Vera Atkins (real name Vera-May Rosenberg) was recruited by the spymaster known as Intrepid—Canadian business man William Stephesen—at the age of twenty-three and before the outbreak of World War II found herself fighting along side American, Canadian and British civilians to derail the dangers of the Third Reich. By the mid-1930s she was already an experienced spy, currying and sending information to both President Roosevelt and Churchill.
When the Second World War finally broke out in Europe, Atkins had secured herself a high ranking position in Churchill’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) and became Great Britain’s greatest female agent of the war. However, despite her position of power she remained a civilian, not becoming commissioned officer until 1944 in WAAF.
Atkins’ job was to select and train the female field agents to jump into enemy occupied countries. She trained her agents who in turn jumped deep into enemy territory to aid Resistance, destroy vital targets, help Allied pilots evade capture and radio information back to London. Her agents were said to be the most prepared and dedicated of those trained by the SOE and were “prepared to die to liberate Europe from the Nazis”; in many cases her agents did.
Although decommissioned in 1947, her work didn’t stop. She went to Germany on her own to try and discover the fates of her agents that had disappeared behind enemy lines. She investigated all 118 losses of the F section successfully, save for one, whose fate she could never find.
She largely shied away from speaking about her wartime efforts; “Vera chose obscurity…Men didn’t like the idea of a spymisstress.” In fact, she was noted for ‘outfoxing’ many about her service who would later lead extensive careers from the OSS to CIA, and SOE to MI5. Many would not know of her work until she spoke of it herself, a skill that came in common when she began working during the Cold War. She was known for disappearing and reappearing months at a time without a word.
Ian Fleming, the man who would create James Bond, hailed Atkins as “the boss [in the real world of spies]” and purportedly based the character of Miss Moneypenny off her. On countless occasions, he cited Atkins for reminding him that “Bond and blunt instruments were the weapons of the weak.”
Vera Atkins died at the age of 92 in a nursing home located in Hasting on 24 June 2000.
and my U.S. History teacher was trying to get us to understand why it was such a big deal that England had put a tax on colonial sugar, and he goes,
"What if you had to pay a tax every time you logged onto wifi?"
And the whole class just went
and I heard at least two people whisper “I would murder someone”
I will keep reblogging this in the name of historical science
Before the ticker tape parades and the inevitable world tour, the triumphant Apollo 11 astronauts were greeted with a more mundane aspect of life on Earth when they splashed down 40 years ago today - going through customs.
Just what did Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins have to declare? Moon rocks, moon dust and other lunar samples, according to the customs form filed at the Honolulu Airport in Hawaii on July 24, 1969 - the day the Apollo 11 crew splashed down in the Pacific Ocean to end their historic moon landing mission.
The customs form is signed by all three Apollo 11 astronauts. They declared their cargo and listed their flight route as starting Cape Kennedy (now Cape Canaveral) in Florida with a stopover on the moon.
Tea leaves collected from Boston harbor the morning after the Boston Tea Party.
“Tea that was gathered up on the Shore of Dorchester Neck on the morning after the destruction of the three Cargos at Boston December 17, 1773.”
i’m so pleased that this means someone during the event was like “yeah this is probably gonna be historically interesting” and just ran out there with, like, what, a net? some cloth? fishing around in the fucking bay to collect tea to put in a bottle? you go, buddy
Good job, anonymous 18th century person. Your commitment to historic preservation pleases me.
The Great Carrot Deception of World War II.
During the Battle of Britain, a battle in which the German Luftwaffe (air force) expected to simply sweep the RAF (Royal Air Force) out of the skies, the Germans were baffled as to how the British were able to put up such a staunch defense. What was most confusing of all was that the British seemed to know where all their attack were coming from. British pilots were even able to intercept and shoot down German bombers in the pitch black of night.
