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Telegraph (UK)


  • Originally published 08/13/2013

    The women who 'inspired' polar-explorers Shackleton and Scott

    The wives of Britain's best-known polar explorers inspired them to make their important voyages, a historian has claimed.Kari Herbert claims that Sir Ernest Shackleton only made his first expedition to impress his lover.Miss Herbert, the daughter of the Polar explorer Sir Wally Herbert, said Capt Robert Falcon Scott would "absolutely not" have reached the South Pole without the robust encouragement of his wife, Kathleen.Miss Herbert, who researched the women for her new book Heart of the Hero, said the stories of explorers' wives were "fantastically important" in expeditions to the Antarctic."In the case of Scott, absolutely he would not have gone down to the Antarctic again without Kathleen," she said....

  • Originally published 08/12/2013

    Remains of 16th century Londoners found in Bedlam burial ground

    Crossrail archaeologists have unearthed the remains of patients from the infamous Bedlam Hospital, the world's first psychiatric asylum.The skeletons, unearthed in the UK's largest archaeological site, belonged to a few of the 20,000 people interred in a burial ground established adjacent to the psychiatric asylum.Crossrail's lead archaeologist Jay Carver said: "we've got a sixteenth century burial ground existing right below our feet in the road here, about two metres from where we're standing are the skeletons of perhaps up to four thousand people who live and died in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries."...

  • Originally published 08/08/2013

    Dozens of UK WWII vets denied Bomber Command clasp

    Second World War bomber veterans are calling for the Bomber Command clasp to be extended to dozens of surviving aircrew who risked their lives on raids in the Mediterranean, Middle East and Far East.After years of campaigning by veterans, the Government announced in February that the Bomber Command Clasp would be awarded to aircrew in recognition of their bravery and service.But aircrew who undertook perilous bombing raids over Italy, Africa, the Middle East and the Far East have been told they are not eligible for the new award, which only applies to those who flew with Bomber Command over Western Europe.The Bomber Command Association has now backed the veterans and an MP is calling for the Ministry of Defence to reconsider the qualifying rules for the decoration....

  • Originally published 08/08/2013

    Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Towards a Radical New Theory of Anglo-American Slavery, and Vindication of Free Markets

    Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is International Business Editor of The Daily Telegraph. He has covered world politics and economics for 30 years, based in Europe, the US, and Latin America. He joined the Telegraph in 1991, serving as Washington correspondent and later Europe correspondent in Brussels.With luck it will help to vindicate the fathers of liberal government and the free market in the 17th and 18th Centuries, falsely accused until now of abetting - or promoting - the great crime of race-based African slavery.For academic orthodoxy holds that John Locke and the great Whig thinkers of the Glorious Revolution (1688) helped to design and foster the economic system of hereditary slavery that shaped Atlantic capitalism for a century and a half.From that it is but a step to dismiss the moral claims of liberalism as so much humbug, to write off all the talk of justice, natural rights, inviolable contracts and government by consent as the self-interested catechism of oppressors. As Samuel Johnson said acidly: "How is it we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?"

  • Originally published 08/07/2013

    Forbidden love of a star-crossed prince

     It has all the ingredients of a romantic bestseller: a prince and a princess are desperately in love but, forbidden from marrying, they beg the Queen and the Pope for help.It even boasts a tragic ending, as the young prince dies shortly after becoming engaged to another woman, while his fiancée is comforted by his heartbroken family.In fact it is the true story of how Prince Albert, Duke of Clarence and Avondale and grandson of Queen Victoria, wooed Princess Hélène of Orléans, whose father was a pretender to the French throne.The couple’s intimate correspondence has now come to light, showing for the first time the details of an affair which at the time came close to causing a constitutional crisis. Prince Albert considered renouncing his right to accede to the throne to marry Hélène, who was forbidden from joining the Royal family because she was a Roman Catholic....

  • Originally published 08/07/2013

    Brompton Road Underground tube bunker for sale

    Brompton Road tube station is one of London’s abandoned underground stations which went on to play a critical role in the Second World War as the command bunker for the capital’s anti-aircraft defences.Now the ghost tube station is being sold off after decades in the hands of the Ministry of Defence.Situated in the heart of Kensington, a short walk from Harrods, the building and its tunnels beneath are expected to fetch more than £20 million when they go on the market next month.“It will need quite a bit of work. There’s no power and there’s been no one down here full time for 60 years,” said Julian Chafer, an MoD property surveyor, as he showed the Telegraph through the abandoned tunnels and lift shafts....

  • Originally published 07/30/2013

    'Paradogs' lured with meat out of aircraft behind enemy lines in WWII

    Lance Corporal Ken Bailey was asked to train up the “paradogs” so they could be used as the “eyes and ears” of the soldiers on the ground.The dogs, which would be given minimal food and water before the jump, were being prepared to parachute into Normandy for D-Day landing and would freeze if they heard a sound.They were also trained to become familiar with loud noises and smells such as cordite, the explosive powder.Their handlers would carry a piece of meat in their pockets on the aircraft so as they parachuted out the “paradogs” would jump out after them.The documents written by L/Cpl Bailey, who served in the 13th (Lancashire) Parachute Battalion and was from Liverpool, were discovered by Andrew Woolhouse, who spent five years researching his book....

  • Originally published 07/28/2013

    High Court 'pardon' bid for Boer war soldier 'Breaker' Morant

    His death in front of a firing squad was the defining moment of one of the best known, and most bitter, episodes of the Boer War: British-Australian soldier Harry “Breaker” Morant was court martialled and sentenced to death in 1902 for shooting prisoners.But now, more than a century on, campaigners are to launch a legal bid at the High Court in London to force the Government to open an inquiry into the case with a view to securing a posthumous pardon for Morant, as well as fellow soldiers, Peter Handcock, shot for the same offence, and George Witton, who was jailed for life.The supporters believe the men were simply following British army orders when they executed their prisoners and that they were used as scapegoats by embarrassed senior officers, including Lord Kitchener, and to accelerate peace talks with the Boers.Jim Unkles, a military lawyer who has taken the case on, said: “I am applying to the High Court for a review of the British government decision not to help an independent inquiry. I am filing papers next month. The appeal will be on the basis that there were major errors at the court martial, that it was an abuse of protest and that these men were denied their rights. Kitchener conspired to get them executed.”...

