No Stay of Execution for Alfie

by: Brent Smith at the Common Constitutionalist

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The case of little Alfie Evans is a tragic one. At 23 months old, this healthy boy developed a rare neurodegenerative disorder that left him in a semi-vegetative state. That’s strike one against the poor little tike.

Strike two is that he and his parents reside in England, the poster nation for socialized medicine. And strike three is that, given enough time, every nation with socialized medicine will eventually be forced into the development of death panels.

In England the defacto “death panels” is the British court system. The courts decide who will live and who will die. The courts have decided the latter of the two fates for Alfie. They have condemned him to death with no stay of execution, no pardon and possibility of parole.

This is funny (not ha, ha funny), considering Great Britain has long ago rejected the death penalty for the worst criminals and terrorists among them, but seem to have little problem sending a two year old to death row. read more

Vegans Demand a Change in Currency

by: the Common Constitutionalist

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Being a committed liberal can be a tough job. You have to be on your guard at all times for people and things which may offend – plus having to constantly keep track of the nearest “safe space” you may retreat to, lest things become too overwhelming. I wonder if there is a “safe space” App? Or maybe a specifically designated “safe space” Uber vehicle, with special black-out windows, so marauding bands of Trump supporters can’t see inside to know there is a helpless liberal still mourning the loss of Hillary.

The committed liberal (some might suggest they should all be committed) must also keep a tight rein on his, her, or other’s schedule, being ever mindful of the next protest or vigil over police violence, various lives that matter, oil pipelines, stolen elections (at least the ones the left was unable to steal), illegal immigrants, refugees, scary guns, abortion, civil, human and animal rights. I’m sure I missed a few, but still, that is a pretty demanding schedule.

Now imagine being not just a leftist, but a liberal Vegan. You must not only be aware of and offended by all standard issue attacks to your sensitivities, but also be mindful of and shun all things animal, such as foods, cosmetics, clothing, etc. read more

Another Suspected Terrorist Is Freed

by: the Common Constitutionalist

After 13 years in captivity, the last Briton has been freed from Guantánamo Bay. Shaker Aamer has been held at Gitmo since 2002. He was captured in Afghanistan in 2001 shortly after the 9/11 attacks, where he claims he was a simply there doing charity work.

He was accused of aiding Al Qaeda, was handed over to U.S. Forces in February of 2002 and transferred to Gitmo. Now he has been freed and arrived back on British soil yesterday.

For his incarceration, the British government is expected to compensate him to the tune of about 1,000,000 pounds, approximately $1.5 million – provided of course by the British taxpayer. There are no reports, at least that I can find, explaining why the 46-year-old Aamer is being compensated by the British government. It appears they had nothing to do with his capture or incarceration. Reports only conclude that this is the approximate amount that others before him have received.

Interestingly, Mr. Aamer is not a British citizen. He’s Saudi Arabian, who happened to reside in London, with his wife and four children, prior to his “charity” work in Afghanistan. The “charity” work he was doing over there was never disclosed, although he was originally accused of having links to Al Qaeda and in his files he is described as having been a “close associate of Osama bin Laden” who fought in the battle of Tora Bora. He was suspected of leading a unit of fighters in the country, for which his family was said to have been regularly paid by Osama bin Laden. But I’m sure he was just an innocent charity worker caught up in all the confusion – the fog of war and all. read more

Shutting Down the Deniers

by: the Common Constitutionalist

 

It’s funny (not funny ha ha) that leftists must always be fighting against something. They must always have a bogeyman lurking in the shadows that they feel the need to defend the rest of us from.

 

Liberals can’t just mind their business and live their lives. It might be the mythical separation of church and state, homosexual marriage or a “woman’s right to choose”. No matter what the wacky cause du jour, there must always be a straw dog oppressor, or denier.

 

Leftists will fight until they get what they want – although it’s hard to tell if they’ve won because they never seem satisfied.

 

It is however, easier to know when they are losing. They get even wackier, even more absurd. So I wasn’t surprised when in Britain, a government minister (official) wishes to simply “shut down” all dissenting views. read more

Islamist Plot in England

from the Clarion Project:

A letter, which details a plot to takeover British state schools and use them to teach extremist interpretations of Islam, came into the possession of members of the Birmingham City Council. It was later leaked to British media. It was allegedly a correspondence between two Islamists, one in Birmingham and one in Bradford, both in the UK.

