Archive for the ‘history’ Category

D-Day’s ‘Matchbox Fleet’

June 6, 2019

D-Day’s ‘Matchbox Fleet’

Sixty wood-hulled boats made in Brooklyn were carried across the North Atlantic to England on the decks of Liberty Ships seventy years ago. The patrol boats, each 83 feet long, were designed for anti-submarine patrol and coastal search and escort, but had been modified as rescue craft. Most had radar; some had sonar.

The group of small, wooden, gasoline-powered cutters, vulnerable to incendiary shells, was understandably nicknamed the ”Matchbox Fleet.”  On June 6, 1944, these boats crossed the English Channel as U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Flotilla One (ResFlo1), part of Operation Neptune/Overlord.

Inscription on the Rescue Flotilla 1 (The “Matchbox Fleet”) Memorial, harborside at Poole, Dorset, UK:

“From this Quay, 60 cutters of the United States Coast Guard Rescue Flotilla 1 departed for the Normandy Invasion, 6 June 1944.  These 83 foot boats, built entirely of wood, and the 840 crewmembers were credited with saving the lives of 1437 men and 1 woman.  In remembrance of the service of Rescue Flotilla 1, and with appreciation of the kindnesses of the people of Poole to the crews, this Plaque is given by the men and women of the United States Coast Guard.”

Above: 83-footer off the Normandy coast on June 8, 1944.

More:

U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Flotilla One at Normandy

The Iron Sailors of the Last Wooden Patrol Boat (WPB)

The Cutters,” E. Bishop, Naval History May/June 1994 (PDF courtesy of uscg83footers.org)

Rescue Flotilla 1WW2Talk (good selection of photos)

The U. S. Coast Guard at Normandy, Scott T. Price (overview of D-Day operations by USCG)

“How Rescue Flotilla One saved more than 400 men on D-Day,” The History Guy (video)

 

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Top image adapted from a Wheeler Shipyard graphic by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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American Expansion, Month by Month

May 13, 2019

Month by month, colony by colony, state by state: An animated map of the contiguous United States shows every boundary change since 1629. a video by EarthDirect. Map data from the Newberry Library’s Atlas of Historical County Boundaries.

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Despite Bone Spurs, Trump to Attend D-Day Anniversary

April 15, 2019
Despite Bone Spurs, Trump to Attend D-Day Anniversary

High School Cadet Capt. Trump. Thank you for your service.

President Donald J. Trump will attend the 75th anniversary commemoration of the WWII D-Day landings, the President told a group of veterans last week. You may recall that Mr. Trump has a service-connected disability. He was gravely wounded as soon as he became eligible for the Vietnam draft lottery, and was treated (on paper) at a Queens NY storefront a podiatrist rented from Fred Trump, his dad. We expect the President to storm Normandy’s Omaha Beach in an amphibious golf cart (weather permitting). France, a grateful nation, says “S’il vous plaît remplacer les divots” (“Please replace the divots”).

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Top image: Cadet Capt. Trump’s high school picture. Download a copy here.

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The Web Is Ancient

March 13, 2019

The Web Is Ancient

The World Wide Web is 30 years old this week. That’s three millennia in computer years.

On March 12, 1989, Sir Tim Berners-Lee designed the Web, and he published the first website two years later.  Sir Tim unleashed the first public World Wide Web server on August 6, 1991. It was a NeXT cube on his desk at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

CERN went on to produce the Large Hadron Collider. The Web produces memes.

More:

“The World Wide Web Turns 30. Where Does It Go From Here?” Tim Berners-Lee, Wired

“The World Wide Web is 30 years old — and its inventor has a warning for us,” Farnoush Amiri, NBC News

“The World Wide Web Turns 30: Our Favorite Memories From A to Z,” The Verge

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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George Washington & Black History Month

February 22, 2019

George Washington & Black History Month
February 22nd, George Washington’s Birthday falls during Black History Month, bitterly appropriate, as the Father of His Country owned as many as 317 slaves. As president, he signed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, requiring authorities in free states and territories to allow slave-catchers to seize escaped slaves and transport them South. However, Ona Judge, a maid to Martha Washington, fled the president’s household and resisted his recovery attempts.

In 1780 the Washingtons were living in Philadelphia, then the seat of government, when Pennsylvania passed a law that freed enslaved people if they lived there for more than six months. The Washingtons gamed the system, moving their household slaves out of Pennsylvania for one or two days every six months so they legally could remain in bondage. The household was preparing to return to Virginia in 1796 when members of Philadelphia’s free Black community helped Ona Judge arrange ship passage to Portsmouth, NH, where she settled.

George Washington’s steward soon advertised for recovery of the “absconded” Ona Judge in the Philadelphia Gazette:

(more…)

The 8th of January

January 8, 2019

On December 23, 1814, American forces began a week-long defense of the city of New Orleans from British attackers. Neither force knew that a treaty ending the war was signed on December 24th, so the battle continued. U.S. forces under Major General Andrew Jackson were finally victorious on January 8, 1815. Frontier Americans commemorated the feat with a fiddle tune, “The 8th of January,” which entered tradition. In 1936, Arkansas schoolteacher and folksong buff James Morris (later Jimmy Driftwood) wrote a song about the battle to go with that fiddle tune, and Country-Western star Johnny Horton recorded it in 1959. If Americans know anything about the battle, it’s probably that song.

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New Year

January 1, 2019

“New Year,” written and recorded by Sugarbabes (Siobhán Donaghy, Mutya Buena and Keisha Buchanan) in 2000. Video director: Alex Hamming.

New Year lyrics.

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The Secret Chambers of King Tut’s Tomb

June 4, 2018

The Secret Chambers of King Tut's Tomb

Remember when Egypt experts were “90 percent positive” that there’s a secret hiding place in King Tut’s tomb, maybe Nefertiti’s burial chamber?

Oops. A third radar scan conclusively shows there are no additional chambers behind its walls.

More:

“In King Tut’s Tomb, Hope For Hidden Chambers Is Crushed By Science,” Vanessa Romo, NPR

“There’s No Secret Chamber Behind King Tut’s Tomb, Investigation Concludes,” George Dvorsky, Gizmodo

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Image by Mike Licht (with apologies to Nicolas Reeves). Download copies here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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How World War I Changed Europe’s Borders

May 28, 2018

World War I, the “Great War,” involved 32 nations and lasted 5 years. When it ended in 1919, it redrew the world map, and  many borders in Europe, The collapse of the Russian Empire created Poland, the Baltics, and Finland. The Austro-Hungarian Empire dissolved into Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia. When the Ottoman Empire collapsed, Turkey was established. The German Empire became Germany, and Germany lost substantial territory outside Europe.

Video by Business Insider
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Getting Dressed

March 6, 2018

How wealthy women were dressed — by others — in the 18th century: Shift, stays, petticoats, pockets, roll, stockings and garters, gown and stomacher, apron and shoes. That’s right, no knickers.

From the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Liverpool. More here.

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