  • Originally published 07/22/2013

    Alan Turing to be pardoned for gay conviction

    Alan Turing, the World War Two code breaker who later killed himself after receiving a criminal conviction for his homosexuality, looks set to be pardoned.The Government said it would not stand in the way of legislation to offer a full Parliamentary pardon for Turing, who helped Britain to win the Second World War as a skilled code-breaker.Until now, the Government has resisted using the Royal Prerogative to pardon Turing for his conviction for gross indecency in 1952 because he was a homosexual.Ministers had argued that because Turing was convicted of what was at the time a criminal offence, it is not possible to hand him a full posthumous pardon....

  • Originally published 07/14/2013

    Two schoolboys discover Saxon human skeleton while playing in river

    Christian Thompson and Robbie Cribley, both 13, originally thought they had found an animal skull, but forensic experts believe the pair happened upon human remains which are 700 years old.The pair were in their dingy on the River Coln near their homes in Fairford, Gloucestershire, on Sunday evening, when they became stuck in an overhanging tree and saw the skull in the water.When they returned to the site with local television crews they unearthed the spine, arm bone and the rest of the body....

  • Originally published 07/11/2013

    How world's most difficult puzzle was solved

    It was one of the most captivating mysteries of the modern age, requiring three detectives and 52 years to solve. Along the way, there was magnificent obsession, bitter disappointment, world-shaking triumph and swift, unexplained death.At the centre of the mystery lay a set of clay tablets from the ancient Aegean, inscribed more than 3,000 years ago and discovered at the dawn of the 20th century amid the ruins of a lavish Bronze Age palace.Written by royal scribes, the tablets teemed with writing like none ever seen: tiny pictograms in the shapes of swords, horses’ heads, pots and pans, plus a set of far more cryptic characters whose meaning is still debated today....

  • Originally published 07/11/2013

    5,000-year-old 'Chinese characters' discovered

    The inscriptions were found on pieces of pottery and rock dug up from the Zhuangqiao excavation site in the eastern province of Zhejiang and could date back to one of China's oldest civilisations, the Liangzhu.There is still no consensus among Chinese academics as to whether the markings represent mere symbols or in fact a primitive written language from which today's written characters originate.The inscriptions could represent "the earliest record of Chinese characters in history, pushing the origins of the written language back 1,000 years," according to China's official news agency Xinhua....

  • Originally published 07/11/2013

    Skull challenges Captain Cook claim

    A skull found on the banks of a river in rural Australia is believed to date from the 1600s and has challenged the view that Captain Cook was the first white person to set foot on the country’s east coast.Carbon dating showed the skull belonged to a Caucasian male and had an 80 per cent chance of dating back to the 1600s, long before Captain Cook first reached Australia in 1770.The tests were ordered by local police after the intact skull was found near Taree, a town about 200 miles north of Sydney. No other skeletal remains were found....

  • Originally published 07/11/2013

    Memorial for Britons who fought in American Civil War

    The 300,000 Britons who fought in the American Civil War are to be remembered on both sides of the Atlantic.Two war memorials - one in Liverpool and the other in the US state of Virginia, where much of the fighting took place - are being proposed by a British group of historians.Although Britain was officially neutral in the conflict, thousands of men born in Britain but living in America at the time fought for both President Lincoln's anti-slavery Federals and the pro-slavery southern Confederates.Basil Larkins of the American Civil War British Memorial Association is trying to raise £10,000 for the monuments....

  • Originally published 07/09/2013

    Cristina Odone: How About Celebrating UK History for a Change?

    Cristina Odone is a journalist, novelist and broadcaster specialising in the relationship between society, families and faith. She is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Policy Studies and is a former editor of the Catholic Herald and deputy editor of the New Statesman. She is married and lives in west London with her husband, two stepsons and a daughter. She has recently launched the website freefaith.com.I'm glad to see that the new National Curriculum will be big on British history. The present state of affairs is dire, and has long needed an overhaul. Eric Pickles has stressed the importance of English for immigrants to feel proper citizens – but history is just as necessary, for citizens and immigrants alike. When the natives have been taught to hate their ancestors, who's going to teach the newcomers how lucky they are to be in their new homeland?

  • Originally published 07/08/2013

    War heroes laid to rest 70 years after their plane went down

    The crew of a British Second World War bomber that was shot down over Italy are to be laid to rest almost 70 years after they went missing in action.Six months after Warrant Officer John Hunt failed to return from a bombing raid over northern Italy in the last days of the Second World War, his mother sent a letter to the military authorities pleading for information about her missing son.Jeanette Madge wrote that the months since she had received the telegram notifying her he had not returned from the mission had been “just hell, waiting for something to come through” adding “please let me know if he is alright or if he is gone”....

  • Originally published 06/13/2013

    Crown Prince Alexander II: the man who would be king of Serbia

    Four wooden coffins lie in a row, each draped in a subtly different red and blue standard. Behind them, an ornate iconostasis rises 20 feet to the cupola of the royal chapel. In front of them, crucifixes in Cyrillic script record the names of the coffins’ inhabitants. “This is my father, my mother, my grandmother, and my uncle,” says the crown prince, gesturing at each in turn.Republics do not often throw state funerals for royals, still less for four at once. Nor do they have princes, princesses and palaces. But Crown Prince Alexander II, heir to the throne of what for a short time before World War II was the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and is now a mosaic of republics in sometimes unhappy coexistence, is untroubled by such apparent contradictions. After a decade of lobbying, he succeeded last month in burying four members of the Karadjordevic dynasty in what was once their kingdom.On an overcast May morning in Oplenac, an hour’s drive west of Belgrade, thousands of Serbs queued for hours to get a glimpse of the prince as he arrived for the service. He stood to kiss a crucifix held aloft by Patriarch Irinej, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, before watching men in national costume bear the coffins to the royal mausoleum, where one day he, too, will be buried....

