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Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 4811
Joined: 2004
This day in World History! Continued
5/28/2023 9:37:00 PM
Quote:
The huge rates of infant mortality must have drastically reduced life expectancy, and surely this creates misleading impressions of how long a person might live after the survival of those very dangerous early years.


Edward the Third comes to mind.

I’m going to google him and find out what his lifespan was.


Phil, Edward III fits comfortably with others of his age. Lifespan: 1312-1377. Age at death: 63.

Infant mortality was, as you say, high. But when were children clear of infancy? I note that Wikipedia notes Queen Anne had one child (William, Duke of Gloucester) from 18 pregnancies, though at least four were live-born. William, by the way, died IIRC at age 11. Was there a certain age after which you were deemed something more than a child, and could it have been as low as 10? Similarly, was there an age after which you left infancy and entered childhood?

What’s you take on distinctions in death rates between commoners and nobility? Again, hard to call IMHO, given that nearly every illness, disease or injury at any age held the promise of being fatal. Noble and wealthy families could gain protection through isolation or relocation, but a draught could bring on a cold whose fever could kill. I assume – perhaps incorrectly – that more commoners might be injured by the work they did, which could lead to infections for which there was no cure, but noble sports such jousting could lead to similar injuries.

I once showed a doctor friend a London Bill of Mortality for the week 12-19 September 1665, at the height of the plague. The Bill covers 97 parishes within the Wall, 16 parishes “without” the Wall; 12 parishes in Middlesex and Surry; and 5 parishes in the City and Liberties of Westminster, for a total of 130 parishes. Of the 130 parishes, 119 were infected with plague; only 11 were plague-free. Total burials for the 130 parishes were 7690, of which 6544 (85.1%) were from the plague. In contrast, only 168 were christened.

There were 48 distinct causes of death listed for that week. A medical friend could not identify what all of them were, and could only guess at others, partly arising over questions about spelling, particularly with the usual dual usage of long and short esses, both singly and in pairs, but partly from the poor quality of the type and typesetting. But the numbers and diseases are interesting. Of the 1146 who didn’t die from plague, the three largest causes of death are Fever (332), Consumption (129) and Teeth (128). 23 are listed as Abortive, which may actually be still-births; 39 are recorded as Childbed, which could mean women dying in childbirth or children who are live-born but die in the hours after birth. This is complicated by the Infants category, against 10 deaths recorded. On the other end of the spectrum, the Bill has a category labeled Aged, and places 57 deaths in this category. If that means what it seems to, it means that only 57 people out of 7690 lived to their full expected years. It would be lovely to know the ages of those 57 Aged people.

Others on the list deserve a look. Kingsevil (Scrofula, a lymphatic infection suffered by Dr Johnson; he was actually touched by Queen Anne as a “cure”) gains a listing; so do Chrisomes, Convulsion, Frighted, Grief, Scurvy, Tone, Ulcer, and Worm(e)s. One can only imagine, however, what the following might be: Griping in the Guts; Head-mould-shot; Imposthume; Meagrome (could be migraine?); Plannet; Quinsie; Scowring; Strangury; Surfeit or Tissick. Oddly, there are only two anomalies I can spot. One: of the 7690 deaths, there is only one falling into what we could call “unknown”; a person was found dead in the street in St. Olave Southwark parish. Two: in a pesthouse in the City and Liberties of Westminster 7 people died of plague but none were buried from there. The parish tallies for burials matches totals given, so where these 7 infectious corpses were buried is a mystery.

This might be the most accurate database on births and deaths available for these 130 parishes at the time, but is essentially a church record. It only records births (actually, christenings) and burials recorded by the parishes of the Church of England, despite the details of each death.. No Catholics; no Jews; no burials outside the rites of the CofE; no unreported deaths find their way into the Bill of Mortality. How accurate can this be?

This kind of issue may be boring for some MHOers. If so, I apologize for the length of this post. I find it entrancing. We make an accepted statement – as Dave did – about life-span at a certain point in history, and then find all kinds of challenges to the statement. And, of course, all kinds of other interesting issues as well.

Cheers
Brian G
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
GaryNJ
Cumberland NJ USA
Posts: 254
Joined: 2010
This day in World History! Continued
5/28/2023 11:20:25 PM
Brian,

I don't find this boring. It's an interesting subject.

Gary
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6508
Joined: 2004
This day in World History! Continued
5/29/2023 1:45:54 AM
Brian,

Your post overwhelmed me : and I mean that as a compliment .

As for Edward III, for some reason I’d imagined that he’d bucked the trend, but, like his grandfather Edward I and his great grandfather Henry III, he made mid sixties.

As for his father, Edward II, his notorious murder reminds us that violence afflicted people high and low, to a much greater degree than it does today : Stephen Pinker has a point, I reckon.

Nasty, brutish and short sums it up. I must revisit that quote from Hobbes and put it into context.

Indeed, I want to do justice to your magnificent contribution, and this will be daunting.

This is going to take a bit of time and a lot of thought.

Didn’t our forebears do well just to survive and pass their genes down to us amidst all that squalour, hardship, violence and pestilence ?

Let’s hope that, in our relatively grotesquely long lifespans, we do them justice !

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
scoucer
Berlin  Germany
Posts: 3270
Joined: 2010
This day in World History! Continued
5/29/2023 6:18:33 AM
Quote:
Brian,

I don't find this boring. It's an interesting subject.

Gary


I agree completely. Love it.

There seems to a be a sort of MHO syndrome coming up. The idea that because a post doesn´t get answered means that nobody is interested. As I said to Phil recently, that I am not answering his post because I´m learning from it. I would say the exact same to yours. I can´t join a discussion because the poster obviously knows more than me but it gives me the "impulse" to learn more.

Trevor
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`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6508
Joined: 2004
This day in World History! Continued
5/29/2023 3:46:50 PM
Damned pleased to read what you’ve just written, Trevor, there’s hope for MHO yet !

What Brian posted has left me in awe.

What of the elusive 57 Brian alluded to who died at ages not ascertained ?

I bet some lived to an astonishing vintage.

Even from the harshest and most perilous circumstances, some folk attained great longevity.

The scope for genetics here is infinite.

What will science yield in the next generation ?

Regards, Phil

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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Lightning
Glasgow  UK
Posts: 1070
Joined: 2005
This day in World History! Continued
5/29/2023 6:20:15 PM
Longevity and mortality are fascinating subjects to delve into. More often than not, some of the longest living males endured some form of military service. Did they make into old age because of or in spite of their martial youth? Did the three square meals and rigorous exercise set them up for a long life? Or was it just plain luck with genetics?

On mortality, the Romans didn’t generally give burial rites to children who died under the age of one, because infant mortality was so high. If you were born into the higher orders, made it past childhood and didn’t die of disease, murder or battlefield wounds there was a good chance you would see your sixties. Some of the Roman nobility made it into their nineties. I put that largely down to a life free from hard labour, plus a life of good quality food and water. The lower orders didn’t fare so well. A legionary finishing his 25 years service intact was a fairly lucky bird.

That the English kings thought it a triumph to reach their sixties shows how far the decline in public health reached in the medieval period. I haven’t went it into too much, but I would wager that mortality rates of the Roman period were more favourable (in Britain) than until the 18th century, perhaps even later.

Cheers,

Colin
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"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 8313
Joined: 2006
This day in World History! Continued
5/29/2023 8:02:59 PM
You haven't heard from me, because I was up north for the Holiday weekend!! ☺

Yesterday 5-28 in history, some events below, comments, anyone??

1291 the Crusaders losses the battle for Acre, & had to withdraw from the So called Holy Land! What's your take on the Crusades?? Were they warrented or just olden day Jihads?? Comments??

