Don’t read this if you want to keep your nice, warm glow on.
Don’t read this if you want to keep your nice, warm glow on.
Source: 100 Year Challenge | Facebook
I post (rather sadly) a lot of fairly depressing stuff on here, mainly because there’s a lot of depressing stuff happening, and people need to know about it: awareness is the first step toward change.
But it’s nice to every once in a while be able to post a “feel-good” piece, and this is one:
Imagine choking on your own blood, dying in the Afghan sand, and as you glance up for what may be the last time, you suddenly seeing this 5-foot-nothin’ vision – a veritable angel in human form – sprinting through heavy machine-gun fire and exploding rockets to save your life!
As the linked post puts it,
“‘I promised my friends and comrades I’d be their medic,’ she said. ‘I promised I’d be there if they ever needed me. They needed me that day – so when the call came, that’s just what I did.’
“Kate, from Whitleigh, Plymouth, stepped into the history books as only the second woman to be awarded the MC [Military Cross], one of Britain’s highest gallantry awards, as well as becoming the only MC Wren…
“Her citation read: ‘Under fire and under pressure her commitment and courage were inspirational and made the difference between life and death.'”
[Note: “Wren” is the popular term for a member of the Women’s Royal Navy Service (WRNS —> “Wrens”), a service which dates back to 1917.]
The linked post notes that “her smile is disarmingly sweet,” which seems no exaggeration from this picture! As a female friend of mine put it, “Competent, brave, AND adorable.” Indeed: I would also say, as my mother used to say of herself, “little but mighty”!
I actually had to create a new tag – “Courage and Valor” – to give this story, and this heroic individual, the prominence she deserves!
Today, the royal family is marking the 100th anniversary of World War I.
“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.”
HMS Queen Elizabeth was delayed by waves and winds caused by Hurricane Florence on its way to Norfolk, Virginia.
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:
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.
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!
In notable contradistinction to his chief adversary, the distressingly numerous, if decidedly unimpressive, Nu-“Male” (note the quotes), the Blighty Boy is the John Bull of the 21st century. Rule Britannia!
I wish I could claim credit for creating this meme, and the concept it embodies! But alas, I did not. I found it on the internet, and adapted it slightly (the original was “Blighty Boi,” which is way too metrosexual for me) to suit the purposes of The Anglophilic Anglican.
With that change of spelling, The Anglophilic Anglican proudly declares himself a Blighty Boy – at least in principle and philosophy, despite not living in Blighty, and lacking (currently, but hopefully not permanently) “a wholesome, steady relationship.” And I further declare that “Blighty Boys” will be a new category and tag for this blog, referring to traditional English / British culture, viewed from a masculine perspective!
Some (potentially) helpful links and images:
Parliamentary sovereignty: actually, I believe in the sovereignty of the Sovereign: the Monarch, currently Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II – health and long life to her! But I can get onboard with the Sovereignty of Queen-in-Parliament… formally, in the UK, “Queen [or King] in Parliament under God.”
“Rugged, strong hands… Works on the land, in industry, or serving society in a useful way.”
“Applauds Army parades and stands to attention for the National Anthem.”
“Paternalism is a much-discredited word these days, but it ought to be remembered that the old, aristocratic ideal of society, however much it involved one side knowing its place and another exercising an arbitrary authority, relied on re-distributing a small part of your largesse to those less fortunately situated… Noblesse continues to oblige, and in a world full of new, tax-avoiding, prole-hating, obligation-avoiding money, old, duty-conscious, stately-home money can sometimes seem a very desirable friend to cultivate.”
Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, was a scion of old-school aristocracy which is still bound by the concept of ‘noblesse oblige’ (Christopher Thomond/The Guardian)
“Drinks loose-leaf tea with whole milk.”
“Loves a cheeky pint…”
Fascinating look-behind-the-look of the British military uniform – at least with respect to the high-end Service Dress and Mess Dress uniforms!