The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

Archive for the 'War' Category

11 April
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When he Entered Belsen Sgt Major Seekings Abused An SS Guard’s Human Rights By Punching Him In The Face….Good For Him!!

Reg Seekings 1920-1999

Reg Seekings 1920-1999

H/T for picture

John Randall is 94 but in April 1945 he was a young SAS officer operating forward reconnaissance in Germany. I challenge anyone to read his account of being the first Allied officer into Belsen without a shiver down the spine and a tear in the eye.

But there was one aspect of his story which gave me food for thought and it concerned Sgt Major Reg Seekings.

After 30 minutes alone in Belsen, Randall and his driver were joined by another SAS Jeep carrying the squadron commander, Major John Tonkin, and his squadron Sergeant-Major, Reg Seekings, an SAS veteran of North Africa, Sicily, Italy and France. ”Seekings was a very tough man,” Randall says. ”He had been with the regiment almost since it was formed and had been an army boxing champion when in the Guards.”

While the four of them were walking around the camp (along with the Camp Commandant Kramer) Reg Seekings saw an SS guard beating up a prisoner with his rifle butt

“Reg Seekings turned to John Tonkin, and asked permission to intervene and teach the guard a lesson.” This was granted without hesitation. ”So Reg went over and hit the guard in the face. He got up and was then knocked out by another punch to the head. Then Tonkin ordered Kramer and Grese into the guardroom, and said, “We are now in charge, not you, and any guard who attempts to treat a prisoner with brutality will be punished.”

Maybe it’s fortunate for Reg Seekings that he died in 1999. But even now a bunch of lawyers might still be trying to track down that SS guard or his descendants to get some compensation for the abuse of his human rights…..

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04 March
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You Remember That Russian Officer Who Threatened Us In Budapest In 1956? Well He’s Back!!!

 

revolution-hungary-1956-soviet-invasion-illustrated-history-pictures-images-photos-020

He’s back –that strutting Russian officer, with his bullying sidekicks, last seen in Budapest in 1956, is now in Ukraine and doing exactly the same. Of course, as in Hungary, he would claim that he has been “invited” in to defend the country against Fascist mobs but it’s all lies. He’s there because Ukrainians have dared to aspire to glance westward rather than remain a supplicant of Moscow.

In 1956 realpolitik dictated that we stood by as the Russian tanks moved into Hungary to crush the uprising – but we did have the good grace to weep for those brave freedom fighters as they were imprisoned and tortured and executed by the grim legions of Soviet terror. Indeed, throughout the west those tears were followed by a sense of shame and guilt that we just watched as they drowned.

But in 2014 there are few tears and little, if any, sense of shame. The liberal left is mute, as always in the face of Russian aggression, incensed, no doubt that the Ukrainian protestors should dare to go around toppling statues of Lenin. But what is far worse is the attitude on the right. “Russian sphere of interest” is the current weasel phrase. Until a couple of decades ago Ukraine had been a colony of the Russian Empire for centuries, we hear from many “conservatives”, so what else should they expect if they annoy Moscow. It’s like getting an axe buried in your head in the East End in 1960 because you had a few beers too many and started badmouthing the Krays – you deserved it because you were STUPID….

Or, if “armed men” are swaggering around Crimea pulling down Ukrainian flags well isn’t that the same as what happened in Kiev?

Actually – no. Power didn’t shift in Kiev because the demonstrators, armed to the teeth with assault weapons, stormed into parliament and arrested President Viktor Yanukovych and his ministers. There was violence and there were bullets and scores of people killed and wounded. But the shootings were ordered by Yanukovych and the violence instigated by his security apparatus – and when the bullets failed to intimidate the crowds his authority just melted away just as it did in Petrograd in 1917 and Tehran in 1979. The government disintegrated and the police disappeared from the streets.

There was no putsch – just a power vacuum that the anti Yanukovych elements began to fill.

Still the myth of an armed insurrection has grown legs, conveniently reinforced by the Russians with references to gangsters, neo Nazis and anti-Semites. Standard agitprop in the best soviet mould, naturally and total bullshit. But the essence of the tragedy is not Putin’s lies – as a former KGB hack it came with his mother’s milk.