What the Germans didn’t know was that the British had an ace up their sleeve. British radar technology had advanced to the point that British fighter pilots could find and shoot down enemy bombers directed by an onboard radar interception unit. Knowledge of Britain’s radar technology was top secret, and the Brits certainly didn’t want the Germans to find out. The British War Ministry quickly cooked up a cartoonish and bizarre cover story for their success.
The Ministry single out a successful pilot named John Cunningham for a unique propaganda campaign. John Cunningham, nicknamed “Cat Eyes” had shot down 19 German bombers at night using the new onboard radar system. Cunningham was also a man loved to eat carrots, sometimes eating dozens at a time in one sitting. Thus the British War Ministry cooked up an ridiculous carrot of their own; the reason for the RAF’s night fighting success was because British pilots ate carrots. Chalk full of Vitamin A, the carrots gave British pilots almost superhuman night vision. To cement their story, a propaganda campaign was started to convince the British people that carrots were good for eyesight. They printed posters claiming carrots gave people nightvision, necessary for survival in blackouts and bombing raids. They advertised on the radio, they printed leaflets, they even introduced a special carrot pop for children.
While today scientific studies prove that carrots, at best, might improve vision a little bit, the propaganda campaign was certainly pumping out a steady stream of over-exaggerated BS. However, the British public certainly bought it. More importantly to some degree the Germans bought it as well. While it is unknown if German High Command accepted the “carrot theory”, there are recorded instanced of German Luftwaffe pilots eating an excess of carrots to improve their vision.
After the Battle of Britain the carrot campaign continued to the point that even other Allied Powers were printing their own carrot propaganda. Today the myth is still alive and well, and millions of children around the world are forced to eat their carrots due to World War II propaganda.
During the war, carrots became super popular as a replacement for sugar. There are ration-era recipes for everything from carrot pudding to carrot “fudge” (which is nothing more than ground or grated carrots set in gelatin. mmmm-ick).
Because they were so naturally sweet, they were added to a lot of the well…less enticing meals that were generally offered. Liver and other organ meats (which were much cheaper than the better cuts), were significantly better received after recipes using carrots and onions instead of just onions were passed around.
the industrial revolution was a lot like when you finally figure out how to upgrade your skills in a game after not knowing how to do it for several levels and then just goin nuts
then you decide to gank every newbie in the starting area and then run scams to cheat old, well-established guildies out of their gear, Need on every drop in every instance, and everybody just asks “what the fuck, england”
and then you sneer “lern 2 play” back at them.
Broadsword of Oliver Cromwell
- Dated: circa 1650
- Culture: English
- Medium: etched steel [blade]; embossed iron chiseled in high relief, wood, silver wire [hilt]
- Measurements: overall length: 38 1/8 inches (96.8 cm). Blade length: 32 1/2 × 1 15/16 inches (82.6 × 4.9 cm). Hilt: 5 1/16 × 4 5/8 inches (12.9 × 11.7 cm). Pommel height: 2 1/8 inches (5.4 cm). Pommel diameter: 1 5/16 inches (3.3 cm). Weight: 3.1 lb. (1405 g)
This is one of the finest surviving swords of a type favored during the English Civil War (1642-51). The long-standing association of this sword with English statesman Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) is consistent with the unusual inscription and heraldic arms of England and Ireland on the blade, and with the outstanding quality of the hilt’s chiseled decoration.
Daughter of a gun (ﾉ´ヮ´)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ No idea if such a thing existed but surely there had to be girls born on board in the Age of Sail?
