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

 

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Glasgow Rangers-Ibrox Park Deadly stadium.

ibrox

Association Football also known as just Football or Soccer is the world’s most favourite sport.No sport united and divides fans like football. Legendary Dutch football coach Rinus Michels famously said that “top football is something like war. And unfortunately like war it has casualties.

There have been several well documented Football disasters over the decades, Hillsborough and Heizel are amongst the most devastating ones.

But very few stadiums top the deadly disasters like the ones in Glasgow Rangers stadium Ibrox Park in Glasgow Scotland.

During an international  football match between Scotland and England in Ibrox stadium on 5 April 1902,the West Tribune Stand collapsed, resulting in the death of 25 fans.

1902

A number of reasons have been considered for the collapse, including heavy rainfall the previous night and the large crowd stamping and swaying as the match progressed. One theory in a report following the event centered around Scottish player Bobby Templeton.bobby

Regarded as an exciting attacking player, he was making his debut for the Scottish national team and had gained possession of the ball moments prior to the collapse.

 

The investigation stated that the crowd’s desperation to see Templeton dribble with the ball caused them to surge forward which may have been a contributing to the collapse.

During 1963, concerns were raised about the safety of the stairway adjacent to passageway 13 (colloquially known as Stairway 13), the exit closest to Copland Road subway station. On 16 September 1961 two people were killed in a crush on the stairway, and there were two other incidents, in 1967 and 1969, where several people were injured.

Unfortunately worse was yet to come. On January 2,1971. 66 fans died in a crush among the crowd at an Old Firm football game.

In the 90th minute, Celtic took a 1–0 lead through Jimmy Johnstone and some Rangers supporters started to leave the stadium. However, in the final moments of the match, Colin Stein scored an equaliser for Rangers.

As thousands of spectators were leaving the ground by stairway 13, it appears that someone may have fallen ,possibly a child being carried on his father’s shoulders, causing a massive chain-reaction pile-up of people.

Among the dead were many children. The youngest child to die was  Nigel Patrick Pickup of Liverpool, age 9.

news coverage

Sheriff James Irvine Smith, in his damages statement, ruled: “The said accident was due to the fault and negligence of the defenders, Rangers F.C.”

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Where some see a ring, I see a tragedy.

ring

Some pieces of jewelry are bought in the spur of the moment. Often an impulsive buy, a pair of earrings for your wife because you think they look nice or a necklace for your girlfriend because although it may not be expensive it is still something nice for her to have.

But buying a ring is different, it always has a profound meaning. It indicates the love between 2 people, with a ring they show this love to the world. Or it is an acknowledgement for a great goal which has been achieved. A ring also means respect for one another.

In May 2016 staff at The Auschwitz Museum found am enamel mug with a false bottom. Hidden in the double bottom was a ring and a necklace.

mug

Due to the passage of time, the materials had gradually degraded, and the second bottom separated from the mug exposing the hidden treasure.

I don’t care about the monetary value of the ring for there is an emotional story behind it, It is a story of hope. The owner of the ring clearly hoped that one day he or she would be reunited with the piece of jewelry. It is also a story of fear for the owner knew if the ring was taken off him or her it would be lost forever. Unfortunately the owner was never reunited with the piece of jewelry.

The ring and the cup also reveal a more sinister story.

The Nazis constantly  lied to the Jews deported for extermination. They were told they were going to be resettled, with a new job and place to live

They allowed the victims take some  luggage with them. Knowing well that they would take things were precious to them thus ensuring they would take the jewelry,clothing and other valuable items from them before they sent them to be gassed.

I don’t know if the owner of the ring survived, I hope they did but I fear they didn’t.

And sometimes a ring tells a story about a reluctant hero.

Ring Jane

The story emerged in an unlikely place, a BBC show called “Antiques Roadshow” It was told by 2 women. The women were nieces of Jane Haining, the ring belonged to her.

Jane worked as a missionary for the Church of Scotland in Budapest.The mission had established a school in 1846, with funds provided by Jews converted to Christianity. Haining looked after 50 of the school’s 400 pupils ,the majority  were Jewish.

Students

As the war broke out she was actually on holidays in Cornwall, and she could have stayed there saved and sound  but she decided to return to Hungary to the Mission in Budapest. She was arrested by the Nazis in 1944,accused of working among Jews and listening to the BBC. She was sent to  Auschwitz, where she was tattooed as prisoner 79467. She died in Auschwitz  on July 17. 194. Haining is the only Scot to be officially honoured for giving her life to help Jews in the Holocaust.

