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eburacumOffline
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PostPosted: 15-06-2009 14:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

And do they mention this one in schools nowadays? (that is a real question, not a rhetorical one, as I honestly don't know). They didn't when I was at school, forty years ago, that's for sure.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_genocide

Quote:
It was characterised by the use of massacres, and the use of deportations involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of Armenian deaths generally held to have been between one and one-and-a-half million.
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LaylaOffline
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PostPosted: 15-06-2009 14:53    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re: The Princess Alice disaster. If I remember rightly one of the Rippers victims Liz Stride used to cadge a few pennies off sympathic people by claiming that her husband has been killed in it. According to something I read recently it's unlikely he did but people know enough and felt bad enough abut it to help out his 'widow'.

Upstairs in my attic I have a paper from the 1870s whose front page documents some train crash in the north (I'm sketchy on details becasue I've not seen it for years) but almost the entire broadsheet front page is a list of the victims and their ages. It's strange how all that misery is forgotten and becomes part of the ether.
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gncxxOffline
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PostPosted: 15-06-2009 17:23    Post subject: Reply with quote

eburacum wrote:
And do they mention this one in schools nowadays? (that is a real question, not a rhetorical one, as I honestly don't know). They didn't when I was at school, forty years ago, that's for sure.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_genocide

Quote:
It was characterised by the use of massacres, and the use of deportations involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of Armenian deaths generally held to have been between one and one-and-a-half million.


I didn't hear about it in school, but the Canadian-Armenian filmmaker Atom Egoyan alludes to the genocide in his 1993 film Calendar. I'm guessing they teach it in Armenian schools.
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Timble2Offline
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PostPosted: 15-06-2009 17:28    Post subject: Reply with quote

There were plenty of rail accidents to choose from in the 1870s, the worst was the Tay Bridge Diaster 28 December 1879, where 75 were killed. This one is remembered in part because like the Titanic, it's due to a massive failure of technology, and partly because of William McGonagall's poem.

The worst rail disaster in the UK was at Quintinshill, near Gretna, in 1915, where a troop train ran into a local passenger train, and a third train ran into these There were 226 deaths. This one is probably forgotten by anyone but railway historians, as it's rather overshadowed by WWI.
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McAvennie_Offline
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PostPosted: 21-06-2009 16:32    Post subject: Reply with quote

We're all, at least vaguely aware, of the scuttling of German war ships at Scapa Flow I suspect.

Read an interesting piece in the Sunday Post today though giving an account of some schoolkids from Orkney who happened to be on a boat trip out to see the fleet when 'ship went down', so to speak.

All the kids are dead now, the piece was recycling a report from 1989 I think, but they gave vivid accounts of the ships slipping under the sea water - and rather distressing reports of British troops shooting helpless German sailors.

Sure beats for excitement the school trips to Whipsnade Zoo and Wycombe Chair Museum that I got lumbered with!

Doesn't appear to be a direct link to the story but - for the next seven days I guess - you should be able to navigate to the tale...

http://www.sundaypost.com/postindex.htm

And in case you can't...


Scapa Flow shootings
horrified schoolkids

By Craig Robertson

NINETY years ago today a party of Scottish youngsters woke excitedly on a beautiful sunny morning, looking forward to the school trip of a lifetime.

It was June 21, 1919 and the pupils from Orkney were about to go on a cruise in a small wooden boat to see the surrendered German fleet at Scapa Flow.

Little did they know that they were to have a front-row seat at one of the most astonishing moments in military history — and, in its aftermath, arguably one of the most shameful.

The German High Seas Fleet had been interned at Scapa Flow after the Armistice. In the intervening months it had become a tourist attraction with people taking boat trips out to see the warships.

By June 1919, Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter, the German officer in command at Scapa Flow, knew that Germany would have to accept surrender terms.

When the main part of the British fleet left the Flow for exercises he gave the order for the German fleet to be scuttled.

The boatload of children from Stromness unexpectedly became witnesses not only to the scuttling, but to a much less publicised event — the shooting of unarmed sailors in the sea and in rescue boats.

Posterity

The reactions of the horrified school pupils were recorded for posterity by Orcadian journalist Kath Gourlay who accompanied “the children”, who are now all dead, on a remarkable return voyage to Scapa Flow in June 1989.

“I was working as a trainee radio reporter for BBC Scotland when I went out in a boat with a party of divers,” remembers Kath. “In the boat with us were some of the ‘children’ — 10 to 12 years old at the time and by then in their early 80s.

“My main interviewees were Peggy Gibson, Kitty Tait and J.R.T. Robertson, a retired Stromness provost. They sailed out into Scapa Flow to recall what they’d seen at the time.”