  • Originally published 06/11/2013

    More UK history in new GCSEs

    GCSEs will feature more British history, a study of classic literature and an increased focus on spelling, punctuation and grammar as part of a major drive to raise standards in schools, it was announced today.Qualifications sat by 16-year-olds in England will be dramatically overhauled to make exams comparable with the toughest tests sat elsewhere in the world, ministers claimed.A series of course documents published by the Department for Education showed that GCSEs – taught for the first time from 2015 – would place a renewed focus on traditional subject knowledge.The new history course will feature a minimum of 40 per cent British history – up from 25 per cent at the moment – and require pupils to show a basic understanding of chronology....

  • Originally published 06/11/2013

    Eva Braun's letters discovered

    The last words of Eva Braun, Hitler’s long time mistress and wife of a few hours, charting her fear of their certain death, have been discovered....The letters are thought to have been written by Braun to her friend Herta Schneider.Third Reich expert Anna Maria Sigmund insists the letters are genuine and were shown to her by descendants of Schneider.She has published the series of letters in a book called The Women of the Nazis, and told the Daily Mail: “I have no doubt the letters are genuine and Eva Braun has typed them, correcting her faults by hand....

  • Originally published 06/10/2013

    Top secret D-Day orders emerge

    Top secret orders issued to naval captains involved in the D-Day landings have emerged after spending decades hidden in a chest in a loft, where they were discovered following a house fire.The inch-thick document – which should have been destroyed at the end of the Normandy invasion – gives a detailed account of the navy’s role in the landings.The orders were issued to Royal Navy officers who were involved in Operation Neptune – the code-name for the initial phase of the D-Day mission....

  • Originally published 06/10/2013

    Timothy Stanley: The British Must Not Rewrite the History of the Mau Mau Revolt

    Timothy Stanley is a historian at Oxford University and blogs for Britain's The Daily Telegraph. He is the author of "The Crusader: The Life and Times of Pat Buchanan."The Government has announced that Kenyans abused by British colonial forces during the Mau Mau uprising of the 1950s will receive compensation totalling £20 million, and that it regrets the “suffering and injustice”. Be of no doubt: these people went through terrible things. Wambuga Wa Nyingi, a former detainee at the bloody camp Hola, who says he was not a Mau Mau fighter, claims that he was “battered on the back of my head and around my neck repeatedly with a club”. His unconscious body was mistaken for a corpse and dumped in a room with 11 murdered men. Mr Nyingi slept among the dead for two days before he was discovered.But before we express regret or say sorry for anything, we have to make sure that we entirely understand what we’re talking about. In the case of the Mau Mau uprising, only one side of the story tends to be told – a story that serves a particular political purpose. It’s the tale of an evil imperial power that used internment and torture to keep hold of a beautiful African colony that only ever wanted to be free. It is a fantasy version of history.

  • Originally published 06/10/2013

    First World War centenary plans revealed

    The Queen is to lead the nation in commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War at a service where she will be joined by other heads of state.The monarch is due to attend the event at Glasgow Cathedral on August 4 next year. The city has been chosen as a focal point for activities to mark the start of the conflict, as it is hosting the Commonwealth Games which end the day before.Across the country, flags on public buildings will fly at half mast on the anniversary of the outbreak, while, in Belgium, another service will be held at St Symphorien Military Cemetery near Mons, where similar numbers of British and German war dead are buried, including the first and last Commonwealth soldiers killed in the conflict....

  • Originally published 06/10/2013

    Maria Miller: we won't be judgemental about causes of WWI

    Official plans to commemorate 100 years since the First World War will let people make up their own minds about who was to blame for the conflict, Maria Miller has said.Maria Miller said the Government would not take a judgemental position on the cause of WWI, as this is the job of historians.Her comments come amid accusations from campaigners that the Government is being too anxious to avoid appearing patriotic and triumphalist for fear of upsetting the Germans.Historians have criticised the current plans for failing fully to recognise the achievement of British forces and skipping over their biggest victories in an effort to emphasise the futility and carnage of the war....

  • Originally published 06/02/2013

    Robert the Bruce begged English for peace, letter shows

    Sent in 1310 to King Edward II, the letter suggests Robert the Bruce was willing to offer any terms to prevent an advancing English army marching into the heart of Scotland.However, he made clear that the English would have to recognise Scottish independence and asserted his God-given authority as king of Scots, addressing Edward II as one monarch to another.The bold move appeared to pay off as Edward II took his army south again to Berwick where he remained until July 1311.When he finally returned north three years later, he was “sent homeward tae think again” after being humiliated at Bannockburn, the 700th anniversary of which is being celebrated next year shortly before the Scottish independence referendum....

  • Originally published 05/29/2013

    'World's oldest Torah' found

    It was virtually ignored for centuries, but what may be the world's oldest Torah, the holy book of the Jewish faith, has now been discovered at the world's oldest university.The priceless scroll was found in the archives of Bologna University, which was founded in 1088 and predates both Oxford and Cambridge.The scroll, written in Hebrew, is 118ft long and 25 inches wide and consists of the first five books of the Jewish Bible, from Bereshit (the equivalent of Genesis) to Devarim (Deuteronomy).It had been wrongly dated to the 17th century by a librarian who studied it in 1889, but it now transpires that it is more than 800 years old....

  • Originally published 05/28/2013

    Hunt for lost First World War submarines

    Explorers are launching a new project to locate dozens of British and German submarines which sank off the coast of England during the First World War, as part of a major new study to mark the centenary of the conflict.The English Heritage research will involve identification and analysis of all submarine shipwrecks from the period which are within territorial waters - 12 miles from the coast.Preliminary research by the team, studying historical records, has already identified three British and 41 German submarines from the conflict which are known to have sunk in the area.The locations of some of these have already been established, but others have yet to be discovered....