1660 George I, was the 1st Hanover King? For us non-British Monarchy people, what's this all about???

1787 the Federalist Papers are written on the proposed Constitution! Wonder what the founding fathers would think about how it's used today?? Will it survive these troubled times much longer?? What say you??

1804 Napoleon established the French Empire! Really were the citizens of France behind him, & his aggressive ways?? Comments, anyone??

1830 Andrew Jackson Institutes the Indian Removal Act! Why didn't someone remove Jackson & his cronies! He was possibly the worst president towards the Native Americans!? Who was the worst Canadian leader towards 1st Nations?? Anyone??

1937 Volkswagen is founded by the Nazis! What military vehicles did this help Germany with? What do you think of the later peacetime cars?? Bug anyone??

1937 Neville Chamberlain becomes PM of Great Britain! How is he perceived today?? Peace in our time?? What say you??

1997 Pakistan has the bomb! Look out!? Comments on the most dangerous countries that have Atomic Weapons!? Does Russia, & China head the list?? Anyone??

1908 Ian Fleming is born, what did you think of him as A author?? Anyone??

Please comment, & Take care,
Hope you had a great Memorial Day weekend!
MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 4811
Joined: 2004
This day in World History! Continued
5/29/2023 8:06:56 PM
Quote:
What of the elusive 57 Brian alluded to who died at ages not ascertained ?

I bet some lived to an astonishing vintage.

Even from the harshest and most perilous circumstances, some folk attained great longevity.

The scope for genetics here is infinite.

And it may not be just genectics, Phil. In my more fanciful moments, I fantasize about Gammers and Gaffers who are ancient, time out of mind. They carry the lore and wisdom of their clan, and are honoured for their memories. It’s a great image. As an aside of sorts, in my home province of BC, there are elders in every tribe, many of whom attempt to keep the oral traditions, lore, history, language and values of their people alive. That makes the Gammers and Gaffers much more real to me, and I think of their importance very differently.

Lightning, you note: Quote:
On mortality, the Romans didn’t generally give burial rites to children who died under the age of one, because infant mortality was so high. If you were born into the higher orders, made it past childhood and didn’t die of disease, murder or battlefield wounds there was a good chance you would see your sixties. Some of the Roman nobility made it into their nineties. I put that largely down to a life free from hard labour, plus a life of good quality food and water. The lower orders didn’t fare so well. A legionary finishing his 25 years service intact was a fairly lucky bird.

I know little about Roman (any ancient, actually) survival, so I thank you for expanding the discussion. The reality that babies under 12 months did not receive burial rites is not just interesting. It may denote a Roman marker concerning when life is established and recognized under law. considering the current debates about the moment life begins, it has particular relevance, IMHO.
Quote:
That the English kings thought it a triumph to reach their sixties shows how far the decline in public health reached in the medieval period. I haven’t went it into too much, but I would wager that mortality rates of the Roman period were more favourable (in Britain) than until the 18th century, perhaps even later.

I’d like to see more data before I agree with you, but you raise a point worth discussing. IMHO, in Western culture the advent of Christian authority incorporated a belief that current life was a mere shadow of a future, heavenly life. The corporeal life , with all its woes, was but a test for an after-death greater vitality. Would it be fair to suggest this belief was by definition deterrent to improving life as we live it?

You mention the 18th century as a significant period where longevity changed. I think that is a complex issue, worthy of further discussion. In part, I see the shift beginning (at least in England) in the 1650s, and growing with the birth of such as the Royal Society (supported by Charles II). But that’s just an extension of your comment, and leads us towards discussions of the impact of the modern sciences on the values of the academics.

Cheers
Brian G

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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 4811
Joined: 2004
This day in World History! Continued
5/29/2023 9:37:48 PM
Quote:
1937 Volkswagen is founded by the Nazis! What military vehicles did this help Germany with? What do you think of the later peacetime cars?? Bug anyone??


I think the decision to create the VW was in line with the Nazi creations of huge summer camping enclaves, cruise ships, and the like. It was a positive side of an otherwise ugly political movement. France had the 2-CV; Italy had I believe an early version of the Fiat 500; Britain had the Morris 8 and equivalents. All, whatever label was chosen, were “peoples” cars.

Because of the advent of the war, the VW did not achieve main production for civilian purchase. Instead, the Type 82 Kübelwagen became the staple line of production. This wasn’t just a great repurposed use of a good design. It became an effective,useful vehicle in many ways similar to the US Jeep.

Lots more to chat about. But food beckons.

Cheers
Brian G
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 8313
Joined: 2006
This day in World History! Continued
5/30/2023 7:14:31 AM
Guys,

Check out 5-30 in history! Comments anyone!?

1381 the English Peasants Revolt! What's that all about!?? Anyone?

1806 Andrew Jackson involved in one of his almost 100 duels!? How can this be? & A President of the United States!? What say you about duels at this time in history? Anyone??

1854 the Kansas Nebraska Act is passed how did this influence the future Civil War? Comments??

1911 the 1st Indy 500 run, do you consider auto racing a sport? Comments?

1922 the Lincoln Memorial is dedicated in dc, was Abe America's greatest president!? What say you? Why??

1942 the RAF sends 1000 bombers against Cologne, Germany! Can anyone enlighten us with how the mission went??

& again, Thanks to all Vets this Memorial Day! &
Least we forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice!?
Regards,
MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 13550
Joined: 2009
This day in World History! Continued
5/30/2023 8:26:17 AM
On this day in 1832 the Rideau Canal was opened linking the capital city of Canada, Ottawa with Lake Ontario.

"Rideau" means curtain in French and it is believed that Champlain named the Rideau River after two side by side falls that appeared to look like window curtains to him.

Rideau Falls today where the Rideau River meets the Ottawa River



The Rideau Canal system has been called the oldest, continuously running canal system in North America. I am reading the description carefully as the claim comes with qualifications, doesn't it?

And it was built for defensive purposes. After the War of 1812 and multiple invasions by the US, British North America determined that it had to assess its defensive status. The great warrior Wellington had advised the construction of a canal that would allow supplies from Montréal to be taken to Kingston on Lake Ontario without ever having to travel on the St. Lawrence River.



It had been discovered after the war that the Americans had plans to take control of the St. Lawrence River so as to prevent supplies for Kingston and points west in Upper Canada from ever reaching those destinations. Kingston of course was the major military and ship building port on Lake Ontario. Why the Americans didn't pursue that strategy during the War of 1812 is a mystery though they did try a pincer movement in October of 1813 that saw two armies approach Montréal from the south along the Lake Champlain route and from the west travelling down the St. Lawrence. With defeats at Chateauguay and at Crysler's Farm, the two armies retreated and Montréal was safe. That the plan had been contrived convinced the Canadians and British to build the Rideau Canal.

The canal was constructed by Lt. Col. John By of the Royal Engineers, through rocks, extremely fast water and dense bush. The town of Bytown was to be one terminus and it was named after the colonel but it would be renamed Ottawa. The canal is 202 km long with 52 dams and 47 masonry locks. Damming has created sections which are really large lakes with many cottages along the route. It takes 5 days to navigate the canal system and for many US and Canadian boaters it is a must do.

Immigrants from Ireland made a great contribution to the build. There were deaths during construction but not as many from accidents as one would expect in those days. In fact, malaria caused a great deal of illness among the workers and their families. Malaria, but not tropical malaria was endemic in this part of the world in the 1800's. Many deaths were attributed to this disease during the build but it has been determined that the type of malaria was not the more virulent tropical type that has a much higher death rate. And so it is presumed that in the weakened malarial state that other afflictions like dysentery contributed to the death rate.