“Operation Trojan Horse,” as it is named in the letter, sets out a strategy on how to remove uncooperative teachers and replace them with Islamists and eliminate mixed sports and other activities have been deemed ‘un-Islamic.’ It names four schools as having already been successfully taken over in Birmingham: Adderley Primary, Saltley School, Park View School and Regents Park Community School. read more

German Bomber Found

 

A rare German bomber from the Second World War is set to be raised from the English Channel where it has lain for seven decades, it was announced.

The retrieval of the last surviving Dornier Do 17 from the Goodwin Sands off the coast of Kent will be the biggest recovery of its kind in British waters.

The aircraft was first spotted by divers in 2008, lying 50ft below the surface on a chalk bed, surrounded by debris. 

Dornier
Underwater images of the WW2 Dornier lying in 50ft of water off the Kent coast. Work began today to raise what is the only surviving World War Two Nazi bomber from its watery grave in the English Channel
 
Under the sea: A Dornier Do 17 bomber which lies off the coast of Kent is set to be recovered
Under the sea: A Dornier Do 17 bomber which lies off the coast of Kent is set to be recovered

 Sonar scans carried out by the RAF Museum, Wessex Archaeology and the Port of London Authority confirmed that the plane is the Dornier Do 17Z Werke number 1160, which was shot down during the Battle of Britain.

Two of its four-man crew were killed as it crashed into the sea, but the other two were captured and taken into custody as prisoners of war.

The plane, which is said to be in ‘remarkable condition’, was one of the Luftwaffe’s ‘flying pencil’ bombers, named for their narrow fuselage.

It is covered in coral, barnacles and other marine life, but is otherwise largely intact.

The main undercarriage tires remain inflated and the propellers clearly show the damage inflicted during the bomber’s final crash landing.

Lifting the plane from the sea will take around three weeks using pioneering technology, and will be dependent on tides and weather conditions.

Mission: Recovery workers prepare the mechanism which will help to retrieve the German plane from the Channel
Recovery workers prepare the mechanism which will help to retrieve the German plane from the Channel
 
Unprecedented: This will be the biggest operation of its kind ever to take place in British waters
This will be the biggest operation of its kind ever to take place in British waters

GERMANY’S ‘FLYING PENCIL’ PLANE

The Dornier Do 17 was known as the ‘flying pencil’, because of its unusually narrow fuselage.

It was one of the main bombers used by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War, including at the Battle of Britain in 1940.

The plane was developed to be a commercial aircraft, but was turned down by Lufthansa and redesigned into a bomber.

Although the Do 17 was no longer made after 1940, it was used by Nazi forces throughout the war.

More than 400 of them were flown in the Battle of Britain, with 171 shot down by the RAF or otherwise lost.

The planes were 52ft long with a wingspan of 59ft, and could carry 2,000lb of explosives while manned by a crew of four.

None of the aircraft were believed to have survived for long after the end of the conflict, until the discovery of the plane off the coast of Kent.

A frame will be built around the aircraft underwater, and will then be slowly winched up and placed on a floating platform.

The operation has been made possible by a grant of more than £345,000 ($527,000) from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

Air Vice-Marshal Peter Dye, director general of the RAF Museum, said: ‘The discovery and recovery of the Dornier is of national and international importance.

‘The aircraft is a unique and unprecedented survivor from the Battle of Britain and the Blitz.

‘It will provide an evocative and moving exhibit that will allow the museum to present the wider story of the Battle of Britain and highlight the sacrifices made by the young men of both air forces and from many nations.’

When the Dornier has been recovered, it will be prepared for display at the RAF Museum in Hendon, North London.

The preservation work will take place at the museum’s conservation centre in Cosford, Shropshire, where the plane will be placed in two hydration tunnels and soaked in citric acid. 

 
 
Channel: The plane was sunk in Goodwin Sands, off the coast of Kent near Deal
 The plane was sunk in Goodwin Sands, off the coast of Kent near Deal
 
In action: A Dornier bomber similar to the one which crashed into the sea during the Battle of Britain
 A Dornier bomber similar to the one which crashed into the sea during the Battle of Britain

Culture minister Ed Vaizey said: ‘Today marks the beginning of an exciting project to raise the last surviving Dornier Do 17 bomber from the English Channel.

