Magna Carta

Today marks the 807th anniversary of the Magna Carta. The full name is Magna Carta Libertatum, which translates into “The great charter of Freedoms”, but in common use it is known as the Magna Carta. It was agreed by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215.

The document is basically the foundation of the British constitution. The Magna Carta still forms an important symbol of liberty today, often cited by politicians and campaigners, and is held in great respect by the British and American legal communities, Lord Denning describing it as “the greatest constitutional document of all times—the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot”. Ironically the anniversary of the Magna Carta comes a day after the British Government was suppose to send a group of refugees to Rwanda. It is only because of the intervention of the European Courts of Human Rights that didn’t happen.

Below is the translated text of the Magna Carta.

JOHN, by the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and Count of Anjou, to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, justices, foresters, sheriffs, stewards, servants, and to all his officials and loyal subjects, Greeting.

King John on a stag hunt

KNOW THAT BEFORE GOD, for the health of our soul and those of our ancestors and heirs, to the honour of God, the exaltation of the holy Church, and the better ordering of our kingdom, at the advice of our reverend fathers Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all England, and cardinal of the holy Roman Church, Henry archbishop of Dublin, William bishop of London, Peter bishop of Winchester, Jocelin bishop of Bath and Glastonbury, Hugh bishop of Lincoln, Walter bishop of Worcester, William bishop of Coventry, Benedict bishop of Rochester, Master Pandulf subdeacon and member of the papal household, Brother Aymeric master of the knighthood of the Temple in England, William Marshal earl of Pembroke, William earl of Salisbury, William earl of Warren, William earl of Arundel, Alan of Galloway constable of Scotland, Warin fitz Gerald, Peter fitz Herbert, Hubert de Burgh seneschal of Poitou, Hugh de Neville, Matthew fitz Herbert, Thomas Basset, Alan Basset, Philip Daubeny, Robert de Roppeley, John Marshal, John fitz Hugh, and other loyal subjects:

  • (1) FIRST, THAT WE HAVE GRANTED TO GOD, and by this present charter have confirmed for us and our heirs in perpetuity, that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired. That we wish this so to be observed, appears from the fact that of our own free will, before the outbreak of the present dispute between us and our barons, we granted and confirmed by charter the freedom of the Church’s elections – a right reckoned to be of the greatest necessity and importance to it – and caused this to be confirmed by Pope Innocent III. This freedom we shall observe ourselves, and desire to be observed in good faith by our heirs in perpetuity.

TO ALL FREE MEN OF OUR KINGDOM we have also granted, for us and our heirs for ever, all the liberties written out below, to have and to keep for them and their heirs, of us and our heirs:

(2) If any earl, baron, or other person that holds lands directly of the Crown, for military service, shall die, and at his death his heir shall be of full age and owe a ‘relief’, the heir shall have his inheritance on payment of the ancient scale of ‘relief’. That is to say, the heir or heirs of an earl shall pay £100 for the entire earl’s barony, the heir or heirs of a knight 100s. at most for the entire knight’s ‘fee’, and any man that owes less shall pay less, in accordance with the ancient usage of ‘fees’.

(3) But if the heir of such a person is under age and a ward, when he comes of age he shall have his inheritance without ‘relief’ or fine.

(4) The guardian of the land of an heir who is under age shall take from it only reasonable revenues, customary dues, and feudal services. He shall do this without destruction or damage to men or property. If we have given the guardianship of the land to a sheriff, or to any person answerable to us for the revenues, and he commits destruction or damage, we will exact compensation from him, and the land shall be entrusted to two worthy and prudent men of the same ‘fee’, who shall be answerable to us for the revenues, or to the person to whom we have assigned them. If we have given or sold to anyone the guardianship of such land, and he causes destruction or damage, he shall lose the guardianship of it, and it shall be handed over to two worthy and prudent men of the same ‘fee’, who shall be similarly answerable to us.

(5) For so long as a guardian has guardianship of such land, he shall maintain the houses, parks, fish preserves, ponds, mills, and everything else pertaining to it, from the revenues of the land itself. When the heir comes of age, he shall restore the whole land to him, stocked with plough teams and such implements of husbandry as the season demands and the revenues from the land can reasonably bear.

(6) Heirs may be given in marriage, but not to someone of lower social standing. Before a marriage takes place, it shall be made known to the heir’s next-of-kin.

(7) At her husband’s death, a widow may have her marriage portion and inheritance at once and without trouble. She shall pay nothing for her dower, marriage portion, or any inheritance that she and her husband held jointly on the day of his death. She may remain in her husband’s house for forty days after his death, and within this period her dower shall be assigned to her.

(8) No widow shall be compelled to marry, so long as she wishes to remain without a husband. But she must give security that she will not marry without royal consent, if she holds her lands of the Crown, or without the consent of whatever other lord she may hold them of.

(9) Neither we nor our officials will seize any land or rent in payment of a debt, so long as the debtor has movable goods sufficient to discharge the debt. A debtor’s sureties shall not be distrained upon so long as the debtor himself can discharge his debt. If, for lack of means, the debtor is unable to discharge his debt, his sureties shall be answerable for it. If they so desire, they may have the debtor’s lands and rents until they have received satisfaction for the debt that they paid for him, unless the debtor can show that he has settled his obligations to them.

