World War One Changed Everything

Major wars have a tendency to define, or redefine history. But Historian and author Andrew Roberts argues that there was no

There was Nothing Great About it!

more definitive than World War One. In the following Prager University video, Roberts explains, correctly in my opinion, that World War I forever changed the landscape around the world. It had as much of a negative impact as did the American Revolution had a positive – maybe more.

And it all began with the assassination of one man in 1914 – Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria,  presumptive heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife Sophie. They were murdered by a Serbian nationalist. read more

Sea Monster Attacked U-Boat

The North Channel that connects the Irish Sea with the Atlantic Ocean has long been a haunt of those wishing to prey on Britain’s shipping.

Commander Kapitänleutnant Günther Krech

At its narrowest point, the channel is just 12 miles across, creating an ideal bottleneck for the pirates and privateers who for centuries targeted ships passing between Ulster and south-western Scotland.

In the early hours of April 30, 1918, a particularly deadly pirate emerged stealthily from the depths of the channel. Painted on its side was the name UB-85. This hunter was a German submarine, a feared U-boat. read more

Ok, I’m in Love!!

Anyone familiar with guns knows of the classic American pistol, the 45 cal. M1911 & the M1911A1. It’s still one of the most widely known and loved pistols, used in The Korean, Vietnam and both World Wars. John M. Browning designed the firearm which was the standard-issue side arm for the United States armed forces from 1911 to 1985.

The Colt pistol was formally adopted by the Army on March 29, 1911, thus gaining its designation, M1911 (Model 1911). It was adopted by the Navy and United States Marine Corps in 1913.

Originally manufactured only by Colt, demand for the firearm in the first World War saw the expansion of manufacture to the government-owned Springfield Armory.

Battlefield experience in the First World War led to some small external changes, completed in 1924. The new version received a modified type classification, M1911A1.

The differences in the M1911 and the upgraded M1911A1 were minor and consisted of a shorter trigger, cutouts in the frame behind the trigger, an arched mainspring housing, a longer grip safety spur,to prevent hammer bite, a wider front sight, a shorter spur on the hammer, and simplified grip checkering by eliminating the “Double Diamond” reliefs. You can spot the differences in the above picture. The internal components were all interchangable.

By the way, hammer bite describes the action of an external hammer pinching or poking the web of the operator’s shooting hand between the thumb and fore-finger when the gun is fired. Some handguns prone to this are the M1911 pistol and the Browning Hi-Power. It can be quite painful.

So how could a classic handgun such as this be improved upon?

Just Watch!

Shipwrecked Watch

A pocketwatch belonging to one of the survivors of the Lusitania ocean liner that sunk in 1915, has been valued at £1,000 ($1600) despite its inoperative state.

Frank Holman, a waiter on the liner, was wearing the timepiece when the ship was hit by a German torpedo.

The watch stopped as soon as Holman was flung into the Atlantic Ocean, where he was forced to tread water for five hours before he was eventually rescued.

His daughter Barbara Wiffen who has held the watch since her father’s passing told the BBC: “My late father, Frank Holman, was on the Lusitania at the time she was torpedoed.”

“The torpedo struck, I understand, at twelve minutes past two and his watch stopped at two twenty eight when he hit the water.”

“He didn’t speak about it very much because he found it very traumatic, but he was in the water for five hours before he was picked up.”

“At one stage he found a young boy who was obviously in difficulties and my father swam for some time with with his hands clasped round his neck but as time went on it became obvious to him that the lad had unfortunately passed away.”

“So regrettably he had to release him, and I think that stayed with him for the rest of his life. When I was a child, I use to hear him shouting in his sleep.”

Antiques Roadshow expert Hilary Kay insisted that the watch would generate much interest despite the relic not functioning.

She told the show: “Lusitania artifacts have appeared on the market in the past, and they always create a stir, particularly in The States, of course. I would see this certainly fetching £1,000 at auction, if not more.”

“Over a thousand people were drowned, of which over a hundred were American civilians, and it was what catapulted America eventually into the First World War.”

“So it is an incredibly important piece of 20th century history. And we have a piece of memorabilia here which I find incredibly resonant.”

Despite the estimation, Holman’s daughter has insisted that she would never part with the watch given its sentimental value.

The ship, bound for Liverpool from New York sank in approximately 18 minutes, claiming the lives of 1,959 passengers in the process.
Attribution: David Gerges