The Revolutionary War Animated Map | American Battlefield Trust

See the Revolutionary War unfold, from Lexington to Yorktown and beyond, on our animated map, produced by Wide Awake Films in partnership with the Revolutionary War Trust (formerly Campaign 1776), a division of the American Battlefield Trust.

Source: The Revolutionary War Animated Map | American Battlefield Trust

The entire Revolutionary War (American War of Independence) in 19 minutes!

If you’re not quite familiar with the overall sweep of events during this crucial period of American history, it’s a terrific introduction! If you’re like me, and have a pretty good general grasp of events, but a few of the details of how it all fits together have gotten hazy over the years, it’s a great refresher.

It’s more than just an “animated map,” making use of video clips of reenactments along with historical maps and artwork, but it certainly does make use of animated maps to show how the various forces maneuvered, in attack, defense, advance, and withdrawal. Excellent overview!

Advertisements

HMS Queen Elizabeth deals with Hurricane Florence on way to F-35 trials | Business Insider

HMS Queen Elizabeth

HMS Queen Elizabeth was delayed by waves and winds caused by Hurricane Florence on its way to Norfolk, Virginia.

Source: HMS Queen Elizabeth deals with Hurricane Florence on way to F-35 trials – Business Insider

Maryland – my home state – represents!

“The British Royal Navy’s £3.5 billion ($4.5 billion) aircraft carrier had left the UK for America on August 18, to start September training with F-35B jets based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, the Royal Navy wrote on its official website.

Video clip of HMS Queen Elizabeth leaving Portsmouth:

“The stop in Norfolk, the second after a pit-stop in Florida on September 5, is the aircraft carrier’s last before it goes to Maryland for F35B jet training.

The journey was not all smooth sailing, thanks to Hurricane Florence:

“[The Royal Navy] said HMS Queen Elizabeth passed to the south of the Hurricane’s eye but still met four meter swells, five meter waves, and winds of 46 mph.”

An earlier article (“Britain’s newest and most powerful aircraft carrier is headed to America to train with F-35s for the first time“) had noted that

“Britain’s newest and most powerful aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is on its way to America to train with F-35 jets for the first time,” and that “The deployment is significant because it will mark the first fighter jet landing on a British aircraft carrier in eight years.”

Video of F-35 vs the earlier, British-made, carrier-based fighter, the AV-8B Harrier II:

“The first landing on the HMS Queen Elizabeth will happen at the end of September, according to the Portsmouth News. The jets are expected to perform 500 take-offs and landings over an 11-week period, the Royal Navy said…”

“HMS Queen Elizabeth is the third largest aircraft carrier in the world at 280 meters long and a weight of 65,000 tonnes. In total, there will be about 1,500 people on board, the Portsmouth News reported.”

“It is expected to be on active duty in 2021.”

Additional information, from the “Save the Royal Navy” website:

“Carrier heaven” – US Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia – the world’s largest naval base, and home to six of the US Navy’s ten super-carriers

Rules: oldest restaurant in London, serving traditional British food

Rules was established by Thomas Rule in 1798 making it the oldest restaurant in London. It serves traditional British food, specialising in classic game.

Source: Oldest restaurant in London. It serves traditional British food.

Rules restaurant, at 35 Maiden Lane, Convent Garden, London, “serves the traditional food of this country at its best – and at affordable prices. It specialises in classic game cookery, oysters, pies and puddings.” I must confess, their version of “affordable” is not exactly mine (a situation often the case here in the U.S., as well), but I would nonetheless love to go there!

The website notes,

“Rules is a heritage restaurant. There is a demand for the best in life as we are confronted with so much mediocrity. In an age when everyone is deluged with homogeneous brands, we like to create the special. There is a real unfulfilled need and desire to experience it.”

With that, I cannot disagree!

“We DIDN’T win the war! Peter Hitchens writes a provocative book challenging all we think about WW2” | Daily Mail Online

Celebration: British troops cheer the news on May 8, 1945, that war in Europe is over

Peter Hitchens reveals eight myths about the Second World War which we grew up on. He details in a section of his new book why we didn’t win the war.