The most shocking aspect of the whole affair is how so many on the right are gloating over Putin’s actions. He has become, with his anti gay and anti Islamic rhetoric the antithesis to the gelded softness of the western elite. He rides a horse, Obama rides a golf cart. He hunts animals, Cameron strokes them. He vows vengeance against Islamic terrorists, the BBC worries about Islamophobia.

Our emasculated, feminised and over sentimental me-me-me society makes many of us uneasy. But a corrupt self serving regime led by a posturing bully like Putin who feeds on grievance is no substitute for the rule of law.

Realpolitik once again demands that there is little we can do to protect Ukraine from Putin’s bullying. But for crying out loud don’t bolster the man’s ego by gleefully supporting Russia’s right to strut imperiously into anywhere that once fell under the writ of tsar or commissar.

You would have thought that we had learned that lesson with that other gangster in in 1938.

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13 January
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MYTHS ABOUT THE FIRST WORLD WAR

A must read for all those who want to separate myth from reality about the Western Front in The First World War 1914-1918

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These quotations are from Mud, Blood and Poppycock by Gordon Corrigan

The popular view of the First World War remains that of BLACKADDER: incompetent generals sending brave soldiers to their deaths. Alan Clark quoted a German general’s remark that the British soldiers were ‘lions led by donkeys’. But he made it up.

Indeed, many established ‘facts’ about 1914-18 turn out to be myths woven in the 1960s by young historians on the make. Gordon Corrigan’s brilliant, witty history reveals how out of touch we have become with the soldiers of 1914-18. They simply would not recognize the way their generation is depicted on TV or in Pat Barker’s novels.

 

The perception of soldiering in the Great War is of a young patriot enlisting in 1914 to do his bit, and then being shipped off to France.  Arriving at one of the Channel ports he marches all the way up to the front, singing ‘Tipperary’ and smoking his pipe, forage cap on the back of his head.  Reaching the firing line, he is put into a filthy hole in the ground and stays there until 1918.  If he survives, he is fed a tasteless and meagre diet of bully beef and biscuits.  Most days, if he is not being shelled or bombed, he goes ‘over the top’ and attacks a German in a similar position a few yards away across no man’s land.  He never sees a general and rarely changes his lice infested clothes, while rates gnaw the dead bodies of his comrades.

MARCHING

The original BEF, composed of pre-war regulars and reservists, did do quite a lot of marching, but they would have been very unlucky to have to tramp all the way from Boulogne to Belgium.  As far as possible men moved by train until they were a few miles from the front, and as the war went on and motor lorries became available these too were used to speed up movement.  As early as 1914 London buses were shipped out to the front for use as troop carriers.

TRENCHES

French and German ideas on trench construction differed according to the military philosophy of the two nations.  The French military doctrine was of constant aggression: the offensive was what mattered, and their works reflected this.  They were largely earthen, used little concrete and were often without revetment (zigzagging).  Their main purpose was to provide a launching pad for the French attacks.  German defences. On the other hand, were stoutly and meticulously constructed.  Concrete was used and deep dugouts were built; in some cases so well built and so deep that no Allied artillery could affect them, as the British would learn to their cost on the Somme.

The design and dimensions of British trenches were based on a good British compromise.  The British adopted much from the French methods, but they also used concrete and revetting when available.  Unlike the French, the British were not wedded to the idea of constant attacks.  Indeed, in private some British commanders and politicians thought that Britain should stay on the defensive until her New armies were ready and then intervene massively, end the war and dictate the future shape of Europe.

HYGIENE

Despite the tales of rats, lice and general filth, cleanliness and hygiene in the trenches were strictly enforced.  The paid a great deal of attention to its latrines, as indeed it had to.  Disease caused by poor hygiene had dogged armies throughout history and dysentery had always been a big problem.  By now the army was well aware that if human waste was not disposed of properly, unnecessary casualties would follow.  The average made produces 2.4 pounds weight of faeces and urine per day.  In the average company defended position this in a ton a week.  In the forward areas latrines were constructed just behind the trenches at the end of a communication trench and out of view of the enemy.  They were usually deep pits with wooden seats on top.  Disinfectant was provided and when full the latrine was closed.