*puts on obnoxious historian hat*
there were actually tons of women and girls on board ships during the age of sail and it’s really cool history that no one!!! ever!!! talks about!!!
like captains of merchant ships used to bring their wives and children on board for long voyages all the time (and of course there were plenty of well known female pirate ship captains, and women cross-dressing as men, and prostitutes that more people seem to know of)
there’s actually a really amazing story of one woman, Mary Ann Patten who was the wife of the captain of this ship called Neptune’s Car. Captain Patten decided that he wanted her onboard with him and she was super about this and learned all about navigation and sailing and everything. so this one voyage they’re going around the tip of south america when her husband gets sick and is bed ridden with a fever right as the ship sails into one of the worst storms any of the crew had ever seen and it looks like they might lose the ship or have to stop
so you know who takes over??? the first mate???
she took over the whole crew and sailed that ship through freezing water and pack ice and had it coasting smoothly into the san francisco harbour like it was nothing. and she did this all at age 19. while pregnant.
at one point the first mate tried to get the crew to mutiny against her but they all rallied with her and told him to shut the heck up because she obv knew what she was doing.
there’s a great book about women in the age of sail called ‘female tars’ by suzanne stark that i cannot recommend enough and has way more amazing stories and insights about the myriad roles women and girls played aboard ship during that time period.
(sorry i totally didn’t mean to hijack your post i love all of your art and this is gorgeous i just got over excited sorry sorry sorry)
We need links!
Female Tars: Women Aboard Ship in the Age of Sail by Suzanne Stark
Hen Frigates: Wives of Merchant Captains Under Sail by Joan Druett
Iron Men, Wooden Women: Gender and Seafaring in the Atlantic World, 1700-1920 edited by Margaret S. Creighton and Lisa Norling
Petticoat Whalers: Whaling Wives at Sea, 1820-1920 by Joan Druett
Sea Queens: Women Pirates Around the World by Jane Yolen
Seafaring Women: Pirate Queens, Female Stowaways and Sailors’ Wives by David Cordingly
The Captain’s Best Mate: The Journal of Mary Chipman Lawrence on the Whaler Addison, 1856-1860 by Mary Chipman Lawrence
Women Sailors and Sailors’ Women: An Untold Maritime History by David Cordingly
I’M GONNA GET A LIBRARY CARD AS SOON AS I GET AN APARTMENT AND READ LITERALLY ALL OF THESE AND WEEP TEARS OF PROUD SISTERHOOD
Sergeant Stubby, so named for his lack of a tail, was a stray pitbull found wandering Yale campus by some soldiers there during drill.
"He learned the bugle calls, the drills, and even a modified dog salute as he put his right paw on his right eyebrow when a salute was executed by his fellow soldiers."
He was smuggled into WW1 by a soldier, and allowed to stay when he saluted the man who would later become his commanding officer.
He was sent to the trenches where he was under constant enemy fire for over a month. He was wounded in the leg by a German hand grenade, sent to a hospital to convalesce, then returned to the front lines…
After being wounded in a gas attack, Stubby developed such a sensitivity that he would run and bark and alert the other soldiers of incoming gas attacks AND artillery attacks precious seconds before they occurred, saving countless lives. A canine early warming system.
He would go into no man’s land, find wounded men, shouting in English, And stay with them, barking, until medics arrived.
He once captured a German spy.
The spy, mapping out Allied trenches, tried to call to Stubby, but Stubby got aggressive and then chased down and attacked the spy when he attempted to flee, allowing Allied soldiers to capture him.
For this he was awarded the rank of Sergeant- the first dog to do so.
After helping the Allies retake Château-Thierry in France, Sergeant Stubby was sewn a uniform by the women of the town, on which to wear his many medals.
He went on to meet multiple Presidents, dignitaries and ambassadors and become the mascot of Georgetown University football.
There is nothing about this that is not magical.
From National Library of Sweden, this breathtaking 16-century book can be opened and read as 6 different books, not to mention being an antiquarian work of art, now that’s one hell of a Kindle prototype! And just as an added extra, look at this embroidered little beauty.
Easter Island’s Statues Reveal Bodies Covered With Unknown Ancient Petroglyphs
21 January, 2014
MessageToEagle.com - Standing some 2,000 miles west of Chile, on the Easter Island, 887 mysterious giant statues have intrigued scientists and the public for years.
For a long time it was believed that the massive statutes consisted of just the heads.
However, in October 2011, when the Easter Island Statue Project began its Season V expedition, scientists could reveal remarkable photos showing that the bodies of the statues go far deeper underground than just about anyone had imagined.