Source: We DIDN’T win the war! PETER HITCHENS writes a provocative book challenging all we think about WW2 | Daily Mail Online

As The Anglophilic Anglican, and a Blighty Boy to boot, I have a huge amount of respect, appreciation, and admiration for all things British, and that includes the valor and determination of the British and Crown (Commonwealth / Empire) Armed Forces during World War Two. But as an historian, I am also interested in not only the conduct of that war, but its origin, causes, and the implications of its outcome for today’s world.

Peter Hitchens is an English journalist and author, and an Anglican Christian. He has published eight books, writes for The Daily Mail (UK), and is a former foreign correspondent in both Moscow and Washington. Like me, his father fought bravely in World War Two, a decorated combat veteran; like mine, his veteran father came to question certain aspects of that war. This background gives a certain poignancy to Hitchens’ take on the war, and its origins.

Hitchens notes that “the Second World War, like all events that have become myths, has become a dangerous subject. As a nation, we are enthralled by the belief that it was an unequivocally ‘Good War’, a belief that has grown with extraordinary speed. Yet I did not have to look far to see a rather different picture…

“The uncomfortable truth is that from the very beginning, it was Britain which sought a conflict with Germany, not Germany with Britain. Hitler’s real targets lay elsewhere, in Ukraine and Russia, and he was much less interested in us than we like to think…

“Poland was a pretext for that war, not a reason – as was demonstrated by the fact that we did nothing to help Poland when Hitler invaded. It was an excuse for an essentially irrational, idealistic, nostalgic impulse, built largely on a need to assert Britain’s standing as a Great Power.”

This is not the first time I have heard or read that it was actually Britain that sought to provoke a war with Germany, not the other way ’round. But it is interesting – and lends further credence to the idea – to hear it from a British author. The accounts I have heard tend to blame Churchill and his antipathy, bordering on hatred, for the Germans. While it seems likely that this played some significant part, the argument that it was also done in an attempt to shore up a flagging Empire’s Great Power status opens a new perspective on the situation.

“Nor did we go to war, as many like to believe, to save or even help the endangered Jews of Europe… Britain simply did not declare war in 1939 to save Europe’s Jews – indeed, our government was indifferent to their plight and blocked one of their main escape routes, to what was then British-ruled Palestine. We also did nothing to help Poland, for whose sake we supposedly declared war.”

Once again, I am familiar with the idea that Poland was a convenient excuse. Britain, if Hitchens and others are correct, was looking for a reason to go to war with Germany; France had a centuries-old rivalry with the Germans, which in its more modern incarnation went back at least to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, and even further, to the Napoleonic era, when Blücher’s cavalry had helped to seal Bonaparte’s doom.

For both Britain and France, the invasion of Poland provided the perfect pretext to declare war on Germany – and it is interesting that neither declared war on Stalin’s Soviet Union, which was busily invading Poland from the East while Germany did so from the West. If protecting Poland was the real reason for war, should they not have held both invaders equally responsible? But they did not.

And of course, it doesn’t seem as if anybody particularly cared about the Jews, at least until after the war, when the victorious Allies (at least in the West) were overcome with a belated sense of collective guilt (the misapplication of which in the present era is contributing to the Islamification of Europe… but I digress). Prior to the war, they were mostly ignored, much as Middle Eastern Christians are today. But again, I digress!

“Forget, too, the ‘special relationship’ with the US: America was a jealous and resentful rival to whom we ceded our global status and naval supremacy. And Washington’s grudging backing came at a huge price – we were made to hand over the life savings of the Empire to stave off bankruptcy and surrender.”

I have posted previously about the heavy cost to Britain of American aid during the Second World War – shamefully heavy, for a nation which is our mother country, and with which we have long claimed to have a special relationship.

On the other hand, setting aside the personal affinity between Churchill and FDR, we had even less reason to go to war with Germany than Britain did. If Hitler had not decided to support his Axis ally and declare war on us following Pearl Harbor, we might have ended up devoting our full efforts to Japan, leaving Britain (and Stalin, a despicable and bloodthirsty dictator whose alliance of convenience with Britain and the U.S. is one of the more repugnant elements of the whole war) to deal with Germany.

This is just from the introduction! Hitchens’ eight “myths” (I’m not fond of that use of the word myth; I prefer “fallacies,” since I interpret “myth” in the scholarly sense of “a narrative which may not be factually or historically true, but which expresses a deeper truth about the nature of reality”) are yet to follow. But I will not comment on them further. I strongly encourage you to read the whole article; it is thought-provoking and, if you have not yet encountered these ideas, may be enlightening.