  • (10) If anyone who has borrowed a sum of money from Jews dies before the debt has been repaid, his heir shall pay no interest on the debt for so long as he remains under age, irrespective of whom he holds his lands. If such a debt falls into the hands of the Crown, it will take nothing except the principal sum specified in the bond.
  • (11) If a man dies owing money to Jews, his wife may have her dower and pay nothing towards the debt from it. If he leaves children that are under age, their needs may also be provided for on a scale appropriate to the size of his holding of lands. The debt is to be paid out of the residue, reserving the service due to his feudal lords. Debts owed to persons other than Jews are to be dealt with similarly.
  • (12) No ‘scutage’ or ‘aid’ may be levied in our kingdom without its general consent, unless it is for the ransom of our person, to make our eldest son a knight, and (once) to marry our eldest daughter. For these purposes only a reasonable ‘aid’ may be levied. ‘Aids’ from the city of London are to be treated similarly.
  • (13) The city of London shall enjoy all its ancient liberties and free customs, both by land and by water. We also will and grant that all other cities, boroughs, towns, and ports shall enjoy all their liberties and free customs.
  • (14) To obtain the general consent of the realm for the assessment of an ‘aid’ – except in the three cases specified above – or a ‘scutage’, we will cause the archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, and greater barons to be summoned individually by letter. To those who hold lands directly of us we will cause a general summons to be issued, through the sheriffs and other officials, to come together on a fixed day (of which at least forty days notice shall be given) and at a fixed place. In all letters of summons, the cause of the summons will be stated. When a summons has been issued, the business appointed for the day shall go forward in accordance with the resolution of those present, even if not all those who were summoned have appeared.
  • (15) In future we will allow no one to levy an ‘aid’ from his free men, except to ransom his person, to make his eldest son a knight, and (once) to marry his eldest daughter. For these purposes only a reasonable ‘aid’ may be levied.

(16) No man shall be forced to perform more service for a knight’s ‘fee’, or other free holding of land, than is due from it.

(17) Ordinary lawsuits shall not follow the royal court around, but shall be held in a fixed place.

(18) Inquests of novel disseisin, mort d’ancestor, and darrein presentment shall be taken only in their proper county court. We ourselves, or in our absence abroad our chief justice, will send two justices to each county four times a year, and these justices, with four knights of the county elected by the county itself, shall hold the assizes in the county court, on the day and in the place where the court meets.

(19) If any assizes cannot be taken on the day of the county court, as many knights and freeholders shall afterwards remain behind, of those who have attended the court, as will suffice for the administration of justice, having regard to the volume of business to be done.

(20) For a trivial offence, a free man shall be fined only in proportion to the degree of his offence, and for a serious offence correspondingly, but not so heavily as to deprive him of his livelihood. In the same way, a merchant shall be spared his merchandise, and a villein the implements of his husbandry, if they fall upon the mercy of a royal court. None of these fines shall be imposed except by the assessment on oath of reputable men of the neighbourhood.

(21) Earls and barons shall be fined only by their equals, and in proportion to the gravity of their offence.

(22) A fine imposed upon the lay property of a clerk in holy orders shall be assessed upon the same principles, without reference to the value of his ecclesiastical benefice.

(23) No town or person shall be forced to build bridges over rivers except those with an ancient obligation to do so.

(24) No sheriff, constable, coroners, or other royal officials are to hold lawsuits that should be held by the royal justices.

  • (25) Every county, hundred, wapentake, and tithing shall remain at its ancient rent, without increase, except the royal demesne manors.

(26) If at the death of a man who holds a lay ‘fee’ of the Crown, a sheriff or royal official produces royal letters patent of summons for a debt due to the Crown, it shall be lawful for them to seize and list movable goods found in the lay ‘fee’ of the dead man to the value of the debt, as assessed by worthy men. Nothing shall be removed until the whole debt is paid, when the residue shall be given over to the executors to carry out the dead man’s will. If no debt is due to the Crown, all the movable goods shall be regarded as the property of the dead man, except the reasonable shares of his wife and children.

  • (27) If a free man dies intestate, his movable goods are to be distributed by his next-of-kin and friends, under the supervision of the Church. The rights of his debtors are to be preserved.

(28) No constable or other royal official shall take corn or other movable goods from any man without immediate payment, unless the seller voluntarily offers postponement of this.

(29) No constable may compel a knight to pay money for castle-guard if the knight is willing to undertake the guard in person, or with reasonable excuse to supply some other fit man to do it. A knight taken or sent on military service shall be excused from castle-guard for the period of this service.

(30) No sheriff, royal official, or other person shall take horses or carts for transport from any free man, without his consent.

(31) Neither we nor any royal official will take wood for our castle, or for any other purpose, without the consent of the owner.

(32) We will not keep the lands of people convicted of felony in our hand for longer than a year and a day, after which they shall be returned to the lords of the ‘fees’ concerned.

(33) All fish-weirs shall be removed from the Thames, the Medway, and throughout the whole of England, except on the sea coast.

