By Order of the King – Rare British WW1 song | YouTube

Source: By Order of the King – Rare British WW1 song | YouTube

In light of the actual events of the Great War – the millions killed and millions more maimed by bullet and shell, or incapacitated by gas, the destruction of a whole generation in the trenches of Europe, and the host of unexpected consequences for Europe and the world – the optimism and upbeat tempo of this song is ironic, to say the least.

Even as much of an Anglophile and demi-monarchist as I am, I am not sure whether to shake my head with a rueful smile, or let the tears roll down my face. As I have commented on more than one occasion, and in more than one venue, that war should never have happened, and we are still reaping its bitter harvest to this day!

But the song is an interesting one, and catchy. I have a feeling I’m going to be humming the refrain for the rest of the day, at least…

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Why Prince Charles Is Laying a Wreath For Queen Elizabeth This Morning for Remembrance Day at London’s Cenotaph

Wreaths Are Laid At The Cenotaph On Remembrance Sunday

Today, the royal family is marking the 100th anniversary of World War I.

Source: Why Prince Charles Is Laying a Wreath For Queen Elizabeth This Morning for Remembrance Day at London’s Cenotaph

“At 92, Queen Elizabeth is showing no sign of slowing down. Just last week, for example, she was spotted horseback riding on the grounds of Windsor Castle. But she has started to pass on some of her responsibilities to the younger members of her family.

“This morning, Prince Charles lay a wreath at London’s Cenotaph on his mother’s behalf during the national service of remembrance. It is the second year the Prince of Wales has performed the duty on Remembrance Day, which this year holds additional significance, as it falls on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.”

Queen saddened by death of her beloved corgi called Whisper | Daily Mail Online

Daniel Craig, left, was filmed escorting The Queen and her corgis to the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics
Daniel Craig, left, was filmed escorting The Queen and her corgis to the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics

The Queen has been left deeply saddened by the death of a corgi she adopted after the dog’s owner died. Twelve-year-old Whisper had become a royal favourite and would follow her from room to room.

Source: Queen saddened by death of her beloved corgi called Whisper | Daily Mail Online

Her Majesty is reportedly mourning the death of her last Welsh corgi – a breed long-connected with The Queen, to the point of becoming iconic: as much a part of Her Majesty’s public persona as her famous hats and handbags. Whisper died in Windsor Castle after an illness of some weeks, ending the Royal association with the breed, which dates back to her 18th birthday, in 1944, when she was given a corgi – “Susan” – by her father, King George VI.

Whisper was “inherited” after the death of his owner, Bill Fenwick, a former gamekeeper at the Royal estate of Sandringham, in 2016. His late wife Nancy was known as the “keeper of the Queen’s corgis” and took care of the royal pups when Her Majesty was away on tours. Whisper was the only corgi owned by Queen Elizabeth II that she had not raised herself, and the only one not descended from the line of Susan. He was known as a “friendly chap” who devotedly followed her from room to room.

She stopped breeding corgis five years ago, reportedly because “she feared tripping over excitable puppies,” and was “worried about who would look after them when she no longer could.” Her Majesty retains two “dorgis” – dachshund / corgi crosses – named Candy and Vulcan, and several Labradors, the latter of whom live full-time at Sandringham. The Daily Mail reports that “The death of any of her corgis has always hit her hard and Whisper’s was no different.”

Deepest sympathy to Her Majesty on the loss of her canine friend and companion!

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!

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!