As Hitchens points out,

“What began as a phoney war led in the end to a phoney victory, in which the real winners were Washington and Moscow, not [Britain] – and an unsatisfactory, uncomfortable and unhappy peace. It led to a permanent decline in our status, and a much accelerated, violent and badly managed collapse of our Empire…

“Beyond doubt there were many acts of noble courage by our people, civilians and servicemen and women during that war. It is absolutely not my purpose to diminish these acts, or to show disrespect to those who fought and endured.

“But the sad truth is that [Great Britain] deliberately sought a war in the vain hope of preserving a Great Power status our rulers knew in their hearts it had already lost. The resulting war turned us into a second-rate power.”

That is a sad truth, indeed!

A day in the life of an English “Bobby” (policeman) in 1959 – ah, the good ol’ days!

One year ago today, British & Commonwealth Forces posted this lovely video on their Facebook page, with the following commentary:

The British Policeman (1959) – a Public Information Film produced for the Colonial Office.

This portrait of a British Policeman was commissioned by the Colonial Office to promote Britain’s Police Service to the colonies and Commonwealth states.

Released in 1959, this film upholds one of the Central Office of Information’s (COI) founding principles and the reason for its commitment to producing Public Information Films. In December 1945 the incumbent Prime Minister Clement Attlee stated it was important “a true and adequate picture of British institutions and the British way of life should be presented overseas” through such films.

Following a ‘typical’ day in the life of Police Constable Jack Edwards, the film shows his ‘typical’ duties over an eight-hour shift. The film portrayal of PC Edwards as a guardian of law and order in 1950s Britain, understandably looks dated, when compared to today’s modern Police Service.

This film made available courtesy the UK National Archives.

How times have changed – and not particularly for the better, either!

Nota Bene: Why are British policemen known as “Bobbies”? Why, ’tis an affectionate and respectful nod to Sir Robert Peel, their founder:

“The concept of modern policing has its roots in pre-Victorian England, when the British home minister, Sir Robert Peel (1778-1850), oversaw the creation of London’s first organized police force. Before Peel’s 1829 reforms, public order had been maintained by a mix of night watchmen, local constables and red-coat-wearing army soldiers, who were deployed as much to quell political troubles as to deal with local crime.

“In creating London’s Metropolitan Police (headquartered on a short street called Scotland Yard), Peel sought to create a professionalized law enforcement corps that was as accountable to everyday citizens as to the ruling classes. When Peel’s opponents complained that the creation of the new police force would restrict personal liberties, Peel responded, ‘I want to teach people that liberty does not consist in having your house robbed by organized gangs of thieves, and in leaving the principal streets of London in the nightly possession of drunken women and vagabonds.’

“Instead of the resented red coats, Peel’s patrolmen wore black jackets and tall wool hats with shiny badges. They went out armed only with a short club and a whistle for summoning backup, walking regular beats and working to gain the trust of the local citizens. Robert Peel’s system was a success, and by the mid-19th century large American cities had created similar police forces. In London, the policemen were so identified with the politician who created them that they were referred to as ‘Peelers’ or—more memorably—’Bobbies,’ after the popular nickname for Robert.”

A Brief History of the Great British Sunday Roast

Sunday Roast

Source: A Brief History of the Great British Sunday Roast

When mighty Roast Beef was the Englishman’s food,
It ennobled our brains and enriched our blood.
Our soldiers were brave, and our courtiers were good
Oh! The Roast Beef of old England,
And old English Roast Beef!

— “The Roast Beef of Old England,” by Henry Fielding (1731)

I’m a bit late in the day for this week, but perhaps some inspiration for next Sunday…?

“The British love of beef, and particularly for lunch on a Sunday, is nothing new, as it is such a part of the national identity, that even the French call us ‘rosbifs’ (roast beef). The Sunday Roast came to prominence during the reign of King Henry VII in 1485 and the Yeoman of the Guard – the royal bodyguard – have affectionately been known as ‘beefeaters’ since the 15th century because of their love of eating roast beef.”

Read on for more! See also How to Cook the Perfect Sunday Roast, these Tips and Recipes for Cooking the Roast Beef, and of course, this guide to cooking the Traditional Yorkshire Pudding that is the classic accompaniment to the Sunday roast.