Of note, building the dams led to the establishment of communities all along the canal route and as a dam or lock was constructed, cemeteries were built not too far from the build site. Some of these graves contain the bodies of workers who perished while at work or from disease.

Today the Rideau Canal is a huge draw for boaters who enjoy the scenery but also marvel at the early 19th century construction methods that have stood the test of time.

The Rideau is a National Historic Site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is a short history of the build for those interested.

[Read More]

Short section of the canal with several locks





Now this is in Canada so what good is a canal in February? You make the world's longest skating rink through Ottawa.





Cheers,

George







Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 4811
Joined: 2004
This day in World History! Continued
5/30/2023 7:08:39 PM
Quote:
1942 the RAF sends 1000 bombers against Cologne, Germany! Can anyone enlighten us with how the mission went??

The Cologne raid you mention was the first of two “1000-bomber” raids. Officially, it was known as “Operation Millennium”. Typical of Bomber Command raids at the time, it was a night attack; normally such raids have a shared date of delivery. Cologne was on 30/31 May; the second was against Essen on 1/2 June. A third, later raid on Bremen (25/26 June) saw another attempt at re-creating the 1000-bomber force.

The Cologne raid was a milestone for RAF Bomber Command, a point often lost in he propaganda value of the “1000” number, and the fact that this reduced Sir Arthur Harris in stature by giving birth to “Bomber” Harris. As part of the development of RAF Bomber Command tactics, the Cologne raid introduced a couple of techniques which would be adapted for general use from this time on. The first was known as “streaming”, and entailed attacking a/c entering enemy air space as closely knit-together as possible. The density of the stream would cross fewer Himmelbett stations of the Kammhuber Line. Since the Himmelbett system allowed a single station to handle only 6 possible night-fighter interceptions per hour, it was felt this would reduce bomber losses.

The second innovation was a huge reduction in the length of time given for the bomber stream to attack the target. This was expected to more effectively weaken enemy defenses (i.g., fire brigades) and perhaps increase the length of time the fires had to take hold. Both these trial techniques worked well, and would be adopted into general RAF BC use.

A good assessment of the Cologne raid and the follow-up against Essen is given by Martin Middlebrook in his Bomber Command War Diaries, Penguin (1990), pp 269-274.

Cheers
Brian G
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6508
Joined: 2004
This day in World History! Continued
5/31/2023 4:18:09 AM
Brian,

The discussion about longevity through the ages has been so interesting. If you don't mind me reverting to it, let me say that the Times Newspaper has its own radio station, which obviously has its own discussion forum based on the articles that appear in its daily newspaper.

In the spirit of Michigan Dave's This Day in History feature, it carries its own equivalent which ties up nicely with this sector of our forum.

Your delightful allusion to the Gammers and Gaffers of Yore, and their guardianship of folklore, came into prominence this morning when the Times Radio pitched its own "This Day in History Feature" by marking a German study into the life expectancy of children in Finland between 1760 and 1800. The study made an interesting discovery : children who lived in a dwelling where the grandparents - or one of them - were residing stood a much better chance of escaping death from diarrhoea or " pox" than their counterparts who did not enjoy the proximity of Gammers and/or Gaffers .


So you're right on the money, as usual, you discerning and delightful old Gaffer😂

Intriguing variants in slang here : “ Gaffer” in British parlance usually implies a boss or foreman. “ Gammer” carries a rather more salacious implication, based on old London rhyming slang “ Plate of ham “ which alludes to oral sex, or “ plating”.
The provenance is “ gamahuche” which is an old fashioned word.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 8313
Joined: 2006
This day in World History! Continued
5/31/2023 7:20:42 AM
May 30-31!

5-30-1381 the English Peasants Revolt! What's that all about!??

1806 Andrew Jackson involved in one of his almost 100 duels!? How can this be? & A President of the United States!? What say you about duels at this time in history? Anyone??

1854 the Kansas Nebraska Act is passed how did this influence the future Civil War? Comments??

1911 the 1stIndy 500 run, do you consider auto racing a sport? Comments?

1922 the Lincoln Memorial is dedicated in dc, was Abe America's greatest president!? What say you? Why??

1942 the RAF sends 1000 bombers against Cologne, Germany! Can anyone enlighten us with how the mission went?? Thanks for the great reply Brian! Very enlightening, & informative!!!

& Checking 5-31, the last day in May, comments anyone??

1819 poet Walt Whitman was born! What was his greatest poem?? How about Captain, my Captain!!??

1889 the Johnstown flood over 2,000 peopled died! What was your countries worst flood? Anyone??

1902 the Boer War ends!? How did the Native S. Africans fare???

1916 the naval battle of the Jutland Sea, begins, one of the more costly naval engagement ever fought by the RN!
Who won?? What say you??

1921 the Tulsa Race Riots over 300 blacks massacred!! Why?? Anyone???

1962 Adolf Eichmann is hung for killing jews! Who was the worst Nazi in that regard?? Any comments??

1977 Trans Alaskan Pipeline completed! Does this threaten even pristine Canadian territory!? Comments??

Comments on new topics? &
Regards,
MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 13550
Joined: 2009
This day in World History! Continued
5/31/2023 7:53:49 AM
Quote:
1977 Trans Alaskan Pipeline completed! Does this threaten even pristine Canadian territory!? Comments??


As the name implies, this pipeline crosses Alaska from Prudhoe Bay in the north to the port of Valdez in the south. From there, crude is loaded onto tankers for transport. The pipeline does not go through Canada.



This pipeline is sometimes confused with a proposal to build another pipeline that would take Alaskan natural gas, not crude, and run it into the Northwest Territories, British Columbia and into Alberta where it would link with existing pipelines that provide natural gas to the US and to Canada. I don't know the status of this proposal given that pipelines are not looked upon favourably today. This proposal may be dead in the water as over 1500 km of the pipeline would pass through environmentally sensitive lands.



or






The concerns expressed by environmentalists and First Nations have validity. Existing pipelines that are installed above ground in the Arctic were installed that way because of permafrost which provided a reliable base to support the pipe system. But the climate is changing and permafrost is melting. This is causing all sorts of problems for infrastructure in the north. A collapsing permafrost could lead to significant pipe damage and leaking.

The problem is already evident in Alaska.

[Read More]

Cheers,

George

Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 8313
Joined: 2006
This day in World History! Continued
5/31/2023 8:06:57 AM
Hi George,

Great site on the possible collapse of the Alaskan pipeline, Global warming is really showing, "you reap what you sew"! Also I didn't know about the proposal of the across Canada pipeline, sure glad that didn't happen!?

BTW also nice post on the Rideau Canal, I would sure like to visit Ottawa someday! Very picturesque, very European, looks like a cool place!?

Thanks, your posts are top shelf!! ☺
MD

Also love your maps, I'm A " map guy", on that 1st map in your Rideau Canal post, doesn't that map also show the route taken by the Coureurs de bois? Those fearless French fir-traders, had a lot to contribute to the settlement of the Great Lakes!? What say you??
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6508
Joined: 2004
This day in World History! Continued
5/31/2023 9:57:27 AM
Dave,

“ Those fearless French fir-traders “ : I can’t help thinking of that villainous cartoon character in Huckleberry Hound, Powerful Pierre !

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 13550
Joined: 2009
This day in World History! Continued
5/31/2023 11:45:34 AM
Quote:
Also love your maps, I'm A " map guy", on that 1st map in your Rideau Canal post, doesn't that map also show the route taken by the Coureurs de bois? Those fearless French fir-traders, had a lot to contribute to the settlement of the Great Lakes!? What say you??


The waterways were the highways. First Nations people had been using them for thousands of years and the Europeans followed suit. The canoe proved to be the ideal craft for travel and transport in this part of the new world.