(34) The writ called precipe shall not in future be issued to anyone in respect of any holding of land, if a free man could thereby be deprived of the right of trial in his own lord’s court.

(35) There shall be standard measures of wine, ale, and corn (the London quarter), throughout the kingdom. There shall also be a standard width of dyed cloth, russet, and haberject, namely two ells within the selvedges. Weights are to be standardised similarly.

(36) In future nothing shall be paid or accepted for the issue of a writ of inquisition of life or limbs. It shall be given gratis, and not refused.

(37) If a man holds land of the Crown by ‘fee-farm’, ‘socage’, or ‘burgage’, and also holds land of someone else for knight’s service, we will not have guardianship of his heir, nor of the land that belongs to the other person’s ‘fee’, by virtue of the ‘fee-farm’, ‘socage’, or ‘burgage’, unless the ‘fee-farm’ owes knight’s service. We will not have the guardianship of a man’s heir, or of land that he holds of someone else, by reason of any small property that he may hold of the Crown for a service of knives, arrows, or the like.

(38) In future no official shall place a man on trial upon his own unsupported statement, without producing credible witnesses to the truth of it.

  • (39) No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.
  • (40) To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.

(41) All merchants may enter or leave England unharmed and without fear, and may stay or travel within it, by land or water, for purposes of trade, free from all illegal exactions, in accordance with ancient and lawful customs. This, however, does not apply in time of war to merchants from a country that is at war with us. Any such merchants found in our country at the outbreak of war shall be detained without injury to their persons or property, until we or our chief justice have discovered how our own merchants are being treated in the country at war with us. If our own merchants are safe they shall be safe too.

  • (42) In future it shall be lawful for any man to leave and return to our kingdom unharmed and without fear, by land or water, preserving his allegiance to us, except in time of war, for some short period, for the common benefit of the realm. People that have been imprisoned or outlawed in accordance with the law of the land, people from a country that is at war with us, and merchants – who shall be dealt with as stated above – are excepted from this provision.

(43) If a man holds lands of any ‘escheat’ such as the ‘honour’ of Wallingford, Nottingham, Boulogne, Lancaster, or of other ‘escheats’ in our hand that are baronies, at his death his heir shall give us only the ‘relief’ and service that he would have made to the baron, had the barony been in the baron’s hand. We will hold the ‘escheat’ in the same manner as the baron held it.

(44) People who live outside the forest need not in future appear before the royal justices of the forest in answer to general summonses, unless they are actually involved in proceedings or are sureties for someone who has been seized for a forest offence.

  • (45) We will appoint as justices, constables, sheriffs, or other officials, only men that know the law of the realm and are minded to keep it well.

(46) All barons who have founded abbeys, and have charters of English kings or ancient tenure as evidence of this, may have guardianship of them when there is no abbot, as is their due.

(47) All forests that have been created in our reign shall at once be disafforested. River-banks that have been enclosed in our reign shall be treated similarly.

*(48) All evil customs relating to forests and warrens, foresters, warreners, sheriffs and their servants, or river-banks and their wardens, are at once to be investigated in every county by twelve sworn knights of the county, and within forty days of their enquiry the evil customs are to be abolished completely and irrevocably. But we, or our chief justice if we are not in England, are first to be informed.

  • (49) We will at once return all hostages and charters delivered up to us by Englishmen as security for peace or for loyal service.
  • (50) We will remove completely from their offices the kinsmen of Gerard de Athée, and in future they shall hold no offices in England. The people in question are Engelard de Cigogné, Peter, Guy, and Andrew de Chanceaux, Guy de Cigogné, Geoffrey de Martigny and his brothers, Philip Marc and his brothers, with Geoffrey his nephew, and all their followers.
  • (51) As soon as peace is restored, we will remove from the kingdom all the foreign knights, bowmen, their attendants, and the mercenaries that have come to it, to its harm, with horses and arms.
  • (52) To any man whom we have deprived or dispossessed of lands, castles, liberties, or rights, without the lawful judgment of his equals, we will at once restore these. In cases of dispute the matter shall be resolved by the judgment of the twenty-five barons referred to below in the clause for securing the peace (§61). In cases, however, where a man was deprived or dispossessed of something without the lawful judgment of his equals by our father King Henry or our brother King Richard, and it remains in our hands or is held by others under our warranty, we shall have respite for the period commonly allowed to Crusaders, unless a lawsuit had been begun, or an enquiry had been made at our order, before we took the Cross as a Crusader. On our return from the Crusade, or if we abandon it, we will at once render justice in full.
  • (53) We shall have similar respite in rendering justice in connexion with forests that are to be disafforested, or to remain forests, when these were first afforested by our father Henry or our brother Richard; with the guardianship of lands in another person’s ‘fee’, when we have hitherto had this by virtue of a ‘fee’ held of us for knight’s service by a third party; and with abbeys founded in another person’s ‘fee’, in which the lord of the ‘fee’ claims to own a right. On our return from the Crusade, or if we abandon it, we will at once do full justice to complaints about these matters.

(54) No one shall be arrested or imprisoned on the appeal of a woman for the death of any person except her husband.