Project director Jo Anne Van Tilburg said: “Our EISP excavations recently exposed the torsos of two 7m tall statues.
The statutes on Easter Island have bodies covered with ancient undeciphered petroglyphs.
"We found a round, deep post hole into which the Rapa Nui had inserted a tree trunk," she said. Van Tilburg said ropes were attached to the tree trunk and to the partially carved statue. "We found a rope guide that was actually carved into the bedrock near the statue." The Rapa Nui then used the tree trunk to raise the statue upright. Before the statue was upright, they carved its front. Once it stood erect, they finished the back, Van Tilburg explained.
The excavation team also found about 800 grams of natural red pigment —nearly two pounds —in the burial hole, along with a human burial. Van Tilburg believes the pigment was used to paint the statues, just as the Rapa Nui used pigment to paint their bodies for certain ceremonies.
The unusually large amount of pigment found indicates that it might have been used by a priest or chief, perhaps as part of mortuary practice, she said. Human bones were found throughout the dig, indicating that people buried their dead around the statues.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of visitors to the island have been astonished to see that, indeed, Easter Island statues have bodies!
More important, however, we discovered a great deal about the Rapa Nui techniques of ancient engineering.”
Among their discoveries, the team discovered:
· The dirt and detritus partially burying the statues was washed down from above and not deliberatelyplaced there to bury, protect, or support the statues
· The statues were erected in place and stand on stone pavements
· Post holes were cut into bedrock to support upright tree trunks
· Rope guides were cut into bedrock around the post holes
· Posts, ropes, stones, and different types of stone tools were all used to carve and raise the statues upright
The two “heads” in the quarry where Van Tilburg’s team dug are standing figures with torsos, truncated at the waist, that have become partially buried by eroded dirt and detritus over centuries.
The team also discovered that ceremonies were certainly associated with the statues.
On the project website, Van Tilburg said: “We found large quantities of red, some of which may have been used to paint the statues.
Finally, and perhaps most poignantly, we found in the pavement under one statue a single stone carved with a crescent symbol said to represent a canoe, or vaka.
The backs of both statues are covered with petroglyphs, many of which are also vaka.
A direct connection between the vaka symbol and the identity of the artist or group owning the statue is strongly suggested.”
Still, many of these ancient petroglyphs remain undeciphered and the history of one of the most remote islands in the world is now even more mysterious than ever.
Image credit: EISP.ORG
OH MY GOD THIS IS AWESOME!
French princess Isabella was only 12 years old in 1308 when she sailed into the court of English king Edward II as his wife. And he, the 24-year-old freshly crowned monarch, was very much in love … just not with her. The person Edward was in love with was a young knight named Piers Gaveston. That Edward had a lover wasn’t shocking, nor was it a big problem that his lover was a man. The problem, as the English court saw it, was how “immoderately” Edward loved the glamorous, arrogant Gaveston— enough to risk his entire kingdom and the lives of thousands of soldiers. When Gaveston was around, Edward was worse than useless, barely able to hold a conversation, much less govern. When Gaveston wasn’t around, Edward was a wreck.
While Edward and Isabella were married in France, Gaveston stayed in England with his own child bride, Edward’s 15-year-old niece. Less than a month later, Isabella witnessed firsthand just how deep the man’s hooks went into her husband’s heart. During the ceremony at Westminster Abbey investing Isabella with the title of queen, it was Gaveston who held the crown. At the coronation feast afterward, he sat next to the king under tapestries that depicted not the emblems of Edward and Isabella but the arms of Edward and Gaveston. And just to turn the dagger a bit more, Edward handed over the wedding gifts from Isabella’s father— jewels, warhorses, the whole lot— to his one true love. Isabella’s uncles, who had attended the coronation, returned to France in a frothy rage. Which was bad news, given that France and England were perpetually squabbling and barely maintaining an uneasy truce. England was already embroiled in a conflict with Scotland and didn’t need another front to open up. England’s powerful magnates— the lords and earls who really ruled the land— decided that Gaveston was too great a distraction for the king and needed to be removed. But attempts to exile the king’s favorite proved futile. Edward would send Gaveston away and then, a few months later, call him back.