The FN people knew the value of their water highways and if a tribe was dominant in one area, it would demand tolls from those who wished to pass through. The Ottawa River was a very important route to the interior and the west and when the Anishinabe (Algonquin) people were dominant, they charged tolls. So did the Haudensaunee (Iroquois) when they owned a river.

The Rideau River was actually navigable by canoe. It was used by First Nations to get from the Ottawa River to Lake Ontario.

But there are few canoe routes that didn't demand that you get out once in a while to portage around an obstacle like a water fall or because of extremely low water conditions. That was the Rideau River. If the Europeans wanted to use the Rideau for a canal to bring bigger ships through then they would have to apply European engineering techniques. And that is what they did. The Rideau Canal is one of Canada's greatest engineering feats thanks to the Royal Engineers and private Canadian companies who were hired by the government to build what the engineers had planned. Oh and many thanks to the French-Canadians and a few thousand Irish labourers who actually did the work for 2 shillings a day.

You mentioned the coureurs-de-bois (runners of the woods). These men, mostly French-Canadian were actually free lance, itinerant traders. They weren't licensed to trade by the government of New France. Those who were licensed were called "voyageurs" and they were paid to transport goods between different trading posts. They weren't licensed to trade though.

But it was difficult for the government to stop the free lancers though they would fine them if they caught them leaving a place like Montréal to head into the hinterland in the spring to begin the trading season. However, they were of considerable value to the French because it was the coureurs-de-bois who often made first contact with new trading partners. Some of them shocked their friends and the priests in Montréal when they returned as they had been living with the First Nations and looked like wild bush men. Pierre Radisson was one such coureur-de-bois.

The system of permits was put in place because the coureurs-de-bois were heading inland and scooping furs that the government wanted to be brought back to Montréal and Québec by the First Nations. The coureurs-de-bois had imposed themselves as middle men and that upset the government and the traders based in Montréal and Québec.

So they were perceived as being outlaws but today we laud them as great explorers or the men who assisted other better known explorers to find their way around the rivers and lakes to the west of Montréal. I don't know whether we would still call them coureurs-de-bois in 1806 but even Lewis and Clark employed a large number of French-Canadian fur traders because these men were already engaged in trade with First Nations in the north-west. They spoke the languages of the people that Lewis and Clark wished to contact.

Cheers,

George




Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 8313
Joined: 2006
This day in World History! Continued
5/31/2023 10:20:12 PM


& Checking 5-31, the last day in May, one more shot for comments anyone??

1819 poet Walt Whitman was born! What was his greatest poem?? How about Captain, my Captain!!??

1889 the Johnstown flood over 2,000 peopled died! What was your countries worst flood? Anyone??

1902 the Boer War ends!? How did the Native S. Africans fare???

1916 the naval battle of the Jutland Sea, begins, one of the more costly naval engagement ever fought by the RN!
Who won?? What say you??

1921 the Tulsa Race Riots over 300 blacks massacred!! Why?? Anyone???

1962 Adolf Eichmann is hung for killing jews! Who was the worst Nazi in that regard?? Any comments??

1977 Trans Alaskan Pipeline completed! Does this threaten even pristine Canadian territory!? Thanks George on your great reply!

Comments on new topics? &
Regards,
MD

Also George interesting reply on the 1st nations & early Europeans using the water ways!
----------------------------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 8313
Joined: 2006
This day in World History! Continued
6/1/2023 7:34:50 AM
Quote:
Quote:
In your Rideau Canal post, doesn't that map also show the route taken by the Coureurs de bois? Those fearless French fir-traders, had a lot to contribute to the settlement of the Great Lakes!? What say you?? MD


The waterways were the highways. First Nations people had been using them for thousands of years and the Europeans followed suit. The canoe proved to be the ideal craft for travel and transport in this part of the new world.

The FN people knew the value of their water highways and if a tribe was dominant in one area, it would demand tolls from those who wished to pass through. The Ottawa River was a very important route to the interior and the west and when the Anishinabe (Algonquin) people were dominant, they charged tolls. So did the Haudensaunee (Iroquois) when they owned a river.

The Rideau River was actually navigable by canoe. It was used by First Nations to get from the Ottawa River to Lake Ontario!

You mentioned the coureurs-de-bois (runners of the woods). These men, mostly French-Canadian were actually free lance, itinerant traders. They weren't licensed to trade by the government of New France. Those who were licensed were called "voyageurs" and they were paid to transport goods between different trading posts. They weren't licensed to trade though.

The system of permits was put in place because the coureurs-de-bois were heading inland and scooping furs that the government wanted to be brought back to Montréal and Québec by the First Nations. The coureurs-de-bois had imposed themselves as middle men and that upset the government and the traders based in Montréal and Québec.

Cheers,

George





Hey George,

Again thanks for posting the 1st Nations tribes involved, & I didn't know the difference from Voyageurs, & coureurs-de-bois? I thought it was just the French term!

Now I know!
MD
----------------------------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 13550
Joined: 2009
This day in World History! Continued
6/1/2023 4:10:34 PM
Quote:
Hey George,

Again thanks for posting the 1st Nations tribes involved, & I didn't know the difference from Voyageurs, & coureurs-de-bois? I thought it was just the French term!

Now I know!
MD


You're welcome, MD. Both terms are French, of course. Voyageur means traveller. Coureur-de-bois means literally, "runner of the woods". And that is interpreted in English as, bush runner.

The coureur-de-bois didn't last as long as did the voyageurs. Once British businesses like the Hudson's Bay Company and the Northwest Company got into the business, they both employed voyageurs who were paid to do the company's bidding. Both sent crews into the interior to trade with the FN's much as the coureurs-de-bois did in the era of New France. But there was less opportunity for these itinerant traders to operate independently.

Cheers,

George
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 8313
Joined: 2006
This day in World History! Continued
6/2/2023 8:33:02 AM
Checking 6-3, in history, here are a few note worthy events comments & new topics welcome! Anyone??

1808 Jefferson Davis, like A. Lincoln is born in Kentucky! Actually the 2 have very simular histories? You wonder if under different circumstances if their paths had crossed, maybe they would have been friends?? Any websites or comments on their parallels? What say you?

1844 Great Auks a flightless bird becomes extinct, killed in Iceland! Passenger Pigeons & others of this era also become extinct! Once many species, being hugely populated, were killed off, how did this happen?? What say you??

1864 in the battle of Cold Harbor the Union loses 13,000 men! Was their general US Grant a butcher or a great general?? Comments? Also check out Phil's CW thread on this!!!

1937 Prince Edward Duke of Windsor gives up the throne to marry an American socialite! What's your take on Edward? Was his giving up the throne, actually better for the Commonwealth, especially in those WWII times??
What say you?

Regards,
MD
----------------------------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 4811
Joined: 2004
This day in World History! Continued
6/2/2023 10:15:43 PM
I get the idea of “day-before” dating, but sometimes find it confusing. I won’t be posting tomorrow, so here is my comment on this event for June 3: Quote:
1937 Prince Edward Duke of Windsor gives up the throne to marry an American socialite! What's your take on Edward? Was his giving up the throne, actually better for the Commonwealth, especially in those WWII times?

Point 1: by 3 June 1937 George VI, Edward’s younger brother (the “spare”) was king. His coronation took place on 12 May 1937. That was meant originally to be the date of the coronation of Edward as Edward VIII.
Point 2: the event of 3 June was simply the marriage between Edward and Wallis. He had been granted the title of Duke of Windsor – IIRC a first dukedom of that name. Windsor was a new name for the Royal Family, having been adopted in 1917(?) as Saxe-Coburg-Gotha increasingly lost favour because of it’s German roots. As an aside, Battenberg was also changed to Mountbatten, for he same reason.