Peggy told Kath that the sights of that fateful day were “etched in my memory”.

“I was 10 and I was already beside myself with excitement that morning,” she’d said. “We’d been told we’d be able to see the British fleet guarding the German fleet but just after we left the harbour, a message came that the Royal navy were out and we’d only see HMS Victorious, a hospital ship.

“We were a bit put out but once we went down the Flow and began to see the German destroyers looming up we forgot about all that. They were absolutely massive alongside us.

Sinking

“The German ships were minutes away from sinking,” says Kath. “I remember Peggy Gibson cupping her hands megaphone-style and really getting into the action as she described a navy supply boat steaming towards them and a man shouting at them to get out of the area.

“But the skipper of their boat, the Flying Kestrel, thought he’d be safer heading back the way he’d come, which afforded his charges a sight they’d never forget.

“It was unbelievable,” Peggy told Kath. “I was too awestruck to be terrified, which I should have been as we could have been pulled into the undertow.

“I counted 12 capital ships going down. Some stood on their bows and turned over, some went over by their side, and some just sank. There was water boiling everywhere and horrible sucking and gurgling sounds.

“There were men in the water, on rafts and boats, hundreds of them.”

Those men, unarmed and posing no threat, ought to have been hauled to safety but not all were. Peggy didn’t recall gunshots but the other two children certainly did — sights and sounds that stayed with them their entire lives.

Crying

“One of my friends started crying because she’d seen British sailors shooting at men in the water,” Kitty had said. “She said she saw a man being shot and he fell out of the boat into the sea.”

Her memories were corroborated in what a British officer later described as “pandemonium with a strong dash of panic” among the British guard boats when it dawned on them what was happening.

“The officer commanding the Markgraf was shot as he walked on to the deck of the sinking warship carrying a white flag for all to see,” explains Kath. “What possible threat the hundreds of unarmed struggling sailors in the water could have been is a complete mystery.”

J.R.T. Robertson, the boy who was to become Provost, admitted being haunted by what he heard.

“As we got further away,” he said, “we heard machine guns rattling and stopping, rattling and stopping, over and over again — I never forgot that sound.”

Even when the surviving Germans were taken on to British boats they were still not safe. “At least one local boat was seen by one of the schoolkids with a sniper taking pot shots at the prisoners as they were taken ashore,” says Kath.

Last to die

In all, eight German sailors were shot dead and 16 wounded. However, that wasn’t the end of the killing.

Two days later, a rescued German named Kuno Eversberg became the last sailor to die as a direct result of a war that had ended nine months before.

He was a prisoner on HMS Resolution when a drunken able seaman named James Woolley marched in with a rifle and shot him in cold blood “to get his own back” — according to a witness, able seaman John Copeland — for the loss of family members during the war.

The Admiralty had no choice but to comply with the law and Woolley stood trial in Edinburgh. After just 20 minutes, the jury came back with a unanimous “not proven” verdict.

The court is said to have erupted in cheers and Woolley was dismissed from custody, justice apparently having been served. He was seen being heartily congratulated by his naval friends.

Admiral von Reuter accused his counterpart, Vice-Admiral Sir Sydney Freemantle, of atrocities. However Freemantle’s denials were — like those of James Woolley — upheld by the British military.

Brutal

“Historically speaking the events of that time are well documented and it would hardly be appropriate to comment 90 years later,” a naval spokesman said last week. “It was a totally different era.

“It was a brutal time and scars from the Great War led to other brutal things.

“You can’t compare it with today’s circumstances.”

“So much has been written about the scuttling of the fleet at Scapa Flow,” concludes Kath, “but what has never been featured is the ‘human rights’ side of the affair — the cold-blooded murder of unarmed men and the abuse and killing of prisoners in military detention.

“There was nothing officially acknowledged. The Woolley killing was just so blatant the Admiralty had no option but to go public — not that the public seemed bothered.

“Back in 1919, the hard-nosed attitude of civilians, members of the press, lawmakers and magistrates equally matched those of the military men — from naval ratings through to high-ranking officials — that this sort of treatment was par for the course.”
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toast_museumOffline
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PostPosted: 22-06-2009 10:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I was little, we lived for 3 years near Hildburghausen, which has the legend of die Dunkelgräfin: http://www.madame-royale.de/en/index.htm

(I don't know if this is really forgotten history, because it's quite famous in Germany and France, but I don't think there is too much information about it in English. That website is the only one I know exept for wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunkelgrafen)

The short version of the legend is that in 1807, a strange man and woman came to Hildburghausen, and the woman always wore a dark veil to hide her face. They were obviously foreign, they never talked to the people in the town, and they were very rich. So people started to wonder if the woman was really Marie-Therese, the daughter of Louis XVI, in disguise. For 30 years they lived there, and when the woman died, she was buried quickly and at night, and the man said she was not his wife, that she had no relatives, and he had a fake name put on her gravestone. So, to this day, no one knows who this strange woman really was.