‘I’m delighted the RAF Museum and the NHMF have joined forces to make this project possible and I know that it will be a tremendous addition to the museum’s collection where it will serve to educate and entertain all who visit.’

The Dornier Do 17 will join a range of more than 1,200 objects and places which have been safeguarded by the NHMF at a cost of more than £300million ($458million).

These include HMS Caroline, the last surviving First World War ship, a rare collection of work by codebreaker Alan Turing and HMS Alliance, the last surviving submarine of the Second World War.

The Dornier is not the only Second World War plane to be the subject of a recovery mission – a British enthusiast is currently searching for a haul of Spitfires lost in the Burmese jungle.

David Cundall has hired a team of workers to find the 36 fighters which he says were delivered to the country at the very end of the war.

Attribution: Hugo Gye, Daily Mail

Sign of Criminal Behavior

Brits Look Out For Signs of Criminals

Burglars are scrawling secret symbols on the street to help other criminals know which homes to target.

The symbols may indicate that a home is  wealthy, has already been burgled or may have nothing worth  stealing.

Chillingly, they may also indicate if there  is a vulnerable female in the home, or if the occupant is nervous, afraid or  easily duped.

Crime code The symbols are used by burglars to help other thieves in their criminal endeavours. As well as saying where there are rich pickings, the code also warns if a property is well-guarded or has nothing  valuable

The meaning behind a number of the symbols has been deduced by officers.

A simple ‘X’ means the home is a good target, while the same symbol outlined with a circle means there is nothing worth stealing in the property.

A capital D with a dash drawn in it indicates that burgling the house is too risky, while five circles in the shape of a star shows that a property is wealthy.

Vigilant: Police say homeowners should report the symbols if they find them as they can be used by intelligence officersOfficers say homeowners should report the  symbols if they find them as they can be used in police intelligence

Other marks reveal if a house is alarmed or has already been burgled.

Police in Torbay, Devon, UK  posted the symbols on Twitter in a bid to warn homeowners that they may be a target for  thieves.

DC Steve Fleetwood warns  the ‘ancient’ symbols are being drawn outside homes by criminal gangs.

He said: ‘The Exeter Neighborhood Team saw them at the end of a few drives, on a few curbs and on gate posts and we want to warn people about them.

‘It is very new to us and we are just asking  people to be aware.’

DC Fleetwood says the code could be a valuable tool in the fight against crime.

He added: ‘Knowledge is power. If we’re aware  of it happening we can see if there have been any burglaries in the area and we can analyze the data to gather intelligence.’

He urged homeowners to report any unusual  markings on low-rise walls, pavements or curbs by dialing 101 or their local police station.

THE HOBO CODE: HOW  DOWN-AND-OUTS OF GREAT DEPRESSION HELPED EACH OTHER WITH MYSTERIOUS  SYMBOLS

During the Great Depression in America itinerants who travelled state-to-state on the railroad looking for work and living rough – called ‘hobos’ – would use symbols to direct, help and warn  their brethren.

Symbols from the ‘Hobo code’ would be  scrawled with chalk or coal on houses, posts, gates, bridges, railroad yards and  other places.

As well as helpful advice like  ‘housewife  feeds for chores’ and ‘can sleep in barn’, there are warnings such as ‘man with a gun’ and ‘dishonest man’.

Hobos needed all the help they could get as they faced a hard and dangerous life as they rode the railways.

In addition to the problems of being looked down on, poor, far from home and frequently sleeping rough, they also had to face the railroads’ security staff, nicknamed ‘bulls’, who were often quick to use violence against trespassers.

Secret: Some of the symbols used by hobos to help their fellow travellers in America.

Attribution: Sam Webb, Daily Mail

Mystery Solved

The mighty drone of 600 bombers filled the night air as they flew the length of eastern England. As planes thundered overhead, people peeped through their blackout curtains to see if they could  glimpse what was then one of the largest bombing forces ever assembled.

On board the Lancasters, Stirlings, Halifaxes and Wellingtons were more than 4,000 airmen — and all knew they stood a very  good chance of not returning to base the following morning.

Among that awesome mass of metal pounding  through the dark sky was a Lancaster bomber with the marking  ED427.