  • (55) All fines that have been given to us unjustly and against the law of the land, and all fines that we have exacted unjustly, shall be entirely remitted or the matter decided by a majority judgment of the twenty-five barons referred to below in the clause for securing the peace (§61) together with Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, if he can be present, and such others as he wishes to bring with him. If the archbishop cannot be present, proceedings shall continue without him, provided that if any of the twenty-five barons has been involved in a similar suit himself, his judgment shall be set aside, and someone else chosen and sworn in his place, as a substitute for the single occasion, by the rest of the twenty-five.

(56) If we have deprived or dispossessed any Welshmen of land, liberties, or anything else in England or in Wales, without the lawful judgment of their equals, these are at once to be returned to them. A dispute on this point shall be determined in the Marches by the judgment of equals. English law shall apply to holdings of land in England, Welsh law to those in Wales, and the law of the Marches to those in the Marches. The Welsh shall treat us and ours in the same way.

  • (57) In cases where a Welshman was deprived or dispossessed of anything, without the lawful judgment of his equals, by our father King Henry or our brother King Richard, and it remains in our hands or is held by others under our warranty, we shall have respite for the period commonly allowed to Crusaders, unless a lawsuit had been begun, or an enquiry had been made at our order, before we took the Cross as a Crusader. But on our return from the Crusade, or if we abandon it, we will at once do full justice according to the laws of Wales and the said regions.
  • (58) We will at once return the son of Llywelyn, all Welsh hostages, and the charters delivered to us as security for the peace.
  • (59) With regard to the return of the sisters and hostages of Alexander, king of Scotland, his liberties and his rights, we will treat him in the same way as our other barons of England, unless it appears from the charters that we hold from his father William, formerly king of Scotland, that he should be treated otherwise. This matter shall be resolved by the judgment of his equals in our court.

(60) All these customs and liberties that we have granted shall be observed in our kingdom in so far as concerns our own relations with our subjects. Let all men of our kingdom, whether clergy or laymen, observe them similarly in their relations with their own men.

  • (61) SINCE WE HAVE GRANTED ALL THESE THINGS for God, for the better ordering of our kingdom, and to allay the discord that has arisen between us and our barons, and since we desire that they shall be enjoyed in their entirety, with lasting strength, for ever, we give and grant to the barons the following security:

The barons shall elect twenty-five of their number to keep, and cause to be observed with all their might, the peace and liberties granted and confirmed to them by this charter.

If we, our chief justice, our officials, or any of our servants offend in any respect against any man, or transgress any of the articles of the peace or of this security, and the offence is made known to four of the said twenty-five barons, they shall come to us – or in our absence from the kingdom to the chief justice – to declare it and claim immediate redress. If we, or in our absence abroad the chief justice, make no redress within forty days, reckoning from the day on which the offence was declared to us or to him, the four barons shall refer the matter to the rest of the twenty-five barons, who may distrain upon and assail us in every way possible, with the support of the whole community of the land, by seizing our castles, lands, possessions, or anything else saving only our own person and those of the queen and our children, until they have secured such redress as they have determined upon. Having secured the redress, they may then resume their normal obedience to us.

Any man who so desires may take an oath to obey the commands of the twenty-five barons for the achievement of these ends, and to join with them in assailing us to the utmost of his power. We give public and free permission to take this oath to any man who so desires, and at no time will we prohibit any man from taking it. Indeed, we will compel any of our subjects who are unwilling to take it to swear it at our command.

If one of the twenty-five barons dies or leaves the country, or is prevented in any other way from discharging his duties, the rest of them shall choose another baron in his place, at their discretion, who shall be duly sworn in as they were.

In the event of disagreement among the twenty-five barons on any matter referred to them for decision, the verdict of the majority present shall have the same validity as a unanimous verdict of the whole twenty-five, whether these were all present or some of those summoned were unwilling or unable to appear.

The twenty-five barons shall swear to obey all the above articles faithfully, and shall cause them to be obeyed by others to the best of their power.

We will not seek to procure from anyone, either by our own efforts or those of a third party, anything by which any part of these concessions or liberties might be revoked or diminished. Should such a thing be procured, it shall be null and void and we will at no time make use of it, either ourselves or through a third party.

  • (62) We have remitted and pardoned fully to all men any ill-will, hurt, or grudges that have arisen between us and our subjects, whether clergy or laymen, since the beginning of the dispute. We have in addition remitted fully, and for our own part have also pardoned, to all clergy and laymen any offences committed as a result of the said dispute between Easter in the sixteenth year of our reign (i.e. 1215) and the restoration of peace.

In addition we have caused letters patent to be made for the barons, bearing witness to this security and to the concessions set out above, over the seals of Stephen archbishop of Canterbury, Henry archbishop of Dublin, the other bishops named above, and Master Pandulf.

  • (63) IT IS ACCORDINGLY OUR WISH AND COMMAND that the English Church shall be free, and that men in our kingdom shall have and keep all these liberties, rights, and concessions, well and peaceably in their fullness and entirety for them and their heirs, of us and our heirs, in all things and all places for ever.

Both we and the barons have sworn that all this shall be observed in good faith and without deceit. Witness the abovementioned people and many others.