As to the role of Wallis Simpson in he abdication of Edward VIII, the issue wasn’t her nationality or her status. It was her marital status.When Edward (he was known privately as David) met her, she was divorced and in a second marriage which appears to have been failing. Now, the Church of England determined that marriage to a divorcee cannot be blessed. Edward knew this. And he must have realized that were he to become king, he would become secular head of the Church of England and therefore morally bound to uphold the church’s values. He was literally forced to choose between Wallis and the throne. He chose Wallis.

Let’s keep this in focus. When Elizabeth II – Edward’s niece – was on the throne, her younger sister Margaret Rose became involved with Peter Townsend, and RAF fighter pilot who was one of “the few”. He was a divorced man. IIRC, Margaret Rose was forced to turn her back on him for that reason. Now, of course, we have a new king (Charles III) and queen (Camilla) who are both divorcees. Whether or not I agree with former C of E policies, I find it hard to accept whatever manipulations took place to make Charles king, when Edward was forced to choose.

I believe that as Prince of Wales Edward was a popular, almost lionized figure. He was, by most accounts, witty, sociable and a thoroughly modern heir apparent after the rather stodgy two generations of kings after Victoria. My understanding is that at the time he was popular with much of the wider Commonwealth (or Empire – take your pick! I believe it was vitally important in hindsight to have him step down, but at the time I sense many British colonies and commonwealths were shattered, and were somewhat wary of his stuttering, retiring younger brother who was about to step into his place. IIUC, so were members of the Commons in England. George and his wife Elizabeth had set themselves up to be country squirearchy.

I’m not capable of explaining the extraordinary links between various British nobility, gentry, and “society” and the rising Nazi culture in Germany. Some, I’m sure, was based on family connections which started at least with the marriage of Victoria and Albert but could go back to the time of the early Hanoverians. It is clear, however, that Edward (and Wallis) developed links with certain members of the growing Nazi regime, and were so outspoken that they were directed away from areas where their position and influence might weaken British resolve. In this I think all nations of the British Empire and Commonwealth were shocked at Edward’s Nazi connections, horrified at his political innocence and rather glad to have his younger brother reigning in his place.

Cheers
Brian G
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6508
Joined: 2004
This day in World History! Continued
6/3/2023 2:35:12 AM
Who could ask for a better rendition of the Abdication Crisis than what Brian G has just given us ?

Concise, accurate and profoundly interesting to read, it has an infectious quality that drives me, at least, to reflect on things and reconsider.

MHO at its best.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 4811
Joined: 2004
This day in World History! Continued
6/4/2023 7:21:04 PM
Thank you, Phil. An over-rating, but very kind. I like what you say about reflection and reconsideration. Those are qualities which apply to amateurs in any field; I’d like to think all MHOers share them.

Cheers,
Brian G
----------------------------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 4811
Joined: 2004
This day in World History! Continued
6/4/2023 7:21:45 PM
Thank you, Phil. An over-rating, but very kind. I like what you say about reflection and reconsideration. Those are qualities which apply to amateurs in any field; I’d like to think all MHOers share them.

Cheers,
Brian G
----------------------------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 4811
Joined: 2004
This day in World History! Continued
6/4/2023 8:14:48 PM
4 June 1940: Last day of Operation Dynamo, better known simply as Dunkirk.I shouldn’t be the person to write about it, but it’s too large an event to go without at least a mention on MHO.

The British – probably spurred on by the propaganda of the Ministry of Information, sold some spins like “the Miracle of Dunkirk” and “the little boats of Britain”, of course, but even WSC – in office as PM for less than 30 days – admitted the reality: he called it a defeat. Increasingly, I tend to see it as the aftermath of a major catastrophe, containing many catastrophic elements of its own.

Think of the belligerents here: on one side, Germany; on the other, the UK, Belgium, France, Netherlands, Poland – though some toss in India, Canada and West Africa as well. Germany won (in a relative rout) the assault on the west, hands down.

The miracle at Dunkirk, IMHO, was a miracle by a defeated, ill-armed, strategically pathetic nation. But I would also argue it was a miracle made easier by the relative short-sightedness of the German aggressors, and their failure to prepare to act on their success.

Lots to talk about here, IMHO.

Cheers
Brian G
----------------------------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 13550
Joined: 2009
This day in World History! Continued
6/4/2023 8:24:56 PM
On June 4, 1760 a large group of New England planters arrived in Nova Scotia colony and began to assume ownership of farms and undeveloped land that had formerly been the property of Acadians. This proved to be a more significant event than what it appears to be on face value.

We know that the French speaking Acadians in Nova Scotia had run afoul of the British during the French and Indian Wars. The Acadians had refused to sign an oath of allegiance to the British crown though the Acadians had promised to remain neutral. When some of them had been found among French soldiers during conflicts, the British decided that they would be expelled. These are people whose descendants had been in Nova Scotia since 1604.

But France had built the mighty Fortress Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island which is now part of Nova Scotia. They had built Fort Beauséjour on the Chignecto Isthmus that joins Nova Scotia to New Brunswick. When the British took Beauséjour in 1755 they found 270 Acadians among those defending the place. The presence of the French in Nova Scotia was seen as a threat by the New Englanders too and the sentiment had been expressed that some very fine farmland was in the possession of French foreigners living in a British colony. That situation was viewed as unacceptable.

The Acadians had been a thorn in the side of the New Englanders who coveted the good farmland in Nova Scotia. They had asked that the Acadians be expelled several time before the British actually did so. Between 1755 and 1768 over 10,000 Acadians were deported to the Caribbean or France or even other British colonies. Some fled north to Cape Breton and others fled into the bush. The New Englanders assisted in the expulsion.

But the point is that Acadian farms became the property of these New England "planters". And that had a great effect on subsequent events in history.

In 1776, there was a large population of former New Englanders living in Nova Scotia and it was presumed by many of the rebels in the 13 colonies that Nova Scotia would join in the rebellion. The reasons that they did not is open to speculation but it is true that the business class of New Englander in Nova Scotia (they weren't all farmers) was quite happy to continue doing business and did not support a war. At the start of the war, some of these former New Englanders were shipping goods to the British in Boston and being well paid for the service.

They were also grateful to the British who had expelled the Acadians from the colony providing an opportunity for them. We may argue that the expulsion of the Acadians and the subsequent immigration of New Englanders to Nova Scotia ensured that Nova Scotia would not join the rebellion in 1776, not that the British weren't worried about that very development. As inhumane as the action was, by deporting the Acadians, they had rid themselves of a large group that may well have supported the American revolution. Of course, they did not deport them for that reason.

Lastly, the British military presence at Halifax was very strong. There was indeed an annexationist movement in Nova Scotia but it was not strong enough to garner sufficient support to foment armed rebellion. Despite petitions from these annexationists to George Washington to attack Nova Scotia he was unwilling to do so given that there was no armed rebellion under way.

8, 000 New Englanders emigrated to Nova Scotia from 1759 to 1768.

Quote:
Land was the most influential reason for this emigration from New England, and the primary incentive for the move to Nova Scotia. Under the terms of Lawrence’s Proclamations, every head of family was entitled to one hundred acres of wild land and another fifty acres for each member of his household, up to one thousand acres.[3] The land would be free of charge for ten years, after which a small rent would be charged. Grantees would have to improve one-third of their land every ten years, until all was cultivated. Lawrence’s offer made available a vast amount of quality farmland at a time when there was virtually no free land left in New England, due to a massive population increase to the area.[4]
. source: The Forgotten Immigrants, Canadian Museum of Immigration.

[Read More]

The migration of New Englanders to Nova Scotia had a profound effect on the culture and system of government in Nova Scotia and later, Canada.





