World War II Army Adventure (73) – Dear Folks – BANG ! – November 21, 1944 — “Greatest Generation” Life Lessons (Reblog)

Nov. 21, 1944 Dear Folks – BANG ! All in one and a half hours my bags are packed, my equipment is turned in, I climbed into a G.I. truck, I travel halfway across camp, I get out of the truck, I draw new company equipment, and unpack my bags.  Now I’m in a new […]

World War II Army Adventure (73) – Dear Folks – BANG ! – November 21, 1944 — “Greatest Generation” Life Lessons

USS West Virginia – Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay — Pacific Paratrooper (Reblog)

Her wounds had been grievous that morning in 1941, when Japanese torpedo bombers  swept low over the shallow waters of Pearl Harbor and unleashed their deadly cargoes at the easy targets moored along Battleship Row.  The surface might of the U.S. Pacific Fleet was virtually helpless against the onslaught, and those ships moored outboard received […]

USS West Virginia – Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay — Pacific Paratrooper

***Reblogged by Francis Barker 2020. World War II history…

What on Earth’s Been Going Down in Antarctica?

cold nature cute ice
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There have been rumours and several ‘conspiracy theories’ since the Second World War claiming that the Germans built a secret base in Antarctica, creating a kind of breakaway civilisation.

Now, with another story in the news about an apparently sophisticated 400 ft ship being found in an iceberg off the coast of Antarctica, these stories have resurfaced once again.

It is known that the Germans made several expeditions to Antarctica prior to the war. When by 1942 they realised they were going to lose, they apparently began to secretly transfer men and materials to a hidden base they had created in Antarctica, in a region called Neuschwabenland. Here, allegedly, they found areas free of ice, as well as areas under the ice they could inhabit safely.

Are Flying Saucers Real?

Of course, it would seem there is no way of verifying these theories and rumours, but it is definitely known that the Germans were also experimenting with some serious hi tech, in the form of flying discs. The blueprints for these craft are available and some of them were actually built and could fly.

However, it is indeed a huge leap of faith to associate these (as some do) with the flying saucer phenomenon, or UFOs, which exploded in to the news controversially in 1947 with the Roswell Incident.

How much actual truth lies behind these rumours I cannot say. As far as we know the biggest populations in Antarctica are still penguins. Nevertheless, it is intriguing to speculate.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

World War 2 Memorial, Ayscoughfee Hall

IMG_1274

Recently a new memorial to Spalding’s WWII dead was unveiled.

It is a masterful, yet understated and fitting tribute to those who gave their lives in the most devastating conflict yet known to mankind.

It is also a fine complement to Edwin Lutyens’ earlier, more classically styled WW1 memorial, just a few yards away.

Milly Reynolds’ new ebook: ‘Manifesto’

See Milly Reynolds’ work here:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Milly-Reynolds/e/B0056IY4OE/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d0_al3?_encoding=UTF8&refinementId=368165031&pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=09P41BQ8Y1KG91WBSJMJ&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=317828027&pf_rd_i=468294
available at amazon.com and amazon.co.uk

‘Manifesto’ is due out on amazon and kindle imminently!

Synopsis

Taking a break from crime fiction, Milly Reynolds’ new ebook is an imaginative and quirky take on the state of current affairs as well as the meandering course of history.
Eleanor Cross, a disaffected Tory MP, takes us with her as she rides on the waves of destiny towards the formation of a new political party which will challenge old ideas.
Written as a very loose prose poem, this book sets down the policies that some might put in place if given the chance to take over the country.

Review

Aiming where novella meets prose poem, Milly Reynolds has really pulled out the stops with this unusual new ebook. Both mysterious and funny, contemporary yet timeless, Milly’s head strong heroine, a disaffected MP, is challenged to ride the transformative waves of destiny towards a new future for herself and her country. An imaginative and quirky take on the state of current affairs and the long course of history.

Poem ‘Rear Gunner’

I come here most days
after school. Dad says it’s ok, so I
head straight away to my

friends, the chickens; I help them
dig for worms. Sometimes
a school friend drops by too

and we race up the stacked bags
of guano; they’re almost warehouse high, our
voices muffled like we’re in a cave. Later,

when it’s time to go, I sit and wait
for Dad, stare at old pictures
on the wall. A bomber

plane in camouflage, the rows of cheerful
men before it with little to smile
about, Dad said. I can

point to his friend, the rear
gunner who never gets out. I’m stuck in
there, spinning round

and round in the noise, the ground’s
approach quickening— then nothing—
until this awareness

and I am his son

© copyright David F. Barker 2012

*Notes: When I was seven or eight years old, my Dad used to work in a warehouse and I did play with the chickens, climb the bags of guano. There was an office, with a picture of an old British Blenheim bomber, with rows of RAF men lined up in front…

Poem ‘Hurricane’s Grave’

Hurricane’s Grave

A copse can be an intimate
friend. Most days he roamed there, always
finding something to love, a life of
reasonable expectation.
Late winter was a favourite time; tree tops
took on reddish hues and
there were further signs other
than snowdrops
and blue tits’ brighter songs, of the
burgeoning spring

Today was different. Large boots
had been this way,
their wearer, like
a stump line of grey, stood
barely seen by an old fence, through straight
saplings in sunlight.
He approached the figure, which seemed
to dissipate like mist in the sun, something
he’d mistaken for form
and life

But it was more than
a notion that had led him there. The fence
overlooked a rolling field, familiar lumps
and bumps of pasture unchanged
for decades,
where lords in their demesnes might
still rule for all he knew.
He leant on the fence, it
gave way in his hand. A piece of torn
grey cloth freed from a nail, flopped to
the damp ground.
He held it,
felt its old thick weave— like a uniform

He pondered the scene in front
of him, gave space to wartime tales,
the remembered lumps and
bumps which might easily hide a
hurricane’s grave

image and poem © copyright david f. barker 2012

* The Hurricane here, is a British WWII fighter plane

Poem ‘The Artist’

The Artist

Black paint on the front door
was peeling badly. Before knocking
I ran a crackling finger over it,
flakes falling into shade around my feet.
A small grey lady in garish pink
dressed for bed, squinted up at me,
something akin to Stravinsky
played in the darkness behind her.
“Take a pew!” – words betraying her age,
her station, a headmistress perhaps,
Arnold’s paintings in primaries all over low,
leaning walls in a room of gloom,
as if yellowed by years of smoke
and smelling of rose and age.
His preference for palette knife
and fingers were evident at once –
then a portrait, blue eyes staring at me,
almost violet, gorgeous like Liz Taylor
and hints of a grey uniform with pips.
Tea and scone arrived on Royal Albert
with shuffles of pink slipper.
“The portrait,” I pointed.
“Oh, that’s me, circa 1944,” she croaked,
standing bent. “But not his usual style.”
“No,” I had to agree, writing frantically,
excitement like sap
sent tingling up my spine.

So, let’s get this right:
She had trained in Ireland,
was deployed to France,
following allied troops into Germany
all the way to the end, in Berlin.
Hers an eccentric family of noble stock,
a quite irregular life lived on the edge.
Did I believe her? At first, yes.
At least until I closed the door
with that peeling paint.
Then I noticed the corner in the road,
breathed in the fresh air,
saw the rush of wind in poplars
and rooks cawing their honest presence.
The further I drove the less I believed.
Narrow roads led into town, a realisation
that still – the artist had eluded me

Poem and image © copyright df barker 2012