Given by our hand in the meadow that is called Runnymede, between Windsor and Staines, on the fifteenth day of June in the seventeenth year of our reign (i.e. 1215: the new regnal year began on 28 May).

sources

https://www.bl.uk/magna-carta/articles/magna-carta-english-translation

https://www.onthisday.com/photos/magna-carta

Rwanda

The British government have passed a law which will send refugees coming into Britain, to Rwanda. Boris Johnson’s government announced in April that it would send some asylum seekers to Rwanda for an initial payment of 120 million pounds.

Lets just have a quick look back at Rwanda’s recent history. In just 100 days in 1994, about 800,000 people were slaughtered in Rwanda by ethnic Hutu extremists. They were targeting members of the minority Tutsi community, as well as their political opponents, irrespective of their ethnic origin. One man, Paul Rusesabagina (pictured above)source- a hutu himself, saved more than 1,200 people during the nation’s 1994 genocide. His story was portrayed in the movie Hotel Rwanda.

The Rwandan government, headed by the Tutsi president Paul Kagame,  abducted Rusesabagina, 67, in August 2020 in Dubai. This past September, a Rwandan court sentenced him to 25 years in prison. Rusesabagina is a U.S. permanent resident and holds Belgian citizenship.

The Rwandan government has openly admitted that it planned an elaborate operation inside the United States to track Paul Rusesabagina and use its agents to trick him into traveling — with false promises of contractual work in Burundi— from his home in the United States to Rwanda,” lawyers for the Rusesabagina family say in court documents. “He was drugged and taken to Rwanda where President Paul Kagame’s security agents forcibly abducted him, tortured him, and forced him into illegal imprisonment.”

Rusesabagina has been a harsh critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, accusing the president of war crimes and human rights violations. The Rusesabagina family says the government targeted him in response.

That is the same government Boris Johnson’s government struck a deal with in order to ‘alleviate’ Britain’s refugee crisis.

sources

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-26875506

https://www.npr.org/2022/05/01/1095826996/family-of-hotel-rwanda-hero-sues-rwandan-government-for-kidnapping-and-torture?t=1655205109943

https://www.gov.rw/president

Chocolate bar bomb

I just don’t know how the war would have gone if the Germans had succeeded with these bombs.

Giving a new meaning to the dessert name “death by chocolate”, The German bomb makers created explosive devices with a coating of thin layer of rich dark chocolate, then packaged it in expensive-looking black and gold paper.

Arguably the most unconventional bomb was the chocolate bar bomb was intended to be smuggled into the Royal household with the purpose of assassination. None of the chocolate bars reached Britain, but British authorities did capture some in places as far away as Turkey. A secondary use for the proposed disguised chocolate bar was as an emergency hand grenade

The Germans had planned to use secret agents working in Britain to discretely place the bars, branded as Peters Chocolate, among other luxury items taken into the dining room used by the War Cabinet during the conflict.

But the British intelligence service did a decent job of uncovering these plots. And Victor Rothschild, the head of MI5’s very small counter-sabotage unit, wanted to document what the British had found.

Lord Rothschild, a scientist in peace time as well as a key member of the Rothschild banking family, immediately typed a letter to a talented illustrator seconded to his unit, asking him to draw poster-size images of the chocolate to warn the public to be on the look-out.

His letter to the artist, Laurence Fish, is dated May 4, 1943 and was written from his secret bunker in Parliament Street, London.

It was unearthed by Mr Fish’s wife, journalist Jean Bray, as she sorted through his possessions after the artist’s death at the age of 89 in 2009.

The letter, marked “secret”, reads:

“Dear Fish, I wonder if you could do a drawing for me of an explosive slab of chocolate.

We have received information that the enemy are using pound slabs of chocolate which are made of steel with a very thin covering of real chocolate.

Inside there is high explosive and some form of delay mechanism…When you break off a piece of chocolate at one end in the normal way, instead of it falling away, a piece of canvas is revealed stuck into the middle of the piece which has been broken off and a ticking into the middle of the remainder of the slab.

The letter explained how the mechanism would be activated when the piece of chocolate was pulled sharply, which would also pull the canvas, and Lord Rothschild said he was enclosing a “very poor sketch” done by someone who had seen one of the bars. When the piece of chocolate at the end was broken off, the canvas detonator was pulled, and, after a delay of seven seconds, the bomb would explode.

sources

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/nazis-wanted-beat-brits-exploding-chocolate-bars-180956798/

https://www.history.com/news/sketches-reveal-nazi-chocolate-bombs

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/found-original-drawings-of-a-nazi-chocolate-bomb-and-other-boobytrapped-devices

Donation

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Hitler’s Black Book

This is not a scientific fact it is solely based on my own observations. It seems to be that a lot ,if not all, dictators behave like a toddler. The whole world revolves around them and they get very cross if someone doesn’t want to play with them.

Hitler was one of these toddler like dictators. He had a black book with all the names of British people who had said negative things about them.

The ‘Black book’ was a popularised name of the Nazi ‘special wanted arrest list’ drawn up for the immediate period after a successful Nazi invasion of Great Britain in 1940.

The official name was the Sonderfahndungsliste G.B. (“Special Search List Great Britain”) a secret list of prominent British residents to be arrested, produced in 1940 by the SS.