My own dear late mother cooked a roast of beef, with most of the traditional accompaniments (sans Yorkshire pudding), for midday dinner every Sunday through most of my childhood and into young adulthood. It was such a fixture that one of my brother’s girlfriends was once reported as asking, “Does she know how to cook anything else?” – since she only came over for dinner on Sundays, and of course, that was what was on the menu!

Ma’s version was of the “pot-roast” variety – the beef, potatoes, onions, carrots, and sometimes celery were cooked in the pressure-cooker, while we were at church, rather than in the oven, and she served it with “essence” (what the French would call au jus), rather than gravy – but for all that, it was nonetheless a continuation of the old tradition, and one I must say I rather miss.

The classic Ploughman’s Lunch: a how-to, from the UK’s “The Guardian”

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/3/31/1396266221305/A-ploughmans-lunch---or-i-009.jpg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=0848056952bcde58793eb17ecf728bd4

How To Eat is in a country pub trying to enjoy a ploughman’s lunch. But an argument is raging…

Source: How to eat: a ploughman’s lunch | Food | The Guardian

“This month, How To Eat is in a country pub trying to enjoy a ploughman’s lunch. But an argument is raging about what that means. Ham? One cheese or three? Is pate OK? Are pickled onions edible? Is this a sharing dish or best enjoyed solo?”

And here I had always thought that a “ploughman’s lunch” was the soul of simplicity: a thick slice of bread, a wedge of cheese, and a pickled onion, with a pint of ale! Who knew that there was this much controversy…? But there is, seemingly. To begin with,

“Pedants will take great pleasure in pointing out that this ‘classic’ was only actually given a name and a PR push in the 1960s, by the Milk Marketing Board; but people, including some ploughmen, had been eating bread and cheese with beer for aeons. Therefore, no matter how it has been glossed, this stands as a much-loved British meal, and one which people feel passionately about.”

Indeed! I would venture to guess that this was probably one of the most common, if not the most common, midday meals for working people in the countryside at least back to the Middle Ages, and probably beyond – so long a bread, cheese, and beer existed!

Bread and aged, hard cheese have the inestimable advantages of being easily portable, keeping well, and being relatively resistant to being dropped and knocked about; they also provide a good balance of protein and carbohydrates, to keep a person’s energy levels up whilst working in the fields.

And of course beer has been ubiquitous at least since the Sumerians… in fact, it’s been argued that grains may have been used for beer-making even before bread-making, making the brewing of beer the foundation of civilization!

Bread and cheese are similarly ancient: bread is now thought to possibly predate agriculture itself; while the first solid cheese dates back at least to the 13th century B.C., while “the earliest evidence of cheese-making in the archaeological record dates back to 5500 BCE, in what is now Kujawy, Poland, where strainers with milk fats molecules have been found.”

It doesn’t take the proverbial rocket scientist to imagine our forebears quickly realizing that these are (if I may adapt from an old advertising jingle) “three great tastes that taste great together”! And of course, the mildly intoxicating qualities of beer may have helped to ease the pain and stiffness of muscles strained by hard work in the field.

But now, back to Britain and the Ploughman’s Lunch: “How to Eat” includes these minimal components of the meal: “Bread, cheese, ham and some sort of pickled dimension. Traditionalists may question the necessity of ham, but without it this is just bread ‘n’ cheese, not a ploughman’s.” Call me a traditionalist (for I am, in many ways), but I was surprised to see ham in there!

No objection, mind you, from a culinary perspective. But I do wonder how authentically “ploughman’s” that is: unlike the bread, cheese, and beer, ham is more inclined to go “off” (spoil) in the hot sun. But if one is enjoying in the cool of the local pub, then by all means! I’m never one to refuse cured pig flesh… At least they are cautious to warn that the ham in question “should be baked, thick-cut, ‘proper’ pig, no limp, wet boiled ham” or “thin, pallid, suspiciously uniform slices.” Hear, hear!

At any rate, read the article for more mouth-watering suggestions for taking this meal from a convenient, if unassuming, packet for a ploughman’s satchel to a culinary experience of high degree. Whether you limit it to bread, beer, cheese, and something pickled – with maybe an apple thrown in – to include boiled eggs or a slice of cold pork pie, watercress, radishes, or celery, and possibly even a “dessert” of fruit bread, it’s a sturdy, filling, and flavorful meal for anyone: not just an authentic ploughman!