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Terrorist Bomb Plot Foiled by Postage Due

36 packages of dynamite rigged as bombed were mailed to prominent US officials in April of 1919. Thought to be the work of anarchists although this was never proven. For various reasons none of the people the bombs were addressed to actually reached them.

Author and historian, Tim Weiner, writing in his Pulitzer Prize winning book,  Enemies: a History of the FBI,  says: “A postal clerk in New York found sixteen of them [dynamite bombs] on the postage due shelf; the bombers hadn’t used enough stamps.”

Metro DC Blue Line Re-Opened Today

 

Demand is so high for Metro service in DC that a passenger finds a unique place on the train to enjoy his commute

 

The subway system in metropolitan Washington DC serves two states, VA & MD, and the District. Inadequate funding and incompetent management have brought the Metro (as we call here) to the verge of collapse. A new general manager was brought in 6 months ago and suddenly crews are working night and day to fix problems even closing down entire lines which hasn’t been done before.

the Blue Line’s new side-of-car reduced fare is very popular

The Blue Line, which I frequently use, was closed for several weeks and reopened today with a number of improvements. The most unusual is the reduced fare side-of-car platform designed to appeal to the budget minded and students. If you stand on the outside platform you have 60% off the standard fare and 30% off the rush hour fare. The introduction of this new method will reduce interior crowding of subway cars and I am all in favor of that.

 

 

May the Grand Duke Alexis Ride a Buffalo in Texas

it’s Carnival time in New Orleans, that land of dreams….

 

“Hey Mister! Throw me something.”

Charles McCain, Mardi Gras New Orleans 1979

2.28.17

is

Fat Tuesday!

 

To all my friends and fraternity brothers in New Orleans, wishing you a Happy Mardi Gras and remembering the good times during Carnival those many years ago when some of us were matriculates of Tulane University.

 

Bob Warren, Charles McCain, and Sara Warren

Mardi Gras New Orleans 1979 (give a take a year or two)

The photo is a little bit off center but we were as well from taking ardent spirits.

 

“If ever I cease to love, may the Grand Duke Alexis ride a buffalo in Texas”

Winston Churchill Greatest Defender of Western Civilization

 

A magnificent colour photograph of Churchill and his senior military staff taken on 7 May 1945, the day Nazi Germany announced “unconditional surrender” to the Allies.

 

Winston Churchill with his chiefs of staff in the garden of No. 10 Downing Street on the day Germany surrendered to the Allies, 7 May 1945. Seated left to right: Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal, Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham. Standing left to right: Secretary to the Chiefs of Staffs Committee Major-General L C Hollis and Chief of Staff to the Minister of Defence General Sir Hastings Ismay. Photo and caption (c) by the Imperial War Museum.

USA SUBSEQUENTLY HONORS CHURCHILL by BESTOWING ON HIM HONORARY AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP

“ON APRIL 9th, 1963, a deeply moved Sir Winston Churchill, sitting in his London home with his wife beside him, watched a satellite relay of a White House ceremony giving him honorary United States citizenship.” You can read more about this at a great website about Churchill:

winstonchurchill.org/honored-with-us-citizenship

EXCERPTS FROM PRESIDENT KENNEDY’S OPENING REMARKS:

….Whenever and wherever tyranny threatened, he has always championed liberty…..In the dark days and darker nights when England stood alone–and most men save Englishmen despaired of England’s life–he mobilized the English language and sent it into battle. The incandescent quality of his words illuminated the courage of his countrymen….

By adding his name to our rolls, we mean to honor him–but his acceptance honors us far more. For no statement or proclamation can enrich his name now–the name Sir Winston Churchill is already legend.        Source  http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=9145

Official Proclamation by President of the United States of America John F. Kennedy bestowing honorary American citizenship of Winston Churchill after authorization by Act of Congress.

THE PROCLAMATION

Whereas Sir Winston Churchill. a son of America though a subject of Britain, has been throughout his life a firm and steadfast friend of the American people and the American nation; and

Whereas he has freely offered his hand and his faith in days of adversity as well as triumph; and

Whereas his bravery, charity and valor, both in war and in peace, have been a flame of inspiration in freedom’s darkest hour; and

Whereas his life has shown that no adversary can overcome, and no fear can deter, free men in the defense of their freedom; and

Whereas he has expressed with unsurpassed power and splendor the aspirations of peoples everywhere for dignity and freedom; and

Whereas he has by his art as an historian and his judgment as a statesman made the past the servant of the future;

Now, therefore, I, John F. Kennedy, President of the United States of America, under the authority contained in the act of the 88th Congress, do hereby declare Sir Winston Churchill an honorary citizen of the United States of America.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington this ninth day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-three, and of the in-dependence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-seventh.