Compiled by Walter Schellenberg, the head of counter-espionage and part of the Reich Security directorate, the book was essentially a Who’s Who for Nazi detainment. The names were listed in alphabetical order followed by the bureau section where the details of each individual were kept; Jewish individuals had the word ‘Jude’ in brackets after their names. At the end of each section there were blank, lined pages presumably for additional names to be added. At the back of the book was a directory of institutions such as embassies, trade unions, universities, newspaper offices and Masonic lodges, in which the Nazis were interested.

The list also gives a glimpse of the ‘type’ of persons who were to be arrested (if not specifically on the list)- Politicians, press barons, large international company directors, trade unionists, communists/political opponents & Jews, Gypsies, senior clergymen, scientists and everyone who had already escaped the Nazis from occupied Europe, in essence anyone either useful to the Nazi regime or a perceived opponent.

Although there are notable mistakes on the list. For example people such as Lytton Strachey who had died in 1932 ,or Paul Robeson, who had moved back to the United States in 1939.

It does seem that most information had been gathered from newspaper reports, telephone directories and published works of the immediate pre war period, although the inclusion of British & allied intelligence agents has been recently noted as ‘frighteningly accurate’.

Beside each name was the number of the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) to which the person was to be handed over. Churchill was to be placed into the custody of Amt VI (Ausland-SD, Foreign Intelligence), but the vast majority of the people listed in the Black Book would be placed into the custody of Amt IV (Gestapo).

The list also includes personalities with LGBT connections, including author and Abinger resident EM Forster, and actor Noel Coward.

On finding himself listed, Noel Coward received a telegram from author and suffragist, Rebecca West, who also featured; it read:

‘My dear – the people we should have been seen dead with!’

Coward was of interest to the Nazis for a number of reasons. He opposed pre-war appeasement, was an armed forces entertainer, had connections with MI5 and he was also homosexual. In his memoirs Future Indefinite (1954), Coward wrote:

‘If anyone had told me at that time that I was high up on the Nazi black list I should have laughed and told them not to talk nonsense’.

Coward would have been assigned to RHSA, VI, G 1 – the Security Service under the control of the SS.

Coward, with Norman Hackforth at the piano, performing for sailors aboard HMS Victorious in Ceylon, August 1944

Likewise, gay author E M Forster was of interest for his socialist writings and his homosexuality.

The person who was to be in charge of arresting those listed in the book was SS Colonel Professor Dr Frank Six. Six was subsequently responsible for massacres in the Soviet Union for which he was sentenced at Nuremberg as a war criminal.

Some notable people on that list:

Virginia Woolf, novelist and essayist, wife of Leonard Woolf. It appears that Hitler was afraid of Virginia Woolf.

“Harry Bullock”, thought to be a mistake for Guy Henry Bullock, diplomat and Everest mountaineer.

Heinrich Mann, German novelist and anti-fascist.

Robert Baden-Powell, founder and leader of Scouting, which the Nazis regarded as a spy organisation.

Fergus Anderson, two-time Grand Prix motorcycle road-racing World Champion.

Leonie Zuntz (1908–1942), German Hittitologist, refugee scholar at Somerville College, Oxford

Dr Agnes Maude Royden, suffragist, author, preacher, philosopher, pacifist.

sources

https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/the-black-book

Sex and WWII

++++ Contains some nudity+++++

We watched the 2001 World War II drama “Enemy at the Gates” a few nights ago. There was one scene where the characters played by Rachel Weisz and Jude Law had sex whilst surrounded by other soldiers, in the sleeping quarters.

This made me wonder how often something would happen for real during the dark days of WWII. It also made me think about the wider concept of sex during the war.

Sex is the most primal instinct human beings, and indeed all animals, have , even though nowadays some of the woke generation may dispute that . But sex is a normal and a beautiful thing.

Clearly sex was still happening during WWII if that hadn’t been the case there would have been no births during 1939 and 1945.

In Germany, and later in other countries occupied by the Nazis young women were encouraged and often forced to have children, through the Lebensborn program. The purpose of this program was to offer to young girls who were deemed “racially pure” the possibility to give birth to a child in secret. The child was then given to the SS organization which took charge in the child’s education and adoption. It was really meant to breed the “super-race” In the later stages children who looked ‘aryan’ were also forcefully taken from parents and given away for adoption.

Anni-Frid Lyngstad from Swedish super group ABBA was one of the children born via the Lebensborn program.

Sex of course isn’t just for making babies it is also to have fun and make you feel good about yourself. Even in the darkest days and despite facing horrors every day, some of those who were in the concentration camps still managed to have sex. In Rudolf Vrba’s book “I Escaped From Auschwitz “ he writes that on one occasion male kapo, part of a male inmate work group had a longing for sex with a female kapo of a female work group working in the same operation, sorting the belongings of the victims who had been murdered in the gas chambers. The female kapo was an attractive, young Hungarian girl who agreed to have sex if she was given some specified gifts. Vrba was instructed in one case was to transport the gifts to the female kapo before the sexual encounter.

