Sunday, 25 September 2011

Plot to Kill President Wilson

The Star dated Monday February 24th 1919

Even Wikipedia, that fount of all knowledge both true and imaginary, has little or nothing to say about this plot by Spanish anarchists to blow up US President Woodrow Wilson during his brief visit to Boston.  Were they ever tried?  Convicted?  What had they got against him?

President Wilson suffered a stroke later in 1919 and his health continued to deteriorate until he died in February 1924.

In September 1916, the German Zeppelin L-33 was brought down at Great Wigborough, Essex. It was virtually intact and her motors were undamaged. In one stroke the British had been handed a near perfect airship full of the latest German technology.  A crew of investigators recorded every feature of the ship in detail, taking five months to complete the task.  With this information the British designers adapted the plans of the R33 and R34 airships.

Jazz dancing!!  Whatever next?  Hold on for 35 years and you'll get Rock'n'Roll!!

Click to enlarge

Should have gone to Specsavers

The genesis of the jet engine? Auguste Rateau (1863 – 1930) invented the turbo-charger and applied it to an aircraft engine as early as 1917.  Also among his invention were (according to Wikipedia among others) electric shutter glasses for watching 3D films in 1896!

Well if the upper classes that ran England in 1914 hadn't sent all the lower classes off to be butchered in the trenches of France and Belgium, there might have been enough still around in 1919 to do their dirty work for them.  That or the servant class, having been through the War, decided to tell their so called betters where to stuff their apple dumplings.

Film acting?  Mark my words ladies and gents, there's no future in the film business - they'll be inventing Television soon and all the cinemas will become Bingo Halls.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

They're Free / Massacre of Olympic City

The Sun dated Wednesday September 6th 1972

Two editions of the Sun for the same day – two completely opposite stories.  In the early edition the Israeli Olympic athletes that had been held hostage by 8 PLO gunmen were rescued by German police marksmen as the hostages were being transferred from helicopters to a Boeing 747.  In the later edition the more accurate story emerges – the hostages were all killed by the gunmen as the German police failed to rescue them.

What I find interesting is how few words on the front page have been changed to tell the different story.  And how the two politicians pictured in the early edition have been quickly written out of history now that they are no longer part of a successful rescue. 
Of course even the late edition didn’t tell the whole truth.  It turned out, according to various books and newspaper articles, that the rescue attempt was a farce.  The police underestimated the number of gunmen, the police had no radios to communicate with one another, a group of police posing as airport workers unilaterally decided to just abandon the mission, two of the police snipers had no line of fire when the helicopters landed and were actually themselves in the line of fire of the other three snipers and so on.

I bet that you would be hard pressed to answer the question ‘When were the zig-zag lines either side of zebra crossing introduced?’  Well now, thanks to Holdthefrontpage, you can.

Idi Amin seized power in Uganda in 1971 promising democratic rule.  One week later he declared himself President of Uganda, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Army Chief of Staff, and Chief of Air Staff.  In August 1972 he declared that all Asians had to leave Uganda.  80,000 in all.
His erratic behaviour, including announcing he was ‘King of Scotland’, made him the butt of jokes and if you want a good laugh (albeit rather politically incorrect) at his expense try and find a copy of the audio recordings of John Bird as Idi Amin. 

I just love the way the advertising agency for the Army have dropped ‘Northern Ireland’ into the middle of this list of ‘fun’ places to visit.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Iranian Embassy Siege Ends

Daily Mirror dated Tuesday May 6th 1980

Obviously 9/11 (or 11/9 as it should be in the UK) is on every one's minds today and, for those old enough to remember it, the live TV coverage.  21 years before 9/11 the SAS raid that ended the 6 day siege of the Iranian Embassy in London was broadcast live at peak time on a Bank Holiday Monday evening and was viewed by millions of people, mostly in the UK. Both the BBC and ITV interrupted their scheduled programming to show the end of the siege, which proved to be a major career break for several journalists. Kate Adie, the BBC's duty reporter at the embassy when the SAS assault began, went on to report from war zones across the world.

The Iranian Embassy siege took place from 30 April to 5 May 1980, after a group of six armed members of the Democratic Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of Arabistan (DRFLA) stormed the Iranian embassy in South Kensington. The gunmen took 26 people hostage, including Police Constable Trevor Lock of the Metropolitan Police's Diplomatic Protection Group (DPG). Lock was carrying a concealed Smith & Wesson .38-calibre revolver, but was unable to draw it before he was overpowered, although he did manage to press the "panic button" on his radio. Lock was later frisked, but the gunman conducting the search did not find the constable's weapon. 

By the sixth day of the siege the gunmen had become increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress in meeting their demands. That evening, they killed one of the hostages and threw his body out of the embassy. As a result, the British government ordered the Special Air Service (SAS), to conduct an assault to rescue the remaining hostages. During the 17-minute raid, the SAS rescued all but one of the hostages, and killed five of the six terrorists.

At one point during the siege the police guaranteed that a statement would be broadcast on the BBC news in exchange for the release of two people. The hostages decided amongst themselves who would be released.  One was chosen because his loud snoring kept the other hostages awake at night.

Guess who?  Answer at the end of the post.

Even despots can dream.

So what else is new?

Currently featured in an advert for Kronenbourg 1664 lager, playing a slowed down version of their 1980 top 3 hit, ‘Baggy Trousers’, this is what Madness looked like 31 years ago.

The picture is of Muhammad Ali ex World Heavyweight Champion boxer.  Ali had retired in 1979, but returned in 1980.  He is seen here during preparations to face current champion Larry Holmes in an attempt to win a heavyweight title an unprecedented four times. Ali's manager Angelo Dundee refused to let him come out for the 11th round, in what became Ali's only loss by anything other than a decision.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Peter Cushing Dies

Daily Mirror dated Friday August 12th 1994

The film actor Peter Cushing was born in 1913 in Surrey and had a film career that started in 1939 and ended in 1986.  One of his very early appearances was a student in the Laurel and Hardy vehicle ‘A Chimp at Oxford’.  He went on to play Sherlock Holmes, Professor Van Helsing, Baron Frankenstein, Dr Who, The Sheriff of Nottingham, Beau Brummell, Winston Smith, King Richard II, Mr Darcy, Clive of India and Grand Moff Tarkin, among others.  He appeared in about 93 films and 36 TV programmes.  His final film was ‘Biggles’, an awful time-travel twist on the W E Johns stories, not exactly a great ending to his career.

I hope that whoever won the '£1000 a week for life' is still alive and is enjoying the £887,000 they've received so far.

All I can say is that it was a brave effort for World Peace but it hasn’t worked, yet, and I don’t believe the quote in the last paragraph.

Petrol at £2.47p a gallon?  Outrageous! Oh, hang on a minute – that’s 54p a litre.  Ah… I remember it well.