,
Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay,
I must now conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.
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McAvennie_Offline
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PostPosted: 07-04-2009 18:13    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ringo_ wrote:
I'm from Wearside and I've never heard of The Victoria Hall disaster. Now it may just be because I'm a relatively new father but that story actually brought tears to my eyes.


It's tragic.

I think there are actually houses now on the east side of Mowbray Park where the hall would have been and I always wonder if the people living there are aware of what they are living on top of. I'd be out of there like a shot if my house was built on somewhere with a history like that!
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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 14-05-2009 10:34    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very long article here, so I'll just give the top and tail:

Stalin's British heroes: The discovery of a forgotten medal reveals the extraordinary courage of the RAF aces who fought for the Soviet Union
By Douglas Morrison
Last updated at 12:55 AM on 14th May 2009

The Messerschmitt was screaming towards him on a head-to-head collision course, but it was Flight-Lieutenant Micky Rook who got his shot in first. He held his nerve, pressed the firing button of his Hurricane fighter plane and the German Me109 exploded in mid-air, disintegrating before his eyes. Another hard-won 'kill' for the RAF in the early years of World War II.
Yet this was no part of the famous Few's dogfight over Kent. The waters beneath Rook's plane were not the English Channel but the icy Barents Sea off Murmansk on the northern edge of the Soviet Union, deep inside the Arctic Circle.
Rook was part of 151 Wing, a little-known RAF group who fought against the Germans alongside the pilots of the Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin, for four vital months in the winter of 1941. Code-named Force Benedict, its mission has been largely forgotten for nearly seven decades - until the chance discovery earlier this year of a medal awarded to the splendidly named Wing Commander Henry Neville Gynes Ramsbottom-Isherwood, who led 151 Wing.

The red and gold Order of Lenin, resplendent with hammer and sickle and a platinum portrait of the Russian revolutionary leader, is one of the rarest ever won by a British serviceman. It had lain untouched at the back of a cupboard in Sussex for years.
At a Sotheby's auction next month it is expected to attract bids as high as £30,000.

The story behind the medal is an extraordinary one. Stalin's Russia and Hitler's Germany had a non-aggression pact - until Hitler tore it up and huge numbers of German forces invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941.
The Russians had been caught on the hop, largely because Stalin himself had ignored many warnings about such an invasion, and now they desperately needed weapons and supplies to stem the Nazi advance.

Stalin urged Winston Churchill, Britain's wartime leader, to send him Spitfires, the RAF's latest and fastest fighter planes. Churchill refused.
Britain was still struggling to keep the Germans at bay across the Channel and needed its best aircraft for that fight. But to show willing to his new ally, he dispatched Hurricanes - 40 of them to begin with, hundreds later.

As trainers and technicians went the men of 151 Wing, made up of two squadrons, Nos 81 and 134. They were officially under the command of Admiral Nikolai Kuznetsov, head of the Soviet Navy and Naval Air Service, and their orders were to undertake 'the defence of the naval base of Murmansk and co-operation with the Soviet Forces in the Murmansk areas'.

In practice, their job was to get the Hurricanes flying, train the Russians in their use, hand them over and return to Britain. But since they were within easy range of air bases in Germany's ally Finland, they would also go into action, escorting Russian bombers to these targets and shooting down as many German aircraft as they could.

etc...

Ramsbottom-Isherwood was also awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for his Russian exploits. He later flew in the Far East and survived the war, rising to the rank of group captain. Afterwards, he became commanding officer at Martlesham Heath RAF base in Suffolk.

On April 24, 1950, he took off in a Meteor jet fighter, then just coming into service, for a test flight. Over Kent, he ran into blinding snowstorms and icy conditions.
He flew over West Malling at 200ft and headed for RAF Manston. At 10.45 the aircraft dived into the ground four miles east of Tonbridge and disintegrated, killing him outright.

Extreme icing was the likeliest cause of the accident. At only 44, the man who had led Force Benedict through the wintry skies of Northern Russia had died in conditions similar to those he and his men had encountered and overcome in distant Murmansk.

His medal, along with his other awards, stayed with his family. His wife remarried and went to America. She is now dead. His only child, India, just 10 when her father died, had little interest in medals. Eventually she settled in Rottingdean, on the East Sussex coast. She is now frail and in her late 60s.