Great Britain is not really known for its liberal attitude to nudity and sexuality, but the Blitz intensified sexual desire. A full two decades before the so-called permissive society of the Sixties, a dramatic, if understated, sexual revolution was already taking place. Life magazine featured on its cover in May 1941 three showgirls dressed in only underwear and gas masks. A more powerful symbol of the sexualisation of the Blitz would be hard to find.

All the major combatants involved in World War II used pornography as a small part of their psychological operations (PSYOP) strategy. Mostly this involved dropping propaganda leaflets using sexual themes from the air, in an attempt to demoralise enemy soldiers at the front.

There were also some hidden dangers especially in the time where condoms were not really used as much as they are now, aside from the unplanned pregnancies by lovers rather then husbands. There was also the danger of STI’s (sexually transmitted infections, aka VD).

In June 1942, a woman named Billie Smith was arrested in her hotel room in Little Rock, Arkansas, and charged with prostitution and violation of the state’s immorality laws. Smith pled guilty and paid the fine of $10—equivalent to $150 today—but authorities weren’t quite done.

Smith was turned over to the city’s health examiner, who ran tests for syphilis and gonorrhea. When both came back positive, the officer ordered her committed to a federally run quarantine center in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

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Sources

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-quot-lebensborn-quot-program

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3165954/How-Blitz-sent-Britain-sex-mad-New-book-reveals-Hitler-s-bid-bomb-surrender-startling-effect.html

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/10/during-world-war-ii-sexually-active-women-were-a-national-security-threat/409555/

Not Just Numbers

The approximate number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust by nation .

Poland 3,000.000; Ukraine 900,000;Hungary 450,000; Russia 352,000;Romania 300;000;BaltIc countries 228,000;Germany/Austria 210,000;the Netherlands 105,000;France 92,000;Slovakia 75,000; Greece 54,000;Belgium 40,000;Yugoslavia 26,000;Bulgaria 14,000 ;Italy 8,000,Luxembourg 1,000;Norway 900. Total 5,907,900.

These numbers are just estimates. I believe the number is actually higher, because not all suicides are included n this number nor are all the numbers of those who died during the transport.

However when I saw these numbers I had 2 questions. My first question was “How come there are no numbers for the Danish Jews?” The Danes had been very successful in saving their Jewish neighbours. Many of then were enabled to escape to Sweden with help from their Danish neighbours .Like 19 year old Henny Sinding who used hos boat ‘Geda III’ to smuggle Jews from Denmark to Sweden.

This is not to say that no Danish Jews died. Some did die either by suicide or they didn’t survive the escape journey to Sweden. There will also have been Danish Jews who lived elsewhere who would have been deported .

My second question was “Who was responsible for the Holocaust? ” The answer to that is not as easy as one might think. No one will doubt or deny that the Nazi regime in Germany and Austria were responsible for the death of millions, however their counterparts in other European countries also did play a part in this. The excuse of being occupied they had to do as they were told is often used, but the fact is many European governments were willing participants.

Even the countries which weren’t occupied played their part. The picture below and at the start of the blog are pictures of Jewish refugees Not much is known about the group of mostly Jewish refugees who came from the region of Moravská Ostrava/Mährisch Ostrau in former Czechoslovakia, and arrived in Great Britain on March 29 1939 ,shortly after Germany had invaded Czechoslovakia, but a day after the British Police deported them at and put them on a plane at Croydoen airport.

Although the exact number of murdered Jews will never really be known, in a way it doesn’t really matter. Because each of these numbers represent a person, a human being with a living soul. A human being like any other human being, but because they were seen as a lesser life form by a sick and twisted ideology they were murdered.

A human being like Max Baum a cattle dealer who was born in Linnich, Germany , 18 August 1907 but lived in Doenrade in the Netherlands and spent some time in Geleen. Maz was murdered in Auschwitz, 18 December 1943. His wife survived

sources

Donation

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https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/227984/max-baum

The death of Dafydd ap Gruffydd.

pRINCE OF wALES

On October 3rd 1283, Dafydd ap Gruffydd, prince of Gwynedd in Wales, became the first person to be tried for what later would become high treason against a king, hewas also the first nobleman executed by being hanged, drawn and quartered.

On Palm Sunday 1282 Dafydd ap Gruffydd attacked Hawarden Castle, in so doing, thereby starting the final conflict with Plantagenet-ruled England,King Edward I(Edward the Longshanks), in the course of which Welsh independence was lost.

On 22 June, Dafydd and his younger son Owain ap Dafydd were captured at Nanhysglain, a secret hiding place in a bog by Bera Mountain to the south of Abergwyngregyn. Dafydd, who was seriously wounded in the struggle to arrest him, was conveyed that night to King Edward’s camp at Rhuddlan. Dafydd was taken from there to Chester. Dafydd’s wife Elizabeth de Ferrers, their seven daughters, and their infant niece, Gwenllian ferch Llywelyn, were also taken prisoner at the same time.

On 30 September, Dafydd ap Gruffudd, Prince of Wales, was condemned to death, the first person known to have been tried and executed for what from that time onwards would be described as high treason against the King. Edward ensured that Dafydd’s death was to be slow and agonising, and also historic; he became the first prominent person in recorded history to have been hanged, drawn and quartered, preceded by a number of minor knights earlier in the thirteenth century. Dafydd was dragged through the streets of Shrewsbury attached to a horse’s tail then hanged alive, revived, then disembowelled and his entrails burned before him for “his sacrilege in committing his crimes in the week of Christ’s passion”, and then his body cut into four-quarters “for plotting the king’s death”. Geoffrey of Shrewsbury was paid 20 shillings for carrying out the gruesome act on 3 October 1283.