  • Originally published 05/28/2013

    Kettle that looks like Hitler brews trouble for JCPenney

    Trouble is brewing for an American retailer after customers noted that one of its tea kettles bears a striking resemblance to Adolf Hitler.Bemused motorists took photographs of the huge JCPenney billboard advertising the kettle as they drove past it on the 405 Interstate highway near Culver City in California, one of America's busiest stretches of roads."That Hitler looks like a kettle," commented one user of Reddit, one of the several websites where the image was posted over the weekend."He even has his right arm extended," wrote another, while a third added: "I'm a little Nazi, short and stout"....

  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    New book shows Tommies ate well in WWI trenches

    In the BBC series Blackadder Goes Forth, Baldrick memorably described the finest culinary delight available in the trenches of the First World War as “rat-au-van” – rat that had been run over by a van. In fact, new research suggests the standard of fare on offer to the men on the Western Front was, if perhaps repetitive, at least nutritious, plentiful and, on occasions, flavoursome.Andrew Robertshaw, curator at the Royal Logistic Corps Museum, has produced a guide to the food eaten by British soldiers of the First World War, complete with recipes for some of the meals.Although there was no rat-au-van, there were some now largely forgotten dishes, such as beef tea, mutton broth, brawn, potato pie and duff pudding.But Mr Robertshaw also shows how some modern favourites, such as egg and chips, and curry were popularised by the conflict.The research, contained in a new book Feeding Tommy, involved an investigation of the archives of the RLC – the successor to the Army Service Corps, whose job it was to feed the men – as well as study of memoirs from serving soldiers....

  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    Visitors flout ban on wearing Nazi uniforms to WWII event

    Visitors to a Second World War-themed event celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Dambuster have turned out in Nazi uniforms despite a ban on the costumes.Organisers of the 1940s weekend in Haworth, West Yorkshire, faced complaints last year from a party of German tourists about the flaunting of regalia linked to the Holocaust.This year, an attempt to prevent a repeat of the controversy, signs warning "No Nazi or SS Insignia or uniforms on these premises" were displayed on shops pubs and camp sites.Businesses all over the town were given signs saying Nazi or SS uniforms "not welcome," in a bid to avoid "unnecessary offence"....

  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    Edward VIII bugged by gov't

    Edward VIII was bugged on the orders of the Home Secretary in the days before his abdication as part of a wider Government campaign to control the impending scandal.Intelligence files kept secret for almost 80 years today reveal that phone calls from Buckingham Palace and the monarch’s Windsor residence, Fort Belvedere, were monitored while he decided whether to give up the throne for Wallis Simpson.The revelation suggested an extraordinary breakdown of trust between Edward and his Government amid the constitutional crisis in December 1936.The Cabinet papers also show the huge lengths the then Home Secretary Sir John Simon went to try and keep a lid on the looming controversy after a journalist leaked the story....

  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    UK bribed Spain to stay out of WWII

    Britain paid millions of pounds to military and political leaders in Spain to ensure they remained neutral during the Second World War, secret files reveal.Some $10 million was paid to one double agent alone to distribute to key individuals, including General Franco’s brother Nicholas, in the hope they would not enter the conflict.But despite the money, intelligence officers later suspected General Franco of ordering his officials to pass on secrets to the Germans.The effective bribes also sparked a row with the US after the Americans froze the money planned for Britain’s “friends in Spain”.The $10 million were to be paid to Juan March, a contact who had served as a double agent for Britain during the First World War, according to the intelligence papers released by the National Archives....

  • Originally published 05/16/2013

    Church discovered under castle

    Experts believe that the church is one of the most important archaeological finds in Britain, as it pre-dates both the castle and the Norman Conquest.Construction workers have also unearthed eight skeletons in the Norman building, believed to be the remains of powerful and wealthy people.Cecily Spall, an archaeologist on the site, said the find was hugely significant for Lincoln. “The information we can get from this undocumented church is gold dust,” she said.“Historical documents only tell part of the story for this area so this find is very special.”...

  • Originally published 05/13/2013

    Mapping the legacy of the Great War on home soil

    In the popular imagination, it is a conflict associated with foreign battlefields and, above all, the muddy trenches of the Western Front.But a major new project aims to identify and record thousands of remaining traces of the First World War on the landscape of the British Isles.The research is expected to run for the four years of the centenary of the conflict, 2014-2018, and will cover sites such as factories, camps, fortifications, airstrips and dockyards, as well as locations that were bombarded by German ships and aircraft....

  • Originally published 05/09/2013

    New German plaque for downed Dambuster bomber

    Of all the commemorations marking this month’s 70th anniversary of the Second World War’s most famous bombing raid, it is perhaps the most poignant.A new plaque has been unveiled in a German field where one of the Dambuster bombers crashed, with the loss of all seven men on-board.The memorial has been installed by a local historian who located the crash site as part of his research into the fate of the aircraft, AJ-E....

  • Originally published 05/09/2013

    German warning to Hungary over rise of anti-Semitism

    Guido Westerwelle today (MON) added Germany's voice to mounting concerns over extreme nationalism in Hungary and EU criticism that Prime Minister Viktor Orban's strong government is eroding the checks and balances common to European democracies."We have questions and we have some doubts," Mr Westerwelle told Bild newspaper before addressing a meeting of the World Jewish Congress in Budapest."The European Commission and the Council of Europe have not concealed their criticism of the Hungarian government. It must now be spoken about openly and honestly."...

  • Originally published 05/09/2013

    The Midwest honours Churchill

    ...The year was 1946. Winston Churchill stood in a small Midwestern college gymnasium in Fulton, Missouri, just a few miles to the west of St Louis. He was accompanied by President Harry Truman and had been driven to the speech by the grandfather of one of my co-workers. And his speech, later to be called The Iron Curtain Speech, would resonate from the halls of Westminster College, and be heard throughout the world.Today, those echoes are still being heard, and are being amplified in the US by the National Churchill Museum, a museum recognised by the US Congress as "America's National Churchill Museum" and built on the site of that 1946 speech. The museum, staff, volunteers and supporters are dedicated to commemorating and celebrating the life, times, and distinguished career of Sir Winston Churchill, and inspiring current and future leaders by his example of resilience, determination and resolution.And it was the museum that drew leaders from across the Midwest, elected officials and representatives of Her Majesty's Government to St Louis to honour Sir Winston and to present the Churchill Leadership Medal to former US ambassador, Stephen Brauer.

