December 18 1944-Fighting the unknown enemy.

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If you’d to believe the media nowadays you would think that severe storms are a 21st century phenomena. However they have been around for quite a while.

On 18 Dec 1944, divine intervention interfered with human action again. Admiral William Halsey and his Task Force 38 were caught unaware amidst refueling when Typhoon Cobra struck them to the east of island of Luzon of the Philippines. Halsey’s weather experts misread the track of this impending storm, and the admiral sailed right into it. As the heavy swells caused by 60-knot winds tossed his ships like children’s toys, Halsey’s ships scattered over 3,000 square miles. By the time he issued a typhoon warning to his captains, he had already lost three destroyers Spence, Hull, and Monaghan.

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Task Force 38 (TF 38) had been operating about 300 mi (260 nmi; 480 km) east of Luzon in the Philippine Sea, conducting air raids against Japanese airfields in the Philippines. The fleet was attempting to refuel its ships, especially the lighter destroyers, which had small fuel tanks. As the weather worsened it became increasingly difficult to refuel, and the attempts had to be discontinued. Despite warning signs of worsening conditions, the ships remained in their stations. Worse, the information given to Halsey about the location and direction of the typhoon was inaccurate. On December 18, Halsey unwittingly sailed Third Fleet into the centre of the typhoon.

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Aboard the carrier Monterey, aircraft in the hangar deck slammed into one another “like pinballs”, Gerald Ford recalled. It was inevitable that fires broke out. Captain Stuart H. Ingersoll was ordered by Halsey to abandon ship, but Ingersoll thought that “We can fix this”, and Ford, among others were the heroes who battled the bitter fire and eventually put it out, saving the carrier.

 

Aboard the carrier Cowpens, the scene was similar.

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A Hellcat fighter, despite being triple-lashed, broke loose and smashed into the catwalk, starting a fire. Even as the firefighters attempted to extinguish the fire, a bomb handling truck rolled across the hangar deck and struck the tank of another fighter. The 100-knot winds even ripped out a 20-mm gun emplacement right out of its mounts. In the end, Cowpens survived, but the Hellcat that smashed into the catwalk did not.

When the fleet emerged from the typhoon, Halsey found seven more ships seriously damaged and 146 aircraft lost or unusable (some were pushed by the wind over edges of flight decks, some were intentionally pushed overboard after running into each other, and some lost to fire and impact damage). Worst of all, 800 lives were lost from this natural disaster. Water Tender Second Class Joseph McCrane, one of only six survivors of the USS Monaghan recalled:

“The storm broke in all its fury. We started to roll, heaving to the starboard, and everyone was holding on to something and praying as hard as he could. We knew that we had lost our power and were dead in the water…. We must have taken about seven or eight rolls to the starboard before she went over on her side.”ww2dbaseAfter ship sunk, the sailors held on to whatever they could to stay afloat. McCrane continued:

“Every time we opened a can of Spam more sharks would appear…. Toward evening some of the boys began to crack under the strain…. That (second} night most of the fellows had really lost their heads; they thought they saw land and houses.”A court inquiry at Ulithi a week later placed blame squarely on the shoulders of Halsey, though finding no negligence on the part of the admiral due to “stress of war operations” and “a commendable desire to meet military requirements”. With 790 officers and sailors lost to this storm, Nimitz submitted a letter to Washington recommending the Navy to improve its weather service, which was promptly started. The Pacific Fleet established new weather stations in the Caroline Islands and, as they were secured, Manila, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. In addition, new weather central offices (for coordinating data) were established at Guam and Leyte.

Halsey’s misfortune with the Divine Wind would not be over just yet. During his support roles of the Okinawa landing, a typhoon developed, and Halsey attempted to steer his ships away from it at the recommendation of his weather experts. He, again, sailed right into it. Fortunately, with this meeting with the storm, he only lost six men.

Even though the Divine Wind interfered with history again, this time, Japan would not be saved by the heavens in this human conflict.

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Happy Birthday Mr Stalin

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Don’t worry this is not a blog honouring Joseph Stalin, it is however looking at the relations between Adolf Hitler, and Joseph Stalin on Stalin’s 60th and 61st birthsay.