Cheers,

George
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 8313
Joined: 2006
This day in World History! Continued
6/4/2023 8:54:23 PM
Hi MH'ors,
Just back from my cottage, not a fun time power washing the deck, & preparing it for deck stain! Fun!? ☺

6-4 in history events, (this early to mid June is a time where a lot of important history events happened!) Check these out!? Comments, anyone??

6-4-1760:A large group of New Englander's migrate to Nova Scotia! Why? Check out George's very informative post on this! Thanks George!

1786 Napoleon wins in the seige of Mantua! Another victory for Bonaparte! What say you where does he stand as an effective Commander?? Anyone??

1863, around Gettysburg, & the area, what's going on with the ANV leading up to the great battle? Any CW history guys out there!??

1919 Women are granted the right to vote! (19th Amendment) How strong of a voting block are they today??

1942 the Japanese are defeated in the Battle of Midway! 4 IJN Aircraft Carriers that were involved at Pearl Harbor are sunk! How did the USN achieve such a one sided victory!? Factors involved?? What say you??

1970 the Kingdom of Tonga break free of the British Empire!? Why would they seek independence from such a strong entity?? Comments, anyone??

1940 The Dunkirk evacuation is over, how important was it for the Allies in the overall picture involving WWII victory in Europe?? Comments? Thanks Brian for the great post on this!! Check it out!?

Tomorrow 6-5 in history this history happened!? Any new posts?? Anyone?

1849 Denmark abolishes its monarchy! What effect did this have on the rest of Scandinavia?
& what Government replaced it?? What say you?

1939 Joe Clark becomes Canada's youngest Prime Minister was born! How did the youngster do?? Anyone??

1944 the Allies liberate Rome! Is it the beginning of the end for the Axis forces? What battle do you see as the turning point of WWII in Europe? I'll give you a hint on mine, it will occure, 6-6 1944!?Comments on how you see this??

1967 Start of the Six Day War! All wars should be so short!? Were the Israelis that much better than their adversaries in this area?? How did the dominate, & win?? What about this?

1968 Senator Robert Kennedy seeking to win the US Presidency is assassinated! A very sad day in America!? What say you?

Lots to discuss here & any new topics
posts & websites welcome!???
Regards,
MD
----------------------------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6508
Joined: 2004
This day in World History! Continued
6/5/2023 1:45:04 AM
Brian :

“ … a defeated, ill-armed, srategically pathetic nation.”

Harsh words.

Are you alluding to the British or the French, or both ?

Not to mention Belgian and Dutch forces.

The British deployed more than a third of a million men on the Western Front, the French six times that number. That’s not knowledge on my part, so the figures are offered with diffidence. Both armies had loads of stuff : tanks In great numbers, artillery likewise. The material left behind at Dunkirk attests to lavish mechanised support.

As for aircraft, I’ll rely on you to inform us : there must’ve been significant air power available to the allies.

I wonder if the Germans attributed the miraculous to the speed of their win.

Regards, Phil
----------------------------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6508
Joined: 2004
This day in World History! Continued
6/5/2023 1:45:05 AM
Dp
----------------------------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 13550
Joined: 2009
This day in World History! Continued
6/5/2023 7:23:46 AM
Quote:
1919 Women are granted the right to vote! (19th Amendment) How strong of a voting block are they today??


I presume with the reference to an amendment that this is about American women. Many of your states had already experimented with universal suffrage but this federal legislation ensured that a state could not deny women the right to vote.

The timeline for universal suffrage varied from country to country. The colony of Australia granted women the right to vote in 1894.

And New Zealand had already done so in 1893 becoming the first self governing country in the world to do so.

In 1917 Canada had granted the right to vote to soldiers under 21 who were serving in the armed forces and their female relatives at home. That was to encourage enlistment. It was also the first time that First Nations people who had enlisted would vote in an election. This Wartime Elections Act also disenfranchised conscientious objectors and people who had emigrated since 1902 and who were from countries with whom Canada was at war.

Canadian Nursing Sisters voting in the 1917 federal election outside a field hospital in Europe



In 1918, women were given the right to vote in Canadian elections if they met the same eligibility requirements as the men.

The Dominion Elections Act of 1920 established a Dominion wide voting franchise. I must note that this law did grant provinces that right to exclude certain racial groups from placement on the voters' lists. This was aimed at the Chinese.

Posters from other countries may wish to weigh in to tell us the timeline to universal suffrage in their nations.

Cheers,

George
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 8313
Joined: 2006
This day in World History! Continued
6/5/2023 2:39:05 PM
Quote:
4 June 1940: Last day of Operation Dynamo, better known simply as Dunkirk.I shouldn’t be the person to write about it, but it’s too large an event to go without at least a mention on MHO.

The British – probably spurred on by the propaganda of the Ministry of Information, sold some spins like “the Miracle of Dunkirk” and “the little boats of Britain”, of course, but even WSC – in office as PM for less than 30 days – admitted the reality: he called it a defeat. Increasingly, I tend to see it as the aftermath of a major catastrophe, containing many catastrophic elements of its own.

Think of the belligerents here: on one side, Germany; on the other, the UK, Belgium, France, Netherlands, Poland – though some toss in India, Canada and West Africa as well. Germany won (in a relative rout) the assault on the west, hands down.

The miracle at Dunkirk, IMHO, was a miracle by a defeated, ill-armed, strategically pathetic nation. But I would also argue it was a miracle made easier by the relative short-sightedness of the German aggressors, and their failure to prepare to act on their success.

Lots to talk about here, IMHO.

Cheers
Brian G





Hi Brian,,

Thousands of sitting duck BEF troops on the beach, a bunch of small defenseless craft milling around!?

Where was the Luftwaffe??? Anyone??

Regards,
MD
----------------------------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
OpanaPointer
St. Louis MO USA
Posts: 1973
Joined: 2010
This day in World History! Continued
6/5/2023 4:00:23 PM
Overwhelmed. Control of the air was vital.
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 13550
Joined: 2009
This day in World History! Continued
6/5/2023 4:56:42 PM
Quote:
Hi Brian,,

Thousands of sitting duck BEF troops on the beach, a bunch of small defenseless craft milling around!?

Where was the Luftwaffe??? Anyone??

Regards,
MD


The British did manage to retrieve 338,000 French and British soldiers from the beaches between May 26 and June 4. 120,000 were French and within a week, most had been transported back to France to continue the fight.

Despite all the attention given the little boats, it was the RN that rescued many of the soldiers with destroyers, minesweepers and personnel carriers.. But the RN vessels could only near shore at the East Mole hence the request for little ships to retrieve soldiers at other points along the beach.

EDIT: Multiple bombing raids by the Luftwaffe had destroyed most of the Dunkirk harbour.
And the RN lost vessels to German e-boats and to the Luftwaffe. Three destroyers were lost on May 29. Three lost on June 1 to the Luftwaffe. Several minesweepers were lost during the period of the evacuation.

I have seen several accounts of the number of "little ships" lost during the evacuation. Often the total number participating is set at 700 but I am not sure how that number was tabulated. And I have read that 100 did not make it home. If so, how were they sunk and did they have rescued soldiers on board?

As much of a mess as this was, there was a great deal of heroism displayed by not only the British civilians but by the RN and the few thousand who had to stay behind to engage in rear guard action. These were added to the thousands of French soldiers who also guarded the beaches as the soldiers were evacuated.

We sometimes read criticism that the RAF was absent during the evacuation but this is not true. Forced to flee the continent, the RAF still employed 16 squadrons of fighters from Britain to support the evacuation.