  • Originally published 05/06/2013

    Forgotten aviation pioneer’s aircraft to take to the air once more

    If it had not been for a crushingly bad stroke of luck, Christopher Carlyon would likely be remembered as one of aviation’s greatest pioneers.As it was, the colliery worker from south Wales became one of history’s nearly men when a storm smashed his experimental aircraft before its first major flight, robbing him of a place in the record books.More than 100 years on though, his biplane is being built from scratch finally to take to the skies – or at least 10ft off the ground – and ensure Carlyon gets the recognition he deserves....

  • Originally published 05/06/2013

    London Cenotaph to be restored for WWI centenary

    For nearly a century it has stood as a monument to the sacrifice of those killed in the First World War.Now the Cenotaph in London will undergo a restoration ahead of the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.The monument is one of hundreds being cleaned and repaired in readiness for the anniversary next year.The £60,000 work on the Cenotaph, which started last week, is being paid for by English Heritage, which is also funding work on scores of other memorials....

  • Originally published 05/06/2013

    Historians complain Government's WW1 commemoration 'focuses on British defeats'

    Historians and campaigners have also criticised the tone of the plans unveiled so far; they believe politicians and officials are focusing too much on British defeats and the carnage and futility of the war, because they are too anxious to avoid upsetting Germans and want to make sure the events are not considered triumphalist.However, the critics argue that by doing so, the Government is presenting only the modern, orthodox view of the conflict: that it was avoidable and unnecessary. It thus ignores arguments that, like the Second World War, it was a fight for survival.They say that under the current plans, the Government has missed an opportunity to explain why the war was fought and failed fully to recognise the achievement of British forces.The historians also compare the proposals unfavourably with more ambitious events being organised by Australia, Canada and New Zealand, whose men fought alongside the British....

  • Originally published 05/01/2013

    America's founding fathers Essex boys

    America’s Founding Fathers were actually Essex boys, with Plymouth accused of "hijacking" the Mayflower, the ship that carried them to North America nearly 400 years ago, according to claims.A rival claim to the Mayflower by the port town of Harwich states that the ship's crew were from Essex and only set foot briefly in the West Country before starting their transatlantic voyage.The claim has taken on extra significance as the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's voyage in 2020 nears - Plymouth has already sent an invitation to whoever is the President of the United States in seven years' time.Although Plymouth has become closely associated with the Mayflower, Harwich claims it was no more than luck that the ship stopped at that port at all....

  • Originally published 05/01/2013

    Greeks to stop Qatari nude cover-up

    Nudity is an all or nothing kind of thing, as Qatari authorities recently discovered. Seek to drape the naughty bits of a pair of ancient sculptures of nude male athletes, and you end up with no nudes at all.This is precisely what happened at Alriwaq Doha exhibition space. Having loaned the gallery the two sculptures for its Olympics Past and Present exhibition, Athens preferred to see them returned than exhibited with their modesty veiled.The Qatari anxiety about displaying the naked body has a different root — but is no more or less valid — than that which saw thousands of statues suffer the chop across the history of the Western world....

  • Originally published 04/30/2013

    Lost city of Heracleion gives up its secrets

    A lost ancient Egyptian city submerged beneath the sea 1,200 years ago is starting to reveal what life was like in the legendary port of Thonis-Heracleion.For centuries it was thought to be a legend, a city of extraordinary wealth mentioned in Homer, visited by Helen of Troy and Paris, her lover, but apparently buried under the sea.In fact, Heracleion was true, and a decade after divers began uncovering its treasures, archaeologists have produced a picture of what life was like in the city in the era of the pharaohs.The city, also called Thonis, disappeared beneath the Mediterranean around 1,200 years ago and was found during a survey of the Egyptian shore at the beginning of the last decade....

  • Originally published 04/28/2013

    Sir Winston Churchill to appear on new £5 banknote

    The new note, which will be issued from 2016, will feature the former prime minister against a Westminster background and above the quote: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”The words form part of an inspirational wartime speech made by Sir Winston on May 13, 1940, three days after he became prime minister.The Elizabeth Tower, more widely known as Big Ben, is shown with the hands at 3 o'clock, the time when Sir Winston delivered the speech.The £5 note also features a background image of Sir Winston's 1953 Nobel Prize medal for literature, together with the prize citation: "for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values."...

  • Originally published 04/22/2013

    Stonehenge occupied 5,000 years earlier than previously thought

    Excavation of a site just a mile from the stone structure provided what researchers claim is the first firm evidence of continuous occupation from as early as 7,500BC.Earlier evidence had suggested that humans were present at the site, known as Vespasian's Camp, around 7,500BC but there were no signs anyone had lived there until as late as 2,500BC.By carbon-dating materials found at the site, the archaeologists identified a semi-permanent settlement which was occupied from 7,500 to 4,700BC, with evidence that people were present during every millennium in between....

  • Originally published 04/19/2013

    Francis to 'open files on Hitler's Pope'

    Rabbi Abraham Skorka, who has known the Argentine former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio for 20 years, said he had discussed the role of Pius XII – the man long dubbed as "Hitler's Pope" – at length with the new pontiff.The Rabbi, who recently co-authored On Heaven and Earth, a book of interviews with his friend, said he had made clear that he thought Pius's legacy ought to be "investigated thoroughly"."It's a terribly sensitive issue, but he says that it must be investigated thoroughly," he said. "I have no doubt that he will move to open the archives."...