Now I live in the USA, near Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. Not too much history is forgotten here, because a lot of it is about the American Revolution and kids learn all about that in school. But one thing not many people remember now is a big railway accident in 1856, when more than 60 people were killed. This is the Camp Hill Disaster: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Train_Wreck_of_1856

Also in Philadelphia, most people forget the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793: http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/yellowfever.htm I always think this is strange, because many victims are buried underneath Washington Square with unknown soldiers from the Revolution, but then, Washington Square is a popular park and there are a lot of apartments near it, so who wants to remember that they live on a plague pit? Eek Eek
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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 26-08-2009 09:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remember the Cold War...?

USSR plotted invasion of Manchester
The USSR plotted to invade Manchester during the height of the Cold War, it has emerged.
Published: 6:40AM BST 26 Aug 2009

A map drawn up by Soviet generals shows that the military had charted an armoured invasion of the city, for distribution to frontline commanders. The plans would be put into action if relations between the UK and the USSR deteriorated further.

The maps ignored one-way streets and rush hour jams, marking the lines of an assault in bold orange, the Guardian reports. According to the documents, troops would sweep into the centre past Old Trafford and the current site of the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry.

"There wasn't much they missed," said Chris Perkins, a lecturer in geography at Manchester University, and the organiser of an exhibition opening tomorrow which reveals the map to its potential victims for the first time.

"They clearly took information from road atlases – some of them not quite up to date – but they also had details on nuclear sites and Strangeways prison, which the Ordnance Survey of the day had deliberately left out."

The chart, with its Cyrillic transliterations of place names such as Salford, Irmston and Hulme, was part of a worldwide programme drawn up by Soviet bureaucrats.

Mr Perkins told the paper: "They had maps of everywhere from here to the Congo, but this is an 'A-list' effort – a place which they really thought they might need to know one day."

Researched fewer than 40 years ago, the map used road widths and load-bearing statistics to plot advance routes for tanks, ruling out older, crooked lanes where armour might be trapped by urban guerrilla warfare. The Soviet planners also used a colour code for local objectives: industrial sites in black, administrative buildings purple, and military installations green.

The map came to light after the collapse of the Communist system. Along with similar charts of other western and US strategic centres, it was sold by military mapmakers in the chaotic aftermath of perestroika and glasnost.

"The managers of individual printing factories basically went native," said Mr Perkins, whose exhibition of 80 Manchester-related maps is on display until 17 January. "They sold as much stock as they could on the western market, where there was no shortage of customers. I know for a fact that the Ministry of Defence sent a van over there in 1991, to pick up as much as they could."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/6091126/USSR-plotted-invasion-of-Manchester.html
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Quake42Offline
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PostPosted: 26-08-2009 09:57    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I didn't hear about it in school, but the Canadian-Armenian filmmaker Atom Egoyan alludes to the genocide in his 1993 film Calendar. I'm guessing they teach it in Armenian schools.


It's a hugely political issue and one of the stumbling blocks to Turkey joining the EU. It may still be a criminal offence to talk about the genocide in those terms in Turkey - it certainly was until recently. France also passed a law making it a crime to deny the Armenian genocide.

It is said that, when discussing plans for the "Final Solution", Hitler mused "who remembers the Armenians now?"
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SpookdaddyOffline
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PostPosted: 26-08-2009 10:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I recall correctly the lawyer who created the word 'genocide' was a Polish Jew, but the term was originally created specifically in response to the Armenian massacres rather than the Holocaust. So someone did remember the Armenians, and in doing so created a word that will always be inextricably linked with the man who cast doubt on that memory.
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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 30-08-2009 09:51    Post subject: Reply with quote

An unsung heroine of the home front
When Simon Garfield used a photograph of an unnamed young woman helping out in the wake of a wartime bombing, it sparked a fascinating correspondence into the mystery of her identity

Simon Garfield The Observer, Sunday 30 August

Let no one say that all the Second World War stories have been told. Thursday is the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the war, and with that comes the usual outbreak of documentaries and books. One of these will be mine: Ebury Press is publishing a new edition of We Are At War, a collection of edited diaries from the Mass Observation archive - five people writing incisively about what it was really like to live through the first year of the conflict.