Their frustration with Edward reached a boiling point in 1312; civil war was in the making. Edward and Gaveston traveled the countryside, trying to keep ahead of the lords baying for the latter’s blood, but they couldn’t run for long— England is only so big. On May 19, Gaveston surrendered to the king’s enemies at Scarborough Castle, where Edward had left him ensconced with a battalion. Just over a month later, Gaveston was executed, brutally and without a trial. The king swore he’d have his revenge.
Isabella, meanwhile, was biding her time. She’d become an adult while following Edward and Gaveston around the country; at the time of Gaveston’s execution, she was pregnant with her husband’s son and heir. On November 12, 1312, the 17-year-old queen gave birth to a healthy baby boy. She’d done her duty to crown and husband, and her position was secure. She had also accumulated enough political acumen to manage her useless husband and try to keep the nation from civil war. Edward and his warring lords patched things up long enough to sign a peace treaty, which got them through the first few months of 1313 without killing one another. With Isabella’s mediation, the lords swore fealty to Edward once again, but it was a tenuous peace. The Scots were hammering England’s defenses to the north, and Edward’s most powerful earl (and the man responsible in part for Gaveston’s murder), a man named Lancaster, refused to aid him. Worse, Lancaster was actively plotting against Edward while England was left rudderless, without a real leader.
Isabella remained at Edward’s side, his confidante and advisor. That is, until about 1318, when Edward again became infatuated with a young man in his company. Unlike the foppish Gaveston, Hugh Despenser was shrewd, cruel, and paranoid. He used the royal relationship to seize his rivals’ lands and treasuries. As Despenser hoarded more gold and more land, more and more lords began defecting to Lancaster’s side. Isabella worked to maintain peace between her husband, his magnates, and an irate France, but they all demanded that Despenser be exiled. In July 1321, Edward gave the order; ever the sly one, Despenser went only as far as the English Channel, where he and his father turned to pirating merchant ships while awaiting word from Edward. Meanwhile, the king’s struggles with Lancaster came to a head. Lancaster found himself on the losing side of the battle; he was arrested and executed as a traitor. Edward had his revenge.
Edward may have won a battle, but he was about to lose the war. Triumphant after Lancaster’s death, he hastily called the Despensers back to England and made Hugh his chief advisor. Ever the opportunist, Hugh then started to make moves on Isabella’s property and that of her children. Bad decision.
Hell hath no fury like a woman whose children’s birthright is in danger. Now a seasoned political manipulator, Isabella waited for just the right moment to act, and in 1325 opportunity finally landed in her lap. By then, England’s relationship with France had frayed over land that both claimed to rule. It was decided that Isabella was ideally suited to work out a solution with her relatives back home. So the queen (who had likely planted the idea with Edward and Despenser) made her way back to France, where she spent several restorative months in the bosom of her family. Six months after landing in Calais, she was followed by her son, 12-year-old Prince Edward, on the pretext that relations between France and England would be softened if he were made duke of Aquitaine. And just like that, 27-year-old Isabella held the trump card: the heir to the English throne.
Within weeks, Isabella showed her hand. “I feel that marriage is a joining together of man and woman … and someone has come between my husband and myself trying to break this bond,” she said in a statement. “I protest that I will not return until this intruder is removed.” Edward was gobsmacked. “On her departure, she did not seem to anyone to be offended,” he supposedly remarked. Isabella’s plan was ingenious and subtle. Her husband was a useless king, but she couldn’t say so without looking like a traitor. So she cleverly shifted the blame to Despenser and cast herself as the dutiful wronged wife. Isabella also knew that Edward was unlikely to be a worthy leader even if Despenser were removed. Lucky, then, that she happened to have an alternative ready to roll and under her control: her son, the prince.