A general lack of cleanliness made worse by food left lying about, particularly in andaround horse lines and abandoned ration dumps, could of course attract rats.  They did scamper around in no man’s land and bodies left uncovered did provide food for them.  Bodies were always buried whenever humanly possible and taken to the rear for temporary burial, before being given a proper funeral.  Bodies left lying around where the fell were not good fore morale; they were never left in the trenches or buried in the parapet as was the practice in the French trenches.

RATS & LICE

Good discipline got rid of rubbish and edible scraps, and rats were rarely a problem in the trenches, although lice, inevitable when men cannot wash properly, sometimes were.  On coming out of the line troops had their uniforms fumigated, laundered and ironed, and if necessary exchanged to reduce the risk of infestation.

TROOP ROTATION

British soldiers did not spend four years of the war in the firing line, or even at the front.  Men were regularly rotated from the firing line to the support and reserve trenches and then back to billets, usually well behind the battle area.  With a division having two brigades in the line and one out, and with each brigade having two of its four battalions in the line, a battalion could expect on average, to spend just ten days a month in the trenches. It was unusual to find any battalion spending more than four or five days a month continuously in the firing line.

TRENCH FOOT

 The winter of 1914 –15 was exceptionally cold and wet, and flooding of trenches was a problem.  Initially this led to large numbers of men contracting trench foot, caused by lack of circulation in the feet and legs and. If untreated, leading to gangrene and amputation.  Most cases were caught before recourse to the knife but, before preventative measures were enforced, many soldiers suffered from bad feet.  The remedies were the issue of whale oil and thigh high rubber waders, the loosening of puttees, regular changing of socks, and drainage of the trenches.  At first drains were soak pits dug into the floor, but mechanical pumps would later be provided.  By the middle of 1915 trench foot had all but been eliminated, except in battalions new to the front.

DIET

It is now recognised that a fit, active and athletic adult male needs a daily intake of between 3,000 and 2,500 calories.  Heavy physical work or exceptional cold increases the requirements.  The British army aimed to give its soldiers at the front a daily intake of 4,193 calories.  This was less than the French and more than the Germans who aimed for 4,466 and 4,038 calories respectively.  Soldiers rarely went hungry except in the most extreme circumstances.  Soldiers did not complain about lack of food, although they did complain about its monotony.

Where possible fresh meet was bread were issued, even in the firing line when a hot meal might be brought up at night, but there were many times when the fighting meant that the men had to survive on corned beef and biscuits.  Nevertheless, while hardly appetising, this was a far better diet than many had been used to at home, where in poorer households meat was eaten once or twice a week, and it was healthy and filling.  The tea issue was enough to provide each man with six pints of army tea a day, and British soldiers have always loved their tea!

MORALE

It has generally been considered that one indicator of morale and discipline in a unit is its sick rate: that is the percentage of men reporting sick with ailments due to causes other than enemy action.  Before the war it was considered that 0.3 daily, or about three men a day in an infantry battalion of 750 men was a reasonable sick rate for an army in the field.  Te rate for 1913 was in fact 0.12 percent and after the war, 1929 to 1928, it was 0.17.  On the Western Front, with total war in full swing, the sick rate for August to December 1914 was 0.26, declining to 0.24 percent in 1915 and 0.13 percent in 1016.  Throughout he war the sick rate was well below acceptable peacetime rates.

 

H/T John D Clare

 

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12 November
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Remembrance From A Small Town….November 2013

Redhill in Surrey….

Remembrance in Redhill

Remembrance in Redhill

 

 

Sea Cadets & Air Training Corps

Sea Cadets & Air Training Corps

 

The Redhill War Memorial

The Redhill War Memorial

 

Touched by the light...

Touched by the light…

 

The official wreaths

The official wreaths

 

Private memories

Private memories

 

...still falling...