Quote:
Over the nine days of operations, the RAF carried out 171 reconnaissance, 651 bombing and 2,739 fighter sorties, losing 177 aircraft, including 106 fighters, bringing the total number of fighters lost in the whole Battle of France campaign to 250. The losses over Dunkirk reduced the strength of Fighter Command to 570 operation fighters; 280 Spitfires and 290 Hurricanes, the latter of which included three squadrons in France.
. source: National Archives, UK

How much credit should we extend to the RAF who managed to keep the Luftwaffe at bay?

The defeat of France may have been a debacle and an evacuation is not a victory but I think that we can commend those who undertook to make Operation Dynamo a success.

We are reminded that the British were not finished in France with the evacuations at Dunkirk. There was still an obligation to support France and the 51st (Highland) Division and 1st Armoured Div. were still in France around the Somme area and well south of Dunkirk. To continue that support the British dispatched the 52nd division and elements of the 1st Canadian Division including the 48th Highlanders of Canada. I know that the Canadians had penetrated about 150 miles inland in support of the French troops. They had only lost six men by the time that they were ordered to evacuate.


But with the evacuation at Dunkirk, the German forces attacked the remaining French and British and Commonwealth forces and began pushing them west. This began on June 5. By June 14, Gen. Alan Brooke saw that the situation was hopeless and Operation Aerial began the next day. The RN sent warships and troopships to the various ports on the coast.
Troops moved quickly to get to Cherbourg, St. Malo, Brest, St. Nazaire, La Police and others. Units made their way to their assigned ports.

The Canadians were the last to be sent into France and were only there a couple of days before being told to get back to the coast. British, Canadian, Polish and Czech soldiers were removed during Operation Aerial between June 15 and June 21. This was a massive undertaking by the RN and RAF.

Nearly 200,000 were rescued in Operation Aerial and this is often not noted in the discussions surrounding Dunkirk.

As well Aerial was quite widespread and involved ships leaving from a number of British ports and heading to many ports along the French coast to retrieve both soldiers and some civilians.



I hope that I have used correct data in reporting the numbers. If not, someone please weigh in.

Cheers,

George






Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 4811
Joined: 2004
This day in World History! Continued
6/5/2023 8:59:21 PM
Quote:
Brian :

“ … a defeated, ill-armed, srategically pathetic nation.”

Harsh words.

Are you alluding to the British or the French, or both ?

Not to mention Belgian and Dutch forces.

The British deployed more than a third of a million men on the Western Front, the French six times that number. That’s not knowledge on my part, so the figures are offered with diffidence. Both armies had loads of stuff : tanks In great numbers, artillery likewise. The material left behind at Dunkirk attests to lavish mechanised support.

As for aircraft, I’ll rely on you to inform us : there must’ve been significant air power available to the allies.

I wonder if the Germans attributed the miraculous to the speed of their win.

Regards, Phil

I’ll admit to offering a harsh judgment, Phil. I did so sensing it would be an unpopular move. But it seems there must be reasons for such a debacle.

I’m alluding (good choice of word) to England, France, Belgium thee Netherlands and, to some extent to Germany. But my focus was on Britain.

Only 18 days lapsed between Germans crossing the various borders and the British hoping to save some 30,000-40,000 troops from going into the bag suggests something was wrong with something somewhere. I would start with strategic errors. Assuming Germany would follow the same routes which kept them from early victory in WW1 doesn’t seem to support much strategic assessment of a German force which had been on display for some years, and had been demonstrated in Poland with some proof of effectiveness. I’d add some tactical idiocy. Holland and Belgium, in their stance about positive neutrality, would not so much lose to Germany as commit suicide.

I admit that some of the issues here were a result of alliances and agreements which might have left Britain unable to act freely. But I see no indication that the British didn’t agree whole-heartedly with their allies (and soon to be allies).

You mention the large number of British and French troops prepared to face Germany. The British army wasn’t facing the Germans; it was facing the Belgians, who had a large number of troops in underground bunkers or in forts like Eben-Emael, meant to stop Germany infantry cold but falling to 85 paratroops within 24 hours. France was probably Helium’s role model, with the undefeatable Maginot Line the Germans simply moved around.You talk about mechanized support, but what I read amounts to mechanized presence but little actual co-ordination and a lack of intelligence to use the tanks and artillery effectively. The loss of that mechanized equipment could have been critical; it was nevertheless not employed effectively in France. What could have been mechanical support became mechanical debris.

You mention air support. At the time, there were 3 major branches of the RAF: Bomber Command, Fighter Command and Coastal Command. A further contingent – what had been 1 Group of Bomber Command and an equivalent Fighter Command Group, IIRC – had reformed on 24 August 1939 as the Advanced Air Striking Force, a support force for BEF troops. Their chief a/c were three: the Fairey Battle, Bristol Blenheim I – both classified as bombers – and the Hawker Hurricane as fighter support.

No-one need say anything about the Hurricane; it would become an effective defender against German bombers during the Battle of Britain, but it was not as agile or effective as the German Bf 109-E (Emil) or -F (Freddy). The Blenheim I (and its replacement, the Blenheim IV – named the Bolingbroke by the RCAF) was by 1940 too light and too slow to survive as a “fast bomber”, a vital concept when it came on line in 1937. The Fairey Battle – I hope to say something more about this a/c a bit later – was a prime example of an aircraft which was only built to meet numbers. Its bomb load was limited to 4 x 250 lbs, dropped from wing cells; its defensive armament was 1 x .303 mg; it had a crew of three. It was categorized as a “tactical bomber and fighter aircraft”. In fact, it was simply a design abomination to meet government budgeting methodology under successive 10-year military assessment.

In case you don’t get the vulnerability and ineffectiveness of the Battle, left me offer this from the Wikipedia article “RAF Advanced Air Striking Force”:Quote:
The Battle of France began with the German invasion of the Low Countries on 10 May 1940. The Battle squadrons suffered 40 per cent losses on 10 May, 100 per cent on 11 May and 63 per cent on 12 May. In 48 hours the number of operational AASF bombers fell from 135 to 72. On 14 May the AASF made a maximum effort, 63 Battles and eight Bristol Blenheims attacked targets near Sedan. More than half the bombers were lost, bringing AASF losses to 75 per cent. The remaining bombers began to operate at night and periodically by day, sometimes with fighter escorts.
From 10 May to the end of the month, the AASF lost 119 Battle crews killed and 100 aircraft. Experience, better tactics and periods of bad weather from 15 May to 5 June led to losses of 0.5 per cent, albeit with a similar reduction in effectiveness.


France was begging for more RAF a/c as Dunkirk appeared as a chance to save troops. Churchill and the War Cabinet were prepared to send them, but for the balls of Sir Hugh Dowding, who argued against WSC that Britain could not afford to send more fighters in a lost cause. Dowding’s argument saved the day; the extra squadrons stayed at home. IMHO, he paid a steep price for his commitment to RAF FC’s survival.

And then there’s the RN. Like other branches of the armed services, the RN faced a 10-year rule which defined what kind of ship it could build. I would add to this – and this is a nasty comment – that there are indications that RN practices, training and focus had still not caught up with WWI reality. Specifically, they had few ships capable of shallow draft work except for corvettes and auxiliary ships like drifters, both of which were so slow they were easy targets. The “Little Boats of Britain” is a wonderful children’s story, and i shows how gutsy and brave citizens can be. But it only came about because the RN had neither ships, plans nor capabilities to extract defeated troops from an increasingly enemy controlled beach.

This post has gotten too long to start looking at the frauds of the Ten Year Plans. But I do want to say, before the thread gets inundated with comments about the bravery of the Tommies and matelots and aircrew, that none of what I have said insults the PBI or his equivalent. I’m just offering some comments on why I think Dunkirk so easily led to a disaster.