 
Fallen hero: Pilot F O Alec Bone
Fallen hero: Sergeant Norman Foster
Fallen heroes: Respected Flying Officer Alec Bone, upper,  piloted the plane which had seven crew members including flight engineer  Sergeant Norman Foster, lower
 
Target: The men in the Lancaster Bomber were attacking factories in the Czech brewing town Pilsen

Target: The men in the Lancaster Bomber were attacking  factories in the Czech brewing town Pilsen

As part of 49 Squadron, the bomber and its  seven crew had taken off at precisely 21.14 on the evening of April 16, 1943,  from Fiskerton airfield five miles east of Lincoln. It was the second time the  plane’s crew had flown together, and they were hoping this raid would go as  successfully as their bombing of Stuttgart two nights before.

The Lancaster was piloted by Flying Officer  Alexander ‘Alec’ Bone, who, at 31, was by far the oldest and most experienced of  the crew.

An instructor who had taught many Battle of Britain pilots to fly, Bone was one of the most respected and able pilots in all of Bomber Command. A champion fencer, tall and charming, Bone was what we would  today call an alpha male.

The rest of the seven-strong crew — flight  engineer Norman Foster, navigator Cyril Yelland, wireless operator Raymond  White, bomb aimer Raymond Rooney, air gunner Ronald Cope and air gunner Bruce  Watt were aged 19 to 23, and all looked up to Bone.

One of six brothers, his father described him  as ‘the pick of the bunch’, and he was well qualified to command of a bomber  crew.

As he sat at the controls, Bone’s mind might  well have wandered temporarily from the mission to his own recent tragedy. Just  four months earlier, he had lost his wife, Menna, 22, to tuberculosis. He had  received the news of her illness when stationed in Canada, but by the time he  had returned, Menna was already dead and buried.

 
 
On board: Sergeant Ronald Cope
Sergeant Cyril Yelland
On board: Air gunner Sergeant Ronald Cope, pictured  upper, and navigator Sergeant Cyril Yelland, lower

The planes that night had two targets. Fewer  than half the aircraft were heading for various factories in and around Mannheim  some 40 miles south of Frankfurt. Bone’s Lancaster, however, was part of the  larger element heading more than 200 miles further east to the Czech brewing  town of Pilsen, where they were to attack the massive Skoda works that produced  armaments for the Nazis.

After a flight of nearly 800 miles, in which Bone successfully outwitted night fighters and dodged numerous flak batteries,  ED427 safely arrived over what he presumed was the target at around 1.30am on April 17.

Below was a hellish inferno, and Bone would  have felt confident he was dropping his two 1,000lb bombs and one 4,000lb ‘Cookie’ bomb — made of a thin steel casing to carry more explosives, and  devastating in its impact — in the right place.

However, unknown to him, the leading Pathfinder aircraft had dropped their flares which indicated the target in the wrong place: they fell on the harmless village of Dobrany five miles to the south-west of Pilsen.

To make matters more tragic, a nearby psychiatric hospital had been mistaken for the Skoda works, and it took the  brunt of the raid. According to a German casualty report, some 300 patients were killed, and some 1,000 German soldiers and 250 civilians were killed or wounded.

Unfortunately for the Allies, the Skoda works were untouched, and the entire raid — called Operation Frothblower in  recognition of Pilsen’s brewing history — was one of Bomber Command’s biggest  failures.

 
The men were part of a 600 strong squadron of RAF Lancaster bombers - at that time, one of the largest bombing forces ever assembled

The men were part of a 600 strong squadron of RAF  bombers – at that time, one of the largest bombing forces ever assembled
 
Air gunner Bruce Watt
Wireless operator Raymond Charles White, aged 21
Lost: Air gunner Bruce Watt, upper, and Wireless operator  Raymond Charles White, aged 21, lower

This would of course have been unknown to Bone and his crew, who had dropped their payload and were now bearing west for the five-hour flight home.

They were looking forward to breakfast and some sleep, as well as Easter the following weekend. However,  the men of ED427 were never to enjoy another breakfast.

At some point during the flight something went badly wrong, and the Lancaster failed to return. In  the squadron’s operations records book, the bald statement was simply typed: ‘Missing without trace.’

Until last week, nearly 70 years after the raid, the fate of ED427 was still a mystery. But now, thanks to an archaeological excavation in Germany, the truth of what happened can finally be told.