On December 18 1939 Joseph Stalin received 2 telegrams from the Nazi leadership for his 60th Birthday, One from Hitler another on from Joachim von Ribbentrop, Germany’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Below the translated versions of the telegrams

Mr. JOSEPH STALIN,
Moscow.
Please accept my most sincere congratulations on your sixtieth birthday. I take this occasion to tender my best wishes. I wish you personally good health and a happy future for the peoples of the friendly Soviet Union.
ADOLF HITLER

Mr. JOSEPH STALIN,
Moscow.
Remembering the historic hours in the Kremlin which inaugurated the decisive turn in the relations between our two great peoples and thereby created the basis for a lasting friendship between us, I beg us to accept my warmest congratulations on you birthday.
JOACHIM VON RIBBENTROP
Minister of Foreign Affairs

Exactly 1 year later on Stalin’s 61st birthday ,Hitler issued Directive No. 21 on the German invasion of the Soviet Union, codenamed Operation Barbarossa.

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Sohn Kee-chung-Forgotten 1936 Olympic Games medalist.

History of Sorts

The 1936 Berlin Olympic games was more then a sporting event, it was more a propaganda tool for the Nazi regime, but it was also an important propaganda event of Germany’s future Axis partner,Japan.

As the 4 gold medals won by Jesse Owens were an embarrassment for Hitler and his pals,

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so was the The men’s marathon event .The final was won by Son Kitei.However Son Kitei was not his real name, his real name was Sohn Kee Chung a Korean athlete.

Sohn Kee-chung ( August 29, 1912 November 15, 2002) became the first medal-winning Korean Olympian, when he won the gold medal in the marathon at the 1936 Berlin Olympics as a member of theJapanese delegation

He competed under the Japanese Son Kitei, as Korea was part of the Japanese Empire at the time.The name is based on the Japanese kanji pronunciation of his Korean hanja name, both are written the same

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Just some old news

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I find it always intriguing to look back at old news papers and especially old headlines. They often transport you back to days of yore.

Following are just some random old news papers pages.

Midnight Globe, August 1978 (Priscilla Presley and John Travolta)

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Sid Vicious was to appear in court this afternoon accused of stabbing his go-go dancer girl friend to death.

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Tupac Amaru Shakur (June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), hard to believe it has been over 20 years.

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Dillinger

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Elvis Presley died August 16 1977 in his Memphis home (Graceland). He was found collapsed on his bathroom floor from an apparent massive heart attack.

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Berlin Wall Tumbles – November, 1989

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the Kray twins

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Judy was Star in Final Role, judy garland died
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The assassination of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln took place on Good Friday, April 14,1865
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Battle of the Bulge

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On December 16 1944, the Germans launched the last major offensive of the war, Operation Mist, also known as the Ardennes Offensive and the Battle of the Bulge, an attempt to push the Allied front line west from northern France to northwestern Belgium. The Battle of the Bulge, so-called because the Germans created a “bulge” around the area of the Ardennes forest in pushing through the American defensive line, was the largest fought on the Western front.

The surprise attack caught the Allied forces completely off guard. American forces bore the brunt of the attack and incurred their highest casualties of any operation during the war. The battle also severely depleted Germany’s armored forces, and they were largely unable to replace them.

Rather then going into too much details about the battle it is better to show it in pictures.

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American engineers emerge from the woods and move out of defensive positions after fighting in the  vicinity of Bastogne.

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Three members, of an American patrol, Sgt. James Storey, of Newman, Ga., Pvt. Frank A. Fox, of Wilmington, Del., and Cpl. Dennis Lavanoha, of Harrisville, N.Y., cross a snow-covered Luxembourg field on a scouting mission in Lellig, Luxembourg, Dec. 30, 1944. White bedsheets camouflage them in the snow.

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German troops advancing past abandoned American equipment

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American soldiers of the 3rd Battalion 119th Infantry Regiment are taken prisoner by members of Kampfgruppe Peiper in Stoumont, Belgium on 19 December 1944.

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An American soldier escorts a German crewman from his wrecked Panther tank during the Battle of Elsenborn Ridge

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British Sherman “Firefly” tank in Namur on the Meuse River, December 1944

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Belgian civilians killed by German units during the offensive

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U.S. POWs on 22 December 1944

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German field commanders plan the advance.

