Category Archives: History

The “accused” not the “prisoner” in First World War discipline, and sentence before evidence in 40 Years On

I am re-reading Robert Graves’ Goodbye to All That and came across an unexpected piece of sensitivity towards the status of those allegedly in breach of Kings Regulations or, at least, in the label given to them. We are not … Continue reading

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A wood which looks like a bird leads to an airfield and a reservoir

Old maps juxtaposed with new maps can unpeel the history of a place and show how the landscape has adapted to changing times. Ancient fields give way to an RAF airfield of World War II; nearby, more fields disappear under a … Continue reading

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Retracing my steps from 35 years ago from old pictures and StreetView

It is 6 April 1982. We are in a cafe in Megève, just north of Italy’s Alpine border with France, having some coffee before setting off across the snowy Alps. Opposite us, a man is reading a newspaper whose headline … Continue reading

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Reverse lebensraum from Theresa ‘doesn’t read much history’ May

The really dim ones – the sort of person who crows about “taking back control” or who whines about the “humiliation” of having a passport which is not blue – will conclude that I am saying that Theresa May is like Hitler. … Continue reading

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Light Brigade letter may be new but it is not news

A report in the Times this week tells of a newly-discovered letter which, the Times suggests, throws new light on where blame should fall for the misconceived charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava on 25 October 1854. The letter … Continue reading

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Imperialist poppies distress and offend the weak-minded: diluting the language of persuasion

A motion debated at the students union of the University of East Anglia (UEA) asserted that some people consider that the red poppy stands for the “imperialist nature” of the British army; it is “a political symbol with multiple offensive, … Continue reading

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Writing to please myself: discoveries of things I was not in quest of

Is there any point in an amateur writing yet more words about the First World War? What photographs can one take of cemeteries or former battlefields which have not been taken 1,000 times before by everyone from top-flight professionals to … Continue reading

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