The book has a new jacket, with a photo of two women picking their way through the rubble of a London bombsite, selected from the website of the picture library Getty Images.

I knew nothing about the women, but I found the picture appealing, and I thought that would be the end of the story.

But six months ago I received an email from a woman in the United States called Susan Burton. She had seen the new jacket on Amazon. She wrote: "The photo depicts my mother Jean Grover who was the ambulance driver next to the nurse. Her day job then was a secretary to the Governor of the Bank of England."

The following day another email arrived, from Susan's brother Tim Winder. "I don't know how much you know about the original photograph," he wrote, "but I believe it to be the first V2 to fall on London. It was Farringdon market in London."

Two days later, the third of Jean Grover's children got in touch. "The picture was taken on 8 March 1945," Jane Kay wrote. "In October of 1945 [my mother] was made assistant commandant for the City of London/82. Unfortunately she died at a relatively young age in 1972."

Fortunately, all three children were excited by the prospect of their mother appearing on a book jacket, and their enthusiasm prompted me to find out more about it.

On the Getty Images website it is clear that the photo was intended for Picture Post, but it wasn't published in the magazine until October 1948, in the 10th anniversary issue. It occupied a full page in a spread entitled: "One Story We Couldn't Tell". The reason for the delay was wartime censorship: Picture Post reported that the bomb had exploded a few hundred yards from its offices in Shoe Lane, and that 380 people had died in the attack. Other reports had the figure at 110; it wasn't the first V2 to fall on London, but it was one of the most devastating.

The caption to the photograph of Jean Grover and the nurse read: "Most people who went to the market that day no longer needed their help; but some who did will never forget it. We do not know who they are, or what they are doing now." But now we know a little bit more.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2009/aug/30/unnamed-woman-second-world-war
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CavynautOffline
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PostPosted: 05-09-2009 15:30    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speaking of forgotten railway disasters...

http://nmni.dev.eg-demo.com/acm/Collections/Transport/Railway-disaster
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AMPHIARAUS
PostPosted: 07-09-2009 11:09    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know its not entirely forgotten seeing as it has a wiki entry - but this kind of reminded me of the Boston Molasses flood

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Beer_Flood
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wembley9Offline
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PostPosted: 07-09-2009 19:34    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spookdaddy wrote:
If I recall correctly the lawyer who created the word 'genocide' was a Polish Jew, but the term was originally created specifically in response to the Armenian massacres rather than the Holocaust. So someone did remember the Armenians, and in doing so created a word that will always be inextricably linked with the man who cast doubt on that memory.


According to my Chambers dictionary of Etymology it was coined by one Raphael Lemkin in 1944 "in referrence to the extermination of Jews" by the Nazis.
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SpookdaddyOffline
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PostPosted: 08-09-2009 07:22    Post subject: Reply with quote

wembley9 wrote:
According to my Chambers dictionary of Etymology it was coined by one Raphael Lemkin in 1944 "in referrence to the extermination of Jews" by the Nazis.


Yes, on rereading a couple of sources I think you're right. Lemkin had studied the Armenian massacres in the 30's and then WW2 came along and made the subject more immediate. However, there appears to be no question that it was the earlier issue that originally set him on his course, so I think the relevance to Hitler's disparaging remark about the Armenians probably still holds water.
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SpookdaddyOffline
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PostPosted: 09-09-2009 08:11    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've always found that the most fascinating way to read history, and possibly the best way to work towards an understanding of events, is to look for apparent contradictions, or apparent departures from the generalised view, and then work out from there.

Here's something from Geert Mak's excellent book, In Europe. He's writing about the treatment of Jews in Vichy France.

Quote:
French cooperation in the deportation stood in stark contrast to the growing resistance in the country's Italian zone. In spring 1943, the Italian authorities in Valence, Chambéry and Annecy forbade the rounding up of Jews, both refugees and non-refugees, by French prefects. In Megève, the Fascist police chief blocked the arrests of 7, 000 Jews. (In Nice)...refugees were issued with their own identity cards, and the commander of the carabinieri announced that any French policeman who dared touch a hair on their head would be arrested himself. In addition, on 21 March, 1943, the Italian occupation forces in france received an urgent personal missive from Mussolini: 'The first priority is to bring to safety those Jews living in that part of French territory occupied by our troops, whether they be Italian, French or any other nationality.'


I knew that the Italians were, at least generally speaking, not terribly enthusiastic anti-semites, and that many in the Fascist hierarchy considered their German counterparts obsession bizarre, but I had no idea that they had been quite as robust in their views as the above indicates.
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