     In a tragic irony of history, President Kennedy was assassinated less than eight months hence on 22 November 1963. He was 46.

     Winston Churchill outlived Kennedy by more than 14 months and died on 24 January 1965 (aged 90).

THE FUNERAL OF SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL KG, 30 JANUARY 1965 (HU 128865) The coffin of Winston Churchill, drawn by a Royal Naval Gun Crew and escorted on either side by the Royal Air Force, being drawn along Ludgate Hill on its way to St Paul’s Cathedral. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205359429

 

 

British Battleship HMS Nelson

 

HMS NELSON WORKING UP AFTER REFIT. 1 MAY 1942, ON BOARD HMS WHEATLAND, SCAPA. (A 9678) HMS NELSON with smoke from bomb bursts during dive-bomber and air torpedo attacks by American aircraft as part of HMS NELSON’s work-up. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205143480

 

HMS NELSON WORKING UP AFTER REFIT. 1 MAY 1942, ON BOARD HMS WHEATLAND, SCAPA. (A 9683) Left to right: HMS ECHO, HMS NELSON, and HMS PENN, from HMS WHEATLAND. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205143485

 

HMS NELSON WORKING UP AFTER REFIT. 1 MAY 1942, ON BOARD HMS WHEATLAND, SCAPA. (A 9680) Left to right: HMS ECHO, HMS NELSON, and HMS PENN seen from HMS WHEATLAND. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205143482

Comments Charles McCain: because of the odd appearance of the Nelson class battleships, only two of which were ever built, the ships often appear in photographs to be going in a different direction than they are. You can see what I mean in the photo above. HMS Nelson is the middle ship. Her bow is pointing to the left side of the photo and the ship is moving forward right to left in the photo which you can discern from the obvious direction of the other two ships.

If you did not know anything about the design of the Nelson class battleships, then you could easily think the Nelson’s bow was pointing to the right side of the photograph and that the ship was moving left to right.

MAIL FOR THE NELSON. 7 NOVEMBER 1943, ROSYTH. MAIL BEING BROUGHT TO THE BATTLESHIP HMS NELSON ON HER RETURN FROM THE MEDITERRANEAN. (A 20280) A drifter, laden with mail for HMS NELSON approaching the battleship. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205152765

Comments Charles McCain: once again appearances can be deceiving. The mail launch is approaching the stern of HMS Nelson not the bow.

 

MAIL FOR THE NELSON. 7 NOVEMBER 1943, ROSYTH. MAIL BEING BROUGHT TO THE BATTLESHIP HMS NELSON ON HER RETURN FROM THE MEDITERRANEAN. (A 20281) Marines and sailors taking the full mail bags to the mail office on board HMS NELSON. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205152766.

Comments Charles McCain: the men in the fore and aft caps are part of the ships contingent of Royal Marines and are not sailors.

Mail was obviously important in keeping up morale. What chaffed the men more than anything, however, was the policy that every single letter sent by a rating up to and including the most senior petty officers, had to be read and possibly censored by an officer. The men disliked the idea that officers were reading to read their mail (just the outgoing) and officers intensely disliked reading and censoring the letters written by the ratings.

In smaller ships there was often not time to read all the letters the men had written at sea if the ship was only in port for a quick turnaround. So the officers would read a few of the letters then proclaim that all had been read by the naval censor.

Theoretically, officers were supposed to read and censor each other’s mail but they rarely did. They just took a sealed envelope from a fellow officer and stamped that it had been censored.

All letters written to someone in the Royal Navy during the war were addressed to the specific person with their rank, followed by the name of the ship, followed by GPO (General Post Office), London. That was it. The whereabouts of any ship was a secret.

 

MAIL FOR THE NELSON. 7 NOVEMBER 1943, ROSYTH. MAIL BEING BROUGHT TO THE BATTLESHIP HMS NELSON ON HER RETURN FROM THE MEDITERRANEAN. (A 20282) HMS NELSON taking her mail on board from the drifter alongside. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205152767

Sawed off stern battleships HMS Rodney & HMS Nelson

ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65620) The Nelson Class battleship HMS RODNEY. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212370
ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65620) The Nelson Class battleship HMS RODNEY. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212370

 

Built to the limitations of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, Nelson class battleships HMS Nelson and HMS Rodney were unique in being the only battleships in the world with all main batteries mounted on the foredeck as well as being the only European battleships armed with 16 inch guns.