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An American artilleryman shaves in frigid cold, using a helmet for a shaving bowl,

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nfantrymen fire at German troops in the advance to relieve the surrounded paratroopers in Bastogne

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GIs of the 413th Infantry Regiment, 104th Infantry

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Glen Miller-Missing in Action

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Music legend Glenn Miller’s plane vanished over the Channel without a trace on December 15 1944.

On the day he went missing, Dec. 15, 1944, Miller, an Army major, is believed to have boarded a UC-64A Norseman in Bedfordshire, England, as a passenger. The plane was bound for France, where Miller was planning a performance for Allied troops.

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While traveling to entertain U.S. troops in France during World War II, Capt. Glenn Miller’s aircraft disappeared in bad weather over the English Channel.

Miller spent the last night before his disappearance at Milton Ernest Hall, near Bedford. On December 15, 1944, he was to fly from the United Kingdom to Paris, France, to make arrangements to move his entire band there in the near future. His plane, a single-engined UC-64 Norseman, USAAF serial 44-70285, departed from RAF Twinwood Farm in Clapham, on the outskirts of Bedford and disappeared while flying over the English Channel.There were two others on board the plane: Lt. Col. Norman Baessell and pilot John Morgan.

The wreckage of Miller’s plane was never found. His official military status remains Missing in Action..

However there have been several theories.

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Conspiracy theories abound that he was assassinated  by German agents.

Another theory — one that’s more widely accepted — is that the plane Miller was flying in was destroyed by friendly fire. That theory was first proposed in the 1980s as intriguing evidence about the Norseman plane came to light. It was discovered that 138 planes returning from an aborted Allies bombing raid disposed of their bombs over the English Channel, and the theory is that one hit Miller’s plane, causing it to crash.

A 2014 article in the Chicago Tribune reported that, despite many theories that had been proposed, Miller’s plane crashed because it had a faulty carburetor. The plane’s engine had a type of carburetor that was known to be defective in cold weather and had a history of causing crashes in other aircraft by icing up.The theory that the plane was hit by a bomb jettisoned by Allied planes returning from an aborted bombing raid on Germany is discredited by the log of a plane-spotter that implies that the plane was heading in a direction that would avoid the zone where such bombs were jettisoned.

When Miller disappeared, he left behind his wife, the former Helen Burger, originally from Boulder, Colorado, and the two children they had adopted in 1943 and 1944, Steven and Jonnie. In February 1945, Helen Miller accepted the Bronze Star medal for Miller.

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Ending the blog with one of his many wonderful tunes.

 

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Brothers in Arms-Friends in life and death.

 

Angelo P. Marcaletti and Charles James Jr, who were they?

To be honest I don’t know who they were. However I do know they both lived in New Philadelphia,Ohio, and they both had attended the Dover High school in Tuscarawas County,Ohio.

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I also know they were buddies when they both were inducted to the US Army on October 27th 1942.

And I know they were still friends when they were killed on April 7 1944.

The question really shouldn’t be who they were but what they were. That is an easier question to answer for they both were Heroes. Heroes who sacrificed their lives to afford me the freedom to live my life any which way I wish.

Dear Sirs, I salute you.

Angelo P. Marcaletti

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Angelo P. Marcaletti entered the Army from Ohio. He married Vera Dindo on 18 December 1943 at the Sacred Heart church.

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He was stationed at  Camp Breckinridge in Kentucky at the time of his marriage.His parents and his brother were immigrants from Italy.

Charles James Jr.

Charles James.

Charles James Jr. was a veteran of the US 9th Army’s campaigns in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

He had been awarded the Infantry Man’s medal and the Good Conduct medal. He was born and raises in New Philadelphia, Ohio.

Prior to joining  the US  Army he had been employed at the Robinson Clay Products Co. at Parral.

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He graduated from High school in 1939 and was a member of the Catholic Church.He married Louise Martinelli in June 1942.

Both Angelo and James were killed when a land mine exploded under them while they were laying communication lines.

They are both buried in the American War Cemetery,Margraten in the Netherlands.

 

 

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History of Sorts

History of Sorts

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Just a pictorial blog of random events in History.

Woman takes a break from updating stock prices, New York 1962.