I have in my library a delightful little first-edition volume published in 1941 in New York by The Macmillan Company. The author is noted as “Captain Sir Basil Bartlett, Bt.”; the title is [/]My First War: An Army Officer’s Journal for May 1940 Through Belgium to Dunkirk. I feel it necessary to not he dedicated the volume to his CSM!

Sir Basil was dragged off the beaches of Dunkirk in late May. I want to share his last entry: Quote:
…[T]omorrow I am going home. There’s too much wrong with me. I’m mint back to London to be treated by my on doctors for concussion nd fractured teeth and a fractured jaw.

I seem to have lost about a stone in weight.

The newspapers are full of the story of the evacuation from Dunkirk, of its discipline, of its wonderful organization. ell, it didn’t seem particularly well organized to me. Perhaps it’s got better since I left. The important thing is that the men are still being taken off.

There’s something almost miraculous in the British powers of improvisation.

I suppose that, in history, this campaign will count as a first-class military defeat. But it wasn’t.

He’s thinking of his men and what they have endured. I get it. I’m thinking about why it should never have come to Dunkirk. So I disagree.

Just some thoughts and explanations …

Cheers
Brian G
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Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 8313
Joined: 2006
This day in World History! Continued
6/6/2023 8:48:39 AM
Quote:
Quote:
Hi Brian,,

Thousands of sitting duck BEF troops on the beach, a bunch of small defenseless craft milling around!?

Where was the Luftwaffe??? Anyone??

Regards,
MD


The British did manage to retrieve 338,000 French and British soldiers from the beaches between May 26 and June 4. 120,000 were French and within a week, most had been transported back to France to continue the fight.

Despite all the attention given the little boats, it was the RN that rescued many of the soldiers with destroyers, minesweepers and personnel carriers.. But the RN vessels could only near shore at the East Mole hence the request for little ships to retrieve soldiers at other points along the beach.

EDIT: Multiple bombing raids by the Luftwaffe had destroyed most of the Dunkirk harbour.
And the RN lost vessels to German e-boats and to the Luftwaffe. Three destroyers were lost on May 29. Three lost on June 1 to the Luftwaffe. Several minesweepers were lost during the period of the evacuation.

I have seen several accounts of the number of "little ships" lost during the evacuation. Often the total number participating is set at 700 but I am not sure how that number was tabulated. And I have read that 100 did not make it home. If so, how were they sunk and did they have rescued soldiers on board?

As much of a mess as this was, there was a great deal of heroism displayed by not only the British civilians but by the RN and the few thousand who had to stay behind to engage in rear guard action. These were added to the thousands of French soldiers who also guarded the beaches as the soldiers were evacuated.

We sometimes read criticism that the RAF was absent during the evacuation but this is not true. Forced to flee the continent, the RAF still employed 16 squadrons of fighters from Britain to support the evacuation.

Quote:
Over the nine days of operations, the RAF carried out 171 reconnaissance, 651 bombing and 2,739 fighter sorties, losing 177 aircraft, including 106 fighters, bringing the total number of fighters lost in the whole Battle of France campaign to 250. The losses over Dunkirk reduced the strength of Fighter Command to 570 operation fighters; 280 Spitfires and 290 Hurricanes, the latter of which included three squadrons in France.
. source: National Archives, UK

How much credit should we extend to the RAF who managed to keep the Luftwaffe at bay?

The defeat of France may have been a debacle and an evacuation is not a victory but I think that we can commend those who undertook to make Operation Dynamo a success.

We are reminded that the British were not finished in France with the evacuations at Dunkirk. There was still an obligation to support France and the 51st (Highland) Division and 1st Armoured Div. were still in France around the Somme area and well south of Dunkirk. To continue that support the British dispatched the 52nd division and elements of the 1st Canadian Division including the 48th Highlanders of Canada. I know that the Canadians had penetrated about 150 miles inland in support of the French troops. They had only lost six men by the time that they were ordered to evacuate.


But with the evacuation at Dunkirk, the German forces attacked the remaining French and British and Commonwealth forces and began pushing them west. This began on June 5. By June 14, Gen. Alan Brooke saw that the situation was hopeless and Operation Aerial began the next day. The RN sent warships and troopships to the various ports on the coast.
Troops moved quickly to get to Cherbourg, St. Malo, Brest, St. Nazaire, La Police and others. Units made their way to their assigned ports.

The Canadians were the last to be sent into France and were only there a couple of days before being told to get back to the coast. British, Canadian, Polish and Czech soldiers were removed during Operation Aerial between June 15 and June 21. This was a massive undertaking by the RN and RAF.

Nearly 200,000 were rescued in Operation Aerial and this is often not noted in the discussions surrounding Dunkirk.

As well Aerial was quite widespread and involved ships leaving from a number of British ports and heading to many ports along the French coast to retrieve both soldiers and some civilians.



I hope that I have used correct data in reporting the numbers. If not, someone please weigh in.

Cheers,

George





Hi George, & Brian,

Both of you have done a great job explaining the bigger picture, of not only Dunkirk but the larger situation along the entire French Coast, showing even greater Allied evacuations! It would seem that just because the Germans had broken through to trap the BEF, & French troops surrounding Dunkirk did not mean they controlled the entire huge French Coast!? Thus operation Aeriel was able to rescue even more troops! Sad episode of the Liner Lancastria being sunk with the loss of 3,500! Just how long did it take for the Germans to control the French Coast, if ever, after the Germans broke through, & the surrender of the French??

Thanks for pointing out the bigger picture!

Regards,
MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 8313
Joined: 2006
This day in World History! Continued
6/6/2023 9:20:39 AM
D day June 6, 1944, the largest amphibious landing ever, involving incredible land, sea, & air operations!

Bring this post up to today in history, concerning of course D day! It was on that day the largest air operation ever, happened! A few generalities I read was that Bomber Harris had his RAF bombers hit Utah Beach ahead of the invasion, he wisely had them find land & bomb running parallel to the beach & the German armed defenses! Doing a much better job than the Americans who bombed Utah beach straight on in the heavy clouds, releasing way to late with little effect on the German defenders? The American boys hitting Utah paid quite a price for this!? Then you look at other air related parts to the invasion, like the gliders, & paratroopers, & you can see just how massive this Air part of D day was?? & this isn't even taking into account the exceptional bombing going up the coast at Calais to fool the Germans? I guess Rommel was at his wife's birthday party, so that was good!?

So lets discuss the complicated Allied air operation of D day, & countless other fascits!?

Anyone can chime in?
Lots to discuss!
MD

& on a larger scale, today's obvious & major topic is D day, 6-6-1944, tons of things to discuss, some not widely known!? Please pitch in! All comments, websites, & posts welcome!?

PS why was it called D day? Anyone??

Also any ceremonies going on in any of the countries involved? Posting videos on them or historical videos on that day would be great!? What say you? About D day??

Check out Morris post on D day as well!?
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morris crumley
Dunwoody GA USA
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This day in World History! Continued
6/6/2023 10:22:34 AM

The designated time of a landing was "H-Hour" and the day was "D-Day."

The invasion of Normandy was one of many "D-Day" operations, but it was such a monumental moment it has become THE example of all "D-days" There were more than 4,400 men killed on D-day in Normandy, over 2,500 Americans.

LT. Den Brotheridge, 2cd Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, British glider infantry, is considered to be the first known soldier killed in action on D-Day in Major John Howard`s assault on Pegasus Bridge.

Respects, Morris

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OpanaPointer
St. Louis MO USA
Posts: 1973
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This day in World History! Continued
6/6/2023 12:50:31 PM
Concur. The use of "variables" meant only the official kick-off time need be known. I talked to a veteran of the attack while I was at Purdue in 1995. He mentioned "D-5" and I replied "June 1st". I thought he was going to faint. ;-)
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