The story that emerges from the German soil is a heart-wrenching tale not only of tragedy, but of incompetence and an unforgiveable bureaucratic slip-up which kept the families of the crew in the dark for decades.

A week after the raid, Wing Commander Johnson of 49 Squadron wrote to Bone’s mother, telling her ‘so far we have received no news of any kind, but you can be sure that as soon as any is received, it will be passed to you immediately’.

No concrete news was ever to come. According  to Bone’s brother, Arthur ‘Alf’ Bone, 91, their mother suspected the worst. ‘I  think she knew he had gone in her mind,’ he says, ‘and I think I did,  too.’

Pieces of history: The team sorted the fragments they found into boxes at the site

Pieces of history: Sixty-nine years after their burning  plane plunged to the ground after being shot by German anti-aircraft fire the  remains of most of the Lancaster bomber crewmen have been recovered.The team  sorted the fragments they found into boxes at the site
 
Burnt out: The remains of a scorched parachute

Burnt out: The remains of a scorched parachute. The site  was discovered by a British military historian and a team of German  archaeologists who spent hours digging a muddy field looking for the RAF crew  after an eye-witness who saw the plane crash guided them to the precise  spot.
Damage: The crater made by the impact of the engineDamage: The crater made by the impact of the engine. A  Rolls Royce engine and landing gear of the World War Two aircraft was found  followed by ‘hundreds’ of fragments of human bones in what would have been the  cockpit

Alf was an RAF pilot as well, and heard  about his brother when he was about to take a Wellington up in a  practice  flight. A telegram was delivered to the cockpit a few minutes  before take off. ‘For the first time, I felt a panic attack,’ Alf  recalls. ‘Alec was so dear to  me. Normally I liked the smell of the  inside of a Wellington, but on that  occasion I just smelled death.’

Alf  idolized Alec. The last time he saw him was in Canada in 1941. ‘I was stationed  at an airfield called Swift’s Current,’ Alf says. ‘One day Alec flew his  two-seater Harvard 120 miles from Moosejaw to pay me a surprise visit.’ Alec told Alf to put on a parachute, and took his brother up in the training  aircraft. ‘We did lots of acrobatics,’ Alf remembers. ‘We dived, climbed, looped  the loop — you name it. I loved it.’

In October 1943, the family received a letter  informing them the Air Council had determined that ‘they must regretfully  conclude that he has lost his life’, and that Alec’s death was presumed to have  occurred on April 17.

For the rest of her life, Alec’s mother lived  in what Alf described as ‘a vacuum’, in which she was never to know what had  happened to her son. Officials of every stripe simply told the families of the crew they had no idea what had happened to ED427.

However, it now emerges the RAF did know what  had happened to the plane and the bodies of its crew but, disgracefully, the families were never told. In October 1946, Squadron-Leader Philip  Laughton-Bramley of the RAF’s Missing Research and Enquiry Unit was investigating the fates of crashed aircraft in the Mannheim area.

Fatal flight: A graphic of the site in Laumersheim, Germany, where the Lancaster crashed 69 years ago

Fatal flight: A graphic of the site in Laumersheim,  Germany, where the Lancaster crashed 69 years ago
 
Birds eye view: An aerial Luftwaffe picture showing the crash site at Laumersheim, GermanyBirds eye view: An aerial Luftwaffe picture showing the  crash site at Laumersheim, Germany

His research took him to the village of  Laumersheim, 14 miles west of Mannheim, where a former police constable told him that on April 16-17 a ‘four-engined aircraft crashed in flames  200 yards  east of the village and exploded on contact with the ground’.

According to the German, the trunk of one body was  found, along with the remains of some six or seven men. The body parts were  removed, but nobody could remember where they had been taken. Laughton-Bramley was persistent, and continued to hunt.

Eventually, he found two graves in the military section of the Mannheim cemetery, whose inscriptions stated that they  contained the bodies of ‘Unknown British flyers shot down in  Laumersheim  17.4.43’, and who were buried on 24 April — the same day Wing Commander Johnson  had written to Mrs Bone.

One can only imagine the terrifying last  moments of ED427. It was almost certainly hit by the flak battery at Frankenthal, five miles from the  crash site. Flying at around 200 miles per  hour, and at a height of  perhaps 10,000 feet, it may well have taken over two minutes to have plummeted to the ground.