Isabella had spent the last six months getting all her ducks in a row. Not only did she have France on her side, she had also won the loyalty of a faction of disaffected Englishmen to legitimize her rebellion. They were led by Roger Mortimer, one of the nobles who had led the revolt against Edward. Two years earlier, Mortimer had made a daring escape from the Tower of London and turned up in the French court. He and Isabella met up in Paris; he became not only her captain, but her lover as well.
To get her son on the throne, Isabella needed military might, so she and Mortimer engineered a marriage between young Edward and the daughter of a French count. In late September 1326, Isabella and Mortimer set sail for England with her daughter-in-law’s dowry— 700 soldiers— along with a pack of mercenaries paid for by Isabella’s brother, the king of France. Isabella was, without a doubt, at the head of this operation; one fourteenth-century image shows her leading the troops while clad in shiny armor. Popular support for her as a romantic, righteous figurehead had been growing since word of her rebellion spread; that support, and her ranks, continued to swell after she returned to English soil. Edward had fallen out of favor not only with his lords and magnates but also among his people, who had suffered famine and war while he was occupied with avenging his lover’s death.
The end came swiftly. On November 16, the king and his companion were caught trying to make it across open country in Wales. Hugh Despenser was brought before the queen and her lords and sentenced to death. He was dragged through the streets, stripped naked, and hauled 50 feet in the air by his neck. He was then disemboweled while alive and castrated— punishment, it was rumored, for his intimate relationship with the king. As if all that wasn’t enough, he was beheaded, too.
The king was confined to Monmouth Castle as a prisoner of Henry of Lancaster, brother of the rebellious earl whom Edward had executed four years before. But Isabella and Mortimer still had one problem: with Despenser gone, the dynamic duo no longer had reason to challenge Edward’s fitness to rule. So, clever Isabella argued that, by fleeing to Wales, Edward had abandoned England and his right to rule it. Prince Edward was, therefore, the rightful king. The relieved bishops and lords of England agreed. Now all that remained was to convince Edward to resign the throne in favor of his son. Faced with overwhelming opposition, he agreed, and Prince Edward, just 14 years old, became King Edward III on February 1, 1327. Isabella, as the mother of the underage ruler, and Mortimer, as leader of the deposing army, now held authority in England.
The situation was unprecedented— it was the first time the country had ever had a living ex-king. And there was also the issue of Isabella’s marriage: Edward may have been an ex-king, but he was not her ex-husband. With Despenser gone, she had no legitimate reason not to return to him. Moreover, Edward’s very existence posed a threat to the new regime, especially since it appeared he wasn’t completely without supporters. Indeed, by September 1327, three plots to free him had been foiled. So the queen and her captain hit upon a more traditional means of ridding themselves of this troublesome ex-king: murder.
The story is probably apocryphal, but later chroniclers morbidly insist that Edward II was murdered by the violent application of a red-hot poker up his backside. However death occured, on the night of September 21, 1327, the 43-year-old relatively robust former king conveniently died. He was buried with all the ceremony accorded to a dead monarch, his wife and son weeping and kneeling before his gilded hearse.
But young King Edward III, it seems, had learned a trick or two at his mother’s knee. Though Isabella and Mortimer were content to run things in England indefinitely, Edward wasn’t about to sit idly by and watch them do it. In late 1330, just three years after Isabella and Mortimer seized power, the 18-year-old king outflanked them. Mortimer was arrested as a traitor by a group of nobles loyal to the crown; he was hung on November 29, 1330. Isabella had but one choice: accept the death of her lover and an enforced retirement, surrendering her vast estates to her son. Ever the realist, she did so within a week of Mortimer’s execution. Isabella lived the rest of her life in quiet obedience to her son, dying in 1358. The “She-Wolf of France,” as she came to be called, was buried as she requested: with a silver vase containing the heart of her husband, the man she’d kicked off the throne and probably murdered.