…still falling…

 

 

 

 

 

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12 November
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Lest We Forget

automotivator (5) LEST WE FORGET

 

 

Lance Corporal James Hill of 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards killed in Afghanistan

 

 of 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards killed in Afghanistan

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28 May
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Syria = Thieves Falling Out

Can’t help agreeing with the old windbag here. Syria ia a hornets nest and the last thing we need to do is poke a stick into it. Indeed “a pox on all your houses” should be our watchword here. Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guard proxies duking it out with AQ leaning Jihadist fanatics from all over the world should not be unwelcome news. Remember the split between Mao and the late unlamented Soviet Union?  It was very good  for us in the west because it meant the Russians were always looking over their shoulder.

The Foreign Office and elements of the North London dinner party circuit are itching to pimp their consciences here with dreams of intervention but, as sure as eggs is eggs it would all end in tears.

When thieves fall out it’s honest folk who benefit….

 

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24 May
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Drummer Rigby, The Soldier Killed By Two Murderers….”Once A Fusilier, Always A Fusilier”

Drummer_Rigby_1

Rest in peace Drummer Lee Rigby of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

Amidst all the pontificating , posturing and political point scoring let us not forget that the British soldier murdered by jihadist terrorists this week had family and friends who will be shedding tears of grief. Above all his wife and son have lost a husband and father.

We the public will honour him as a one of the soldiers who guard us as we sleep – and who paid the ultimate price for that duty. But two other people have also paid a price – his wife Rebecca and his son Jack.

Surely the time has come for every service man and woman to be secure in the knowledge that whatever fate befalls them at the hands of our enemies their spouses and children will be supported generously for the rest of their lives at the expense of those who they protect - we the taxpayers.

Of course the various service charities do a magnificent job via the generosity of those who donate. But it should not just be finance by choice. Every one of us, whatever our politics or religion or philosophy, should pay the charge through our taxes. Far better that our taxes are used for our guardians than be sent to corrupt third world politicians or feckless benefit scroungers

Drummer Lee Rigby or ‘Riggers’ to his friends was born in July 1987 in Crumpsall, Manchester. He joined the Army in 2006 and on successful completion of his infantry training course at Infantry Training Centre Catterick was selected to be a member of the Corps of Drums and posted to 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (also known as the ‘Second Fusiliers’ or ‘2 RRF’).
His first posting was as a machine gunner in Cyprus where the battalion was serving as the resident infantry battalion in Dhekelia. Having performed a plethora of tasks while in Cyprus, he returned to the UK in the early part of 2008 to Hounslow, West London. Here, Drummer Rigby stood proudly outside the royal palaces as part of the battalion’s public duties commitment. He was an integral member of the Corps of Drums throughout the battalion’s time on public duties, the highlight of which was being a part of the Household Division’s Beating Retreat – a real honour for a line infantry Corps of Drums.
In April 2009, Drummer Rigby deployed on operations for the first time to Helmand province, Afghanistan, where he served as a member of the Fire Support Group at Patrol Base Woqab. On returning to the UK he completed a second tour of public duties and then moved with the battalion to Celle, Germany, to be held at a state of high readiness for contingency operations as part of the Small Scale Contingency Battle Group.
In 2011, Drummer Rigby took up a recruiting post in London where he also assisted with duties at the regimental headquarters in the Tower of London.
An extremely popular and witty soldier, Drummer Rigby was a larger than life personality within the Corps of Drums and was well known, liked and respected across the Second Fusiliers. He was a passionate and lifelong Manchester United fan.
A loving father to his son Jack, aged 2 years, he will be sorely missed by all who knew him. The regiment’s thoughts and prayers are with his family during this extremely difficult time.

‘Once a Fusilier, always a Fusilier’

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04 January
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Memo To President Cristina Kirchner Of Argentina Re Falklands – Go Dance Your Tango Somewhere Else

That notorious latin windbag and fiery drama queen Cristina Kirchner, President of Argentina, is back in the headlines with yet another “demanding the return of the Falklands” tantrum in a feeble attempt to distract the rest of the world from her administration’s rather dodgy accounting.