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Sources

http://www.deeside.com/palm-sunday-736-years-ago-dafydd-ap-gruffydd-attacked-hawarden-castle/

http://www.englishmonarchs.co.uk/dafydd_grufydd.html

https://biography.wales/article/s-DAFY-APG-1283

View at Medium.com

 

 

The first WWII casualty on British soil.

bomb

The first Luftwaffe bombing on British soil took place on November 13,1939 northeast of the mainland of Scotland. at Sullom, Northmavine, Shetland . Of the 8 bombs which were dropped only 4 were dropped on land, the other 4 landed in sea.

Eye witness Laurence Shuardson said the following of the air raid.

I was going to school and I had two miles to walk. I was on top of a hill at a place called Bobby Ratter Loch, when this black pencil like aircraft came from behind me. I could see the people in the aircraft, it was that low. I later found out it was a Dornier 17.

Dornier

As it passed over the guns started firing from Sullum Voe, the shells were dropping in the sea and exploding in the air. I took fright, ran down the hill to see my friends and told them that I wasn’t going to school that day, and then I ran all the way home and hid in a haystack.

The bombs and shells were dropping in the sea and making big splashes. One hit near a village school. My uncle, who was a haulage contractor helping to build the airfield at Sullum Voe, went and picked up a fragment of this bomb. It lay around the house for years as a doorstop.

Apparently the only casualty was a rabbit; and there were pictures in the national press about this rabbit. I was led to believe that the ‘Crazy Gang’ wrote a song called “Run Rabbit, Run” – what truth there is in that I don’t know!! That was the very first bomb dropped in the Second World War.”

Now the song ‘Run Rabbit, Run’ was actually not inspired by the event because it had been around long before the air raid.

The intended target had been  RAF Sullom Voe which was was a Flying boat base and was closely associated with the adjacent airfield of RAF Scatsta. But the base was not hit.

The only fatal casualty was a rabbit, although there may have been 2 dead rabbits. Some people have suggested that these rabbits were planted to underline the complete  incompetence of the Luftwaffe. And to be honest the rabbits did look in good shape especially after being pulled out of a crater.

But against my better judgement I will not be cynical today and will contribute the rabbits as casualties of war.

crater

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Sources

BBC

Shetland museum archives

 

The Nine Sovereigns at Windsor for the funeral of King Edward VII.

9

I have often wondered If World War I was nothing else then a family feud gone out of control.

If you look at all the royal families in Europe and even outside of Europe, they are mostly all related  in one way or another. There is nothing more clearer indicating this then a picture which was taken after the funeral of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of India occurred on Friday, 20 May 1910.(picture above)

Standing, from left to right: King Haakon VII of Norway-  the late King’s nephew by marriage/son-in-law and fourth cousin (once removed);Tsar Ferdinand of the Bulgarians-  the late King’s second cousin; King Manuel II of Portugal and the Algarve,-the late King’s fourth cousin;Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Prussia- the late King’s nephew;  King George I of the Hellenes(Greece) – the late King’s brother-in-law/fourth cousin and King Albert I of the Belgians- the late King’s second cousin.

Seated, from left to right: King Alfonso XIII of Spain-the late King’s nephew-in-law; King George V of the United Kingdom- the late King’s son; and King Frederick VIII of Denmark-the late King’s brother-in-law/fourth cousin.

These nine Sovereigns all had direct connection but most of the other Royal dignitaries also had direct or indirect ties.

Only 4 years later most of the sovereign states these men. were head of state of would be at war.

Two of the main nations at war German and Great Britain had direct blood ties.As a grandchild of Queen Victoria, Wilhelm II was a first cousin of the future King George V.

(Wilhelm with his father, in Highland dress, in 1862)

wilhem kilt

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Penny Black

black

It may sound like a 19th century Gothic novel or the name of an Irish folk singer but neither apply, Penny Black is in fact the name of the first adhesive postage stamp.

It was first issued in Great Britain om May 1 ,1840 but was not valid for use until 6 May   it showed the head of the monarch of the time, Queen Victoria. Printed in sheets of 240, each had to be cut from the sheet by hand until the Irishman, Henry Archer, came up with an early perforating machine.

Even though  the stamps were not officially issued for sale until 6 May 1840, a few offices such as those in Bath sold the stamps unofficially before that date. There are covers postmarked 2 May, and a single example is known on cover dated 1 May 1840. All London post offices received official supplies of the new stamps but other offices throughout the United Kingdom did not, continuing to accept payments for postage in cash for a period.

Posted in Dublin on May 8, 1840, the Fitzpatrick-Thomas letter is the first clear use of the Penny Black on an Irish letter.

The Penny Black lasted less than a year. A red cancellation was hard to see on the black design and the red ink was easy to remove; both made it possible to re-use cancelled stamps.

red

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know 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 To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

An Post