Alec Bone, if he had survived the impact of  the flak, would have used all  his considerable skill to try to keep the plane  steady enough to allow the crew to bail out. If anybody could have done it,  Bone could. But clearly the flak battery had done its work too well. Death  would have been instantaneous as the plane ploughed five metres deep into the  soft  earth.

Volunteers dig within the crater, exhuming the fateful planes remains

Excavation: Volunteers dig within the crater, exhuming  the fateful planes remains. The team dug five metres deep in a 100 square metre  area and found sections of the fuselage, cockpit, landing gear, a tyre, a burnt  parachute, tools and ammunition
Commemoration: A minutes silence was held in respect by the volunteers. Members of the Bundeswehr reserve, part of the German army, are in uniform

Commemoration: A minutes silence was held in respect by  the volunteers. Members of the Bundeswehr reserve, part of the German army, are  in uniform
 
It is thought the remains of the men will be buried in the same coffin in a single grave at a Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Germany.

Respect: A poppy memorial was erected as a mark of  remembrance. It is thought the remains of the men will be buried in the same  coffin in a single grave at a Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Germany

On May 15, 1947, Laughton-Bramley filed his  report to the Air Ministry in London, in  which he concluded that the bodies  were the crew of ED427, and that the  plane had been shot down by flak. For some inexplicable reason —perhaps  simply an oversight — the information was never passed on to the families as it should have been. And so the crew’s poor relatives remained in ignorance.

Light was only shed on the case when, in  2006, military historian Peter  Cunliffe found a copy of the report in  the  Canadian Archives while  researching the raid for his book. A Shaky Do, in the  file of Pilot  Officer Bruce Watt, a Canadian member of ED427’s crew.

Cunliffe made a copy of  Laughton-Bramley’s report, and passed it to the German archaeologist Uwe Benkel, who had been investigating the fate of ED427. It jibed with  the story told by Peter Menges, now 83, who was a child in the next village when the plane was shot down.

‘Peter saw the plane coming down on fire,’ says Mr Benkel, ‘and saw the explosion. His parents didn’t allow him to go and see the plane that night. He went the next morning and the German military were there. From what he saw the majority of the body parts were on the surface and taken away.’

Last week, Benkel and his team unearthed the  remains of Lancaster ED427. Contrary  to Bramley-Laughton’s report, which suggested all the bodies had been  recovered by the Germans in the war, Benkel  says that there were still  body parts in the cockpit. Benkel concludes that they were those of Alec Bone.

For Alf, this finally ends the mystery of what happened to his beloved brother. ‘You  have closed the missing page of our memory book,’ he told Uwe Benkel.

Sacrifice: 53,573 members of Bomber Command were killed during the Second World WarSacrifice: 53,573 members of Bomber Command were killed  during the Second World War
 
Momentous: The men of Bomber Command were witness to events that have shaped our historyMomentous: The men of Bomber Command were witness to  events that have shaped our history

‘My mother would have been so relieved that we at last know something,’ he says.

‘I now want to go and pay my last respects on behalf of the family. My brother was a real professional — we were all amateurs.  He was a gentleman and a gentle man.’

Families of other crew members share that sense of a chapter finally being closed. ‘It is a great relief to know what did happen,’ says Hazel Snedker, 72, the daughter of Sergeant Norman Foster, the plane’s Flight Engineer.

‘At least he will now have a grave with a  headstone.’

The plan is for the remains of all the crew  to be buried together. ‘They flew together and died together,’ says Mr Benkel. ‘It is only right that they should stay together.’

Attribution: Mail Online

Cecil Beaton’s World War

In artistic terms they were at polar opposites of the photographic spectrum.

The wanton destruction and grim resilience of war is not a subject you would associate with high fashion glamor shots of the rich and beautiful.

But when flamboyant photographer Cecil Beaton was enlisted during the Second World War, his striking collection showed the six-year conflict in a new, more graceful, picturesque light.

The photographer, whose most notable subjects included Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, was commissioned for an altogether grittier photographic project that could be used as propaganda

Moving him away from his usual fare of royalty and fashion models, the Ministry of Information asked Beaton to document Britain’s war effort.

The renowned photographer pictured young men and women in a typically glamorous light, in spite of the ravages, destruction and chaos engulfing Britain in 1940.

His eye-catching portfolio stays away from corpses, blood and the unimaginable horror of the front line, featuring instead photogenic soldiers presenting a united front for the Allied Forces.