In February she moved to Somerset to be looked after by friends.
While her house was being cleared, a plastic bag containing her father's long-forgotten medals was found at the back of a cupboard.
In it were his AFC and DFC 37 - and that rare and elusive Order of Lenin. From that find has emerged a rarely remembered story of World War II bravery and the odd, forgotten campaign fought by the men of 151 Wing in a remote, cold corner of the Soviet Union.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1181390/Stalins-British-heroes-The-discovery-forgotten-medal-reveals-extraordinary-courage-RAF-aces-fought-Soviet-Union.html
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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 25-05-2009 10:54    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another long but fascinating story:

Exclusive: The unseen photographs that throw new light on the First World War
A treasure trove of First World War photographs was discovered recently in France. Published here for the first time, they show British soldiers on their way to the Somme. But who took them? And who were these Tommies marching off to die?
By John Lichfield
Friday, 22 May 2009

The place, according to a jokingly chalked board, is "somewhere in France". The time is the winter of 1915 and the spring and summer of 1916. Hundreds of thousands of British and Empire soldiers, are preparing for The Big Push, the biggest British offensive of the 1914-18 war to date.


A local French photographer, almost certainly an amateur, possibly a farmer, has offered to take pictures for a few francs. Soldiers have queued to have a photograph taken to send back to their anxious but proud families in Britain or Australia or New Zealand.

Sometimes, the Tommies are snapped individually in front of the same battered door or in a pear and apple orchard. Sometimes they are photographed on horseback or in groups of comrades. A pretty six-year-old girl – the photographer's daughter? – occasionally stands with the soldiers or sits on their knees: a reminder of their families, of human tenderness and of a time when there was no war.

etc....

Identical copies of these images must have been sent home to mothers and wives and sweethearts in late 1915 and the first half of 1916. Will someone out there recognise their Great Grandad or their Great Uncle Bill?

Although some research has been conducted into the photographs, much hard work is yet to be done. Such compelling images must have a story attached; and with your help we hope to uncover as much of their fascinating history as possible. Click here to see how you can help.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/exclusive-the-unseen-photographs-that-throw-new-light-on-the-first-world-war-1688443.html
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JamesWhiteheadOffline
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PostPosted: 25-05-2009 18:51    Post subject: Reply with quote

Researching some 1930s newreel footage I had acquired on DVD, I learned of a major disaster involving children which I had never heard of:

"1937/03/20 - Special Release - 425 Children Die As Gas Explosion Shatters School (1) "New London, Texas tragedy - 425 Children Die As Gas Explosion Shatters School in center of rich East Texas oil field, caused by gas pockets in school basement." (2) "Thousands Weep As School Blast Victims Are Buried" SOURCE: 200 Universal 9-547, National Archives, College Park MD"

425! The narration on the newsreel is astonishingly crass and insensitive, referring to children literally blown apart and how most would have escaped, if only the blast had happened ten minutes later. So is the footage, come to think of it, which features bodies in the rubble. Sad
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McAvennie_Offline
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PostPosted: 26-05-2009 09:21    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_London_School_explosion

Slightly lower death toll according to Wiki but some interesting theories on why it may be an 'unremembered' tragedy - the Hindenburg disaster was two months later.
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tilly50Offline
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PostPosted: 29-05-2009 12:36    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have wondered how many "small news items",(although to those concerned major life events), have been swallowed up and forgotten by them happening in or around the same time a "world event" of international importance?
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eburacumOffline
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PostPosted: 30-05-2009 17:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

How many people have heard of the Princess Alice disaster?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Princess_Alice_(1865)
600 or thereabouts lost in the Thames in 1865.
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eburacumOffline
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PostPosted: 30-05-2009 18:11    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or the Dale Dyke Dam disaster, the year before; 270 people drowndead in Sheffield when a dam burst?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Sheffield_Flood

Strangely redolent of the floods in 2007, when t'Wicker were under water once again
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3505/3466011048_db208f5d31.jpg?v=0
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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 30-05-2009 19:44    Post subject: Reply with quote

eburacum wrote:
Or the Dale Dyke Dam disaster, the year before; 270 people drowndead in Sheffield when a dam burst?

It's been mentioned on the Reservoirs thread:
http://www.forteantimes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=140388#140388

(..even has its own website:
http://www.mick-armitage.staff.shef.ac.uk/sheffield/flood.html )
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eburacumOffline
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PostPosted: 31-05-2009 17:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
It's been mentioned on the Reservoirs thread:
That were me, when you could log in anonymously...
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Timble2Offline
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PostPosted: 31-05-2009 17:27    Post subject: Reply with quote

eburacum wrote:
How many people have heard of the Princess Alice disaster?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Princess_Alice_(1865)
600 or thereabouts lost in the Thames in 1865.


I had heard about this one. IIRC the pollution was as responsible for as many deaths as straight forward drowning.
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eburacumOffline
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PostPosted: 15-06-2009 14:15    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's one;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Dasher_(D37)
Her death toll, 379 out of 528 crewmen, the largest loss of life not in the face of the enemy of WWII.
Quote:
The government of the time, eager to avoid damage to morale and anxious to avoid any suggestion of faulty US construction, tried to cover up the sinking. The local media were ordered to make no reference to the tragedy, and the authorities ordered the dead to be buried in a mass unmarked grave.
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