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A Japanese plane caught squarely by antiaircraft fire leaves a trail of smoke and flame as it falls toward the ocean. The pilot might have already been dead by the time the bomber was going down; getting knocked out would probably be a small mercy compared to being burnt alive or drowning.

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The 1989 Hillsborough disaster was an incident that occurred during the FA Cup semi-final match on 15 April 1989 at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England. The crush resulted in the deaths of 96 people and injuries to 766 others. The victims suffocated as they entered an F.A. Cup semifinal between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest after the police opened an exit gate in an effort to relieve congestion outside the stadium before the game. In the chaos that…

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Kamp Amersfoort-Concentration camp in the Netherlands.

amersfoort (51)Between 1941 and 1945 approximately 37,000 prisoners, mainly political prisoners, were incarcerated for varying lengths of time in this camp, which served as both a transit and prison camp under the direct command of the SS.

The fluctuating prisoner population showed an eclectic group of people from all over the Netherlands: Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, prisoners of war from the Soviet Union, members of the resistance, clergy, black marketeers, clandestine butchers and smugglers.

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It was a simple black & white signboard alongside the road with a few abbreviated German words. Nothing more. But for the thousands of prisoners who saw this board on their way to Polizeiliches Durchgangslager (Police Transit Camp) Amersfoort, it was their first glimpse of an unknown future.

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They had to walk from the main train station in Amersfoort to the outskirts of the city, where a complex of barracks called Camp Amersfoort was located from 1941 to 1945. The camp was small at first. The guards were cruel and uncertainty ruled. During the course of the war, the number of prisoners increased and in the spring of 1943 the camp was expanded. Many more prisoners could be housed after this, but neglect, hunger, abuse and murder remained the order of the day. On 19 April 1945, the camp was transferred to the Red Cross. More than 35,000 prisoners were interned in Camp Amersfoort for a brief or extended period of time.

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After the re-opening in 1943, 70 Jews from Kamp Vught and 600 Jews from Kamp Westerbork of British, American and Hungarian nationality were briefly sent to Kamp Amersfoort. They were joined by contract breakers of the German Arbeitseinsatz (forced labour program), deserted Waffen SS soldiers, deserted German truck drivers of the Nationalsozialistische Kraftfahr-Korps, and lawbreaking members of the NSB (the Dutch National Socialist Movement).

This medley of prisoners was not the only feature that determined the character of Kamp Amersfoort. The extreme cruelty of the camp command made life miserable for thousands of prisoners. Despite their relatively short stay, many prisoners died from deprivations and violence at a camp where rumour has it that one could hear the screams of people being beaten up there for miles over the heath. It is more than a rumour. Jewish prisoners in particular were treated horribly, not only from guards, but fellow prisoners.

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Edith and Rosa Stein, two Hebrew Catholics arrested by the SS, described what it was like arriving at Amersfoort at 3:00 in the morning on August 3, 1942:

Rosa & Edith (Sr. Teresia Benedicta) Stein #2

When the vans reached the camp, they emptied their passengers who were taken over by the S.S. guards. These began to drive them, cursing and swearing, beating them on their backs with their truncheons, into a hut where they were to pass the night without having had a meal.

The hut was divided into two sections, one for men, one for women. It was separated from the main lager by a barbed-wire fence. Altogether, the lager held at that moment, about three hundred men, women and children.

The beds were iron frames arranged in a double tier, without mattresses of any kind. Our prisoners threw themselves on the bare springs trying to snatch a few minutes sleep; but few slept that night, if only because the guards kept switching the lights off and on, from time to time, as a precaution against attempts to escape, which was next to impossible in any case. Their cold harsh voices filled the prisoners with anxiety about the future and, in these circumstances, it is anxiety which can turn a prison into a hell on earth.

Both sisters died 6 days later in Auschwitz

Violence from the guards was not the only thing that prisoners had to worry about. Weakened physical conditions from overwork, very little food and poor hygiene in camp made illness and disease another frightening and lonely way to die. Yehudit Harris, a young boy in Amersfoort remembers screaming from the pain as his mother washed him with snow in the winter to rid them of lice and to protect against illness. Even the mattresses that prisoners slept on were often infested with lice, diphtheria, dysentery or T.B.