 HMS Nelson during gunnery trials. Photo courtesy Imperial War Museum

In order to meet the restrictions something had to give. Hence Nelson and Rodney were given far less engine power than they needed and the ships were slow, their maximum speed being 23 knots vs King George V class battleships laid down in mid 1930s without treaty restrictions which could make 28 knots plus. KGV class had 14 inch guns. The Bismarck carried 15 inch guns as did HMS Hood and the other Royal Navy battlecruisers HMS Repulse and HMS Renown.

In spite of their efforts, the Admiralty had a difficult time making a workable design of the Nelson class battleships. One problem: if all main batteries were trained abaft the bridge structure and fired, then the explosive shock shattered the glass on the bridge.

FLEET MANOEUVRES IN THE MEDITERRANEAN. 16 MARCH 1943, ON BOARD BATTLESHIP HMS RODNEY, FLEET EVASIVE MANOEUVRES IN THE MEDITERRANEAN AS SEEN FROM THE BATTLESHIP HMS RODNEY. (A 15690) HMS NELSON, and the aircraft carrier HMS FORMIDABLE as seen from the RODNEY during the MANOEUVRES. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205148718

 

MEN OF THE HMS RODNEY KEEP FIGHTING FIT. 20 JANUARY 1943, MERS-EL-KEBIR, ON BOARD HMS RODNEY. (A 14363) A game of deck hockey during the dog watches on board HMS RODNEY. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205147535

You can see how massive these ships were even in their truncated state since they had the deck space required for a game of deck hockey, a popular sport in the Royal Navy of the era.

Aircraft Carrier HMS Victorious at War

THE ROYAL NAVY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR (A 7657) More torpedoes for the enemy being wheeled to their aircraft on board HMS VICTORIOUS whilst she was in the North Atlantic or off the coast of Norway where she was taking part in an offensive against enemy shipping and helping to cover a Russian convoy. Two Fairey Barracudas can be seen in the background. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205185601

Comments Charles McCain: “the Fairey Barracuda was a fighter/bomber and/or torpedo bomber used by the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy. This aircraft was slow, underpowered and never an operational success. Its performance with the British Pacific Fleet can charitably be described as a disaster. All were immediately replaced aboard Royal Navy fleet carriers with Grumman Avengers.”

 

US Navy Grumman Avengers in official photo taken at U.S. Navy Naval Air Station Jacksonville

 

 

FLYING EXERCISES FROM HMS VICTORIOUS. 14 TO 16 MARCH 1942, ON BOARD HMS VICTORIOUS AT SCAPA FLOW AND AT SEA OFF HOY. (A 7979) Lieut Cdr Sir George Lewis-Bart, RNVR, Officer Commanding 781 Squadron, pays a flying visit to HMS VICTORIOUS. He is seen looking up at the camera from on the nose of a Supermarine Walrus Amphibious aircraft as it comes alongside HMS VICTORIOUS. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205141968

Comments Charles McCain: “The Supermarine Walrus was designed and built by the same company which designed and produced the iconic Spitfire also known as the Supermarine Spitfire. As you might imagine from the name, the Supermarine company originally specialized in manufacturing amphibious planes until the specs for a fast and maneuverable fighter were issued by the British Air Ministry in the mid-30s. A special design group at Supermarine led by Reginald Mitchell took over and the rest is history. Mitchell died of cancer before the famous Spitfire ever took wing.

 

THE ROYAL NAVY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR (A 7973) A Fairey Albacore torpedo-bomber of No 820 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, taking off from the flight deck of HMS VICTORIOUS as the ship lies at anchor in Scapa Flow. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205119480

 

FLYING EXERCISES FROM HMS VICTORIOUS. 14 TO 16 MARCH 1942, ON BOARD HMS VICTORIOUS AT SCAPA FLOW AND AT SEA OFF HOY. (A 7976) Fairey Fulmars being warmed on the flight deck prior to take off for flying exercises. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205141966

ON BOARD THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER HMS VICTORIOUS SAFEGUARDING THE CONVOY LANES TO RUSSIA. 24 TO 27 MARCH 1942, ON BOARD HMS VICTORIOUS IN WINTRY SEAS. (A 8139) Dressed up for the cold weather, one of the Director Turrets crew of HMS VICTORIOUS on duty. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205142123