  • Originally published 04/05/2013

    The curse of Tutankhamen? Pure invention

    When George Herbert, the fifth Earl of Carnarvon, died 90 years ago this week he was one of the most famous men on Earth. He occupied the family seat at Highclere Castle, but wintered in Egypt every year. By 1923, Carnarvon had spent an estimated £35,000 on excavation, hunting for glory.Finally he got it. His man in the field, Howard Carter, had discovered the steps down to the unbroken seals on the tomb of Tutankhamen in the Valley of Kings. Carnarvon dashed from England, and together they broke in a small portion of the door. “Well, can you see anything?” the Earl asked. “Yes,” came the famous reply, as Carter waved his candle and caught the glint of gold, “wonderful things.”The story was a press sensation in a gloomy post-war world still mourning the dead of that terrible conflict and the influenza pandemic that had followed shortly afterwards. The tomb was formally opened in February 1923, with visiting royalty, dignitaries and the world’s press in attendance....

  • Originally published 04/05/2013

    'Forgotten' survivor of Rorke's Drift returned to official records

    Private David Jenkins survived the battle, at which a force of just 150 British and colonial troops held off an attack on their isolated outpost by 4,000 Zulu warriors.However, when the official list of those who had fought there was drawn up, just days after the clash, his name was accidentally omitted.Curators at the National Army Museum, though, have now investigated his case and concluded that the solder, who served with the 1st Battalion, 24th (2nd Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot, was present at the fighting, on the banks of the Buffalo River, in South Africa, and should have been included on the roll.They began their investigation after being contacted by Jenkins’ relatives, who recognised his image being used in a picture to promote a new exhibition at the museum....

  • Originally published 04/01/2013

    Shakespeare a tax-evading food hoarder?

    As well as writing many of the world’s greatest plays, he was a successful businessman and major landowner in his native Warwickshire who retired an extremely wealthy man.However, a new study has found that he was repeatedly prosecuted and fined for illegally hoarding food, and threatened with jail for failing to pay his taxes, The Sunday Times reported.Court and tax records show that over a 15-year period Shakespeare purchased grain, malt and barley to store and resell for inflated prices, according to a paper by Aberystwyth University academics Dr Jayne Archer, Professor Richard Marggraf Turley and Professor Howard Thomas....

  • Originally published 03/28/2013

    Turin Shroud 'is not a medieval forgery'

    Experiments conducted by scientists at the University of Padua in northern Italy have dated the shroud to ancient times, a few centuries before and after the life of Christ.Many Catholics believe that the 14ft-long linen cloth, which bears the imprint of the face and body of a bearded man, was used to bury Christ's body when he was lifted down from the cross after being crucified 2,000 years ago.The analysis is published in a new book, "Il Mistero della Sindone" or The Mystery of the Shroud, by Giulio Fanti, a professor of mechanical and thermal measurement at Padua University, and Saverio Gaeta, a journalist....

  • Originally published 03/26/2013

    Russian general and military historian: Stalingrad turning point of WWII

    It was the Battle of Stalingrad that broke the back of the Wehrmacht, says army general Makhmut Gareyev.Historians tend to disagree about the significance of the Battle of Stalingrad for the outcome of the Second World War. Many western scholars claimed that it was not the Battle of Stalingrad, but the British victory at El Alamein, where Montgomery’s Eighth Army triumphed over Rommel’s Afrika Korps in November 1942, that marked the war’s biggest turning point.For the sake of fairness, it has to be said that El Alamein made a substantial contribution to Hitler’s eventual defeat – not least because it marked the first defeat of Erwin Rommel, Germany’s legendary practitioner of blitzkrieg tactics, and because it came as a big morale boost for the Allies.However, strategically, the surrender of the German 6th Army at Stalingrad, less than three months later, was a much bigger blow for Hitler and the Wehrmacht’s morale. It marked the first major, decisive defeat on Hitler’s Eastern Front, and paved the way for the Red Army’s advance on Berlin in 1945....

  • Originally published 03/26/2013

    Queen Mother may get blue plaque tribute

    Her name has been put forward for inclusion in the organisation’s scheme by a member of the public and her case is being considered by a panel including Sir David Cannadine, the historian, and Sir Andrew Motion, the former Poet Laureate.The plaques, which are attached to birthplaces and former homes of prominent figures, are not traditionally associated with royalty, as the scheme does not cover royal buildings or palaces.However, in the case of the late Queen Mother, other addresses could be considered, including her parents’ house near Victoria Station in London, where she lived as a child, and a property in Sloane Street. She also lived at a house in Bruton Street, near Berkeley Square, where the Queen was born....

  • Originally published 03/26/2013

    How Spain's Juan Carlos fell from grace

    ...It has been a year that has seen the popularity of King Juan Carlos plummet to unprecedented depths - to the point that even die-hard "JuanCarlistas", as his supporters are known, are now openly discussing the need for abdication in favour of his heir, Prince Felipe....The King, long extolled for his role in bringing democracy to Spain following the death of dictator Francisco Franco, had for decades enjoyed the sort of respect and privacy from the press that would have been the envy of his British relatives, the Windsors.The King's playboy reputation and love of expensive pursuits including fast cars and sailing were tolerated even with an annual bill of around 9 million euros to the taxpayer.But a turning point in his popularity came last April when it emerged - after a nocturnal accident that left him with a broken hip - that he had been enjoying a luxury safari in Botswana hunting elephants....

  • Originally published 03/26/2013

    Waco siege 20 years on: the survivor's tale

    Livingstone Fagan is waiting for the end of the world as we know it, which he believes is coming soon.“The tables will turn,” he says, pacing his bare council flat in a tower block in Nottingham. “We endure what is thrown at us, no matter how extreme, because the day will come, as David says.”This trim 53-year-old with ashen dreadlocks is talking about David Koresh, the self-declared messiah who was holed up in a compound in Waco, Texas, with an armed group of followers, 20 years ago today.Fagan was there, willing to fight in defence of his family and the man he believed was a second Christ. He had done so in the gunfight at the beginning of the siege in late February 1993, when federal agents attempt to storm the compound and were repelled. And when it all finished with another attack, 51 days later, Fagan lost his wife, his mother, and many of his friend....