Amersfoort was a brutal place to be a prisoner and is summed up by Elie Cohen, who said that “transfer from Amersfoort to Westerbork was like going from hell to heaven”

The first camp leader was SS-Schutzhaftlagerführer I Johann Friedrich Stöver . From January 1, 1943, the camp leader was SS-Schutzhaftlagerführer II Karl Peter Berg . Berg was a very cruel man, who was described as a “predator who derived great pleasure from the agony of others”. During roll call he loved to sneak about unnoticed behind the rows of men and catch someone in some violation, such as talking or not following orders properly. With a big grin, he would torment his victim.

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n 1948 the camp commandant and guards of Amersfoort were tried and convicted for their crimes. Karl Peter Berg was sentenced to death and was executed in 1949.

After the war people wanted to forget the horrors of the camp as quickly as possible and the camp was completely dismantled. Despite the fact that everything was torn down to the foundations the anguish remained tangible.

In 2004 a beautiful, modest memorial was completed, symbolizing the resurrection of the memories from the ground (from oblivion).

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Will the real Santa Claus please stand up.

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Someone tried to convince me that Santa Claus is a mythical figure.Well if that’s the case who puts my presents under the Christmas tree?

Anyhow!

Santa Claus has many names but they all come from the same historical figure,Nikolaos of Myra(aka Nicholas of Bari)

The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. st-nicholasjpgAt the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus’ words to “sell what you own and give the money to the poor,” Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.

A rather offbeat story recounted by Kelly and Rogers, tells of Nicholas visiting a local butcher during a famine. To his surprise, he was served meat. Suspecting the worst, Nicholas proceeded to his host’s cellar, finding three barrels containing three murdered boys in brine. The bishop lost no time in restoring them to life, and “has been a patron of children-in-a-pickle ever since.” His acts of kindness and miracles for children, carried the reputation of Nicholas to the far corners of the Roman Empire.

Some argue that Santa Claus is based on the Norse god, Thor, who was associated with winter and the Yule log and rode on a chariot drawn by goats named Cracker and Gnasher.

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That the historical person of Nicholas became transformed into the kindly Santa Claus from a pagan legend was due to the notoriety he gained by extending a helping hand in the aid of children. His was not an age known for protecting children. Instead they were often left to beg when they lost their parents or lived in poverty.

Other claim he is based on the Germanic god Odin,also known as Wodan.

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 The modern Santa Claus grew out of traditions surrounding the historical Saint Nicholas, the British figure of Father Christmas and the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas (himself also based on Saint Nicholas).

 

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the Nicholas legend was that his story influenced future generations to demonstrate kindness to children, at least once a year. The modern tradition has remained true to the simple bishop of Myra, who devoted his life to helping the poor.

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Although the traditions are the same there are differences in the different configurations of Saint Nick. I’ll just go through a few of them there are too may to list them all(trust me I checked it twice)

Sinterklaas

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Unlike Santaclaus,Sinterklaas does not travel from the North pole by sleigh and reindeer. No Sinterklaas likes his comfort, he therefor travels from Spain on a steamboat.

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And once he arrives at his destination in the Netherlands he gets on a white horse called Amerigo.

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Rather then doing a last minute Christmas rush Sinterklaas delivers his presents on the 5th of December. Saint Nicholas died on the 6th of December, so the presents are delivered on the eve of St Nicholas’s death.

Father Christmas

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Father Christmas is the traditional English name for the personification of Christmas. Although now known as a Christmas gift-bringer, and normally considered to be synonymous with American culture’s Santa Claus which is now known worldwide, he was originally part of an unrelated and much older English folkloric tradition. The recognisably modern figure of the English Father Christmas developed in the late Victorian period, but Christmas had been personified for centuries before then.

Below are a few more Christmas figures

Joulupukki-Finland

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Mikulás-Hungary

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Ded Moroz-Russia and other Eastern European countries.

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An Irish tradition states that the relics of Saint Nicholas are also reputed to have been stolen from Myra by local Norman crusading knights in the 12th century and buried near Thomastown, County Kilkenny, where a stone slab marks the site locally believed to be his grave.

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I hope you all get the presents you are hoping for.

Regardless of who delivers them. When I was a kid I got them from this man(who was actually my real dad)

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Merry Christmas

Santa's Sleigh House

 

 

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks

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