Even so, Beaton does tug on the heartstrings in his collection: one of the most memorable images shows wounded three-year-old Eileen Dunne at Great Ormond Street Hospital, in an evocative picture which would later grace the cover of Life magazine in September 1940.

The picture was clearly effective – as it was taken with the aim of generating sympathy for the British and helping sway America into intervening in the war.

She recognized them as being similar in style to the work of Beaton, and confirmed they were his work by matching them to his diary records.

She said: ‘The Ministry was in disarray in those days and the records weren’t kept well.

‘It was not practice to record the name of the photographer. But we always knew these images existed somewhere.’

After ceasing wartime operations, the Ministry of Information deposited Beaton’s war photos with the Imperial War Museum, London.

The photographer was briefly reunited with his vast body of work shortly before his death.

Describing the experience, he wrote in his diary: ‘Yesterday I went to the Imperial War Museum, not my favourite place, to see the collection of photographs that I had taken during the war for the Ministry of Information.

‘It was an extraordinary experience to relive those war years; so much of it had been forgotten, and most of the people are now dead.

‘It was fascinating to see the scenes in old Imperial Simla, the rickshaws drawn by uniformed servants, the grandeur of the houses, the palaces, the bar scenes, the men on leave swigging beer, I had not realised that I had taken so many documentary pictures, some of purely technical interest.

‘Looking at them today, I spotted ideas that are now ‘accepted’, but which, thirty years ago, were before their time. The sheer amount of work I had done confounded me.’

Relaxed: A soldier orders a cup of tea in the Forces Canteen at Victoria Station in 1942. The soldier pictured was the butler of a close friend of photographer Cecil Beaton

As well as glamorous portraits of British soldiers, Beaton’s portfolio also catalogues famous landmarks, such as a war-ravaged Bloomsbury Square in London

War effort: A female welder works on the deck of a new ship in Tyneside in 1943

A sailor on board HMS Alcantara uses a portable sewing machine to repair a signal flag on a voyage to Sierra Leone

A British sailor on shore leave in Harrogate looks natural in front of the camera in 1941

War heroes: Squadron Leader M L Robinson of No 609 Squadron RAF sits on the wing of his Hawker Hurricane at RAF Biggin Hill in 1941 for a relaxed portrait picture

Three men of the Long Range Desert Group enjoy a moment’s relaxation with cigarettes after returning to headquarters in, Siwa, Libya, in 1942

Battle of Britain pilot Neville Duke, who later broke the World Air Speed record, pictured with his Spitfire at RAF Biggin Hill in 1941

A woman made homeless by the Blitz receives a hot meal at a welfare centre in Bermondsey, London, in 1940

Attribution: Chris Parsons

Jurassic Oyster

A 145million-year-old oyster fossil trawled up by fishermen off the south coast of England, could contain the mother of all pearls.

Experts used medical MRI scanning technology to analyze the fossil to discover if there was a rare gem inside.

And their results showed up a mysterious smooth object about the size of a golf ball.

If it were removed and identified as a pearl, it could be worth a small fortune.

But experts will not explore the contents any further because it would mean the fossil would have to be destroyed.

The oyster – which measures about 7in across – remains at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Portsmouth, UK, where it is kept securely and brought out only for lectures.

Lindsay Holloway, from the aquarium, said: ‘It was discovered in the nets of a fishing boat which was dredging here in the Solent.

When the fishermen came back to port they thought it was real, but when they picked it up, cleaned it, and had a closer look they could tell it was a fossil. It had completely turned to stone.’

Jewelry expert Geoffrey Munn said: ‘To have a pearl the size of a golf ball would be exceptional. The biggest that have been recorded are about half that size.’

Following news of the discovery a company in Cheltenham called Cobalt, which provides state of the art scanning services to the NHS and private patients, volunteered to scan the oyster to see what was inside.

Lindsay Holloway added: ‘A member of the public called and informed us it was on display at a local fishmongers so we called them and they gave it to us to have in the aquarium.

‘Oysters can be aged by annual growth rings on their shells and we have counted more than 200 rings on this oyster making it an extremely long-lived individual.

‘It’s obviously a million-to-one chance that it would contain anything but, if you were to go purely on the dimensions of the shell then you’d be looking at a golf ball-sized pearl.’