  • Originally published 03/26/2013

    Iain Martin: Margaret Thatcher Had a Point about Germany

    Iain Martin is one of Britain's leading political commentators. A former editor of The Scotsman and deputy editor of The Sunday Telegraph, he's currently writing a book about the financial crisis....In Graham Stewart's superb history of Britain in the 1980s (Bang!), he captures the sense of outrage when Margaret Thatcher expressed grave reservations about the reunification of Germany following the fall of the Berlin Wall....When Charles Powell, Thatcher's private secretary, summoned a group of leading historians to Chequers, on 24 March 1990, to discuss the implications of reunification, the news leaked. Powell had prepared a paper for the occasion which summarised the German national characteristics as "angst, aggressiveness, assertiveness, bullying, egotism, inferiority complex (and) sentimentality." The historians were generally appalled. In her public and private utterances the Iron Lady, a creature of the Cold War, seemed incapable of adapting to historic changed circumstances. Many Tory MPs were horrified that their leader and her inner circle seemed so out of step with mainstream continental opinion....

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    London's gin palaces, past and present

    London in the 1830s was the biggest city in the world and among the innovations that catered to its vast population was the gin palace. Shops at the time had been spruced up to entice the increasing number of locals who had a disposable income and these businesses, alluringly lit by newly arrived gas lighting and with large plate-glass windows to showcase their wares, provided inspiration for the first wave of gin palaces in the capital.The arrival of London’s gin palaces was preceded by a growing understanding of how to make increasingly sophisticated, palatable spirits, and a desire to consume them in an agreeable setting. Up to that point, most establishments selling alcohol were gloomy, unattractive places; the introduction of gin palaces, illuminated by gaslight and with an unusually ornate exterior, was an exciting addition to the urban landscape. (That said, the palaces’ interiors didn’t mirror their external elegance – they typically contained a long bar at one end, which faced a simple open space without seating.)...

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    Priest 'not denounced' by pope

    Francisco Jalics, a Hungarian native who now lives in a German monastery, said that he was following up on comments about the case last week because he had received a lot of questions and "some commentaries imply the opposite of what I meant."He did not elaborate.Fr Jalics and another priest, Orlando Yorio, were kidnapped in 1976.Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, has said he told the priests to give up their work in slums for their own safety, and they refused. Yorio, who is now dead, later accused Fr Bergoglio of effectively delivering them to the death squads by declining to publicly endorse their work....

  • Originally published 03/11/2013

    Robin Hood 'from Kent' not Sherwood Forest, historian claims

    ...New research suggests Robin Hood actually preyed on French invaders, fought in support of the King and – most shocking of all – came from near Tunbridge Wells, in Kent.A historian believes he has identified the real-life inspiration for Britain’s most famous outlaw.Sean McGlynn, an academic at the University of Plymouth and the Open University, has amassed evidence suggesting Robin Hood is based on William of Kensham, a largely forgotten 13th century forest bandit, who went by the alias Willikin of the Weald....

  • Originally published 03/11/2013

    Stonehenge was product of first 'team building exercise'

    Stonehenge may have been the result of the world's first team-building exercise which unified the people of ancient Britain, according to researchers.The vast stone structure has long been the subject of the debate among historians, who have variously described it as a pagan temple, or an astronomical calendar or observatory.Now experts claim the monument was built as part of an annual winter solstice ritual which resembled "Glastonbury festival and a motorway building scheme at the same time".Researchers from University College London said as many as 4,000 people may have gathered at the site each year, at a time when the entire population numbered only tens of thousands....

  • Originally published 03/05/2013

    Hindenburg exploded due to static shock

    The accident on May 6, 1937 that killed 36 people took place as the huge airship was preparing to land at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey and prompted several theories as to the cause.British aeronautical engineer Jem Stansfield and a team of researchers based in San Antonio, Texas, told the Daily Mail that the airship ignited when the ground crew ran to take the landing ropes, effectively earthing the ship and causing a spark.Stansfield and his team said the goal of their experiments, which are the subject of a British Channel 4 documentary to be aired on Thursday, was to rule out theories ranging from a planted bomb to explosive properties in the paint used on the Hindenburg....

  • Originally published 03/05/2013

    Historic town walls crumbling 'because of climate change'

    For centuries they stood firm against marauding Welsh invaders but now the historic walls of Ludlow are said to be under threat from a new enemy – climate change.Residents living near one section of the medieval structure were this weekend advised to leave their homes temporarily after engineers found that it was unsafe.Three other sections of the wall in the picturesque Shropshire town have collapsed in the past fortnight....

  • Originally published 02/21/2013

    Hunting for £1billion in Nazi gold

    Some 18 crates of gold and platinum may lie buried under the bed of the Stolpsee, a 988-acre stretch of water to the north of the German capital.Yaron Svoray, who has the backing of German authorities, will use the latest sonar and radar equipment to try and locate the gold, which, the story goes, was dropped into the lake under the orders of Hermann Goering as the Red Army made its final push for Berlin in March, 1945.One eyewitness, Eckhard Litz, told a post-war commission that he saw around 30 concentration camp prisoners unloading heavy crates from lorries parked by the Stolpsee. The boxes were then ferried into the middle of the lake, and thrown into its waters ....

  • Originally published 02/21/2013

    PM Cameron visits Amritsar – but no apology

    David Cameron has been criticised for failing to meet the families of Indians killed by British troops as he tried to make amends for a "deeply shameful" Imperial massacre.The Prime Minister invoked Sir Winston Churchill as he lamented the "monstrous" killings in Amritsar in 1919.Mr Cameron flew to Amritsar at the end of a trade visit to Delhi and made a public show of British contrition over the massacre, which left at least 379 Sikh civilians dead.The Prime Minister visited a memorial in the Jallianwala Bagh gardens, laying a wreath and writing in a book of remembrance....

  • Originally published 02/15/2013

    Tutankhamun could have been lost forever

    Tomorrow marks the 90th anniversary of the moment that the Earl of Carnarvon and Howard Carter, working in primitive conditions in the desert, found and opened the tomb.They became the first people to lay eyes upon the boy king's sarcophagus in 3,000 years, and also made an “extraordinary contribution” to our historical understanding, the fifth earl’s ancestor and namesake George Herbert has said.Ahead of the anniversary the current Lord Carnarvon praised the "determined and stoic behaviour" of the archaeological team....