The British government’s response has been succinctly robust (even US website Hot Air is impressed) and if any Foreign Office mandarins, after quiet chats with the US State Department have been smoothing out the wrinkles of UN supervised “joint sovereignty” agreements, just to please Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and all the other “usual suspects” in Washington, not a whiff of it has seeped into the UK media.

Good job, too. British blood was spilt driving the Argentinian invasion force off the islands in 1982 and there would be deep public disquiet for any backroom deal that would mean their sacrifice was in vain.

Recently published papers show that the invasion took Margaret Thatcher and her ministers completely by surprise. Initially there was a degree of confusion about what should be done.

‘There was great concern about what could be done about it. Our forces in the area were very scant confined to a small troop of marines and the HMS Endurance.
‘If there was going to be an invasion there was little we could do to stop it. People were sitting round wondering what on Earth one could do about it. Sir Henry Leach came in and listened to what people were saying – then he said he could have a task force on the water by Monday. That transformed the situation

Margaret Thatcher was always impressed by people who offered solutions rather than dwelling on problems.

“She was undoubtedly seeking positive factual data on which to make her own mind up. Could we do it, against all the risks we’d discussed? I said, yes we could and, in my judgment, we should – which was not my business. That was a political matter.
“She was on to that in a flash. ‘Why do you say that?’ I said if we don’t, or if we do it half-heartedly and are not completely successful, we should be living in a different country which counts for very much less [in the world].” It was the turning point, not only of the meeting but of the entire Falklands crisis. As Nott admitted in the same programme, Leach’s intervention “helped our self-confidence in a very difficult situation”, even if it had been typical “Nelsonian gung-ho”.

From that moment she resolved that force would be met with force and her determination never faltered. As The Heritage Foundation suggests Britain’s reaction astonished the world.

Once Argentina invaded, Britain had to respond. What was remarkable was that it responded with force. No one—certainly not the Argentines—believed that Thatcher’s Britain would fight back or that it could do so effectively. They were proven wrong on both counts

What also shocked the world was the fact that Thatcher had public opinion behind her. Media pundits were convinced that casualties and body bags would weaken resolve – that a post WW2 generation would be dismissive of military action…..far from it. It showed once again the value of decisive political action and the power of political will.

Sorry, President Kirchner – you need to perform your tango on someone else’s dance floor…

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21 November
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Every Western Media Report From Gaza Comes Courtesy Of Hamas…

We now know that during Saddam Hussein’s murderous rule in Iraq CNN acted as a mouthpiece of the regime in order to maintain its presence. No doubt the BBC did the same. All foreign reporters had “minders” who directed them to “news stories” that the regime wished to be disseminated. They were thus essentially broadcasting the government’s propaganda. The advantage for the Iraqis, of course, was the BBC/CNN tag which gave these reports an air of respectability.

Why people have not grasped that everything coming out of Gaza today from CNN, BBC, Reuters etc is equally managed and directed by the Hamas regime is something that astonishes me. When the BBC interviews someone in Gaza they have been handpicked by their media minders. Street scenes, hospital footage – it’s all carefully stage managed and filtered in order to buttress the image of Hamas.

Ask yourself this. Has the BBC ever interviewed somebody in Gaza who is critical of Hamas policy? Have they ever filmed an anti Hamas demonstration in Gaza? No, of course not.

Then riddle me this….has the BBC ever interviewed an Israeli who is critical of his/her government’s policy – or filmed a demonstration denouncing Israel’s policy towards Gaza? Yes, many times….

Until we can have confirmation that the Hamas regime will allow the BBC to interview its political opponents and to film some form of public disaffection in Gaza then I will simply refuse to take any report from within Gaza as anything more than a tissue of lies or half truths.

Every western media report coming out of Gaza should be accompanied by a loud and explicit caveat that it was compiled under very strict conditions of censorship and highly resticted access – and needs to be taken with a very large pinch of salt…..

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17 November
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If Only The Israelis Would Be Reasonable And Die Quietly….

The UK Guardian goes Der Sturmer, faked casualties for BBC/Reuters in Gaza and Hamas organises a fair trial…..all because those Jews are being so unreasonable and refusing yet again to die quietly….

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