Jane

 

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Sources

Smithsonian

BBC

Pan Am Flight 103-Lockerbie

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Today marks the 30th anniversary of the Pan Am Flight 103,Lockerbie bombing

I am not going in to great detail into the story because so much has already been written about the terror attack. I will highlight some of the passengers stories.

A total of 270 people, including young children and students, died in the air and on the ground in the 1988 attack.

Ingrid Smith

Four days before Christmas 1988, Bruce Smith received a frantic call from his son that Pan Am Flight 103, en route from London to New York, had blown up.

brucesmith

 

Smith, a Pan Am pilot who had flown the same kind of plane on the same route, raced to New York’s Kennedy International Airport and arrived in the crew room in time to see live television pictures of the fire ignited by the crashing fuselage in Lockerbie, Scotland. He knew almost instantly that his wife, Ingrid, was dead.

Smith became a man with a mission. He buried his wife at the small English church where they had married. And then, with the $100,000 in life insurance payments as seed money, he turned his attention to catching terrorists.

Karen Lee Hunt

 

 

 

 

Born January 7, 1968, Karen Lee Hunt, of Webster, New York, was a Syracuse University junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She majored in English with a minor in journalism and hoped to be a magazine writer.

 

Karen wrote poetry and kept a journal that was returned to her family after the crash. During her stay in London Karen took great care to buy gifts for her family and friends. One gift of a teapot, bought for her mother Peggy, survived the crash.

This was one of her poems

“Something has happened to keep us apart,

But always and forever you’re in my heart,

Some day soon, from now till forever,

I’ll meet you again and we’ll be together,

I’m not sure how, and I’m not sure when,

Together, forever, somewhere my friend”

John, Sean Kevin and Ingrid Elizabeth Svensson Mulroy

 

John Mulroy was director of international communications for the Associated Press. mulroy_s_i_14-0021 (1)He had spent 25 years as director of communications for Pan Am and joined the wire service in 1984. He was survived by his wife Josephine, daughter Siobhan and son Brendan.

John was traveling with his son Sean and daughter-in-law Ingrid, who were living in Ingrid’s native country of Sweden. The couple had decided to travel to the United States to spend Christmas with Sean’s family. They had been married only six months.

The Mulroys were also traveling with John’s sister Bridget Concannon, her husband Thomas and their son Sean

Sarah Margaret Aicher

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The 1988 Christmas season was an exciting time for 29-year-old Sarah Aicher. An aspiring American actress and playwright living in London, she was planning a trip to her parents’ home in Pomfret, Conn., accompanied by her Canadian actor-boyfriend, Paul Freeman. She and Freeman, 25, were bearing two pieces of good news: They were about to become engaged, and Sarah’s first script, Heaven, had attracted the attention of the Bristol Express Theatre Company, a London-based troupe that specialized in new dramatists.

 The young couple had giddily fantasized about a dream cast for the play — headed by Albert Finney, no less — and looked forward to a staged reading by the Bristol Express after the holidays, directed by Freeman.
But they were never to see the reading. Their flight to the States was the doomed Pan Am 103, which was blown up by a terrorist bomb over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 passengers aboard. Andy Jordan, director of the Bristol Express, remembers feeling a stunned sense of’ ‘total disbelief” at the news. ”They were both so attractive, so charming and vital and talented,” he says.

Holly Johnson

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Holly Johnson, singer of eighties band “Frankie Goes to Hollywood” did not die on board of Pan Am Flight 103.

However Holly Johnson and his manager were scheduled to arrive in New York for final
negotiations about his break with Frankie Goes to Hollywood.  Whatever he was doing in London ran late, so when they left for Heathrow, they hit rush
hour traffic.  Johnson’s ticket was for Pan Am 103, but when they reached
Heathrow, they had missed the flight by about ten or fifteen minutes.

Word has it that Johnson was very sullen on the way back from the airport.
When they finally reached his (or his manager’s) flat, he switched the TV
on.  The manager went in the kitchen to get a glass of water.  When his
manager returned, Johnson’s eyes were transfixed on the screen.  There on
the screen, was the flaming wreckage of a small town in Scotland, Lockerbie,
and the remnants of Pan Am Flight 103.

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1024px-lockerbie_disaster_memorial

 

 

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