  • Originally published 02/12/2013

    Mystery of eccentric landowner solved after 300 years

    An excavation of a mausoleum in the grounds of Pentillie Castle in Cornwall is thought to have uncovered the body of Sir James Tillie, who died 300 years ago in 1713.His final resting place has been a mystery for centuries – leading to him being dubbed Cornwall’s very own Richard III.Sir James, who built the home in 1698, left instructions that on his deathbed he should not be buried....

  • Originally published 02/12/2013

    Rare portrait of Elizabeth I owned by North Carolina Garden Club shown in Washington

    A painting of a sixtysomething Queen Elizabeth I, depicting her with facial wrinkles, is being exhibited at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC.Produced by the studio of Gheeraerts in the early-mid 1590s, the painting now owned by the Elizabethan Gardens in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, is having its first public showing after conservation and authentication in 2010-2011.The exhibition’s co-curator, Thomas Herron, an author and English professor at East Carolina University, noted that the reason for the portrait’s obscurity may lie in Elizabeth’s efforts to control her image.And according to Anna Riehl, author of The Face of Queenship: Early Modern Representations of Queen Elizabeth I the Elizabethan Gardens portrait is a "rare exception in not covering up the queen's flaws”....

  • Originally published 02/06/2013

    Revealed: the only known poem by an adult Winston Churchill

    The wartime leader was an unrivalled speechwriter, prolific author and winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, but despite being a lover of poetry, he was only known to have written one poem, as a schoolboy at Harrow.Now a 10-verse poem penned over two pages in blue crayon by Churchill while he was serving in the army has emerged for sale at auction in London.The poem is a rousing celebration of the British Empire and of going to war to defend her, and describes anxious sailors and marines ahead of a battle. It is said to have been influenced by Kipling and Tennyson....

  • Originally published 02/06/2013

    Princes in Tower will not be dug up

    The Church of England, with support from the Queen and government ministers, has reportedly turned down a number of requests to perform forensic tests to establish whether the bones buried in Westminster Abbey are those of the king’s two nephews.According to previously confidential correspondence, permission to carry out DNA testing has been withheld for fear of setting a precedent for digging up royal remains to test various historical theories.There was also uncertainty by the church about what would be done with the remains if the DNA tests were negative, The Guardian reported....

  • Originally published 01/31/2013

    Russia revives Stalingrad city name

    The Volgograd city council voted to use the name Stalingrad at city events on six commemorative days including February 2, the day Nazi forces fully surrendered to Soviet troops and May 9, Victory Day, Russian news agencies reported.The decision was made "based on the many requests of Second World War participants," said Sergei Zabednov, quoted by the city parliament's press service."Deputies have taken a decision to establish the name 'hero-city Stalingrad' as a symbol of Volgograd. We will be able to use this symbol officially in our speeches and reports and at mass events," Zabednov said....

  • Originally published 01/29/2013

    Poignant photograph that proves pensioner's family died at Auschwitz

    It finally proved what the Dorset pensioner had long suspected – that his parents and grandmother perished in the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz nearly seven decades ago.Mr Grenville and his sister were among 10,000 Jewish children evacuated from Germany to Britain before the war as part of the Kindertransport refugee mission.They knew their parents Jacob and Klara Greilsamer and grandmother Sara Ottenheimer had been sent to an internment camp in Czechoslovakia and had been able to exchange brief messages with them via the Red Cross....

  • Originally published 01/29/2013

    Divers find First World War "Mystery Ship" which ambushed submarine

    It was perhaps one of the most hazardous roles of the First World War – acting as bait for German submarines.But that was exactly the job of HMS Stock Force, one of the Royal Navy’s top secret “Q-ships” or “Mystery Ships” – specially adapted decoy vessels with concealed guns, which lured U-boats to the surface and then engaged them in a deadly duel.The Stock Force was sunk in just such a clash, in what became one of the war’s most celebrated naval encounters, which led to its captain, Lieutenant Harold Auten, receiving the Victoria Cross, and inspired an early action film....

  • Originally published 01/22/2013

    The 20 greatest battles in British history

    The Telegraph reports that the British National Army Museum has published its shortlist of the greatest battles in British history. The public will vote, either online or at the museum, on which one is the greatest.The battles, in chronological order:Battle of Blenheim, August 13, 1704, at Blenheim, Bavaria (War of the Spanish Succession)Battle of Culloden, April 16, 1746, at Drumossie Moor in Scotland (Jacobite Rebellion)Battle of Plassey, June 23, 1757, at Plassey in West Bengal, India (Seven Years WarBattle of Quebec, June 13, 1759, outside of Quebec City in Canada (Seven Years War)

  • Originally published 01/18/2013

    'There are no buried Spitfires', archaeologists claim

    After digging for almost two weeks and speaking to the British architect of the extraordinary hunt, David Cundall, the experts have concluded that there is no evidence that as many as 124 Spitfires were buried at the end of World War II, it has been reported.A defiant Mr Cundall insists that the dig is still alive and says that the archaeologists are looking in the wrong place. He also stands by the eye witnesses who testified that the planes had been buried, according to the BBC.A source told Radio 4’s Today programme that the archaeologists at the dig site at Rangoon International Airport do no believe there are any Spitfires buried there or at the other two sites.The company providing financial backing for the dig, wargaming.net, today cancelled a press conference but confirmed that there are no planes, it is reported....

  • Originally published 01/16/2013

    Experts still fighting over the site of the Battle of Hastings

    It is the most famous battle in British history, fought, as every schoolboy knows, in 1066 at a site now marked by Battle Abbey, near the town of Hastings.But while the date of the Battle of Hastings might still be universally accepted, the location has been called into question, with two experts proposing not one but two different sites for where the fighting actually took place.They believe that for almost a 1,000 years, the battle has been commemorated at the wrong spot, with one historian claiming the fighting actually occurred a mile to the north, on Caldbec Hill, and another stating it was two miles away, to the south, at a place called Crowhurst....

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